Eurovision Song Contest 2003

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Eurovision Song Contest 2003
Magical Rendez-vous
Eurovision Song Contest 2003 logo.svg
Final24 May 2003 (2003-05-24)
VenueSkonto Hall
Riga, Latvia
Directed bySven Stojanovic
Executive supervisorSarah Yuen
Executive producerBrigita Rozenbrika
Host broadcasterLatvijas Televīzija (LTV)
Interval actA film showcasing 4 different styles of the Latvian music scene feat. Iļģi, Brainstorm, Marie N and Raimonds Pauls Edit this at Wikidata
Number of entries26
Debuting countries Ukraine
Returning countries
Non-returning countries
  • Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Italy in the Eurovision Song ContestNetherlands in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Switzerland in the Eurovision Song ContestGermany in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Monaco in the Eurovision Song ContestLuxembourg in the Eurovision Song ContestSpain in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Denmark in the Eurovision Song ContestFinland in the Eurovision Song ContestNorway in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Austria in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003France in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Morocco in the Eurovision Song ContestCyprus in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Croatia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Slovenia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Slovakia in the Eurovision Song ContestHungary in the Eurovision Song ContestRomania in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Lithuania in the Eurovision Song ContestPoland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Macedonia in the Eurovision Song ContestLatvia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003A coloured map of the countries of Europe
    About this image
         Participating countries     Countries that participated in the past but not in 2003
Voting systemEach country awards 1–8, 10, and 12 points to their ten favourite songs
Nul points United Kingdom
Winning song
2002 ← Eurovision Song Contest → 2004

The Eurovision Song Contest 2003 was the 48th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. It took place in Riga, Latvia, following the country's victory at the 2002 contest with the song "I Wanna" by Marie N. It was the first time Latvia had hosted the contest – only 3 years after the country had made its debut. Organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and host broadcaster Latvijas Televīzija (LTV), the contest was held at the Skonto Hall, with the final on 24 May 2003. The live show was presented by Marie N and Renārs Kaupers.[1] It was the first Eurovision Song Contest held in a Baltic language-speaking country.

Twenty-six countries participated in the contest, beating the record of twenty-five first set in 1993. It saw the return of Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Poland after having been relegated from competing the previous year. Portugal also returned to the contest after being absent the previous year, while Ukraine participated in the contest for the first time.[2] Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Macedonia and Switzerland were relegated due to their poor results in 2002.

The winner was Turkey with the song "Everyway That I Can", performed by Sertab Erener who wrote it with Demir Demirkan. This was Turkey's first victory in the contest after 28 years of participation. Belgium, Russia, Norway and Sweden rounded out the top five. Further down the table, the United Kingdom achieved their worst result to date, finishing twenty-sixth (last place) with null points. However, they avoided relegation due to being one of the "Big Four" countries at the time.[3] The host country Latvia placed twenty-fourth (third from last) – this was the first time since 1995 that the host entry did not place in the top 10, and it was, overall, the worst result for a host entry, since 1992.

This was the last contest to take place on one evening. The EBU revealed that it would be adding a semi-final show to the competition in order to accommodate the growing number of interested countries wishing to take part in the contest.[4] This was also the last contest in which a relegation system was used to determine which countries would participate in the following year's contest. As the Belgian entry was sung in an imaginary language, this was also the first time the contest featured a song with no parts performed in English or a language native to the country.


Skonto Hall, Riga – host venue of the 2003 contest.

On 22 August 2002, Latvian public broadcaster Latvijas Televīzija (LTV) announced that it had chosen the Skonto Hall in Riga as the host venue for the 2003 contest.[5]

Latvia won the Eurovision Song Contest 2002 on 25 May 2002 in Tallinn, Estonia with the song “I Wanna” performed by Marie N. This was Latvia's first victory in the contest, which also carried the right for LTV to organise the 2003 contest. LTV initially had budgetary concerns with staging the contest. The chairman of the National Radio and Television Council Ojārs Rubenis stated that if the government presented no budget guarantees, the council, which owns shares in LTV, would vote against organising the contest. Rubenis elaborated that LTV was prepared to cover the creative side and broadcasting of the contest, but additional funds would be needed for infrastructure, hotels and other financial issues.[5]

The Government of Latvia allotted 5.3 million for the event with a further 1.1 million being provided by the Riga City Council – covering the anticipated organisational costs for the contest.[6] A task force that included members from LTV, the National Radio and Television Council and state secretaries was formed to explicitly work on organisation of the contest and report on the estimated expenses.[5]

Bidding phase[edit]

Locations of the candidate cities: the chosen host city is marked in blue, while the eliminated cities are marked in red.

