In the run-up to this year’s grand final we’re rewinding time and reminscing over the recent winners of the Eurovision Song Contest. We’ve already flashed back to 2000 and 2001. Today we head to Tallin in 2002, where Latvia secures its first and so far only win.

Eurovision 2002 in Tallin, Estonia

After Denmark raised the scope and scale of the Contest the year before, Tallin saw stars upping their game with their stage performance. Bigger was clearly better. The show’s theme was a modern fairytale, but hosting proved to be a logistical nightmare and there was concern about whether ETV would actually be able to foot the bill for putting on the contest. Fortunately, the Estonian government got its priorities in order and ETV ran fundraising activities to ensure Estonia got its time to shine.

Latvia’s Marie N made it a second victory in a row for the Baltic States with her song ‘I Wanna’. Her margin of victory was even slimmer than Estonia’s the year before with only 12 points separating her from the runner-up. Contest lore has put her victory down to her choreography. Considering how vacuous the song is that seems a pretty credible assessment…

Malta placed second with 164 points. Ira Losco received three sets of douze points for her song ‘Seventh Wonder’. They came from Croatia, Denmark and the United Kingdom. Sadly that was not enough to win the contest for Valletta.

http://youtu.be/5p1DGU2Uow4

Due to the difference in rules in place at the time of the 2002 Contest the United Kingdom and the host nation Estonia tied in third place on 111 points. Jessica Garlick secured the UK’s best result of the 00s and held the record for the highest UK score of the decade until Jade Ewen’s performance in Moscow in 2009. From here onward the only way for the UK was down.

http://youtu.be/JysbhuwnGMM

Sahlene and her song ‘Runaway’ marked a last hurrah for Estonia too. It was their last Top 10 appearance until 2009. In fact, Estonia failed to qualify to the Grand Final after a 21st place finish the year after Tallin. Sahlene gave her performance some real gusto and wore a truly ravishing midriff baring number. Her result also remains Estonia’s second best of all time.

Rounding out the Top 5 was Sandrine François and her song ‘Il faut du temps’, which took 5th place for La Belle France with 104 points. Her staging screamed drama and despite a dour dress, Paris’s power ballad secured a back-to-back Top 5 finish for France. Unfortunately after 2002, like the UK and Estonia, France would have to wait seven years to make the Top 10 again in Moscow in 2009.

Elsewhere on the scoreboard Denmark suffered a nasty shock as they came last after 2nd in 2001 and winning in 2000. Only four countries offered votes for Copenhagen and bizarrely the Danes received a snub from Sweden with no points from Stockholm. Ouch.

Angus Quinn contributed this report from the U.K. You can follow him on Twitter at @Angus_Quinn17. Then like our Facebook page to keep up-to-date with all the latest news and gossip.

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Woz
Woz
6 years ago

@ charles, interesnting post. But what would you say is the gay agenda that could prevale from the 2014 entries?

Charles
Charles
6 years ago

2002 like 2001 was another follow up to what had started for me in 1999: questionable music quality (or lack of it) … plus televoting was still proving to showcase the bizarre and awkward taste of European televoters allowing awful songs to win instead of the really good ones. But while I kind of don’t mind with Sweden and Denmark winning in 1999 and 2000 (unlike in 2012 and 2013 I was more than excited with their winnings entries) what 2001 and 2002 brought to the game remains a mystery to me … were these good songs? Since when? And… Read more »

karen
karen
6 years ago

i honestly agree with the comments not being the best winner. i thought france had a nice song, loved croatia and thought malta should have won.

John P Lucas
6 years ago

I remember being absolutely shocked when this won. All through the voting I was rooting for Malta, and I couldn’t understand why this song that I couldn’t even remember was running her neck and neck. Very strange. That Latvia have a winner and Malta don’t is a real injustice in this competition. On the whole though I don’t think it was that bad of a year. My top ten of 2002: 1. FYR Macedonia (Beautiful and so underrated) 2. Malta 3. Sweden 4. United Kingdom 5. Germany (Comedy classic!) 6. France 7. Estonia 8. Spain 9. Denmark 10. Finland Exciting… Read more »

Nitzan
Nitzan
6 years ago

One of the most unimpressive ESCs ever, with one of the weakest songs ever to win. In favor of Latvia one should say that the 2003 ESC was one of the best ESCs in history, starting a new era in the contest by taking it to a whole new level of production (and songs if you compare it to preceding years).

nauportus90
nauportus90
6 years ago

if I was ricky martin I would sue marie’s ass. “I wanna” was obviously copied directly from martin’s “she bangs”

Dan RO
Dan RO
6 years ago

Ohy, this is bad… Have Europe’s music tastes changed so much since 2001 – 2002?! I really can’t explain these winners…

Roman
Roman
6 years ago

The worst winner ever in ESC.

