Fairytale was elected through the Norwegian festival Melodi Grand Prix 2009. Rybak's song won in the biggest landslide of the contest's history, and competed against eighteen other Eurovision entries in the second semi-final on 14 May 2009, where it qualified for the final. The final took place on May 16, and the song won with 387 points – a new ESC record. It was Norway's third Eurovision Song Contest win.
The backing dancers for the Eurovision performance, Sigbjørn Rua, Torkjell Lunde Børsheim and Hallgrim Hansegård, are from the Norwegian dance company Frikar, performing the folk dance halling. The backing singers, Jorunn Hauge and Karianne Kjærnes, wore long pink dresses designed by Norwegian designer Leila Hafzi.
2008 - Russia
Dima Bilan, "Believe"
"Believe" is the winning Russian entry for the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest sung by Dima Bilan. The song was composed and written by Jim Beanz (aka. James Washington) & Dima Bilan. On 20 May 2008 Bilan sang in the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest, and the song was voted into the final by public vote. It was performed 24th out of 25 songs in the final on 24 May 2008.
The Russian figure skater, Olympic gold medalist and three-time world champion Evgeni Plushenko, skated on artificial ice on stage as part of the song performance, while the Hungarian composer and violinist Edvin Marton played his Stradivarius. This song won the Eurovision Song Contest 2008, finishing with a total of 272 points, becoming the fourth ex-Soviet Union country to win the annual contest.
Traditionally the country that takes first place in Eurovision hosts the next contest. With the victory of Dima Bilan with his song Believe the following Eurovision was held in Moscow although many people wanted to see it in St. Petersburg. The performance of Dima Bilan cost the country €10,000,000 but the show brought victory to Russia which was priceless. With so much money and efforts put into the preparation of the show Russia finally won it’s right to host Eurovision for the first time in the history of the contest.
Not only fans were happy for Dima Bilan. Dmitriy Medvedev, the president of Russia, admitted that he himself watched the contest and called right away to congratulate Dima and all the team. He mentioned that it’s not only Dima’s personal victory, but triumph of the whole country.
Dima Bilan also represented Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006, with the dark pop song "Never Let You Go", where he took second place.
2007 - Serbia
Marija Serifovic, "Molitva"
"Molitva" (Cyrillic: Молитва; English: "Prayer") is a song by Serbian singer Marija Šerifović. It was the winning song of the Eurovision Song Contest 2007. It was Serbia's Eurovision debut as an independent nation; the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro having dissolved in June 2006. The song was released as a CD single in nine different versions on June 27, 2007 by Connective Records.
Molitva was the first song containing no English language lyrics to win since 1998; the 2004 winner "Wild Dances" by Ruslana had been sung mostly in Ukrainian but contained some English phrases. It was also the first time a ballad has won since televoting became the standard. The song is also notable for its stage presentation because it lacked dance routines, revealing or showy costumes, pyrotechnics and other gimmicks. The Eurovision Song Contest is often accused of concentrating on these things instead of the music itself. Many elements of "Molitva" contrasted with the previous winner, "Hard Rock Hallelujah".
Marija's performance was complemented by the notable presence of the five backing singers, who joined together afterwards to form Beauty Queens.
Two days after the final, it was claimed that the song was plagiarized from Albanian artist Soni Malaj's song Ndarja. This has however been strongly denied by Marjan Filipovski, the Macedonian composer of Ndarja.
2006 - Finland
Lordi, "Hard Rock Hallelujah"
"Hard Rock Hallelujah" is a song by the Finnish heavy metal band Lordi. The Finnish heavy metal band Lordi won the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest with 292 points. It was also Finland's first placement in the top five. It was voted as the most popular Finnish Eurovision entry in the forty years the country has participated. It held the record for most points until it was beaten by "Fairytale" by Alexander Rybak of Norway with 387 points three years later when scoring method changed. "Hard Rock Hallelujah" was also released as a single in 2006, reaching the #1 spot in Finland and also peaking in the UK Top 40 at #25.
2005 - Greece
Helena Paparizou, "My Number One"
"My Number One" is the 2005 winning song of the 50th Eurovision Song Contest. It was performed in English by Helena Paparizou and it is the first win of Greece in Eurovision. The song was written by Christos Dantis, with lyrics by him and Natalia Germanou. It also contains music from a traditional Greek instrument like the lyre.
The song is an up-tempo love song, with Helena telling her lover that he is "my number one" and "the only treasure I'll ever have".
2004 - Ukraine
Ruslana, "Wild Dance"
"Wild Dances" (Ukrainian: Дикі танці) is the name of the song by Ukrainian pop-star Ruslana Lyzhichko (Ruslana). "Wild Dances" was the winning song in the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 in Turkey.
After qualifying from the semi-final the song turned the tables in the final, and the 280 points it received were sufficient to claim a first famous Eurovision victory for Ukraine. With a mixture of English and Ukrainian lyrics, "Dyki tantsi" had the distinction of becoming the first Eurovision winner to be sung at least partly in a language other than English since the rule-change of 1999, when countries were allowed to sing in a language of their choosing, rather than one of their official languages. With this win, Ukraine became the third ex-USSR member to win the Contest (Estonia and Latvia having previously done so).
The song was remembered for an energetic performance, which Ruslana gave in a leather outfit, inspired by ethnic tradition of Ukraine.The work on the song lasted for about 3 months. Editing and sound engineering was done by Ruslana together with specialists from Kiev, London and New York. The recording was done together with a guitarist from Cool Before, and an ex-trumpet player from Zdob Si Zdub. The wild drumming part (in terms of drive and rhythm) was done by Ruslana herself. Ukrainian and English lyrics of the song, as well as the chorus and melody, suffered significant changes since the initial stage.
