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A great year! The stage was truly stunning! It was strange as it featured eight masterpieces and the same number of pieces of crap. I have so much trouble with keeping my list the same. Numbers 5-7 are far too low for the entries from Sweden, Denmark and, especially, France. All of the top 8 entries deserved to be in the top 3! However, I chose Norway, Spain and Croatia since they were the ones which occupied those positions on my list before I heard all the songs again. They, to me, are the most memorable. At one point, I had a four-way tie at my number-one-position (the way Noah first saw my review). I changed than now. I still feel sorry I did, but it was unfair to the other entries ... Sweden, Denmark, France and Israel also deserved to be at number one ... this isn't the last time I say that.

1. Poland
It did sound a little rusty at times, and it may have sounded better if not played by an orchestra. However, it is very underrated. Fifteen points were nowhere near enough for it. Not as good as To nie ja, but pretty damn good anyway ... 8/10

2. Ireland
This is the type of song Frank Sinatra could have sung. It would probably be one of his lesser efforts, but it's really not a bad entry. Probably better than most Irish entries. That doesn't sound like saying much, but, in this instance, it's meant solely as a compliment. I really like it and I find it hugely underrated. It is so much better than some of the Irish winners. 7.5/10

3. Germany
Not the worst entry of the year and one of the better German entries over the years, but, then again, German entries really have been terrible (1994 being a rare exception). The beginning was great, the performance was OK, and definitely deserving of more than one point. 5/10

4. Bosnia-Herzegovina
Not the worst song of the night, but definitely one of the duller entries this year. There was nothing wrong with the performance on the night, but (and this should be clear by now) ballads performed by male vocalists have never attracted my attention. 4/10

5. Norway
Aah, I get goose bumps when I only think about how much I hated this song when it won. Now, not only have I grown to adore it, but it features in my all-time top 20 too! As do many other entries of the year, but more about that later. Quite possibly the greatest almost-instrumental song which I have ever heard (especially when it comes to ESC). The music is perfect for some top-class Hollywood powerhouse production, but it couldn't have received an Oscar as it would have been adapted (I do carry on and on about some trivial things). It would have been ruined by any more lyrics and the very few it features are as beautiful as any other (especially when it comes to ESC), in any language!  10/10

6. Russia
He looked so repellent. That is the main reason that this didn't score better than it did. However, if you shut your eyes and try to listen to the song, it really isn't too bad. Yet, I hate this type of song and this is definitely my least favourite Russian entry. 4/10

7. Iceland
A good ballad, which, like the year's Turkish entry, may have sounded better (to me) in another language. An adequate performance sold it off, but it really should have been a little faster to appeal to a larger audience. Even then, maybe ... Dull. 3.5/10

8. Austria
It scored extremely well for an Austrian song, even though it probably shouldn't have. It's nothing special, but the jazzy elements, to me, make it sound much better than it is. Still, it really isn't any better than average. If you ask me, it should have been somewhere down the bottom. However, I don't recall the performance, so I could be missing something. 3/10

9. Spain
My definite favourite of the time has managed to hold that position despite formidable competition from sooooooo many songs this year (my Top 7 are all in my all-time top 30). I was so upset during the first half of the voting when this wasn't doing as well as I hoped it would, and was on the verge of tears, when, towards the end, the host announced that it had no more chances of winning. It was a spectacular vocal performance, even though she was clearly too nervous. Yet, it remains a classic and the best Spanish entry ever. 10/10

10. Turkey
Simply unfortunate. The song is very good, but not only was the performance weak, but the Turkish language doesn't go too well with this type of music and it wasn't exactly complemented by the orchestra. Still, the ethnic Turkish songs are much better. 4.5/10

11. Croatia
This used to be my tied favourite of the year (along with Norway, Greece and Spain). Simply stunning in every respect, it was the first truly classic Croatian entry and the first chance we got to see Danijela perform at the ESC. The performance was brilliant and deserving of an even higher ranking.  I hope Magazin get at least one more chance to sing at the ESC. Even with a new vocalist (who is also very talented and has a similar voice), their songs have remained wonderful and they should have won Dora at least on another two occasions. 10/10

