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The end of a decade: Moscow 2009

31 December 2009 at 20:03 CET

Russia had been very close to winning the Eurovision Song Contest several times before, finishing in the top three four times this decade. The hopes had been especially high in 2008 in Belgrade when their former participant - in 2006 he finished third - Dima Bilan, took the job once again. Doing everything possible - even taking the Olympic and three-time world champion in figure skating, Evgeni Plushenko to the stage with him! - he finally got Russia the right to hold Europe's favourite TV-show. It took place on the 12th, 14th and 16th of May 2009.

The 2009 edition proved to be one of the biggest and most expensive in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest. It was held in the Olimpiysky Arena in Moscow with a capacity of about 25,000 people and its spectacular stage consisted of about 30% of the world's LED-screens!

The Host Broadcaster, Channel One, presented the theme art for the 2009 contest on 30 January 2009. It's based upon a Fantasy Bird, which was used with many colours. 2009 was the first year since 2001 that there was no slogan for the contest, however.

The shows

The opening sequence of this year's Eurovision Song Contest had something traditional and some things very new to the contest. Namely, last year's winner's performance is something of a tradition. So, Dima Bilan performed his winning entry Believe again in Moscow. However, it was preceded by a Cirque de Soleil performance and even Dima Bilan himself flew to the stage across the Arena. He also performed another one of his major hits, Number One Fan.

It was the first time in history when the Semi-Finals and the Final had different hosts. The Semi-Finals were hosted by the London-based model Natalia Vodyanova and the Russian TV-presenter Andrey Malakhov. In the Final, Alsou (who represented Russia in the 2000 Eurovision Song Contest) and Ivan Urgant welcomed Europe to Moscow.

Yury Aksyuta took the job of the Executive Producer and Andrey Boltenko was appointed to be in charge of the multi-camera direction. 

Svante Stockselius supervised the contest once again on behalf of the European Broadcasting Union for the sixth time.


The contestants

Following the release of the final participants list by the EBU, 42 countries confirmed their participation in the 2009 contest, including Slovakia, which returned to the contest after 11 years.

Two countries decided to send former participants once again - the Greek megastar Sakis Rouvas and the Maltese ballade queen Chiara. They both qualified for the Final and achieved, respectively, the seventh and 22nd positions there.

This year turned out to be a fairytale for Norway. Its Alexander Rybak was tipped to win the Eurovision Song Contest since he first appeared in the Norwegian national selection. His song Fairytale gathered a record-breaking  387 points and turned into a pan-European hit. It peaked at number three in Europe and was leading the charts in many countries. His career has flourished ever since, with performances all over Europe and the rest of the world.

As one star was born, already established people in the show business took part this year. Remarkably, France was represented by one of their biggest stars, Patricia Kaas and Sweden by the famous soprano Malena Ernman. Switzerland send their most known band, Lovebugs, to Moscow and Turkey sent Hadise, who has a very successful career in Europe. The UK song, My Time, was written by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber and Diane Warren - both established names in today's music world. Ronan Keating, member of Boyzone, also wrote the song Believe Again for the Eurovision Song Contest this year. It was performed by Brinck and represented Denmark.



The 2009 contest experienced several controversies and incidents during its lead-up, including the interpretation of over Georgia's entry as an attack against the Russian prime minister, conflicts between Armenia and Azerbaijan stemming from the inclusion of a monument in a disputed region to represent Armenia in a video introduction, Spain's broadcaster showing a Semi-Final on tape delay after a scheduling conflict, and protests over Russia's treatment of LGBT peoples to coincide with the contest.

The development

In response to some broadcasters' continued complaints about politically charged, neighbourly and diaspora voting, the EBU evaluated the voting procedure used in the contest, with the possibility of a change in the voting system for 2009. 

It was decided that for the Final, each country's votes would be decided by a combination of 50% televoting results and 50% of national juries. The method of selecting the Semi-Final qualifiers remained the same for the most part, with nine countries, instead of the ten as in years past, qualifying from each Semi-Final based on the televoting results.For the tenth qualifier from each Semi-Final, the highest placed country on the back-up jury scoreboard that had not already qualified, was chosen for the final.

At the Final, each country combined their 1-12 points from the televote with their 1-12 jury points to create their national scorecard. The country with the most points received 12 points, the second placed country received 10 points and so on. If a tie arose, the song with the higher televote position was given the advantage and the higher point value.

So, this was the review of the Eurovision Song Contests of the first decade of the 21st century. A lot changed this decade and the Eurovision Song Contest grew bigger and stronger than ever. Here's to many great decades to come for the Eurovision Song Contest! wishes all Europe's favourite TV-show's viewers a wonderful 2010 and stay tuned for our coverage of the road to Oslo!