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.


Denmark won it, Denmark is staging it and they’re doing it as poorly as they can to let everyone after them shine in comparison. The logo is nice, I have to give them that, perhaps a bit too minimalistic, but nice.

Well, at least the opening was cool, with the Olsen Brothers opening with Fly on the Wings of Love, followed by their new song Walk Right Back. With the quota of good songs fulfilled for the evening, they leave and we welcome our hosts - Doctor Death and Tooth Fairy Søren Pilmark and Natasja Back (look, I might have a lot of distaste for Terry Wogan, but these people deserve some slander) - who welcome us in different languages, although the Russian commentators talk over them. This time, they pretty much act as translators, without adding a lot of their own opinions, which makes for a rather duller watch than the 2000 contest. It honestly seems like they’re reading from a script for this one, not spontaneously coming up with something. Thankfully, this is a very short intro at just slightly over 7 minutes. Which is why I’ll move to the songs as well.

I suppose I also should remark that there were 30000 people in the audience this year - double the number of the previous year.


Netherlands - Out on My Own

Performed by

This was the sixth time the Netherlands had opened the show, extending their streak of unlucky draws by a lot (and this is just a year after performing second). And it’s a shame too because this is actually a very lovely pop ballad with some nice guitar and a subdued, but not sad, mood. Sometimes the draw gives us great openers or closers, but sometimes it doesn’t and this is definitely the latter case.

Iceland - Angel

Performed by
Two Tricky

Ehhhh, this isn’t, like, awful, but it’s also really boring. These guys have no charisma on stage and the dancers don’t add anything. It’s just there, but at least it’s pleasant. I’m not sure if this deserved (joint) last, as there will be worse songs coming up, but I won’t say it was undeserved either.

Bosnia and Herzegovina - Hano

Performed by
Bosnian, English

Now this actually isn’t that bad at all, there’s some nice Balkan instrumentation and a pretty good poppy sound, plus the singer is fairly likeable as well. It’s the first song of the evening I’d actually call nice.

Norway - On My Own

Performed by
Haldor Lægreid

I definitely wouldn’t call this nice though, it feels boring and trite and he starts doing those annoying screams at the end which ruins it even more for me. And I don’t even hate ballads, so I wonder what someone who’s a bigger ballad hater would think about it. One thing’s for sure, this getting last place is definitely understandable.

Though the Russian commentators had a lot of praise for him, surprisingly. They praised his vocals and stage presence and left me wondering if they weren’t watching a completely different performance.

Israel - Ein Davar

Performed by
Tal Sondak

I don’t actually mind this at all, it’s a nice Israeli dance track, but it’s also just too subdued for me to fully enjoy. But still, maybe I would like this year more if we had more songs like this.

Russia - Lady Alpine Blue

Performed by
Mumiy Troll

The Russian commentators recommended all viewers to start drinking and I’m really tempted to follow their advice at this point.

You know, I’ve always liked Mumiy Troll, they’re a pretty good band, but this definitely isn’t one of their good songs. Well, alright, the full version (also in Russian) is pretty good with really sweet and deep, but being cut down to 3 minutes ruined it a bit. I also think the vocoder in it really does add a lot (ironic, since it was the Russian delegation that complained about the use of a vocoder the year before) and it not being present in the live version took something away as well. But it’s apparent that they’re an experienced group that has been performing for a long time, which means I still enjoyed it more than I probably should’ve. And I actually do like the lead singer’s quite distinctive vocal style. I suppose I just like this sort of chill, laidback rock vibes this has, we’re finally starting to approach the era of rock being more common in Eurovision.

Sweden - Listen to Your Heartbeat

Performed by

There was a little break to let the hosts talk, but the commentators just talked over them, thankfully. I probably would’ve just skipped past it otherwise.

This is actually not bad. It isn’t very impressive and it sounds very ABBA (and yes, also sounds very much like Liefde is een kaartspel, though perhaps not to a point at which I’d like to call it plagiarism, it’s more likely that both were inspired by ABBA), but it’s not bad. The vocals are pretty good and it’s the most accessible and flashy song in the first half, surrounded by a bunch of stuff that is all flawed in some way. But I still don’t like it, I would’ve definitely preferred the Swedish version here.