12. France
This can possibly be classified as the song which receives my highest bonus points this year simply because I love the French language. It did very well, but it probably wouldn't have with televoting, which makes jury voting a good thing (not that it wasn't a good thing in the first place). Even though I liked this song since the first time I heard it, it has grown on me. It's almost sensational. I'm beginning to find it inspiring and pleasantly repetitive. 10/10

13. Hungary
Interesting, but not exactly appealing. Somehow strangely, I actually like it a little, though it gets predictable towards the end. What a blow for Hungary, coming second last after their fourth ranking from the previous year. That song was much better ... that's an understatement. 3.5/10

14. Belgium
In this instance, I hold double prejudice towards the year's Belgian entry, because not only is it a male-vocalist-performed ballad, but I didn't get a chance to hear it all for the second time (I didn't pay any attention to it the first time around). Yet, I feel that I heard enough and it is simply an average effort. 4/10

15. United Kingdom
Pretty modern, but not exactly my type of song. It's nice, but, alas, a little too sugary (though not in the usual 'love and peace forever'-way). Judging from the audio version and some other people's opinions, the orchestra must have ruined it. 4/10

16. Portugal
Since it's Portuguese, the weak ranking is explainable, even though it really isn't a bad song. The orchestra did make it sound a little out of date and his vocals aren't exactly attractive, but, still, it isn't such a bad song ... or is it? 4/10

17. Cyprus
Not quite perfect, but very good nonetheless. Alex sang much better this time (in comparison to his terrible performance in 2000), but, I thought, the song wasn't as good as the subsequent Nomiza, but those two shouldn't be compared as they really don't have too much in common. I find this one to be very overrated, as opposed to that other one. However, it grew on me. I still find it inferior to most of the Cypriot entries that followed though. 8/10

18. Sweden
An exemplary male-performed ballad. It scored well and it deserved to. Along with Carola's glorious 1991 winning effort, this is, by far, the best of the Swedish entries and one of the best songs of 1995. If only it was in another year, it would probably have been at number one on my list. Unfortunately, I didn't even notice it at the time, probably due to the seemingly inadequate performance (which was more than adequate). Like the other (surprisingly great) Scandinavian entries of the year, this doesn't fit well in the ESC. 10/10

19. Denmark
Denmark is one of my less favourite ESC-countries, but I truly adore this song. It's been haunting me for a while now. Scandinavia really did well this year, on my list as well as on 'that official list' and Denmark has rarely done this well on my list (along with the other Scandinavian countries). It deserved to be in the top 5. Like Sweden, it hasn't had enough time to grow on me. Yet, it does make it difficult for me to compile my top 10 list. I keep playing this and Se på mig over an over, all the time. And I do mean ALL the time. 10/10

20. Slovenia
I loved it at the time (it was my favourite at one point of my life), but really grew tired of it. However, that was a great performance and this is the quintessential ESC-ballad. Probably the first truly great Slovene entry (I am one of the rare few who also likes their '93 debut), it is better than Svajger's song from ESC'99, which really wasn't too bad itself. 8/10

21. Israel
Along with Spain, my favourite at the time, only this one has gone down a little on my Top 23 list, but its rating has remained the same. The performance was adequate, but a little annoying since the Israelis keep using that same stage-plan, with the back-up vocals approaching the front of the stage as the song reaches its climax. 10/10

22. Malta
A lousy accent and an unnotable song. My least favourite of the evening by far, the fact that Malta is among my less favourite ESC-countries really did make sense after this. They have had good entries though. This may be their worst ever, and yet it got in the top 10, while Greece didn't (actually, any other song was more deserving of a spot in the top 10). Am I the only one who wants them to send songs in Maltese (even though I love Desire)? 2/10

23. Greece
As good as its Serbian adaptation (by the sublime Lepa Brena, definitely one of my favourite performers ever!), this is my favourite Greek entry, and yet another one of those which would have ranked at the top of my list in any other year (during the 90s). The performance was nice, and this is definitely one of the most underrated ESC-songs. 10/10

TOP 23:

1. Spain
2. Norway
3. Croatia
4. Greece
5. Sweden
6. Denmark
7. France
8. Israel
9. Cyprus
10. Slovenia
11. Poland
12. Ireland
13. Germany
14. Turkey
15. Bosnia-Herzegovina
16. Russia
17. Belgium
18. Portugal
19. United Kingdom
20. Iceland
21. Austria
22. Hungary
23. Malta