Eurovision song contest 2009

On the 16th of may the Finals of the Eurovision Song Contest were held at Moscow. Since abandoning the rule that countries have to sing in their native tongue the festival have been swarmed with artists that choose English as their performing language. Sadly, and maybe because the orchestra was also exited, this also resulted in acts that looked and sounded alike, cheap eurodisco. The gimmicks were sought in adding fireworks and other kinds of props to stand out. Luckily in recent years more and more countries go back to the formula of singing most part of the song in their own language and adding local traditional elements to the music. The Helsinki edition of 2007 featured 10 of those songs, the 2008 15 and this year 16 countries choose to perform in this manor (including England and Ireland). And in this we're not counting countries that just have one word or sentence but at least one couplet and refrain (sorry Turkey, Hadise was OK but for 99,9% in English).

Below you find our top list of the non-english singing acts that performed this year.




Estonia - Urban Symphony - Rändajad (Final position: 6)

Urban Symphony was formed two years ago, when singer Sandra Nurmsalu took part in Estonian Television’s most popular young soloist competition Kaks Takti Ette, which included a bands' round. They want their music to have a fairy-tale-like effect on listeners – simple, sincere and dreamy.

DB: The best entry of this year as far as I’m concerned. Indeed fairy-tale like music, but a dark fairy-tale then. Taps from the same pagan-witch vibe Armenia did. Very convincing ‘act’ although I doubt of this is interesting enough to fill a whole album. But who knows.

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Russia - Anastasiya Prihodko - Mamo (final position: 11)

She was born on 21st of April 1987 in Kyiv, Ukraine and was educated in the National University of Fine Arts in Kiev. In July 2006 Anastasia successfully passed all national selections to the Star Factory show directed by the Meladze brothers, and in December 2008 became the winner of the project. After Konstantin Meladze had presented the song Bezotvetno to her she sang it with the famous Russian artist Valeriy Meladze. The same duo wrote this song.

DB: Well, Russia choose to go for quality without the risk of having to organize the ESC a second year round. They could have gone cheap but Anastasia brought a intelligent song but way far to difficult for the average European public.

Anastasiya's website:

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Bosnia/Herzogovina - Regina - Bistra Voda (Final position: 9)

the Sarajevo pop-rock group Regina was founded in 1990 and already released several (english-sung) albums. After a split they had their comeback in 2004 with the album ‘I Can Do It All’ and once again captured the public in former Yugoslavia. The success of this album was confirmed in a great concert tour all over Bosnia & Herzegovina. The crown of their career was their performance as a supporting act for the Rolling Stones at their concert in Budva, in July 2007.

DB: And now they were chosen to go to the ESC. They did a great job and rightfully entered the finals. In the preselections they performed just in jeans and baggy clothes but the stylist job added value to the act. Good song, next time a Bosnian-language album guys?

Regina's website:

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Armenia - Inga & Angush / Jan Jan (final position: 10)

Armenia were represented by Anush and Inga Arshakyan, two talented singers from Yerevan. They acted together in the State Song Theatre of Armenia. Starting from 2003 they perform also independently. They performed both in Armenia and abroad, eg. in the USA, Teheran, London, Paris, Russia and Germany. They already released two album in Armenia: 'Tamzara' (2006) and 'Gutan' (2008).

DB: At least partly sung in Armenian and with a lot of traditional instruments this was one of the fun acts of the evening. A bit of Sheila Chandra-like scatting and colourfull act. According to the bio they write their own material but apperently for the Eurovision entry they had to rely on someone elses songwriting skills.

Inga & Angush' website:
and blog:

Armenia Eurovision website:

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Portugal - Flor-de-lis - Todas As Ruas Do Amor (Final position: 15)

The beginnings of Flor-de-Lis are closely linked to Pedro Marques´ participation as a percussionist in the “Adufe” project, first conceived by José Salgueiro as an attraction for Expo-98, and which focussed on traditional Portuguese instruments.

DB: This was one of the most sympathetic entries and an act that made the best use of background graphics. Since the stage was way to big and the background screens tended to overshout the musical act a lot of act suffered from drowning in a pool of light and neurotic visual effects. Flor-de-lis kept it simple and a bit cartoonesque. So for the act, one of the winners.

Flor-de-lis official blog:

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France - Patricia Kaas - Et S'il Fallait Le Faire (Final position: 8)

Patricia Kaas began singing at just eight years old and has never stopped singing since. Her charm and charisma have made her one of the top 10 French personalities for over 20 years now.

DB: Need we say more. Leave it to the French to reluctantly refuse to sing in English. This time no act that wouldn’t be understood outside France. Kaas is a European star and her song was great in the chanson-tradition. She is also very much the older generation and I guess that’s what broke up La Kaas in the end. Still, very nice song and the highest end position for France since years.

Patricia's website:

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Moldova - Nelly Ciobanu - Hora Din Moldova (Final position: 14)

Nelly Ciobanu already has released four albums in her home country, with a fifth in preparation. She is quite a star within Moldova  and won almost any contest there is to win in the region from Maluri de Prut (Moldova) to Vladimir Ivasiuk (Ukraine) to Slavianskij Bazaar (Belarus).

DB: I guess that with that much friends who needs to worry if she would get enough voters. But seriously, Hora din moldova was a very nice folk-tune and she sang it with great voice. A great tune to sauce up your Balkan-beat party.