Lithuania - You Got Style

Performed by
English, Lithuanian

It’s a bit of fun, but man is this repetitive, I just can’t. They just repeat the title 500 times, have a rap break and then repeat it 500 times more and it’s the end. It’s a shame too because the instrumental is kinda funky and disco-y, but the lyrics (or the lack thereof) get on my nerves too much. But hey, at least the performance is nice and charismatic, which kinda makes me feel at least a bit charitable towards this.

Latvia - Too Much

Performed by
Arnis Mednis

When the lead singer shuts up, I can almost pretend that this is a good song with a decent accordion. Can you just remove him from the stage and do a Nocturne-style performance? As it is, I just can’t stand the lyrics, the vocal performance and the lead singer’s stage presence. Can someone bring out the Norwegian dude again?

One of the Russian commentators said that he participated in the national final as a joke, but the joke failed because he got to Eurovision. But the joke is on us because about 200M people had to suffer through this together.

Croatia - Strings of My Heart

Performed by

I might be going insane, but I actually kinda like this. It has a nice violin and Vanna shows some good stage presence, though I hate that she does a lot of “hoohaahaa"ing, and she’s generally off-key enough me to notice it even with my lack of pitch. But it’s still kinda alright.

Portugal - Só sei ser feliz assim

Performed by

You know, this is pretty competent, which is all that’s needed for me to appreciate a song this year. They have a pretty nice, soulful vocals and a good chemistry on stage. I could take or leave the instrumental, the beat is too loud and repetitive, but the vocal performance kinda makes up for it.

Ireland - Without Your Love

Performed by
Gary O’Shaughnessy

You know shit’s bad when a cheesy Irish ballad about love is one of the less annoying songs so far. But oh my god I still don’t like it at all, but at least he’s a competent vocalist, which means I don’t absolutely hate it either. It’s still really dull, and Europe clearly thought the same and gave this just 6 points and 21st place, but his nephew would return in 2018 to redeem the O’Shaughnessy surname.

Spain - Dile que la quiero

Performed by
David Civera

The Russian broadcast played an ad over the skit of the hosts breaking a fake tropy and I won’t go to another upload to watch it, I already know that it happens and it’s just painfully unfunny.

Anyway, we’re at the point where songs are finally going to start getting considerably more tolerable and we being the second half of the contest with an actually fun Spanish banger that completely overshadows everything that came before it and actually gives me back some portion of the will to live I had lost because of the previous entries. This is right at the point in time when Latin-inspired music was all the rage in Europe, so it very predictably scored well, but it’s the kind of song that would’ve scored well regardless of trends. It’s really helped by David and his backing singers and dancers actually being good performers with actually good vocals. Shocker, I know, good performers do well. Someone should tell that to the BBC, I don’t think they’ve figured it out yet.

France - Je n’ai que mon âme

Performed by
Natasha St-Pier
French, English

The draw was definitely a huge reason for why it did so well: coming after a slew of subpar garbage (and a very good entry from Spain, but it was very different in style) really helped it stand out. Plus Natasha is a really good vocalist and the language change doesn’t feel forced at all to me, it’s actually quite natural. It might not be my absolute favourite, but I’m glad it scored fourth place, it shows that the televote doesn’t hate ballads as long as they’re performed with real emotion and conviction.

Also, both Spain and France would’ve been relegated without the Big 4 rule and it just shows what a shit system relegation was. If these two countries could send something good after sending something bad, then why couldn’t have Lithuania or Romania done the same?

Turkey - Sevgiliye Son

Performed by
Sedat Yüce
Turkish, English

Let’s just file this together with Ireland under “pleasant, but ultimately rather dull ballad”. I mean, he’s a nice singer and all, and I actually quite like the instrumental break before the language change, but I don’t really like the language change itself. Unlike with France, it feels really forced and unnatural, which is unfortunate.

United Kingdom - No Dream Impossible

Performed by
Lindsay Dracass

This song doesn’t have a single original idea of its own. I’ve heard everything it has to offer before and executed better, which makes this feel very trite and derivative and a complete chore to listen to. Now, I’ll give it some credit for the verses, they’re somewhat nice, but Lindsay goes way too loud in the chorus and ends the song with a long vocal showoff note which completely kills the mood for me.

