While it had been the Russian broadcaster RTR who had won the contest the year before, it was decided that Channel One Russia would host the competition instead. They organised one of the biggest contests in the history of the event. The stage consisted of 1/3 of the world’s available LED screens at that time. Vladimir Putin, who was Prime Minister of Russia at the time, visited the Olympic Indoor Arena to see the preparations for the Eurovision Song Contest for himself.
National juries were re-introduced alongside televoting, each accounting for 50% of the result. Georgia's entry was deemed to have broken the rules of the contest and the country chose to withdraw rather than submit a different song. Estonia finished a credible sixth with the song Rändajad, the first song to be performed fully in Estonian since 1998 (their entry in 2004 was performed in a dialect). The United Kingdom scored its best placing since 2002 when Jade Ewen finished in fifth place with the song My Time, written by Dianne Warren and composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
About the winner
There was no stopping the Norwegian violin-playing star, Alexander Rybak and his entry Fairytale. It received a record-breaking 387 points out of a possible 492, the highest total score in Eurovision history at that time.
Facts and figures
For the first time the contest was presented by two different pairs of hosts - one pair in the Semi-Finals and the other pair in the Grand Final. Both Semi-Finals were hosted by the supermodel Natalya Vodyanova and popular TV host Andrey Malakhov. The Grand Final was hosted by the singer (and their 2000 contest participant) Alsou and the TV star Ivan Urgant.
Chaira, who achieved two of Malta's best placings second and third, in 2005 and 1998 respectively, returned to the competition but finished in 22nd place in the Grand Final.