Eurovision 2003 in Riga, Latvia292px-Eurovision_Song_Contest_2003_logo.svg

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.

http://youtu.be/geyZo4OFMYk

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.

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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Alex
Alex
6 years ago

Sanomi was wonderful. Vocals a little bit pitchy but still a great song. I wouldn’t have minded it if Belgium won in 2003.

Sertab’s live performance is actually much better than I remember it being. Choreography a little bit too much for her to handle so she lost her breath for some parts, but apart from those parts she did pretty well. I do really like the song, so that helps.

This is one of those years I would like to watch all the way through sometime.

Robyn
Robyn
6 years ago

Argh, Jemini’s song was called “Cry Baby”.

Robyn
Robyn
6 years ago

2003 is also memorable for Jemini’s nil points. “Bye Bye Baby” is a fab pop song, but Jemini’s performance suffered from singer Gemma not being able to hear herself and so having major pitch issues, and the duo’s generally lacklustre staging.

Robyn
Robyn
6 years ago

I was just rereading an article that The Face magazine did on this event in 2003 and it reminded me of something rather interesting. At the time, the British and Irish tabloid press were effectively running an anti-tATu campaign. These two young Russian girls were seen as a threat to decency, and there was a rumour that they were going to kiss on stage (weird to think this was considered shocking, when you think back to Krista’s lady smooch last year). The broadcaster was also fearful that tATu were going pull a stunt on stage, so the cameras avoided many… Read more »

sopon
sopon
6 years ago

Let’s get happy and let’s be gay!!

Charles
Charles
6 years ago

Again: the carry on of disaster in Eurovision … only people who truly like these ethnic cheesy typical south European Greek or Turkish music can be in love with the pink curtains the beat and the awful Sertab’s ouf of tune vocals … and this just aggravated what I personally found disturbing already: what do people see in this piece of rubbish? Eleven years later I still don’t get it … The only things that I know is that it only opened door for all the noisy and annoying pre-contest event through the internet that allowed certain songs to be… Read more »

Rashad
Rashad
6 years ago

@Woz, I think there were some technical issues with sounds that year. Volume was going up and down unnecessarily with all the participants.

Woz
Woz
6 years ago

@Rashad “She has an amazing voice.”

Not that night. She was not in tune. But she was lucky she had to sing with Tatu, Beth (Spain) and Jemini (UK).

Rashad
Rashad
6 years ago

@Erk, Dinle sounds more authentic with the ethnic instruments. Besinci Mevsim is more like a modern song. I like them both.

Erk
Erk
6 years ago

@Rashad yes ? agree again with you and besinci mevsim’s intro was impressive with violin and accordion.

SpirK
SpirK
6 years ago

Wow! What a year! As far as I am concerned, Belgium really deserved the victory more than Turkey. I really find ”Sanomi” an excellent song! But this year I can proudly announce my (until now) all time favourite eurovision song. It’s ”Open Your Heart” by Birgitta and Iceland! I know that some may find it silly but this song is perfect in every way for me. Portugal and France also deserved a really high position! Romania was also really catchy. Turkey, Sweden, The Netherlands, Spain were also really catchy. Overall it was a really great song!

SJ
SJ
6 years ago

Turkey deserved to win that year.
My TOP 5 from that contest
1.Turkey
2.Iceland
3.Sweden
4.Germany
5.Bosnia-Herzegovina

Rashad
Rashad
6 years ago

@Erk, I know, I like that one too. Actually based on the lyrics, Besinci Mevsim is even better. But it doesn’t make any difference for someone who doesn’t understand them.

Erk
Erk
6 years ago

@Rashad yes i agree Dinle is a great song. And sebnem paker entered first with besinci mevsim in 1996 this song is great too.

D
D
6 years ago

“Ne ver’ ne boysia'” is my favourite Russian song of all time, if the live performance was stronger I think they would have won.

Rashad
Rashad
6 years ago

They accused*

Rashad
Rashad
6 years ago

This was the year when I became a fan of Eurovision, I had been watching it earlier though. Sertab is one of my favorite Turkish artists, and it was a very well-deserved victory. She has an amazing voice. I like Tatu as well, but I don’t like the girls’ attitude. I accused Sertab of buying the victory after the show on a Russian tv. According to what they said, they were offered the first place before, but they refused. This is just stupid, why would you even keep it till you lose? In an interview of Sertab, she said they… Read more »

Jer
Jer
6 years ago

My favourite contest in 2000s. I like all songs of this year!
Latvia did great job hosting it. Stage was nice too!

kaden
kaden
6 years ago

“In a fairly unremarkable year Sertab should really have won with a more convincing margin of 2 points….”

Unremarkable year? — 2003 was the first year that there were so MANY contenders for the title. Turkey, Belgium, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Spain & Ireland all could have won that year.

Still 11 years on, the music is as good as the first time I heard it on 24.05.2003

Thiefo
Thiefo
6 years ago

I love Every way that I can! I second Dan, one of my favourite winners ever. Sanomi was great as well, I loved the fact it was in an unexistent language, and it was refreshingly original at the time, at least in my opinion, I think that’s why it did so well, even if the staging was not the best. As for Ne ver’ ne boisia, I think is the typical t.A.T.u song, definitely not better than All the things she said or Not gonna get us, but just as repetitive, I actually love them, and I like the song,… Read more »

Armond
Armond
6 years ago

Turkey is usually all about class acts. Sertab & her song are one of my all time favorites.

Erk
Erk
6 years ago

Everyway that i can deserved to win. This song is one of my favorite since 1955. It is such a catchy song. You can hear Turkish ethnic instrument. From that year until 2012 Turkey was one of the successful country. I hope they will come back in 2015. Turkey is colourful country eurovision need them i think.

Woz
Woz
6 years ago

Turkey’s song is so out of tune it’s not even funny, but taking a look at how dull the runner ups were, no wonder how she won.

My country, Spain, was out of tune too. But considering all this, she should have done much better. The song was catchy and she was sexy as hell. But again, europeans only likes us to get drunk in our beaches and vandalize our resorts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6T3XhQXHgSc

Dan RO
Dan RO
6 years ago

‘Every way that I can’ is one of my all time favourite ESC songs! 100% deserving winner! I still listen to it from time to time. Onu cok seviyorum! (I hope that’s correct). After the disasters of 2001 and 2002, this was like a breath of fresh air!

And I really really hope Turkey will come back to ESC in 2015!!! I really miss them!