Eurovision Song Contest 2006 – Athens

See all of our on-the-spot reports from Athens

The Eurovision Song Contest 2006 was the 51st Eurovision Song Contest, held at the Olympic Indoor Hall in Athens, Greece on 18 May (for the semi-final) and 20 May 2006 (for the final). The hosting national broadcaster of the contest was Ellinikí Radiofonía Tileórasi (ERT). The Finnish band Lordi won the contest with the song "Hard Rock Hallelujah", written by lead singerMr. Lordi. "Hard Rock Hallelujah" was the first ever hard rock song to win the contest, since Eurovision is normally associated with softer pop music and schlager. This was Finland's first victory in Eurovision after waiting forty-five years. It is also noted that they scored the same amount of points in the semi-final and the grand final.

imageThe hosts of the Eurovision Song Contest in Athens were Greek singer Sakis Rouvas, the Greek representative at Eurovision in 2004 and 2009, and the Greek American television presenter and actress, Maria Menounos. In the semi-final, both the hosts sang Katrina and the Waves' contest-winning "Love Shine A Light". For one of the intervals, Sakis Rouvas sang an English version of his Greek hit "S'eho Erotefthi" called "I'm in love with you". Helena Paparizou, who performed the winning song in Kiev, returned to the Eurovision stage in Athens. Following the examples of Sertab Erener, Ruslana and Marie N in the last three years, she sang twice in the final, "My Number One" in the opening and her current song "Mambo!" in the interval (which was also a smash hit in Greece at the time); Greek dancers were also present in the interval acts, as well as other Greek elements. An official CD and DVD was released and a new introduction was an official fan book released from this year, and every year to come with detailed information of every country.

The 2006 contest also saw the 1,000th song to be performed in the contest, when "Every Song Is a Cry for Love" by Ireland's Brian Kennedy was first sung in the semi-final. Armenia also entered for the first time in the contest.