|Eurovision Song Contest 2004|
|Theme||Under The Same Sky|
|Semi-final date||12 May 2004|
|Final date||15 May 2004|
|Venue|| Abdi İpekçi Arena|
|Presenter(s)|| Korhan Abay|
|Host broadcaster||Turkey Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT)|
|Opening act||Sertab Erener|
|Interval act|| Semi-final: ABBA: The Last Video|
Final: Fire of Anatolia
|Number of entries||36|
|Debuting countries|| Albania|
Serbia & Montenegro
|Returning countries|| Denmark|
|Voting system||Each country awards 1 – 8, 10, and 12 points to their 10 favourite songs|
"Wild Dances" by Ruslana
|Eurovision Song Contest|
The Eurovision Song Contest 2004 was the 49th Eurovision Song Contest and it was held in the Abdi İpekçi Arena in Istanbul, Turkey.
This was the first occasion in which the contest was held in Turkey after they had won the competition in 2003 with Sertab Erener singing "Everyway That I Can". The hosting national broadcaster of the contest was Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT).
Ukrainian singer Ruslana won the contest with "Wild Dances". It is notable that this was only Ukraine's second participation in the contest. This was also the third year in a row in which the contest was won by a woman, performing a song composed at least partially by herself (being the previous two Marie N and Sertab Erener, which co-wrote their winning songs for the 2002 and 2003 contests). 2nd Place went to Serbia & Montenegro in their debut entry, 3rd to Greece, 4th to host nation Turkey, 5th to Cyprus (being their most successful entry to date) 6th to Sweden and 7th to Albania (also a debuting country).
To accommodate the increasing number of countries who wished to participate, a semi-final was introduced. The countries which didn't qualify for the final are normally calculate like participating countries, as well semi finals are a part of the competition. For the second consecutive year, no returning acts were present - only the sixth time (including 1956) in the history of the contest that this happened and it was the first time this had happened in two consecutive years.
The contest was held in Istanbul following Turkey's victory in the 2003 contest in Riga,Latvia with Sertab Erener's "Everyway That I Can". Originally the Mydonose Showlandwas chosen by TRT to host the event, but was changed to the Abdi İpekçi Arena as the contest approached due to its bigger capacity.
Korhan Abay and Meltem Cumbul were presenters of the show.
In the semi-final and the final, Meltem Cumbul warmed up the audience with a sing-a-long of Eurovision classic "Nel blu dipinto di blu (Volare)", originally by Domenico Modugno. Sertab Erener returned to the stage in the final to perform "Everyway That I Can", the 2003 winning song, and one of her new songs called "Leave". Sertab also interviewed contestants in the green room. The Turkish dance ensemble Fire of Anatolia performed as the interval act. An official CD was released and, for the first time, the entire contest was released on DVD which included the Semi-Final and the Grand Final.
The contest's new official generic logo was used for the first time this year, with the heart-shaped flag in the centre due to be changed for future contests. The slogan for Istanbul's contest was "Under The Same Sky", which communicated the importance of a united Europe and Turkish integration.
This year was also notable as it was the first year that Turkey voted for Cyprus and the second year in a row that Cyprus voted for Turkey. Nevertheless, in a move that angered some Cypriots, when the country presented its votes no map of the island was shown (all other presenters were preceded with their country being highlighted on a map). This was due to Turkey's recognition of the northern half of the island as an independent republic (not recognised by any other state). It is likely Turkey pulled out of showing the map because it would have only highlighted the southern portion of the island, and thus angered the international community.
This was also the first year that the scores were only re-read by the hosts in one language. Before 2004 every point was repeated in French and English, but due to 36 countries voting, and more in years to come, in 2004 to save time the hosts only re-read each score in one language. This was in the opposite of the original country representative spoke in.
Also, this year was the first time in which a non-winning entry scored over 200 points. Prior to this contest, only Rock 'n' Roll Kids and Love Shine a Light, the winners on 1994 and 1997 had passed this mark. On this contest, all songs in the top 3 got over 200 points.
This year's Eurovision contest was the first to be a two-day event, with one qualifying round held on a Wednesday and the grand final held on the following Saturday. Under this new format, byes into the final were given to the 'Big 4'; France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom (as the largest financial contributors to the European Broadcasting Union) and the ten highest placed finishers in the 2003 contest. Andorra, Albania, Belarus and Serbia and Montenegro participated in the Contest for the first time, with Monacoreturning after a 25-year absence. Luxembourg were due to return after an absence of 11 years, but later pulled out after money issues arose between RTL and the EBU. All participating countries had the right to vote in both the qualifying round and the grand final. This was the first year in which all 36 participating countries voted based on a public phone vote. However France, Poland and Russia did not broadcast the semi-final (as they were not participating in it) and therefore did not give votes for it like the other thirty-three countries.
Just before the Slovenian entry was about to be performed, the Turkish broadcaster accidentally took a commercial break which meant the Slovenian song was not heard by Turkish viewers and consequently, Turkey gave no votes for the song. There were technical problems when in a short hiatus halfway through the songs, (used for the advertising break), the hosts tried to contact various parties in Europe. They tried contacting Germany, Spain and Turkey, but in the end were only able to get a response fromGermany. During the Romanian postcard introduction, the information for the Romanian entry appeared on the screen, but was quickly taken away. A final minor hiccup occurred when, on her way to present the winner the trophy, Sertab Erener got her shoe stuck in a speaker grill by the side of the stage and had to be freed by stagehands. However this didn't delay proceedings, and other than the above the show ran smoothly.
An hour after the semi-final had been aired, the European Broadcasting Union discovered that there had been problems with the vote counting in Monaco and Croatia. Digame, an affiliate of Deutsche Telekom, who had been responsible for processing all the votes(from 2004), reported that they had encountered problems with their calculation software, and there was a problem with text message voting in Croatia. When the votes were counted, results showed that Croatia had awarded themselves 4 points, which is against Eurovision rules. Later, an official EBU statement read that there had been technical problems at the side of the Croatian mobile service provider, who neglected to delete the illegal votes from the results. Consequently, some votes were not counted in the results announced at the end of the broadcast of the semi-final. When the results were corrected to include these additional votes, they were found not to have affected which countries had qualified for the Final.