Three cities were considered as host city of the contest: Riga, Ventspils and Jūrmala.[7] LTV requested proposals from the three cities concerning how they plan to organise the contest. Riga City Council offered the Mežaparks Open-air Stage, Skonto Hall and the Ķīpsala International Exhibition Centre as potential venues for hosting the contest.[5] Ventspils bid to host the contest at the Ventspils Olympic Centre with a pledge of support from city mayor Aivars Lembergs, who added that Ventspils could also provide two cruise ferries that could be used to accommodate up to 8,000 guests.[8] Jūrmala City Council offered the Dzintari Concert Hall with plans to expand and upgrade the facility and surrounding infrastructure.[7]

LTV's organisational task force later decided to proceed with the bids from Riga and Ventspils, eliminating Jūrmala and the Mežaparks Open-air Stage in Riga.[5] On 15 June 2002, the EBU Reference Group decided in conjunction with the organisational task force in Latvia that Riga would host the 2003 contest with the venue option between the Skonto Hall and Ķīpsala International Exhibition Centre being decided upon by LTV.[5][9] LTV ultimately chose the Skonto Hall as the venue to stage the contest.[5]

Key  dagger   Host venue  ‡  Shortlisted

City Venue Notes
Jūrmala Dzintari Concert Hall
Riga Mežaparks Open-air Stage
Skonto Hall dagger
Ķīpsala International Exhibition Centre ‡
Ventspils Ventspils Olympic Center


The EBU released the rules for the 2003 contest in November 2002, which detailed that twenty-six countries would participate, making it the largest number of participants to take part in the contest up to this point.[10] The rules also modified the eligibility criteria for entries, changing the date of release cut-off point for songs from 1 January 2003 to 1 October 2002.[11] There was also a change in the tie-break rule, which would now resolve such a case in favour of the nation that received points from a higher number of countries rather than taking into account the number of top scores (12 points) received.[11] The draw for running order was held on 29 November 2002 in Riga, hosted by Marie N and Renārs Kaupers, with the results being revealed during a delayed broadcast of the proceedings later that day.[12]

The official sponsors for the contest were Latvian mobile telecom provider Latvijas Mobilais Telefons and Latvian bank company Parex Banka.[13] LTV selected Latvia Tours as its official partner to provide lodging, travel and recreation for the contest delegations and other guests.[14] Riga City Council was also responsible for offering promotion and activities during the week preceding the contest.[15]

Full preparations for the 2003 contest began on 18 May 2003 at the Skonto Hall. There were rehearsals, press conferences and participants were also involved in an internet chat.[16] Two dress rehearsals were held on 23 May, in front of an estimated 12,000 people. The organisers of the contest held a press conference; one of the issues complained about was the lack of invitations for the after-party. The final dress rehearsal was held on 24 May, the day of the contest. A simulation of the voting procedure was also held, in which the presenters linked up with all twenty-six countries by satellite for the first time.[16]

The contest featured special guests that communicated with the hosts via satellite: Lys Assia, winner of the 1956 Contest greeted the hosts and spectators from Nicosia, Elton John spoke to the presenters live from the Life Ball in Vienna and one astronaut and one cosmonaut—Ed Lu and Yuri Malenchenko—gave their greetings from the International Space Station.[17][18][19] The interval act for the contest was a short film directed by Anna Viduleja that featured a sequence of performances by Latvian post-folklore group Iļģi, Renārs Kaupers' band Brainstorm, Marie N and piano player Raimonds Pauls.[20]

On the day of the contest, bookmaker William Hill's odds placed Russia as joint favourites to win the contest with Spain. Ireland, Slovenia, Estonia, Norway and Iceland were behind in third, fourth and joint fifth respectively.[21] At the conclusion of the contest, favourites Russia placed third and Spain placed eighth, while outsiders Turkey (20-1) and Belgium (50-1) claimed the first and second places, respectively. Austria, at 100-1, were favourites to finish last, however, they scored their best result since 1989, placing sixth.[21]

