Throwback to Athens – Eurovision 2006

After the victory of the Greek diva Helena Paparizou in Kiev the contest it was the turn for Athens to carry the title of “Host city”. The hosting in Athens will be the 5th time in a row where Eurovision is hosted in a new country. Yet, the Eurovision Song Contest isn’t a never seen before type of event as the country hosted the Olympic games just two years prior to this contest with Athens being the host city then too.

37 countries gathered in Athens to celebrate unity under the slogan “Feel The Rhythm”, with Armenia making their debut appearance in the Contest. On the other hand, 3 countries chose not to join the celebration – Hungary Austria and Serbia and Montenegro withdrew from the contest each for its own reasons.

The contest had one Semi-Final and a Grand Final which were both hosted by Greek singer and Eurovision star Sakis Rouvas and Greek-American television personality Maria Menounos. 15 countries automatically qualified to the final. These were Greece as it was the winner of the previous edition, the Big 4 and the top 11 countries from the last edition. Due to the withdrawal of Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia automatically qualified although being ranked 12 in 2005.

The contest itself didn’t lack of scandals both before and during the contest. After the qualifiers of the Semi-Final were revealed the Icelandic representative, Silvia Night, didn’t show much sportive spirit and expressed her frustration using some very unfit words when addressing the journalists and even blamed the Swedish singer of qualifying thanks to “an affair she had with the head of the EBU”.

“Yes. I saw them in a car right outside my hotel room. What she’s done is terrible … it’s her fault I didn’t qualify. She’s been copying me ever since I got here”.

Silvia Night when asked about if she was serious about her claimings towards Carola

Watch Silvia Night’s reaction following her non-qualification from the contest.

Another well-remembered scandal from that year was the last-minute withdrawal of Serbia and Montenegro from the contest. Being united as one country back then each of the countries held a private national final before another national final for both countries which was called “Evropesma”. It consisted of 12 songs from each of the countries resulting in a national final of 24 songs. Although this format was used in both 2004 and 2005 to choose the representatives, that year the final results caused a big scandal between the countries they eventually decided to withdraw. The scandal came as a result of the victory of the band No Name which represented the country in 2005. This victory came after the Montenegrin jury gave no points to neither Flamingosi or Ana Nikolič which were both Serbian artists and also viewers favourites. Opposingly both No name and Stephan Faddy, the Montenegrin leading entrants got points from the Serbian jury. This resulted in the victory of No Name. The televoting placed Flamingosi in the first position, Ana Nikolić in second and No Name in third. The crowd didn’t show much satisfaction from the results and started leaving the venue as the voting process was taking place. At the end of the voting, things got more aggressive with some viewers throwing bottles at the stage and showing the middle finger when No Name got on stage to accept the trophy. Following disputes between heads of both RTS and TVCG (The Serbian and Montenegrin stations accordingly) concerning who should represent the country following the scandal, it was decided to address the EBU which on his turn proposed the dispute to be solved between the TV stations without any interventions on behalf of the EBU. The country eventually withdrew from the contest yet was eligible to vote and gave its own set of voting in the contest.
During the Cypriot voting, the Cypriot spokesperson Constantinos Christoforou saluted “Nicosia, the last divided capital of Europe” in reference to the Turkish annexation of Northern Cyprus since 1974. In addition to this, during the Cypriot voting instead of displaying the Island of Cyprus, the telecast displayed Switzerland instead.

Watch the Evropesma 2006 voting and scandal here:

The contest also saw the return of six artists. Anna Vissi came back for the third time after 24 years to represent Greece. Swedish Eurovision winner Carola came back to represent Sweden once again. Eddie Butler, a former member of the group Eden which represented Israel in 1999 came back to represent his country. Viktoras Diawara came back as a part of LT United following his first participation in 2001. Malta sent Fabrizio Faniello for the second time. Polish band Ich Troje came back for the second time as well.

The voting process itself saw some modifications as well following a large scale criticism following the marathon-like voting process in 2005 caused by a large number of countries having to give their votes. That year every spokesperson announced the top 3 voting for his country. Votes from 1 to 7 were shown in a screen next to the spokesperson and later displayed on the scoreboard and the votes of 8,10 and 12 were read by the spokesperson. This did not prevent further criticism for the voting lacking of suspense due to the fact only the top 3 votes were revealed one by one and not all of the votes like this was done till then.

Watch the Grand Final here:

At the end of the voting the band “Lordi” from Finland won the contest with their song “Hard Rock Hallelujah” with 292 points. This victory was the first victory for Finland. “Hard Rock Hallelujah” is also the first and only hard rock song to win the contest to our days.

Listen to the winning entry here:

What are your thoughts about the 2006 contest? Please share them with us in the comment section!

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