The end of a decade: Copenhagen 2001

The end of a decade: Copenhagen 2001
The logo of Copenhagen 2001
Copenhagen, Denmark -

The year 2009 marks the end of the first decade of the 21st century. The last ten days of this year, looks back at the remarkable transition that the Eurovision Song Contest went through. We are also inviting you to share your memories with us, right here on the website as well as on Facebook. Today, we're looking back at the second Eurovision Song Contest of this decade: Copenhagen 2001.

Denmark celebrated its second Eurovision Song Contest victory in Stockholm, after Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann won the contest in 1963 with Dansevise. The Olsen Brothers brought Europe's favourite TV-show back to Denmark with Fly On The Wings Of Love. It was expected that Copenhagen would host the 46th running of the contest, though a suitable venue didn't seem to be available. A workable solution was to put a roof over the Parken Stadium, which would give 35,000 spectators the opportunity to attend. Though the planning was tight, the Parken Stadium indeed got its roof, giving green light for the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest on the 12th of May of that year.

In line with typical Danish minimalistic design traditions, the logo of the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest was made out of four circles, placed in the shape of a heart. The four circles came back in the stage design, as the light construction was made of the same four rings.

The show

Danish broadcaster DR appointed national selection producer Jørgen Ramskov as Executive Producer, while Jan Frifelt was the multl-camera director in charge. From the very beginning, the idea was to present Europe a sophisticated, large-scale TV production. The Parken Stadium, with its enormous capacity, suited this concept well. The show opened with fireworks and the Olsen Brothers, who sang a part of their winning song once again and introduced Europe to their latest single Walk Right Back. Hosts of the show Natasja Crone Back and Søren Pilmark opened the evening in rhyme. The popular group Aqua ft. Safri Duo performed as interval act.

Christine Marchal-Ortiz supervised the contest on behalf of the European Broadcasting Union for the fifth time.

The contestants

23 countries were represented at the big night. France, Sweden and Slovenia were heavily tipped for victory, turning the voting into an absolute surprise; Estonia and host country Denmark topped the leaderboard, and eventually the close race was won by Estonia's Dave Benton and Tanel Padar and their song Everybody. Benton, originally from Aruba, was the first black person to win the Eurovision Song Contest, and Estonia the first eastern European nation to get the right to host the event.

Norway and Iceland shared the bottom spot on the scoreboard. Their respective entries received three points each.

The European Broadcasting Union introduced a new rule this year: Only the top 15 countries and the so called 'Big Four' (Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and France) could participate in the 2002 contest - alongside the the countries that had to stay at home for the 2001 event.

The controversies

The biggest controversy was British commentator Terry Wogan's remark about the hosts. He frequently referred to "Doctor Death and the Tooth Fairy" or the like, heavily insulting the Danes. Wogan eventually issued an official apology for his remarks.

The Swedish entry Listen To Your Heartbeat was accused of being an instant copy of Belgium's 1996 entry Liefde Is Een Kaartspel. The EBU's Reference Group looked into the matter and decided that the matter had to be settled in court, and that the Swedish entry could take part as long as court didn't declare the song plagiarism.

The development

For the first time, (partly) televoting was mandatory in all participating countries. Back-up juries were present in all countries, should any technical problems occur.

Tomorrow, will look back at the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest, which took place in Tallinn.

There are 7 comments

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  • Posted on 26 December 2009 at 16:05
    2001 was the best Spanish clasification of the decade (6th with David Civera and "Dile que la quiero"). I was surprised when suddenly, someday in the summer of 2001, Spanish broadcaster TVE began to look for our representaive for Eurovision 2002. This was the begginning of the updated of the ESC in Spain thanks to "Operacion Triunfo". From the ESC 2001, in my opinion the best entry that deserved to win was France. report to the moderator
  • Posted on 23 December 2009 at 14:48
    I mean the show was great report to the moderator
  • Posted on 23 December 2009 at 14:47
    sorry !but I never lıked thls song but the was great! report to the moderator
  • Posted on 22 December 2009 at 20:01
    A big and of course a great show by the danes, but I was unsatisfied with the hosts and the winner.

    It was the first and until now the only time my video recorder didn't record the whole show. I lost around 10 countiers in the middle of the show. At that time you coundn't buy a dvd some weeks later. A nightmare came true. But thanks to a friend who helped me.

    My favorites that year were: France, Slovenia, Germany and Greece. report to the moderator
  • Posted on 22 December 2009 at 15:31
    I like the winning song!!! report to the moderator
  • Posted on 22 December 2009 at 13:51
    I was there - it was a huge arena - too big for Eurovision really - and the Dabish crowd was a little excitable... its a great shame that the stadium-wide strobe light effect during Slovenia's song did not come across on TV - that could have won it for them, it was incredible! Not my favourite contest, it must be said, and the poetry idea was pretty appalling, but some great songs (France, Slovenia, Greece, Spain and Israel) and I quite enjoyed seeing Denmark knocked into second place by Estonia, given that beer was flowing down my back from local 'party' people.... Roll on 2002! report to the moderator
  • Posted on 22 December 2009 at 13:23
    I am just so sad, that I dident knew any thing about ESC at that time. :-(

    But a little bit happy, because I'm sure I would be angry to see such a song to win.

    Personly I dident like the song.
    Estonia 2009 is much and way better, than this song from 2001. report to the moderator