Also, as the Russian commentators (who are clearly drunk by this point and very open about their opinions) said, the rap part was really bad here, completely outdated and messy. It didn’t mesh with the rest of the song at all.

Slovenia - Energy

Performed by
Nuša Derenda

“The hosts always try to speak in rhymes. Occasionally, they even manage to do that” - one of the commentators.

Oh my god thank you Slovenia for sending a great song like this. It’s such a breath of fresh air after so many bad songs. Nuša is such a charismatic performers, it’s like she’s the embodiment of energy. She absolutely gives it her all and it pays off so well, and I don’t just mean vocally (although she’s definitely one of the best vocalists of the night). It’s the performance as a whole, her movements, her facial expressions, the piano “player” going all out and then going even more all out during the piano break as the backing dancers lift Nuša up and spin her around. Add to this an instrumental that’s probably best described as “electric” (very fitting for this song), with very raw, distorted electric guitars sounding like the buzzing you hear near electric poles from the current running through and you have a song designed to make you feel hype.

And while I do think it’s a bit of a shame that Slovenia decided to sing in English, as I find the Slovene version to be a bit better, they’ve still done a great job at translating it. Plus it seems like Nuša has plenty of experience with singing in English, so it’s something I’m absolutely willing to forgive.

Poland - 2 Long

Performed by

You know what, I actually like it. Just like the UK, it feels extremely derivative, but at least Piasek is an actually good and charismatic performer, which is more than enough for my super low standards this year.

Germany - Wer Liebe lebt

Performed by
German, English

Thank you, Germany, for sending this absolutely beautiful song. This is only the third song of the evening that I actually like, with no caveats or footnotes. It’s simply a great song with a great performance and a great composition. Just like with the French entry, I think that the language change feels very natural here and doesn’t detract from the song at all. It might not be the strongest song that has ever existed, but I just really love it and don’t even feel that it’s cheesy, which is a huge achievement for a German-language ballad.

Estonia - Everybody

Performed by
Tanel Padar, Dave Benton and 2XL

This is, without a doubt, the second least popular winner ever (the least popular winner is France 1958). But you know what, of all the songs this year, this one definitely deserved to win the most. Imagine you’re a regular viewer, sitting at your home, suffering through bad song after bad song, incompetent singer after incompetent singer, drab performance after drab performance when suddenly, this comes on. You see two men that are simply having fun on stage. They might not have brought in the most musically complex song or written beautiful lyrics, but they’ve brought something way more important: party vibes. This song definitely feels warm, inviting and positive, it’s an amazing palate cleanser after everything else this year, beaming with unbridled positivity and optimism. Is it a surprise that the audience resonated with this the most? That they liked the charismatic and fun performers sharing their fun with everyone.

The simple lyrics definitely helped it as well, since a lot of the viewers probably only knew rudimentary English, so they definitely used simple, accessible words to boost their chances and better stick in the viewers’ heads. And, of course, the running order helped them with that as well.

They also bothered to use the coloured lights surrounding the stage and made it feel full of life, while most other acts left the stage feeling drab and dreary and way too empty. But these guys really succeeded at filling it with just 6 performers and a lot of stage presence. So yes, it might not have won in any other year, but it’s still a great winner for this one.

Malta - Another Summer Night

Performed by
Fabrizio Faniello

You know what, I think this is very lovely too. Just like with Estonia, it’s just very nice and pleasant, has a good performance and a very nice guitar. It might be radio-friendly, but there’s no shame with that, some radio-friendly songs are necessary to give casual audiences something to grip on. Plus there’s a pretty elaborate choreography for this era of Eurovision. Plus he has a voice that really fits this kind of song, I have no idea how to describe it. And the key change is pretty hype too (yes, me liking a key change, unthinkable).

Greece - Die for You

Performed by
Greek, English

Charismatic performance, good vocals, memorable melody - it’s everything you could really ask for from a song like this. And the Greek verses and English chorus actually sound really good together. Of course, you can’t expecte anything else from Helena Paparizou, who’s the lead singer of Antique. Their goal of taking Nordic dance music and combining it with Greek motifs worked really well to create a total banger. This makes me glad Greece didn’t take part in ESC 2000 as they might’ve been relegated after it.