Nelly's website:

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Latvia - Intars Busulis - Probka (position in semi-finals: 19)

Intars Busulis was born on the 2nd of May 1978 and is a well-known Latvian jazz and pop musician and musical-actor. In 1999, he launched boy band Caffe. In 2006, Intars finished second in the ESC pre-selection with ‘Gonki’. In 2008, Intars along with composer Kārlis Lācis released his first solo album with original songs in Russian and Latvian. He had three top ten hits coming from that album including the number one hit 'Davai'. This entry for ESC was sung in Russian so not really local language but still.

DB: Ok, dear Latvian people, this is way to far for most European ears. To appreciate this act you have to be used to Eastern-European new wave and punk. The keychanges, exalted act and manic vocals is just not for the regular ESC viewer that votes for a sweet kid with a violin. I liked it though, but from the start this could not have made a chance. Too difficult and too weird. They were punished with last place which is a bit harsh. There were worse acts.

Intars' website:

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Serbia - Marko Kon & Milan Nikolic - Cipela (position in the semi-finals: 10. The jury decided however that Croatia would go to the finals instead)

Marko is actually a well known songwriter in Serbia who together with Aleksandar Kobac wrote more than 800 songs for numerous popular musicians and sang backup vocals on over 1,000 recordings. Milan is the instrumentalist this evening and released five solo albums of instrumental music. He has been working with Kon and Kobac for the last couple of years. The song ‘Cipela’ (Shoe) is the result of their successful cooperation. He lives and works in Belgrade.

DB: You could sense the songwriting experience but the act was way too clownesque. A big man with a white afro? A dancing girl constantly tripping? Maybe Belgrado thought it would appeal to the neighbouring countries. It didn’t and neither did it to the rest of Europe. The jury decided Croatia should go instead which will have caused quite a shock in Belgrado.

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Croatia - Igor Cukrov feat. Andrea - Lijepa Tena (Final position: 18)

Igor entered the Split Music Festival in 2007 with the song ‘Duša Mi Je Bili Kamen’. He then took part in the Croatian version of Idols called Operacija Trijumf, and now the ESC.

DB: Very nice arrangements but vocally it felt like Cukrov was constantly singing to his (high) limits. And couldn’t he have kicked Andrea somewhere above Hungary from the plane? Their voices were so incompatible. Thanks to the jury they slipped into the finals instead of Serbia and Igor revanched himself a bit there when Andrea’s role was minimilized. Still, could have been better.

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FYR Macedonia - Next Time - Neshto Shto Ke Ostane (Final position: 10 in the semi-finals but surpassed by Finland due to the jury’s wildcard)

Next Time is a rock duo from Skopje. This Macedonian duo consists of the twin brothers, Martin and Stefan Filipovski. The duo has only been known by the name Next Time since the beginning of 2008. Previously they performed as a garage band and at some music festivals for children. With the release of their first album also named Next Time only 8 months after their appearance as a group, they gained popularity.

DB: Bon Jovi had a Macedonian fling and these are his bastard offspring. Because of this hilarious in western eyes but probably a very serious attempt from Macedonia. From the rockacts that entered the competition Next Time was actually one of the better acts and had one of the better songs. They should have gone to the finals if the jury didn’t cast a veto and send Finland (which was the worst entry of the year) instead.

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Slovakia - Kamil Mikulčík & Nela Pocisková - Leť Tmou (position in the semi-finals: 18)

Slovakia enters the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest after a long break with a group of musicians with impressive CV-s. For the two singers: Nela Pocisková is an actress and singer known from musicals and popular TV shows and Kamil's a permanent member of Jakub Nvota’s Traveling Theatre as an actor and musical composer and he's been involved with radio-shows, films and advertisements.

DB: Slovakia finally entered the ESC after many years of absence and apparently wanted to make up for the fact by singing very LOUD. The singers were almost screaming the chorus in the camera. Odd, since the TV experience they both have they should have known they had to be more subtle. I think the arrangement of the song was nice but I just COULDN’T HEAR.

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Spain - Soraya - La Noche Es Para Mí (The Night Is For Me) (Final position: 23)

Soraya Arnelas was born in Valencia de Alcántara, in the Spanish region of Extremadura, on 13 September 1982. Her career as an artist started in 2005, after she had become the most popular finalist of the TV programme “Operación Triunfo.” Since then, Soraya’s record trajectory has been meteoric, with already four albums in her catalogue. Her entry is specially written to please a wide range of European tastes. There is a great deal of mixed music, particularly Latin sounds, thanks to the strains of the Spanish guitar, it is also reminiscent of eastern music and sounds typical of Scandinavian and Eastern European countries.

DB: The disappointment of the evening. In the Spanish pre-selection it was a reasonable song but on the huge stage in Moscow Soraya got completely lost. Like most boomboom-acts this year (Greece, Holland) the sound quality of the background tape was so bad that all power was drained and they had the effect of a powerfull danceact coming across as a wet newspaper.

Soraya's website:

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Andorra - Susanne Georgi - La Teva Decisió (Get A Life) (position in the semi-finals: 15)

Susanne Georgi was born in Denmark but has lived in Andorra for the last 13 years. She is part of the pop-duo ME & MY who achieved an international breakthrough with their song ‘Dub I Dub’. Susanne Georgi is now working on her first solo-album with a pop/rock style.

DB: Chanceless, I don’t even remember this entry.

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