Eurovision Song Contest
It was the first Eurovision Song Contest to be a two-day event, with one qualifying round held on a Wednesday and the grand finale held on the following Saturday. Under this new format, byes into the final were given to the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain (as the largest financial contributors to the European Broadcasting Union), Turkey (as the 2003 contest winners) and the nine remaining highest placed finishers in the 2003 contest. It was also the first contest to be broadcast in high definition format.
All participating countries had the right to vote in both the qualifying round and the grand finale. This was the first year in which all 36 participating countries voted based on a public phone vote.
On March 23, 2004, two draws were held to determine the running-order for the Semi-Final and Final events. A third draw took place, immediately following the Semi-Final on May 12, 2004, to determine the running order of the ten qualifying songs in the Final.
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 the votes from Monaco, reported that they had encountered problems with their calculation software, and there was a problem with text message voting in Croatia. Consequently, some votes were not counted in the results announced at the end of the Semi-Final broadcast. When the results were corrected, to include these additional votes, they were found not to have affected which countries had qualified for the Final.
The contest was won by the Ukrainian entrant, Ruslana Lyzhichko, with the song Wild Dance, which won 280 points. Some commentators suggested that, true to Eurovision tradition, her victory could be attributed more to her dance routine and revealing attire than to the quality of the song. Allegations have been made by some, such as Terry Wogan, that bloc voting from Balkan and eastern European countries distorted the results. It is also notable that this was only the second participation for Ukraine.
Every country in the competition, including those who did not qualify for the final, was allowed to vote for the winners. After all performances were completed, each country opened their phonelines to allow their viewers to nominate their favourite song. Voting for your own country is not allowed, however.
According to the way in which viewers placed their vote, each country awarded points: the country which received the most viewer votes was awarded 12 points, the second 10 points, the third 8 points and then 7, 6, 5, etc. down to 1. This system allows for all countries to get at least a couple of points (regardless of whether they win the favour of any particular country).
de:Eurovision_Song_Contest_2004 nl:Eurovisiesongfestival 2004