A record 26 countries took part in the Eurovision Song Contest in the Latvian capital Riga. The slogan for 2003 was Rendezvous in Riga. Ukraine made its debut in the competition and sent one of the country's biggest stars, Olexandr Ponomariov.
Pop duo t.A.T.u. who only month before the contest had a major worldwide hit with All The Things She Said, represented Russia in Riga. The pair caused mischief during the event week by regularly disrupting the rehearsal schedule and failing to attend press conferences.
Turkey won the contest for the first time after one of the closest finishes in the contest for years. Slovenia, the last country to deliver its results, had the casting vote. Belgium finished second with Russia in third place.
Sertab Erener won the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Everyway That I Can. At the time Sertab was one of Turkey's biggest stars and recorded duets with stars such as Ricky Martin and José Carreras. Every Way That I Can was a combination of eastern melodies and was reminiscent of the Tarkan and Holly Vallance hit Kiss Kiss.