419px-Eurovision_Song_Contest_2004.svgEurovision 2004 in Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul 2004 added a flair of the east to the Contest but there was a lot more to Eurovision 2004 than the purely Turkish delights on offer. The official heart logo was introduced for the first time and it was accompanied by the slogan “Under The Same Sky” which symoblised Turkey’s integration in Europe. A semi-final was also introduced which saw 22 countries compete for 10-remaining slots in the Grand Final. The other 14 were filled by the Big 4 and the 10 top-scoring countries from the previous contest. For the sixth time in the contest’s history and the second time overall no acts returned to the Contest.

Xena the Warrior Princess Ruslana thrust her way – quite literally – on to stage in Istanbul and overwhelmed the competition with her domineering choreography. Like Sertab, the year before she also overcame an unfortunately early draw and with ‘Wild Dances’ delivered victory for Ukraine in only their second appearance at the contest. Considering the about of head-shaking she and her tribal-gear-clad backing dancers did it’s a miracle she doesn’t sound out of breath at all.

Beaten narrowly into second place, Zeljko Joksimovic & Ad Hoc Orchestra landed Serbia & Montenegro silver on their first contest. 263 points was an impressive score for a freshman country and it’s perhaps the beautiful flute-underscoring that helped Serbia to top spot. The performance isn’t as visually stimulating as Ruslana though and the fact the chorus is a little difficult to grasp probably didn’t help the song on the night.

Sakis somehow managed not to look like an awkward Dad despite his age and combination of “young, hip,” clothing. “Shake It” built upon the ethnic-disco Antique had debuted in 2001 and Sakis gave some real welly in the performance. Unfortunately his vocal left a little to be desired but the catchiness and feel-good factor of ‘Shake It’ is undeniable. Also the amount of product in his hair is quite staggering…

http://youtu.be/XQUbIrCAiPM

The host nation snuck in to the Top 5 with ‘For Real’ by rock group Athena. Though the wisdom of the song is perhaps unclear, the catchiness of the number and the highly memorable outfits made this a visually stimulating number that exemplified the visual importance Turkey gave Sertab’s performance in 2003.

Nicosia isn’t known for its appearances in the Top 5 so Cyprus’s appearance here deserves commendation. ‘Stronger Every Minute’ is a beautifully subdued but emotive ballad and tapped into the flair displayed by the French efforts in 2001 and 2002. Stripping away the visual elements displayed by 3 out of the other Top 5 acts, Lisa tapped into a refreshing minimalism on stage.

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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Anna
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Anna

i like Ruslana too, but i think this year we can win too! and should! Mary is very energetic and magic too!!!!

kaden
Guest
kaden

This Ukrainian Winner was the first time I actually got it right. It was only because her first line was ….. “Just maybe, I’m crazy….” and i knew from then it would win.

I thought Greece would be close in second, but on that day I didn’t think Serbia & Montenegro (who got a massive cheer), Turkey or Cyprus would do that well.

Looking back I feel 4 of the top 5 were brilliant……I’m still on the fence with Turkey (as I think Albania would have been more worthy of the Top 5)

Dan RO
Guest
Dan RO

Another worthy winner, after Sertab the previous year!

Nelia Makariv
Guest

Ruslana really shocked everyone in 2004.
I think this year Ukraine have very good participant again. Mariya is much better that ukrainian participants from other years.

Robert Germone
Guest

no one expect in 2004 that Ruslana will win. It was like a bomb. She just smashed all other participant) I think this year Ukraine have big chances again – Mariya is very great singer and her song is perfect for Eurovision.

Thiefo
Guest
Thiefo

I first want to state that I love Ruslana and I love Wild Dances, I know is one of the most iconic winners of the latest years. That being said I would’ve loved to see Serbia winning that year, because I love Lane Moje even more, but I may be biased here because I love everything Zeljko-related 😛 including Lejla from 2006 and Oro from 2008, even if he doesn’t sing in them. I also must confess Sakis is my guilty pleasure, I loved Shake it, as well as Para llenarme de Ti from Spain and Shame on You from… Read more »

Rashad
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Rashad

I remember Wild Dances being a huge hit in Azerbaijan back then. I fully agree with the top 5. Ruslana was given the title of the People’s Artist of Ukraine after her victory at a young age (For those who don’t know, there are several titles for artists including singers, actors, painters, etc. in the ex-Soviet countries as a tradition. The People’s Artist is the most prestigious one among them.).
She’s also been a political activist. She’s given charity concerts many times.
I don’t really like Zeljko as a person. But I do like his music, and it was a well-deserved place.

Timselvision
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Timselvision

The oldest year I watched! The funny thing is with this year, one half is reeeaaally bad and the other half is very good, actually! Some say Ukraine didn´t deserve the victory back in 2004, but it´s one of my favorite entries ever. I still don´t figured out whether I liked Serbia&Montenegro or Ukraine more that year :’)