Eurovision 2003 in Riga, Latvia
Riga 2003 brought a savage end to the pattern of things thus far in the decade. For the first time since Stockholm 2000 none of the 3 Baltic states won the contest and Lithuania, the only one of the three yet to win the Contest was relegated by poor results and had to withdraw. The Baltic as a whole failed to produce a winner for the first time since Sweden’s 1999 victory in Jerusalem and for the only time since the millennium thus far, the winning song performed in one of the five opening slots of the Grand Final running order. Only just though.
Sertab Erener’s slender victory with 167 points to Belgium’s 165 is one of the slenderest margins in Contest margins and in today’s Contest seems like a relic of the 60s or the 70s. ‘Everyway That I Can’ was not a runaway error but the upbeat and ethnic tinged style has been an enduring feature at Eurovision ever since. The opening thumping drum beat and stirring ethnic instrumental has an anthemic quality and the twirling of the drapes on the stage puts across a definitely Turkish feel to the piece. In a fairly unremarkable year Sertab should really have won with a more convincing margin of 2 points but the muted victory can perhaps be blamed on the astonishingly early draw for a winning song.
It’s kind of difficult to establish what was so appealing about ‘Sanomi’ and Urban Trad 11 years ago. Besides the hideous outfits, dodgy hair and stage overcrowded with instrumentals there’s little to commend the Belgian song other than the catchy bagpipes-flecked chorus. Considering how poor Belgian results in general have been since the millennium though you feel a bit inclined to cut them some slack on only their second-ever runner up song.
‘Ne ver’, ne boisia’ is just plain painful and utterly terrifying. t.A.T.u are great when they come out with stuff like ‘All The Things You Said’, but their song for ESC was just painful. The main problem here was that Moscow asked them to sing a song rather than talking one which they’re used to. Tactical error or what?
Jostein Hasselgård is just such an early 00s boy it’s quite laughable – long shaggy mane of hair, complete with plain tee and leather jacket combo. Eleven years ago he might have been a heart throb. ‘I’m Not Afraid To Move On’ is obviously quite dated a decade on, but the love story message is classic Eurovision and despite his almost complete lack of facial movements the piano-underscored performance is quite sweet.
With a typically schlager-tastic entry Fame stormed onto stage with ‘Give Me Your Love’. A light and fluffy affair, the song sounds very Alcastar and is also a rather spooky premonition of Euroband from 2008. Fame like Friends in 2001 snagged Sweden a top 5 results and a total in excess of 100 points, a feat that would be repeated in 2004.