An official compilation album, featuring all twenty-six competing entries from the contest, was released for the first time on the EMI/CMC label.[22]

Graphic design[edit]

The design of the contest was built around the theme "Magical rendez-vous", which represented the meeting of the various European nations coming to Latvia and encountering Latvia's versatile landscapes.[23][24] LTV launched a competition in order to find the logo for the contest. At the close of the competition, high interest from the public translated into 204 logo submissions, which were ultimately judged by a jury panel consisting of Uldis-Ivars Grava (general director of LTV), Arvīds Babris (then executive producer of the contest), Ugis Brikmanis (director), Laimonis Šteinbergs (artist), Ingūna Rībena (architect), Arta Giga (LTV representative) and Juhan Paadam (EBU representative).[25] On 16 November 2002, LTV and the EBU presented the logo for the contest which was designed by the director of the Computer Graphics Department of LTV, Maris Kalve with further elaboration by LTV's chief artist Kristaps Skulte.[11][26] The logo was named upes, the Latvian word for rivers, and carried the slogan "All rivers flow toward the sea, all songs flow toward the Eurovision Song Contest".[11]

The postcards shown between the entries were directed by Ugis Brikmanis and featured the artists competing at the contest interacting with Latvia's various landscapes: forests, rivers, lakes and towns.[27] The postcards were recorded during the preceding week of the contest and ran behind schedule, leading to some postcards featuring only footage from the rehearsals and press conferences.[28]

The stage design was created by Aigars Ozoliņš and based on the concept called Planet Latvia.[29][30] The stage used several light and video effects and included an innovation new to the contest – a video screen stage floor that could be used to give each entry a unique look.[30] The green room where the delegations and competitors awaited the results of the contest was placed directly behind the stage and unveiled shortly before the voting portion of the show commenced, allowing the audience to view the representatives of the competing nations as they received points.[31]

National host broadcaster[edit]

Initially, Arvīds Babris, head of the Latvian delegation at the 2002 contest, was appointed as executive producer for the contest, however, after production fell behind schedule and the EBU applied pressure upon LTV, he was dismissed and Brigita Rozenbrika took over the position, receiving additional support from the Swedish broadcaster Sveriges Television (SVT) and Estonian broadcaster Eesti Televisioon (ETV).[24][32][33] SVT was also the technical producer of the contest for the second year running with Sven Stojanovic as director and the Swedish lighting company Spectra+ contracted for the contest.[34][35]


The EBU reintroduced televoting as an obligatory voting mode in all participating countries, which awarded 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12 points to their ten favourite songs, in ascending order. Countries voted in the same order as they had performed. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Russia were granted an exception to holding a televote as they cited that their telecommunications penetration was less than 80%.[36][10] Polish broadcaster Telewizja Polska opted to use only SMS-voting.[37] In the televoting/smsvoting household shall not be permitted to vote more than three times.[38] All other countries planned to use a televote. This contest was also the first to introduce a computer-generated scoreboard which rearranged itself in order as the points were awarded. Broadcasters were required to assemble back-up juries that consisted of eight voting members, with age and gender equally distributed, in the case of televote failure on the night of the competition.[10] Four members of the jury had to be members of the general public and the other four members had to be music professionals.[10]

Future changes in contest format[edit]

With the increased number of potential participating countries, the EBU began to review the format of the contest with potential changes being considered such as adding extra evenings for the show, holding a regional pre-selection, or putting a limit to number of participating countries by increasing the entrance fee.[39] On 29 January 2003, the EBU unveiled a two-night system for the contest in 2004: a semi-final would be held before a grand final. The "Big Four", along with the top ten from the 2003 contest, would automatically qualify for the 2004 final.[40] The format change eliminated the relegation system, allowing all countries to send an artist and song to the contest. The fourteen eventual countries from the 2003 contest that qualified to compete directly in the 2004 final were Turkey, Belgium, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Poland, Spain, Iceland, Romania, Ireland, Germany, France and the United Kingdom. All other countries would have to compete in the semi-final for ten remaining spots in the final.

