The end of a decade: Tallinn 2002

The end of a decade: Tallinn 2002
The logo of Tallinn 2002
Tallinn, Estonia -

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 third Eurovision Song Contest of this decade: Tallinn 2002.

Tanel Padar and Dave Benton were the first ones to bring the Eurovision Song Contest to eastern Europe and to the former Soviet region. Financial obstacles for Host Broadcaster ETV were sorted by the Estonian government, which saw the value of hosting such a prestigious event. In the suburbs of Tallinn, the Saku Suurhall was about to be finished, and it proved to be the perfect venue for the Eurovision Song Contest.

The Estonians decided to give the 47th Eurovision Song Contest a theme; A Modern Fairytale. In line with the theme, Estonian Television came up with a logo existing of twelve couloured pebbles in the shape of an 'e'. During the show, the hosts would refer to the Eurovision Song Contest as "the big e".

The show

ETV appointed national selection producer and delegation head Juhan Paadam as Executive Producer. Marius Bratten directed the TV-show for the second time. The television show opened with a film presenting Estonia to the European audience and reached a climax with the performance of last year's winning song, Everybody. Hosts Annely Peebo and Marko Matvere switched live to the Raekoja Plats - the Town Hall Square - in Tallinn, Hamburg, Grenada and London. The hosts performed one of the interval acts as well, singing A Little Story In The Music.

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

The contestants

Originally, 22 countries would be represented at the contest, but the EBU decided to allow two more broadcasters to enter. According to calculations based on the rules, Portugal and Israel were allowed to enter. Portugal thankfully declined the invitation, so Latvia was allowed to enter. They would, ironically, win the contest by surprise thanks to Marie N and her song I Wanna. Or thanks to her performance, as some suggested, which included a sophisicated change of costume.

Rosa from Spain, who was hugely popular in her home country after winning the first season of Operacion Triunfo, was one of the main favourites for victory. Estonia, Sweden and Malta also ranked high at the bookmakers.

Denmark, winning in 2000 and finishing 2nd in 2001, suddenly had to cope with a last place; Malene and her song Tell Me Who You Are didn't get more than 7 points.

The controversies

Controversy erupted during the competition over remarks by commentators on Swedish and Belgian television, both of whom told the audience not to vote for the Israeli singer Sarit Hadad. Hadad received zero points from the Swedish audience but earned two from the Belgians, finishing 12th overall (source: Wikipedia).

During the first performance of the night by the Cypriot group ONE, the postcard for the second performance flashed upon the screen, showing the lead singer with the title of the postcard video: The Ugly Duck.

Sahlene, who represented home country Estonia with Runaway, mixed up her microphone with the one of a backing singer. Consequently, the backing vocal had one minute of fame, while Sahlene's voice could barely be heard. Nevertheless, she finished at a respectable third place.

The development

The Estonians started a tradition of sticking a theme to the Eurovision Song Contest, which was the foundation of a consistent show. Logo, stage design, post cards and even the costumes of the hosts were in line with the theme of the show.

Estonian Television also registered the domain name for the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest. Over seven years later, it's still the event's official website.

Tomorrow, will look back at the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest, which took place in Riga.

There are 7 comments

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  • Posted on 26 December 2009 at 16:17
    In the best of my dreams, I never imagined that Spaniards would become crazy about the ESC. In 2002 TVE reached a peak of 80% thanks to the ESC in Tallinn. This was historical, for this reason the ESC 2002 is a matter of study for communication professionals and students. Despite the expectations, Rosa was only 7th and Spanish people, ridiculously went back to the early '60 when people said that "Europe do not want Spain" or stupidities like this. Rosa is a terrific singer, but her song of 2002 was awful. Despite all this, it was a nice experience to live the Eurovision atmosphere in Spain during months. Also, thanks the ESC 2002, Estonia and the Baltic countries became one of the main touristic destinations for Spanish people. About the ESC 2002 itself, nothing relevat but the French song. Again France, like in 2001, made the difference with a high quality entry. report to the moderator
  • Posted on 25 December 2009 at 20:07
    I wasn't look this ESC live on TV but I was listened songs on YouTube. My opinion is that Latvia was one of the best, Malta was good and my country, Macedonia, was good.. but I thing that Slovenia was xD xD xD so funny and cool. I thing that Slovenia desived top 5 :D report to the moderator
  • Posted on 24 December 2009 at 05:45
    Oh, I remember, I really liked latvia that year. Somebody told people not to vote for us... That's disappointing. But it's not like I liked our song from that year anyway... report to the moderator
  • Posted on 24 December 2009 at 03:46
    I can remeber really well! It was my first eurovision! I was 11 and i really wanted malta to win and was devastated when ira losco only came second. I also remember that i thought that the croatian representative was going to strangle herself on stage with all those seequens on her sleeve!lol report to the moderator
  • Posted on 24 December 2009 at 00:35
    UK got joint 3rd with Estonia - our best result this decade! :-D report to the moderator
  • Posted on 23 December 2009 at 16:43
    :) good edition report to the moderator
  • Posted on 23 December 2009 at 14:14
    The Latvian winning song, reminds me about last years winning song, from Estonia?

    I just dont know why???

    P.S. The Latvian winning song, sounds a little better.
    :-) report to the moderator