Following the victory of Ruslana in Istanbul back in 2004, Kiev was chosen to host the following edition of the Eurovision Song Contest as it was Ukraine’s turn to host the contest. Join us as we step back in time to the first time the Eurovision embarked on the Ukrainian soil!
Most of us still hold some memories from Kiev back in 2017. But let’s not forget 2005 and its own charms. The slogan of that edition was “Awakening” symbolizing the awakening of Kiev and the whole of Ukraine in order to present themselves to Europe. The organizers saw the hosting of the contest as an opportunity for Ukraine to show a better picture of itself and thus boost tourism. Some even hoped this will boost Ukraine’s chances for membership in the European Union.
The venue chosen for the hosting was the Palace of Sports in Kiev which went through a series of modifications done to bring it to the standard requested by the EBU for a venue to be able to host the contest. Four years after this hosting it will also be the venue of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2009. This makes it the only venue to date to host both the Eurovision Song Contest as well as the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
The contest consisted of a Semi-Final and a Grand Final, same as the previous year, and both shows were hosted by Maria Efrosinina and Pavlo Shylko. The national broadcaster intended to offer the hosting to Ruslana at first, but due to numerous reasons the idea was turned down and Ruslana only opened the Grand Final and did some of the interviews in the Green Room. This also was the first time both Semi-Final and Grand Final would have an opening act. The Song and Dance Company of Ukraine Military Forces, A-6 Ballet and Diezel DJ Power opened the Semi-Final and as previously mentioned, Ruslana opened the Grand Final.
Watch her opening performance here:
Watch the Semi-Final here:
Although it was the first time Ukraine hosted the Contest (this was the 50th edition), this did not prevent the 2005 edition from having its very own scandals.
Serbia and Montenegro’s entry “Zauvijek Moja” by “No Name” was accused of plagiarism and Portugal’s entry “Amar” suffered from low-quality sound following the failure of the singer’s microphone on stage on multiple occasions.
In addition to the return of Hungary to the Contest and the debuts of both Bulgaria and Moldova two more countries were supposed to compete. These were the Czech Republic and Lebanon. Although both countries withdrew, it was Lebanon’s withdrawal which created more buzz as Lebanon withdrew following a dispute between the country and the EBU over the broadcast of the Israeli entry “Hasheket Shenish’ar”. The Lebanese broadcaster made a request not to broadcast the Israeli entry due to political reasons (it is illegal in Lebanon to provide any acknowledgement of Israel). The EBU however pointed out that that according to the rules of the Contest, all participating countries should broadcast the whole show without cutting out entries. This resulted in the Lebanese withdrawal. If Lebanon was to participate in the contest, it would have been represented by Aline Lahoud with her song “Quand Tout S’enfui”. Eventually, the song will not be included in the official Eurovision 2005 CD
Listen to the Lebanese entry here:
Like almost any other contest, the contest in Kiev saw some past artists returning to the contest. Constantinos Christoforou came back for his third appearance in the contest representing Cyprus once again. Carrying the Maltese flag that year was the second runner up from 1998 Chiara Siracusa who would get to the 2nd position in this edition. The runner up of the 1999 contest Selma would step on the Eurovision stage once again as well, however, she was unable to restore her great success from her first time and eventually failed to qualify to the Grand Final. The runner of the 1995 contest Anabel Conde who then represented Spain would come back as a backing vocalist for Andorra. Helena Paparizou who previously represented Greece in Copenhagen back in 2001 came back for her second (and last up to date) appearance on the Eurovision stage. By the end of the voting, she was crowned the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2005 and would fly the contest to Greece the following year.
Take a look at the winning entry here:
The voting of that edition was also memorable for its very own reasons: Once again every country fully announced her votes from 1 to 8 and then 10 and 12. With 39 countries competing that year, making it the contest with the highest number of competing countries back then, voting structure resulted in a long marathon-like voting procedure. Andorra, Moldova and Monaco didn’t use televoting, but their jury votes in the Grand Final. These three countries gave the most points to Israel and only 8 points to the eventual winner Greece. By the end of the voting Greece was given the winner’s trophy followed by Malta in second place managing to restore their best result from 2002 and with Romania coming in third position, which is their highest score to date. On the other hand, all members of the “Big 4” (Spain, France, Germany and the United Kingdom) as well as the host country Ukraine got to the lowest rankings on the board.
Check out the voting here:
For those of you who missed the contest or just want to re-watch it, you can watch it from here:
What are your memories from Kiev 2005? Please tell us in the comments section below!