Participating countries[edit]

Twenty-four countries participated in the 2002 contest in Tallinn; of these, fourteen were expected to compete in 2003. The bottom ten in Tallinn would be relegated, to allow countries to compete for the first time.[41] In reality, only five countries were relegated – nineteen countries that entered in 2002 competed in Riga. Macedonia, Finland, Switzerland, Lithuania and Denmark were forced to sit out the contest. The nineteen qualifiers were joined by the six countries that had sat out the 2002 contest: Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Portugal. The twenty-sixth contestant was Ukraine, making its debut at the contest.[42]

Originally, Serbia and Montenegro, Albania, Belarus and Bulgaria had planned 2003 debuts, but the EBU's late changes to the relegation procedure meant that they could not compete.[43][44] The first three countries eventually made their debuts in 2004, while Bulgaria did debut in 2005. RTBF was the Belgian broadcaster at the forty-eighth contest, marking the first Walloon entry since 2000. Twenty-six entries was the highest number in the final of the contest's history at that point; subsequently equalled nine years later in 2012 and then beaten in 2015, when twenty-seven countries participated in the final that year.

The draw for the running order took place in December 2002 in Riga: Iceland would open the contest and Slovenia would complete it.[45]

The UK's result was their worst-ever at Eurovision; by contrast, Turkey's win was their first. Alf Poier's sixth place was Austria's best result for fourteen years, Poland's seventh place was their best in nine, and Romania's tenth place was one place behind their best-ever. Belgium's second place was their first top-five finish in seventeen years, but Latvia's third-from-bottom finish was their worst result in four attempts; it was also the worst placing for a host country since 1992, until 2015 when host country Austria received 'nul points' and came second to last (Germany also received 'nul points' but because of the running order Austria placed ahead of them).

Returning artists[edit]

The 2003 contest was one of the few editions where no lead artists had previously competed as lead artists in past contests, although Slovenian representative Karmen had previously performed as a backing singer to Vili Resnik for Slovenia at the 1998 contest.


Draw Country Artist Song Language[46] Place[47] Points
01  Iceland Birgitta "Open Your Heart" English 8 81
02  Austria Alf Poier "Weil der Mensch zählt" German[a] 6 101
03  Ireland Mickey Harte "We've Got the World" English 11 53
04  Turkey Sertab Erener "Everyway That I Can" English 1 167
05  Malta Lynn Chircop "To Dream Again" English 25 4
06  Bosnia and Herzegovina Mija Martina "Ne brini" Croatian, English 16 27
07  Portugal Rita Guerra "Deixa-me sonhar" Portuguese, English 22 13
08  Croatia Claudia Beni "Više nisam tvoja" Croatian, English 15 29
09  Cyprus Stelios Constantas "Feeling Alive" English 20 15
10  Germany Lou "Let's Get Happy" English 11 53
11  Russia t.A.T.u. "Ne ver', ne boysia" (Не верь, не бойся) Russian 3 164
12  Spain Beth "Dime" Spanish 8 81
13  Israel Lior Narkis "Words for Love" Hebrew[b] 19 17
14  Netherlands Esther Hart "One More Night" English 13 45
15  United Kingdom Jemini "Cry Baby" English 26 0
16  Ukraine Olexandr "Hasta la Vista" English 14 30
17  Greece Mando "Never Let You Go" English 17 25
18  Norway Jostein Hasselgård "I'm Not Afraid to Move On" English 4 123
19  France Louisa Baïleche "Monts et merveilles" French 18 19
20  Poland Ich Troje "Keine Grenzen – Żadnych granic" German, Polish, Russian 7 90
21  Latvia F.L.Y. "Hello from Mars" English 24 5
22  Belgium Urban Trad "Sanomi" Imaginary 2 165
23  Estonia Ruffus "Eighties Coming Back" English 21 14
24  Romania Nicola "Don't Break My Heart" English 10 73
25  Sweden Fame "Give Me Your Love" English 5 107
26  Slovenia Karmen "Nanana" English 23 7


