Skip to main content

The end of a decade: Copenhagen 2001

22 December 2009 at 13:03 CET

Denmark celebrated its second Eurovision Song Contest victory in Stockholm, after Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann won the contest in 1963 with Dansevise. The Olsen Brothers brought Europe's favourite TV-show back to Denmark with Fly On The Wings Of Love. It was expected that Copenhagen would host the 46th running of the contest, though a suitable venue didn't seem to be available. A workable solution was to put a roof over the Parken Stadium, which would give 35,000 spectators the opportunity to attend. Though the planning was tight, the Parken Stadium indeed got its roof, giving green light for the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest on the 12th of May of that year.

In line with typical Danish minimalistic design traditions, the logo of the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest was made out of four circles, placed in the shape of a heart. The four circles came back in the stage design, as the light construction was made of the same four rings.

The show

Danish broadcaster DR appointed national selection producer Jørgen Ramskov as Executive Producer, while Jan Frifelt was the multl-camera director in charge. From the very beginning, the idea was to present Europe a sophisticated, large-scale TV production. The Parken Stadium, with its enormous capacity, suited this concept well. The show opened with fireworks and the Olsen Brothers, who sang a part of their winning song once again and introduced Europe to their latest single Walk Right Back. Hosts of the show Natasja Crone Back and Søren Pilmark opened the evening in rhyme. The popular group Aqua ft. Safri Duo performed as interval act.

Christine Marchal-Ortiz supervised the contest on behalf of the European Broadcasting Union for the fifth time.


The contestants

23 countries were represented at the big night. France, Sweden and Slovenia were heavily tipped for victory, turning the voting into an absolute surprise; Estonia and host country Denmark topped the leaderboard, and eventually the close race was won by Estonia's Dave Benton and Tanel Padar and their song Everybody. Benton, originally from Aruba, was the first black person to win the Eurovision Song Contest, and Estonia the first eastern European nation to get the right to host the event. 

Norway and Iceland shared the bottom spot on the scoreboard. Their respective entries received three points each.

The European Broadcasting Union introduced a new rule this year: Only the top 15 countries and the so called 'Big Four' (Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and France) could participate in the 2002 contest - alongside the the countries that had to stay at home for the 2001 event.


The controversies

The biggest controversy was British commentator Terry Wogan's remark about the hosts. He frequently referred to "Doctor Death and the Tooth Fairy" or the like, heavily insulting the Danes. Wogan eventually issued an official apology for his remarks.

The Swedish entry Listen To Your Heartbeat was accused of being an instant copy of Belgium's 1996 entry Liefde Is Een Kaartspel. The EBU's Reference Group looked into the matter and decided that the matter had to be settled in court, and that the Swedish entry could take part as long as court didn't declare the song plagiarism.

The development

For the first time, (partly) televoting was mandatory in all participating countries. Back-up juries were present in all countries, should any technical problems occur.

Tomorrow, will look back at the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest, which took place in Tallinn.