Eurovision Again has given the Eurovision fans the chance to revisit past contests over the past 18 months. Rob Holley and his team have, in conjunction with the EBU and several national broadcasters, have organized re-broadcasts of contests from as far back as 1968 up through 2012.
The final edition of this season of Eurovision aired on Saturday 20th November, and re-introduced fans to the 2004 contest. Turkey played host to the contest in Istanbul while Ukraine took home the win that year with Ruslana and “Wild Dances”, which earned 280 points.
Eurovision 2004 – A Year of Change
Eurovision 2004 took place at the Abdi İpekçi Arena arena in Istanbul following Turkey’s victory in 2003 with Sertab Erener’s “Everyway That I Can”. Korhan Abay and Meltem Cumbul were the main presenters for the evening, with Sertab hosting the green room segments.
The 2004 contest was also one of the most pivotal in shaping the modern contest. It saw the introduction of a semi-final for the first time, replacing the relegation system that had been in place since 1993. This allowed numerous countries to return to the contest after absences caused by poor results. It also meant that there was room for four countries – Albania, Andorra, Belarus, and Serbia & Montenegro – to make their Eurovision debuts.
The number of nations in the Grand Final was capped at 24. This included the Big Four (Spain, Germany, France and the UK) and the top ten remaining countries from the previous year. All other nations competed in a semi-final on Wednesday, with the top ten qualifiers filling out the Saturday line-up. In total, 36 countries competed in Eurovision 2004, the largest contest up to that point.
Despite the record number of participating countries, each nation’s spokespersons read out all of their points in full. This of course made for a lengthy voting sequence, which led organizers in 2006 to only allow spokespersons to read out their top three points-getters.
As for the results, it was a relatively close race. Serbia & Montenegro finished as the runner-up to Ukraine with 263 points while Greece took third place with 252 points. Host nation Turkey placed fourth with 195 points, while Cyprus and Sweden tied for fifth place with 170 points each. Meanwhile, Norway finished last with just three points.
There was a bit of political controversy during the voting, however. While every spokesperson was introduced with an image of their country on a map, Cyprus was not. This omission was due in part to a border dispute on the island between the territory of Northern Cyprus, whose independence Turkey recognizes, and the internationally-recognized country of Cyprus.
Memorable Entries from Eurovision 2004
Aside from Ukraine’s winning entry, there were plenty of memorable entries from the 2004 grand final.
- Bosnia & Herzegovina 🇧🇦 – Deen indeed brought us to the club with his uptempo entry “In the Disco”. It only finished 9th on the night, but it’s a winner in this writer’s heart.
- Greece 🇬🇷 – It’s everyone’s favourite Greek personality, Sakis Rouvas! He encouraged us to “Shake It” on his first trip to Eurovision, and earned third place on the night. Sakis would return to the contest as a presenter in 2006 and as a performer in 2009.
- Turkey 🇹🇷 – Athena is NOT, in fact, a female soloist, but a Turkish rock band. Their song “For Real” brought a bit of chaos at the end of the running order, helping the contest finish on a high note.
- Cyprus 🇨🇾 – Although now known for its uptempo female-fronted bangers, Lisa Andreas helped Cyprus to a top five with her haunting ballad “Stronger Every Minute”. It was a stand-out on a night of downtempo sad-boy ballads.
- Russia 🇷🇺 – The song – Julia Savicheva’s “Believe Me” – is competent, but it’s the multi-coloured male dancers that steal the spotlight. She finished just outside the top ten in 11th place.
- Malta 🇲🇹 – Julie and Ludwig’s “On Again…Off Again” brings together dance, disco, and opera in a clash of genres that can only be found in Eurovision. They ended up placing 12th on the night.
The Eurovision Again Fan Vote
Just like previous editions of Eurovision Again, the fans watching in 2021 could vote for their favourite entries. Unlike previous editions, however, the top of the table remained relatively unchanged.
Ukraine and Serbia & Montenegro remained steady in first and second while Turkey and Greece swapped places to finish third and fourth, respectively. The tie for fifth in 2004 was broken, with Cyprus prevailing over Sweden by a mere 8 points. Albania fell from seventh to ninth, taking the place of Bosnia & Herzegovina, who moved up to eighth. Spain remained in tenth.
The biggest grower of the night, however, was Belgium, who moved up 15 places from its original 22nd-place finish in 2004 to reach seventh in 2021. On the other end of scoreboard, Croatia suffered the biggest drop from 12th in 2004 to 20th in 2021. Original last-place finisher Norway moved up to 17th, its place at the bottom taken by Austria, who dropped three spots from 21st.
This marks the closing edition of Eurovision Again, which will be on pause at least until the conclusion of the 2022 contest. We’d like to thank Rob Holley and the entire team at Eurovision Again as well as the EBU and national broadcasters for giving us a valuable slice of Eurovision history over the last 18 months.
News Source: EBU, Eurovision Again
Photo Source: CFC