Voting results[48][49]
Voting procedure used:
  100% televoting
  100% jury vote
Total score
Bosnia and Herzegovina
United Kingdom
Iceland 81 7 8 12 6 5 1 6 4 12 1 1 3 3 1 7 4
Austria 101 10 6 5 10 5 4 2 8 8 8 2 8 4 2 6 6 7
Ireland 53 2 5 5 7 4 7 12 1 6 1 1 2
Turkey 167 3 12 4 12 8 10 8 10 3 7 12 7 2 7 10 10 2 12 10 8 10
Malta 4 3 1
Bosnia and Herzegovina 27 7 12 8
Portugal 13 2 2 3 6
Croatia 29 5 6 3 6 1 8
Cyprus 15 2 1 12
Germany 53 8 1 4 3 7 4 2 4 5 2 2 1 10
Russia 164 4 8 10 1 3 4 12 10 8 6 10 1 12 10 2 7 4 12 7 12 7 2 12
Spain 81 6 2 12 7 6 6 12 5 5 10 5 4 1
Israel 17 5 1 3 8
Netherlands 45 5 7 2 10 2 1 5 8 5
United Kingdom 0
Ukraine 30 8 4 10 5 3
Greece 25 1 4 12 5 1 2
Norway 123 12 2 12 6 5 7 4 3 7 6 7 3 6 7 6 10 3 12 5
France 19 8 2 3 6
Poland 90 10 10 12 5 4 2 8 6 4 5 8 5 4 4 3
Latvia 5 5
Belgium 165 7 4 10 7 10 6 3 6 3 12 8 10 5 10 8 3 12 12 10 8 8 3
Estonia 14 1 8 2 3
Romania 73 6 1 7 1 2 4 12 10 6 6 4 1 4 8 1
Sweden 107 5 3 8 1 3 2 1 3 7 5 3 10 5 7 2 7 6 4 7 12 6
Slovenia 7 4 3

12 points[edit]

Below is a summary of all 12 points in the final:

N. Contestant Nation(s) giving 12 points
5  Russia  Croatia,  Estonia,  Latvia,  Ukraine,  Slovenia
4  Turkey  Austria,  Belgium,  Bosnia and Herzegovina,  Netherlands
3  Norway  Iceland,  Ireland,  Sweden
 Belgium  France,  Poland,  Spain
2  Iceland  Malta,  Norway
 Spain  Israel,  Portugal
1  Bosnia and Herzegovina  Turkey
 Cyprus  Greece
 Greece  Cyprus
 Ireland  United Kingdom
 Poland  Germany
 Romania  Russia
 Sweden  Romania


The voting order in the 2003 contest was the order in which the countries had been drawn to perform. The spokespersons for each country were:

  1.  Iceland – Eva María Jónsdóttir
  2.  Austria – Dodo Roscic [de]
  3.  Ireland – Pamela Flood
  4.  Turkey – Meltem Ersan Yazgan
  5.  Malta – Sharon Borg[50]
  6.  Bosnia and Herzegovina – Ana Vilenica
  7.  Portugal – Helena Ramos [pt][51]
  8.  Croatia – Davor Meštrović [hr][52]
  9.  Cyprus – Loukas Hamatsos[53]
  10.  Germany – Axel Bulthaupt
  11.  Russia – Yana Churikova
  12.  Spain – Anne Igartiburu
  13.  Israel – Michal Zo'aretz [he]
  14.  Netherlands – Marlayne (Dutch representative in 1999)
  15.  United Kingdom – Lorraine Kelly
  16.  Ukraine – Lyudmyla Hariv[54]
  17.  Greece – Alexis Kostalas[55]
  18.  Norway – Roald Øyen
  19.  France – Sandrine François[56] (French representative in 2002)
  20.  Poland – Maciej Orłoś [pl]
  21.  Latvia – Ģirts Līcis[57]
  22.  Belgium – Corinne Boulangier [fr][56]
  23.  Estonia – Ines (Estonian representative in 2000)
  24.  Romania – Leonard Miron
  25.  Sweden – Kattis Ahlström[58] (Co-presenter of the 2000 contest)
  26.  Slovenia – Peter Poles


