The contest was won by Latvia's Marie N and her song "I Wanna", which won by a tight margin over Malta's Ira Losco. Third place went to both the United Kingdom and host country Estonia, with France completing the Top five.
There had been worries about whether Estonian broadcaster ETV would be able to fund the event; however, worries were put to rest when a combination of fundraising activities and the Estonian Government enabled them to host the event. The theme implemented for this year's contest was 'a modern fairytale', which was evident in the postcards aired between the songs, which showed classic fairytales ending with Estonian situations.
The show began with 2001 winners Tanel Padar and Dave Benton performing a reprise of their winning entry "Everybody". The hosts for the evening, Annely Peebo and Marko Matvere, gave a performance of "A Little Story in the Music", composed by Raimond Valgre and arranged especially for the event, during the commercial break between the songs from Sweden and Finland.
A total of 24 countries competed in the 2002 Contest, which included the top 17 countries from the previous years contest, alongside the seven returning countries which had been relegated from competing in the 2001 Contest. These countries replaced the bottom 6 countries from the 2001 contest, which were relegated from taking part in this year's Contest.
The total participants had originally been 22, but when the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) increased their participation number for the Contest to 24 this granted Israel and Portugal the opportunity to enter. Portugal declined to enter the Contest due to internal problems in the Portuguese broadcaster RTP. This allowed Latvia (who went on to win the Contest) to enter.
Controversy erupted during the competition over remarks by commentators on Swedish and Belgian TV, 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.
|02||United Kingdom||English||Jessica Garlick||"Come Back"||3||111|
|03||Austria||English||Manuel Ortega||"Say a Word"||18||26|
|05||Spain||Spanish, English||Rosa||"Europe's Living a Celebration"||7||81|
|06||Croatia||English||Vesna Pisarović||"Everything I Want"||11||44|
|07||Russia||English||Prime Minister||"Northern Girl"||10||55|
|09||Macedonia||Macedonian||Karolina Gočeva||"Od nas zavisi" (Од нас зависи)||19||25|
|10||Israel||Hebrew, English||Sarit Hadad||"Nadlik Beyakhad Ner (Light a Candle)"
(נדליק ביחד נר)
|11||Switzerland||French||Francine Jordi||"Dans le jardin de mon âme"||22||15|
|12||Sweden||English||Afro-dite||"Never Let It Go"||8||72|
|13||Finland||English||Laura Voutilainen||"Addicted To You"||20||24|
|14||Denmark||English||Malene||"Tell Me Who You Are"||24||7|
|15||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Serbian, English||Maja Tatić||"Na jastuku za dvoje" (На јастуку за двоје)||13||33|
|16||Belgium||English||Sergio & The Ladies||"Sister"||13||33|
|17||France||French||Sandrine François||"Il faut du temps (je me battrai pour ça)"||5||104|
|18||Germany||English||Corinna May||"I Can't Live Without Music"||21||17|
|19||Turkey||Turkish, English||Buket Bengisu
& Group Safir
|"Leylaklar Soldu Kalbinde"||16||29|
|20||Malta||English||Ira Losco||"7th Wonder"||2||164|
& Marcel Pavel
|"Tell Me Why"||9||71|
|23||Latvia||English||Marie N||"I Wanna"||1||176|