Eurovision Song Contest 2003 – Riga

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

The Eurovision Song Contest 2003 was the 48th annual Eurovision Song Contest. The contest took place in Riga, Latvia on 24 May 2003, following Marie N‘s win in the 2002 contest with the song “I Wanna”. It was the first win and hosting of the competition for Latvia with only their third participation after debuting at the 2000 contest. Latvijas Televīzija (LTV) chose the Skonto Hall as the venue after conducting a bidding process among several cities and venues in Latvia. The hosts for the contest were the previous year’s winner Marie N and former Latvian representative at the 2000 contest, Renārs Kaupers, who competed in the contest as part of the band Brainstorm. The design of the contest was built around the theme “Magical rendez-vous”, which represented the meeting of the various European nations coming to Latvia and encountering Latvia’s versatile landscapes.

imageTwenty-six countries participated, which saw the return of Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway and Poland after having been relegated from competing the previous year, Portugal returning to the contest after withdrawing the previous year, while Ukraine participated in the contest for the first time. Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Macedonia and Switzerland were required to withdraw due to their poor results in the 2002 contest.

The winner for 2003 was Turkey with the song “Everyway That I Can” sung by Sertab Erener, which scored 167 points, narrowly beating Belgium into second place with a margin of 2 points and Russia into third place with a margin of 3 points. This was the first win for Turkey at the Eurovision Song Contest. Norway and Sweden rounded out of the top five, placing fourth and fifth respectively. The United Kingdom achieved their worst result to date, coming in last place (26th) and scoring no points from any of the twenty-six voting nations. The 2003 contest was the last contest to take place on one evening. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) revealed that it would be adding a semi-final show to the competition in order to accommodate the growing number of interested countries wishing to take part in the contest. This was also the last contest in which a relegation system was used to determine which countries would participate in the following year’s contest. The contest also marked the fifth time in the history of the competition where all participants were participating for the first time; there were no returning artists that had already competed in the contest on a previous occasion.


Draw Country Language Artist Song Place Points
01 Iceland English Birgitta “Open Your Heart” 8 81
02 Austria German Alf Poier “Weil der Mensch zählt” 6 101
03 Ireland English Mickey Harte “We’ve Got the World” 11 53
04 Turkey English Sertab Erener “Everyway That I Can” 1 167
05 Malta English Lynn Chircop “To Dream Again” 25 4
06 Bosnia and Herzegovina Croatian, English Mija Martina “Ne brini” 16 27
07 Portugal Portuguese, English Rita Guerra “Deixa-me sonhar” 22 13
08 Croatia Croatian, English Claudia Beni “Više nisam tvoja” 15 29
09 Cyprus English Stelios Constantas “Feeling Alive” 20 15
10 Germany English Lou “Let’s Get Happy” 11 53
11 Russia Russian t.A.T.u. “Ne ver’’, ne boisia” (Не верь, не бойся) 3 164
12 Spain Spanish Beth “Dime” 8 81
13 Israel Hebrew Lior Narkis “Words for Love” 19 17
14 Netherlands English Esther Hart “One More Night” 13 45
15 United Kingdom English Jemini “Cry Baby” 26 0
16 Ukraine English Olexandr “Hasta la Vista” 14 30
17 Greece English Mando “Never Let You Go” 17 25
18 Norway English Jostein Hasselgård “I’m Not Afraid to Move On” 4 123
19 France French Louisa Baïleche “Monts et merveilles” 18 19
20 Poland German, Polish, Russian Ich Troje “Keine Grenzen – Żadnych granic” 7 90
21 Latvia English F.L.Y. “Hello From Mars” 24 5
22 Belgium Imaginary Urban Trad “Sanomi” 2 165
23 Estonia English Ruffus “Eighties Coming Back” 21 14
24 Romania English Nicola “Don’t Break My Heart” 10 73
25 Sweden English Fame “Give Me Your Love” 5 107
26 Slovenia English Karmen “Nanana” 23 7