Broadcasters and commentators in participating countries
Country Broadcaster(s) Commentator(s) Ref(s)
 Austria ORF 1 Andi Knoll
Hitradio Ö3 Martin Blumenau [de]
 Belgium RTBF La Une French: Jean-Pierre Hautier [59]
VRT TV1 Dutch: André Vermeulen and Anja Daems [nl] [60]
RTBF La Première French: Patrick Duhamel [fr] and Sophie Brems
VRT Radio 2 Dutch: Julien Put [nl] and Michel Follet
 Bosnia and Herzegovina BHTV1 Dejan Kukrić
 Croatia HRT 2 Daniela Trbović [hr] [61]
HR2 Draginja Balaš
 Cyprus RIK 1 Evi Papamichail [53]
RIK Deftero Pavlos Pavlou
 Estonia ETV Marko Reikop [62]
Raadio 2 Vello Rand
 France France 3 Laurent Ruquier and Isabelle Mergault [59]
France Bleu Laurent Boyer
 Germany Das Erste Peter Urban [63]
Deutschlandfunk/NDR 2 Thomas Mohr [64]
 Greece ET1 Dafni Bokota [65]
ERA 1 Giorgos Mitropoulos
 Iceland Sjónvarpið Gísli Marteinn Baldursson [is] [66]
 Ireland RTÉ One Marty Whelan and Phil Coulter [67]
 Israel Channel 1 No commentator
Reshet Gimel Daniel Pe'er
 Latvia LTV1 Kārlis Streips [lv]
 Malta TVM John Bundy
 Netherlands Nederland 2 Willem van Beusekom [68]
Radio 3FM Wessel van Diepen
 Norway NRK1 Jostein Pedersen [69]
 Poland TVP1 Artur Orzech [70]
 Portugal RTP1 Margarida Mercês de Melo [pt] [51]
 Romania TVR1 Andreea Demirgian
 Russia Channel One Yuriy Aksyuta [ru] and Yelena Batinova [ru]
Voice of Russia Vadim Dolgachev
 Slovenia SLO1 Andrea F
 Spain La Primera José Luis Uribarri [71]
 Sweden SVT1 Pekka Heino [58]
SR P3 Carolina Norén and Björn Kjellman [72]
 Turkey TRT 1 Bülend Özveren
TRT Radyo 3 Canan Kumbasar
 Ukraine First National Dmytro Kryzhanivskyi and Pavlo Shylko [73][74][75]
 United Kingdom BBC One Terry Wogan
BBC Radio 2 Ken Bruce
Broadcasters and commentators in non-participating countries
Country Broadcaster(s) Commentator(s) Ref(s)
 Albania TVSH Unknown [76]
 Andorra ATV Meri Picart [ca] and Albert Roig [77]
 Armenia Armenia 1 Unknown [78]
 Australia SBS TV Des Mangan [79]
 Belarus BTRC Ales Kruglyakov and Tatyana Yakusheva [80]
 Denmark DR1 Jørgen de Mylius [81]
 Finland YLE TV2 Maria Guzenina and Asko Murtomäki [fi] [82]
YLE Radio Suomi Iris Mattila and Tarja Närhi [fi]
 Italy Fabio Canino and Paolo Quilici [83]
 Lithuania LTV2 Darius Užkuraitis
 Macedonia MTV 3 Milanka Rašić
 Puerto Rico MSN No commentator [78]
 Serbia and Montenegro RTS2 Mladen Popović [76][84]
  Switzerland SF 2 German: Roman Kilchsperger [de]
TSR 1 French: Jean-Marc Richard and Alain Morisod
TSI 1 Italian: Daniele Rauseo and Claudio Lazzarino
 United States Israeli Network Unknown [78]


Organisational issues[edit]

In January 2003, German news magazine Der Spiegel reported that Guntars Kukuls, spokesperson of the city council of Riga, stated that Riga was suffering from serious financial problems that could possibly lead to a breach of contract and that the contest needed to be moved to another city.[85] Ilona Bērziņa, spokesperson of LTV, denied that potential financial issues the city council of Riga may be facing would interrupt the organisation of the contest.[86] In February 2003, The Baltic Times reported that a committee of Riga municipality rejected the proposal to withdraw the funds it pledged in support of organising the contest.[87]

In March 2003, Danish newspaper B.T. published an article based on accusations that the EBU television director Bjørn Erichsen made in reference to LTV suffering from organisational chaos which could result in the removal of Latvia's hosting duties since they were running behind schedule.[88] The general director of LTV, Uldis-Ivars Grava, replied, saying: "A few weeks ago, the EBU's legal director, Werner Rumphorst, was in Riga, and I spent an entire day with him and with the former general director of the Danish broadcaster DR, Bjørn Erichsen. We talked about co-operation and about programme exchanges, and neither of them said a single word that would indicate any doubts, lack of trust or accusation."[89] Ingrida Smite, head of press for the Eurovision Song Contest 2003, reaffirmed that the contest would take place in Riga despite reports to the contrary.[89]

Controversies surrounding Russian band t.A.T.u.[edit]