SJ
SJ
6 years ago

Latvia won thanks to great stage performance. On betting odds favorites was Germany (finished on 21 place, one of my favorites also,Corinna was to nervious on stage and song did sound great like at german national final), Sweden on second place on odds, they finished on 8 place (my favorite number 1 that year, but they not good as on MF 2002) , Spain third on betting odds (finished on 7 place). Beside Sweden and Germany, that year i like song from Denmark (i dont know why she finished on last place, she deserved for me to be in TOP… Read more »

Woz
Woz
6 years ago

This year ESC made the highest ratings in Spain in decades. The reason? The country was taken by storm the previous year by Operación Triunfo (spanish first talent show, which became a national obsession, and it’s winner, Rosa, the national sweetheart). Her prize was representing the country in ESC, and the song was meticulously calculated for the european taste of the time. We were all expecting her to win and felt extremely dissapointed when she ended up in 7th place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksmSe6VApkw

Thiefo
Thiefo
6 years ago

2001 and 2002 had really unexpected winners that some consider the worst of the decade, but unlike Estonia in 2001 I actually like I Wanna 😛 Marie N had an entertaining performance which I’m sure is what gave her the extra points she needed to win. I agree there were other better songs, but the thing is that (I think) their stagings weren’t memorable, unlike Marie N’s. Yes, this is a song contest and I very much agree the main focus should be the songs, but whether we like it or not, Eurovision is not a radio contest, visuals matter,… Read more »

davve
davve
6 years ago

The only positive thing with Latvia winning was that Riga hosted a great eurovision the year after.

ingo
ingo
6 years ago

Biggest WTF win in the history of the esc, followed by Estonia 2001. Those were really two weird winners…

davve
davve
6 years ago

2002 was a bad year overall.. production wasnt great with the hosts being really dire and the stage was uninspiring and bland. and very small. along with 2007 in finland this was a way too small stage.

the winner was ridiculous a singer that couldnt keep in tune and the performance was comical…..

davve
davve
6 years ago

this song won 100% because of its stage performance. her singing was bad. her english was bad…. the song was baaadddddd..

Malta should have won.

Margaret
Margaret
6 years ago

Truly bad winner. I can’t understand how Latvia could won.

T
T
6 years ago

Sorry Latvia, but this is like one of the worst winners ever. Can’t believe that people actually voted for this. The song is bad and the performance is beyond embarrassing. Ira was robbed that year.

Med
Med
6 years ago

Even though it scream “logistical nightmare” in every sense, even during the broadcast, I think that was the most charming looking ESC. This is why I fell in love with Estonia, to be honest. All those postcards were great, that tiny creatures during the voting sequence were interesting (in order for you not to fall asleep 🙂 )… The concept was quite good, but the overall delivery was not. The hosts were desperately trying to be “in love” with each other but that didn’t translated well on screen. Still, I keep this as my personal fave, mainly because of the… Read more »

Robyn
Robyn
6 years ago

I’m really enjoying these looks back. 2002 doesn’t even seem like it was that long ago, yet here it feels its age. I’m really looking forward to 2003 – that was an epic year!

Peter
Peter
6 years ago

I really hate the song of latvia it’s the worst winner ever in my opinion. The songs from the UK and France were the best in this edition! 🙂

Dar
Dar
6 years ago

I used to think this was the worst winner ever then along came Azerbaijan 2011 . The ultimate WORST WINNER EVER!!

Ryanireland
Ryanireland
6 years ago

Even worse than Estonia 2001,the contest in Tallinn didn’t really have any major stand out songs, but I think Malta were robbed of victory 🙁