Eurovision 2005 in Kyiv, Ukraine
After Ruslana’s victory the year before in Istanbul the Contest came to Ukraine for the first time. This year featured an unusually high proportion of all-singing-all-dancing numbers that had varying degrees of success and most of that was down to Ruslana’s hypnotic thrusting the year before. There was however a foreshadowing of the future in Norway’s Wig Wam. Their rock song despite placing joint 9th with Denmark was a testament to the advantage of sending something different and that was something Finland would exploit in 2006.
Scandal as always at Eurovision was never far away: the German entry was accused of rigging the German pop charts, Macedonia and Turkey experienced complications at national selections and Portugal’s contestant suffered repeated sound failure while still on stage.
Helena Paparizou fused together the best elements of Sertab Erener and Ruslana. The result was ‘My Number One’ which slayed the competition left and right and centre. She kept her vocal in check, her dress was on point and damn girl had moves! Sakis may have shaked things the year before, but Helena caused an earthquake on stage that caused the whole of Europe to give in to her hypnotic hips.
The Top 5
Chiara’s second silver place song ‘Angel’ was a beautiful ballad and wonderfully cheesy – especially with the addition of her growl leading into the middle 8. Likewise Romania’s ‘Let Me Try’ offered a dance-heavy sound that continues to influence Bucharest’s entries to this day. Shiri Maimon delivered Israel’s best result of the decade and her ballad was truly beautiful, likely only edged out by Chiara because of the Maltese singer’s vocal power. Latvia meanwhile achieved a surprise Top 5 result with ‘The War Is Not Over’. The hideous washed out jeans should have put them out of contention at once but evidently Europe bought in to the cute message of the song and overlooked the weird fashion choices.
Javine’s ‘Touch My Fire’ is probably the only example 2003-8 of any real effort on the part of the UK to send a decent entry. The ethnic-dance sound was exactly the kind of thing the contest should have lapped up and adored. Unfortunately for Javine she was not only drawn second but Greece were also drawn 19th with a superior song in the genre. Still 22nd place was hardly justified for such a satisfying entry as ‘Touch My Fire’.
Buying domestic chart success did nothing but cost Gracia success on stage. ‘Run & Hide’ was unfortunately aimed in the extreme since that’s what it caused most of the audience at home to do. The dance production was jarring when coupled with what for lack of a better word we’ll term ‘yodelling’. It’s difficult to believe Germany could actually have won the whole shebang five years later…