The song was bought with exclusive copyright in Vietnam by Hồ Quỳnh Hương, a very famous Vietnamese female pop star who changed the lyrics into Vietnamese.
The song is used as a soundtrack of the 2008 video game Grand Theft Auto IV.
2003 - Turkey
Sertab Erener, "Everyway That I Can"
"Everyway That I Can" is the winning song of the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest, by Sertab Erener. "Everyway That I Can" was written by Demir Demirkan in early 2003 and produced and arranged by Ozan Çolakoğlu, famous for his works with pop idol Tarkan. Having previously selected Erener to represent the nation, Turkish broadcaster TRT chose her song to represent Turkey in the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest in Riga. Initially "Everyway That I Can" caused controversy with the Turkish public, considered too racy by some and too pop oriented by others. Criticism also arose by Sertab's decision to perform the song in English instead of in Turkish. The song, which combines up-tempo strings with Turkish traditional instruments, was not considered a favourite to win - in fact Russian duet t.A.T.u. were the hottest favourites since Cliff Richard's entrant in 1968, and Spain was second.
Turkey performed fourth on the night in May and received an explosive reception afterwards. The song had been re-written slightly to include some high notes and a belly dancing routine was added. Erener sang counter to the rhythm in places and the backing vocals were synthesised with Turkish stringed instruments. The voting on the night saw Russia, Turkey and Belgium switch places at the top a number of times before Slovenia eventually gave Turkey the victory by just two points.
2002 - Latvia
Marie N, "I Wanna"
"I Wanna", also known in its original version as "I Wonna", was the winning song in the Eurovision Song Contest 2002. "I Wanna" was performed in English by Marie N representing Latvia. With this victory, Latvia became the second ex-USSR member to win the Contest (Estonia had achieved the feat one year earlier).
The song is particularly famous for Marie's performance. She began wearing a white suit and a trilby hat, which was removed by one of her dancers. As the song continued, other dancers removed her suit jacket and her dark shirt, revealing the top of a red dress. The suit trousers were then removed, revealing the bottom half of the short dress. On the final beat of the song, the hem was pulled, revealing the dress to be much longer. This visual performance was also supported by a Salsa-style song, which made full use of the more up-beat tempos increasingly finding success in the Contest.
The lyrics are relatively simple, with the singer telling her lover that she wants to be various things to him.
The song was performed twenty-third on the night (following Slovenia's Sestre with "Samo ljubezen" and preceding Lithuania's Aivaras with "Happy You"). At the close of voting, it had received 176 points, placing 1st in a field of 24. The song, however, was a commercial failure both in Latvia and Europe.
Marie (along with Brainstorm lead singer Renārs Kaupers) would go on to host the Eurovision Song Contest 2003.
2001 - Estonia
Tanel Padar & Dave Benton, "Everybody"
"Everybody" was the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2001. Performed in English by Tanel Padar, Dave Benton and 2XL, representing Estonia. The song was performed twentieth on the night, following Germany's Michelle with "Wer Liebe lebt" and preceding Malta's Fabrizio Faniello with "Another Summer Night". At the close of voting, it had received 198 points, with the win coming at the head of a 23-song field.
Lyrically, the song is simply an invitation to party, with the duo singing that "every night's a Friday night". The song is famous for two major reasons. The first of these is that Benton is the oldest contestant to win the grand prize. The second is that he is the first black contestant to do so. Maarja-Liis Ilus has recorded a cover version.
Estonia were the first country from the former Soviet Union to win the Contest, with the second and third following shortly thereafter. Tanel had previously provided backing vocals for Estonia's 2000 entry, sung by Eda-Ines Etti, his then-girlfriend.
Tanel and Dave got supported by a backing group of 4, 2XL, Lauri Pihlap, Kaido Põldma, Sergei Morgun and Rene Soom.
2000 - Denmark
Olsen Brothers, "Fly On The Wings Of Love"
"Fly on the Wings of Love" by the Olsen Brothers and winner of Eurovision Song Contest 2000. Performed for Denmark, singing in English. The song was performed fourteenth on the night, following Spain's Serafín Zubiri with "Colgado de un sueño" and preceding Germany's Stefan Raab with "Wadde hadde dudde da?". At the close of voting, it had received 195 points, placing first in a field of 24.
The song is a love ballad, with the singers describing the beauty of a woman. Unusually for any pop song (let alone one in the Contest), the lyrics strongly imply that this is a beauty which has improved with age - a theme made more explicit in the Danish original "Smuk som et stjerneskud" ("Beautiful as a shooting star").
The song was not expected to score highly, as it was an old-fashioned ballad and performed by two of the oldest performers to enter the Contest. In spite of this, it led the voting from start to finish (a feat not achieved since ABBA won in 1974) and became a great favourite among fans of the Contest, being named one of the best entries at the Congratulations special in late 2005. The brothers in fact performed part of the song onstage and were greeted with rapturous applause (perhaps due to the special's location in Copenhagen). Renars Kaupers, hosting the show, made several references to "being beaten by a pair of Danish brothers" (which his band Brainstorm was).
The song is also memorable for the vocoding effects given to the voice during the final chorus, which allow it to sound something like a robot. These effects were the subject of a protest by the Russian delegation, however they were not found to be against the rules and the result stood.