The Eurovision Database - Reports from Riga 2

This web diary of the week in Riga runs backwards so we start at the end.
Scroll down and onto the next page to go back in time through the week!

Monday, May 26, 2003

All text, and especially, pictures on this page are copyright © 2003 Geoff Harrison / The Eurovision Database. Not to be reproduced elsewhere without permission. All rights reserved


As you probably know by now, Turkey won the contest on Saturday night with "Anyway that I can" sung by Sertab Erener. The UK achieved its first no points score, and made history as no country will ever come 26th apart from the UK!

I am really tired having got back very late last night. I will write a fuller report later.

11:34 AM

Saturday, May 24, 2003

I had taken today (Saturday) off - we went to the seaside resort of Jurmala - very pleasant.

Friday night & Saturday afternoon saw two further rehearsals and I was in for the Friday, and did an interview on BBC Radio 5 afterwards. Just waiting for BBC7 now.

Both rehearsals went well. For the Friday evening Turkey, Latvia, and Poland came over best and were well supported by the mostly Latvian crowd. Turkey is visually stunning, and is surely a tip for the top 5. I have put £10 on it myself. Poland's peace message went down well, and Latvia's "Hello from Mars" is so perfect - it looks great with a beautiful girl and two nice guys playing off each other to a tune which hits you first time. Surely a contender for top 3?

Some disappoint. Iceland comes over rather static, and Birgitta has some great shoulders. Bosnia is all in black and rather too static. There's a extra sort of stage in the crowd but only Poland and the presenters use it.

Mando gives us an eyeful of her cleavage with a laced up black dress, which I think is all that works in her song. Ukraine goes well, if the stage looks rather busy with the bendy woman and dancers. That is also the problem with Romania - great song, but the choreography distracts a little.


Of course Tatu are the talk, after Julia (dark-haired one) was sick with a throat infection and missed both Friday night & Saturday afternoon rehearsals. There was a story she was rushed to hospital by helicopter. I saw the chopper, but the whole thing now seems a stunt. I have just seen the Tatu girls being photographed near their Hotel (the Hotel De Rome) and both looked very well with their jair & ake-up looking fine. I am sure they will both be on stage tonight, but who knows how it will turn out.

So discounting Tatu (who were booed on Friday evening) I think the top should be Latvia, Turkey, & Poland, with honourable mention of Ireland & Ukraine.

See how wrong I am in a few hours.

4:19 PM

Friday, May 23, 2003

Last night saw quite a few parties. We didn't make it to the Dutch or Russian party, but we did get to the Ukrainian party and the Meditteranean party. The former was surprisingly noisy. Olexandr did us some very rocky numbers and was briefly visited by 1995 Russian entrant Phillip Kirkorow.

The med party was a hot crush, but had great sets from Lynn Chircop (Malta), Stelios Konstantas (Cyprus), Beth (Spain), Lior Narkis (Israel), and Mando (Greece). Apart from Israel everyone did more than one song. Very good. They also did an imprompu singing of Imagine together, and also tried to sing each other's song.

Today saw the "Technical Rehearsal" which we didn't get into but saw on monitors. Lots of gentle humour and everyone looked good apart from Rusia whose rehearsal was a disaster with Microphone problems for Julia. Latvia, Ireland, Turkey, and Slovenia come over strongest. Another rehearsal in a few minutes, so I gotta go. See you later.

5:16 PM

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Another gruelling 24 hours here in Riga. First a special mention for the official UK entrant site which has finally emerged at - go and help support Chris & Gemma. 

Last night saw several parties - there was the German/ Polish with some great food, but terrible crowding. Both Lou & Ich Trje sang after some speechs about peace etc between the two nations. Then it was over to the Reavl hotel for Norway. Unfortunately I missed Jostein sing 4 songs, so it was into the Slovene party where early-goers got a Karmen bag and cap. Karmen Stavec was on great form and sand "Nanana" in both English & Slovene, as well as singing her song from last year's Slovene selection, "Se in Se". Very crowded but fun. There was a special cocktail, the nanana. 

I'd missed the Israeli party which saw furious dancing which is the hallmark of their entry "Words for Love", in which girls strip to reveal T-shirts bearing words for love in variuos languages, and then have one letter spelling out LOVEU.

Today we saw the Ukraine rehearsal - which features a very bendy woman, and plenty of dancers. Olexandr has a great voice, but he's almost upstaged by all the kitsch camp-ness of it. I think "Hasta La Vista" may do better than thought.


The UK entry, "Cry Baby" was very competently performed, but somehow the song just isn't interesting enough - it still seems too long. Chris & Gemma are very engaging and look great, and work well, but I fear there will be disappointment on Saturday.

A word about the stage - they have a brilliant underfloor lighing system with overhead cameras so flames or whatever can be displayed on the floor. In the case of Romania's song "Don't break my heart" we get flasing coloured squars and a routine with a dancing girl, DJ and huge coloured discs in the colours of Romania's flag. Nicola sings well, and pronounces the English very clearly despite speaking very little English. Its been the mother of three's wish to represent Romania for many years. She told me Alsou's "Solo' was the most memorable song for her in Eurovision history.

Tatu did another rehearsal - much worse than before, and every go was different, but its clear they are planning some kissing or petting of some sort, but it wasn't actuually done - just hinted at - in the rehearsal. The press conference was again unresponsive, but slightly less rude.

We did hear something from the EBU about the contest's future. There will be two shows next year - a qualifying round and a grand final, but they haven't decided if the qualifier will be on the Saturday before, Wednesday before, or whatever. 10 songs will join 10 which get their place by being in the "big 4", or by winning or scoring high this year. There was a lot of debate.

Parties right now for Holland, later Ukraine, Sweden, and the Mediterranean from Spain, Greece, Malta, and Cyprus. It will be a busy night.

4:13 PM

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Tuesday evening had a really great party hosted by the Latvian band F.L.Y. Not only did they do a promotional concert of their own album including their Eurovision song, "Hello from Mars", they also invited The Maltese, Dutch, Polish, and Estonian acts to perform their songs. Only Poland's Ich Troje chose to perform a song other than their Eurovision song, and there was much humour. FLY are intended to be a parody of ABBA, at least originally - even the name is made up from their names - but they are missing a girl, so when Lynn Chircop had finished her song, FLY joined her on stage and said "Now we're ABBA".

F.L.Y. at their party

One of the best parties for years, and I really liked FLY's music, and am pleased to say I now have their album, and am looking forward to hearing in soon.

We took a breif drive into the Latvian countryside today to Sigulda which is supposed to be the Switzerland of Latvia, but it is just hilly, but we had a good time in the fine sunshine.

Plenty of parties tonight.

4:20 PM