Eurovision Song Contest 2004 Semi-Final
For the first time ever in the almost 50-year-old history of the Eurovision Song Contest, a Semi-Final was held to ensure that all countries who wanted could participate in the event.
A Semi-Final for the first time!
In 2003, it was decided that a Semi-Final would be held in 2004 with only the so-called 'Big Four' (Germany, UK, France and Spain) plus the ten most successful countries from the 2003 ranking having a pre-set spot in the Final. All the other countries had to go through a Semi-Final, which was held on the Wednesday prior to the Eurovision Song Contest Final night on Saturday.
22 countries decided to take part in the 2004 Semi-Final which would only allow the top 10 to progress to the Final. All countries would have to use telephone and SMS voting to decide about the ten happy winners which would only be revealed by the opening of envelopes. The total result of the Semi-Final would only be made public after the big Final, to keep the tension high.
Several new countries entered the 2004 Semi-Final: Andorra, Albania and Belarus were there for the first time ever and Serbia & Montenegro participated for the first time as an independent country even though Serbian songs had already been taking part under the flag of Yugoslavia. Monaco decided to return to the contest after a modest break of 25 years.
Facts & figures
A new logo - hearts including the flag of all participating countries - was introduced in Istanbul and replaced all the exsisting logos which were used before. Furthermore, the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest was produced centralized by the EBU for the first time.