Denmark - Never Ever Let You Go

Performed by
Rollo and King

You know what, I actually completely understand why it did so well. The performance is really strong, the two leads harmonise really well and generally have a lot of charisma and the harmonica IS BEING PLAYED LIVE DIRECTLY INTO THE MICROPHONE! THAT’S LIVE MUSIC! It’s another one of those entries that manages to create a lot of hype and actually uses the stage well (though that makes sense, it’s the host entry and DR definitely knew how to work with the stage they themselves built).

But I just have one silly complaint about it: it sounds too American for me. And I just have this weird mental block about American-sounding entries at Eurovision, I just can’t enjoy them, no matter how professional and well-crafted they are. As much as I’d like for it to be different, I am what I am.

Final thoughts

What a shit year this was. The hosts were annoying, the songs were really bad, but at least it kept a quick pace and didn’t meander. I shudder to imagine if this was stretched out even more. The interval act was nothing to write home about either, even if I really like Aqua. The funniest part was definitely them swearing, as it apparently generated a lot of controversy at the time.

The voting wasn’t that exciting either. Estonia took the lead from the first set of votes and kept it for the most part of the voting, though they did get taken over by Greece and Denmark at some points, but would always end up on top. The Russian commentators kept up a fun running commentary and were very excited every time Russia got points (they said that nobody would get the song and that proved to be true, though I think it’s a shame).

Anyway, I’ll see you all in Tallin for the first of many first-time host cities and countries.


  1. Estonia - Everybody (=)
  2. Slovenia - Energy (+5)
  3. Germany - Wer Liebe lebt (+5)
  4. Greece - Die for You (-1)
  5. Spain - Dile que la quiero (+1)
  6. Malta - Another Summer Night (+3)
  7. Russia - Lady Alpine Blue (+5)
  8. Denmark - Never Ever Let You Go (-6)
  9. Portugal - Só sei ser feliz assim (+8)
  10. France - Je n’ai que mon âme (-6)
  11. Poland - 2 Long (+9)
  12. Bosnia and Herzegovina - Hano (+2)
  13. Sweden - Listen to Your Heartbeat (-8)
  14. Israel - Ein Davar (+2)
  15. Netherlands - Out on My Own (+3)
  16. Croatia - Strings of My Heart (-6)
  17. Lithuania - You Got Style (-4)
  18. Turkey - Sevgiliye Son (-7)
  19. Ireland - Without Your Love (+2)
  20. Iceland - Angel (+2)
  21. Norway - On My Own (+1)
  22. United Kingdom - No Dream Impossible (-7)
  23. Latvia - Too Much (-5)


  • Austria - 1 (1965)
  • Belgium - 1 (1961)
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina - 1 (1999)
  • Cyprus - 2 (1992, 1995)
  • Denmark - 2 (1963, 1989)
  • Estonia - 1 (2001)
  • Finland - 2 (1974, 1985)
  • France - 4 (1969, 1976, 1977, 1979)
  • Germany - 3 (1957, 1972, 1978)
  • Iceland - 1 (2000)
  • Israel - 1 (1988)
  • Italy - 3 (1958, 1983, 1990)
  • Luxembourg - 3 (1956, 1964, 1973)
  • Malta - 1 (1991)
  • Monaco - 2 (1968, 1970)
  • Netherlands - 1 (1959)
  • Norway - 2 (1966, 1996)
  • Poland - 1 (1997)
  • Portugal - 2 (1967, 1984)
  • Russia - 1 (1994)
  • Slovenia - 1 (1993)
  • Spain - 2 (1971, 1982)
  • Sweden - 2 (1962, 1980)
  • Switzerland - 2 (1981, 1986)
  • Turkey - 1 (1975)
  • United Kingdom - 2 (1960, 1998)
  • Yugoslavia - 1 (1987)

Yup, I made Everybody my winner, just deal with it. This also means that I’ve agreed with 7 winners so far. How many more will I agree with? Who knows, who knows.