Upon the selection of the Russian artists t.A.T.u., the duo gave an interview to German tabloid Bild in March 2003 where they claimed that they would win the contest without a doubt and criticised the German entrant Lou calling her a witch with duo member Julia Volkova (also referring to Germany's 2002 entrant) stating, "In Russia we nurse blind and old people, but we don't send them to the Grand Prix. This must be different in Germany."[90][91] Lou later responded to the comments stating, "I don't know whether bitching, fighting and boozing kids are the right representatives for such a beautiful country as Russia."[92]

t.A.T.u.'s first rehearsal dominated proceedings on 20 May—the band were supposed to rehearse the day before, but had turned up a day late, claiming that Julia Volkova was suffering from a sore throat.[93] The group were booed by journalists during their press conference where they complained about the production's poor lighting and stage. EBU supervisor Sarah Yuen said "They are the bad girls of pop… we shouldn’t have expected them to come here and be nice and pleasant."[94] The EBU had originally planned to have a pre-recorded performance of the Russian entry ready to substitute during the live broadcast in case the duo performed a lesbian publicity stunt on stage, which they deemed inappropriate for a family entertainment show.[95] The EBU later stated that the performance would be broadcast live without any interruption.[96][97]

Russian complaint against Irish vote[edit]

After the contest, Russian broadcaster Channel One complained that Irish broadcaster RTÉ had used a back-up jury, and that it had cost them victory. A statement by Channel One said "Considering [the] insignificant difference in points between the first and third places, there are grounds to believe that the contest results could be much different for Russia."[98][99] On the night of the competition, the voting polls operated by Irish telecommunications company Eircom suffered a delay in delivering the results on time, which prompted RTÉ to use the votes of the back-up jury instead.[100] The EBU cleared RTÉ of any potential wrongdoing after an investigation on the matter and stated that the rules concerning substituting the back-up jury in place of the televote were correctly applied.[100] RTÉ later published the unused results of the televote, which showed that had the jury not been used, Turkey would still have won, and Ireland's voting "partners", the United Kingdom, would still have no points. Russia did not receive any points from the televote, however, since Belgium only received 2 points from the Irish televote as opposed to 10 points awarded by the Irish jury, Russia would have placed second.[101]

United Kingdom's last place finish[edit]

The United Kingdom's last-place finish was greeted with much consternation in the British media. Terry Wogan, long-time commentator on the contest for the BBC, said that the UK was suffering from "post-Iraq backlash".[36] Chris Cromby from Jemini said, in reference to the group's off-key vocals, "The monitors were off. Maybe it was sabotage, but we couldn't hear anything... we used the floor monitors, the others used their own."[102]

Other awards[edit]

Marcel Bezençon Awards[edit]

The Marcel Bezençon Awards honour the best competing songs in the final. Named after the founder of the contest, the awards were created and first handed at the 2002 contest by Christer Björkman (Sweden's representative in the 1992 contest and the country's current Head of Delegation), and Richard Herrey (a member of the Herreys who won the 1984 contest for Sweden).[103] The awards were divided into three categories: the Artistic Award, the Fan Award, and the Press Award.[104] The Fan Award was decided by the combined votes from members of OGAE, an international organisation consisting of a network of over 40 Eurovision Song Contest fan clubs across Europe and beyond.[105][106]

Category Country Song Performer(s) Final result Points
Artistic Award  Netherlands "One More Night" Esther Hart 13th 45
Fan Award  Spain "Dime" Beth 8th 81
Press Award  Turkey "Everyway That I Can" Sertab Erener 1st 167

Official album[edit]

Eurovision Song Contest: Riga 2003
ESC 2003 album cover.jpg
Compilation album by
Released19 May 2003
Eurovision Song Contest chronology
Eurovision Song Contest: Tallinn 2002
Eurovision Song Contest: Riga 2003
Eurovision Song Contest: Istanbul 2004

Eurovision Song Contest: Riga 2003 was the official compilation album of the 2003 Contest, put together by the European Broadcasting Union and released by CMC International on 19 May 2003. The album featured all 26 songs that entered in the 2003 contest.[107]


Chart (2003) Peak
German Compilation Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[108] 3


  1. ^ Specifically Styrian, a Southern Bavarian dialect spoken in Styria.
  2. ^ Contains some words in English, Greek, French and Spanish.


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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 56°56′56″N 24°06′23″E / 56.94889°N 24.10639°E / 56.94889; 24.10639