Eurovision Song Contest 2003 Review

Welcome everyone to Riga. We’re continuing to jump around Europe because countries will continue winning for the first time for quite a while. This contest set a new record for the number of participants: 26. Originally, the bottom ten countries were going to be relegated to make way for debuts from Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro and Ukraine, all of whom broadcast 2002 to join this year, but then the EBU decided that it would be Really Bad and asked them to hold on for one more year while they went back to the drawing board and redesigned the system to be better (honestly, they didn’t even have anything in mind until this point). In the end, Ukraine was allowed to join anyway (probably because we had a population of about 50 million, so our participation fee was higher than that of Albania with their 3 million or Serbia and Montenegro with 10 million). I’m sure that was appreciated by Latvia as the contest almost didn’t take place due to widespread organisational problems and monetary issues (not that it was noticeable in the production itself). Since the semifinal will get introduced next year, we have our last big swapout due to relegation, so let’s pay our respects to Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, North Macedonia and Switzerland and welcome back Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Portugal as well as extend a warm welcome to the debutant Ukraine.

Eurovision Song Contest 2002 Review

We’re in Estonia this year, which starts our huge streak of first-time winners and first-time hosts! It’s going to be so exciting to finally start visiting all of the different countries, get new debutants and just see ESC progress. We’re also about to enter the era I’ve actually watched on the night, live, so I’ll be talking about what I remember and how I remember it. But first, let’s continue with a couple more shows that I haven’t watched live yet. This year, the EBU went back to relegating based on one show, which is mildly less bad. At first, only 22 countries were going to be allowed to take part, but then it was increased to 24 to allow Israel and Portugal to enter. In the end, Portugal decided to skip this year, so the EBU was going to allow the 18th place in 2021 to enter, but the problem was that there were two: Latvia and the Netherlands. So the EBU used the tiebreak that was in effect at the time (number of 12s, then 10s and so on) and allowed Latvia to enter. In a way, it mirrors 1999, when Latvia withdrew, which allowed Portugal to enter instead, so perhaps this was them giving back. In any case, this was definitely the most important withdrawal in all of ESC history.

Eurovision Song Contest 2001 Review

Welcome to Copenhagen, the Olsen Brothers brought it here and now we have to suffer the rhyming hosts and a generally huge downgrade in the production compared to Sweden. The number of participants was reduced to 23 for some reason, which means that seven countries got relegated, but only six got to return. The relegated countries are Austria (sad), Belgium (well-deserved), Cyprus, Finland, North Macedonia, Romania and Switzerland. On the other hand, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia returned from being relegated last year and Greece returned after skipping last year voluntarily. Spain and France would’ve been relegated instead of Austria and Belgium if the Big 4 rule didn’t exist.

Eurovision Song Contest 2000 Review

Hello everyone and welcome to the new millennium! Charlotte Nilsson has earned SVT the right to host the first contest of the 21st century and they’ve really gone all out. The production values have been upgraded and the contest has been given a more modern, fresh and welcoming feel. This is also the year that will have the first use of pyro, so hype! The number of participants has been increased to 24, so five countries got relegated to make way for six countries that didn’t take part last year. In alphabetical order, the relegated countries are Bosnia and Herzegovina (very sad), Lithuania (also sad), Poland, Portugal and Slovenia (also very sad). In their place, we have Finland, North Macedonia, Romania, Russia and Switzerland returning after their absences in 1999 as well as Latvia finally making a debut! They’ll prove to be quite a strong competitor in the early days, so keep your eyes peeled for them.

Eurovision Song Contest 1999 Review

And here we are, turning over a new page. The orchestra has been dropped and so has the language rule. Only 23 countries took part this year, mostly out of security concerns from what I’ve heard. This means that Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Iceland and Lithuania got to return, but Finland, Greece, North Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia and Switzerland had been relegated. Originally, Latvia was going to make a debut this year, but their broadcaster decided not to due to high financial costs of travelling to Jerusalem (at least it isn’t Tel Aviv, huh? 2019 flashbacks), so Hungary was allowed to take part instead. But their broadcaster decided to withdraw as well, again, due to financial reasons, so Portugal was given a reprieve for one more year, even with that 0 points in their track record.

Eurovision Song Contest 1998 Review

The UK won, they’re hosting it in Birmingham (Jesus Christ, seriously? Every time I think about it, I just want to laugh. They chose Birmingham of all cities). Because of relegation, there’s a huge swap in countries (as always). North Macedonia debuted, Belgium, Finland, Romania and Slovakia returned after relegation and Israel returned after skipping the previous year. Austria, Bosnia, Denmark, Iceland and Russia got relegated and Italy left voluntarily. Now, let’s get to the year itself because I think it’s another good one (also, the final year with the language rule and the orchestra).

Eurovision Song Contest 1997 Review

Ireland, pretending to be completely done with hosting, but actually loving every second of it, decided to host the contest in Dublin yet again, making it the only city that has received the Eurovision Song Contest six times. They even used the same venue as in 1994 and 1995. This time, only three countries were forced to miss this out: Belgium, Finland and Slovakia and five countries returned: Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Russia. Also, a little spoiler: this is my favourite year of the 20th century and second favourite year overall, so I’m excited to dive right in.

Eurovision Song Contest 1996 Review

“Phew, we don’t have to host. Why do I hear boss music?” said Ireland. “Oh shit, we have to host it. Let’s show everyone how advanced our technology is,” said Norway. “Oh shit, we’re almost broke,” said the EBU after Germany failed to advance from the pre-qualification round (which I’ll be covering, so technically there are no missing countries in my review).

Eurovision Song Contest 1995 Review

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” thought RTE and decided to hold it in the Point Theatre in Dublin, just as in 1994. The countries that got relegated for 1994 are back (Belgium, Denmark, Israel, Slovenia, Turkey) and the bottom 7 of 1994 has been relegated instead (Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland). If you’re wondering why 7 were relegated, but only 5 returned, it’s because the EBU decided to limit the number of participants to 23 instead of 25 as in 1993 and 1994.

Eurovision Song Contest 1994 Review

After hosting Eurovision in Millstreet, RTE probably realised what a headache it was and moved back to Dublin for this year. Also, relegation (ugh) was introduced, so Belgium, Denmark (noooo), Israel, Luxembourg, Slovenia (noooooooooooooo) and Turkey were relegated. Initially, Cyprus was also going to be relegated, but Italy withdrew voluntarily and they were admitted to the contest after all. All of this was done to let the KzM NQs (Estonia, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia) in, as well as three new countries: Lithuania, Poland and Russia. Also, Riverdance! But more about it at the end of the article.