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1. Cyprus
This was a performance that I couldn't download, but it didn't make any difference because I clearly remember it ever since 1997. I don't usually fall for this type of song, tributes to mothers and stuff like that, but this one had a distinct ethnic sound which pleased me even though it did try to be a little mainstream. 10/10

2. Turkey
A classic! This was the song that convinced me that Turkish music really is 'nice' and I've looked forward to every Turkish entry ever since and only been disappointed once (1998). Sebnem Parker is beautiful and gave an adequate performance with a few flaws. Among my all-time favourite twenty! 10/10

3. Norway
Probably not the worst ESC-entry of all time, but pretty bad anyway. I think that the performance was very weak and it practically ruined the song, which wasn't truly great in the first place. This may or may not have been the worst song of the year. 1.5/10

4. Austria
I have a strong suspicion that this song isn't as bad as it seems. For one thing, those clothes really didn't suit her and may have cost her points. I like it a little and I don't know whether other people do too, but it doesn't take much to know that it really is no classic. 4/10

5. Ireland
Originally, I didn't pay too much attention to this entry, but after listening to it again, I'm happy to say that I really like it. That's a lot since it is a ballad performed by a male vocalist, which received an undeservedly high amount of points ... exactly what I hate. It was really reminiscent of Johnny Logan and I was glad to find that Marc Roberts got a haircut before appearing on-stage. 7/10

6. Slovenia
This was my favourite at the time and it still is (along with another two beautiful songs performed by beautiful women). I think that this is, by far, the best Slovenian song I have ever heard (and I actually like all of the Slovenian entries). Tanja is gorgeous and she gave an adequate performance. Originally, I thought that I was one of very few to like this simply because Slovenian sounds a lot like my language. I was wrong about that first part. 10/10

7. Switzerland
Another Swiss entry which is not bad, but totally passable. No wonder it scored so badly. It's an average ballad and that's all I can say for it. Nothing unusual, nothing memorable, nothing to recommend it for ... but it isn't bad. It's just not good ... 3/10

8. The Netherlands
If you listen to it closely a few times, you'll probably find that it's catchy, but I've got many other better things to do. The performance was good, considering the fact that it is a girl band. However, no song in this language would score well unless it is particularly exceptional, which was the case the following year and clearly not this one. 4/10

9. Italy
Superb! This is one of the best Italian ESC-songs and that's quite a privilege. The female singer (whose name I don't know) who sang was truly gorgeous, and the performance was brilliant ... It could have easily gone into the Celine-Dion-region of unnecessary diva-like hysteria, but it stayed away. Yet another song from this year which joined my all-time top twenty. And it sounds almost nothing like "Listen to Your Heart". 10/10

10. Spain
This is so overrated! There is almost nothing to justify its overly high ranking. The great performance being an exception. Spain seems to be good at these ballads performed by a man but, like so many of them, this is only adequate, at most. 4/10

11. Germany
What the hell is she wearing? Anyhow, I've almost never liked the German entries, but a couple of exceptions come to mind ... this is not one of them. The costume aside, it was a relatively good performance and the song isn't too bad. 4/10

12. Poland
'Hakuna Matataaaaaaaargh, what a ...' Well maybe not quite Hakuna Matata, but
it still sounds like something out of "The Lion King." Even though it didn't get me carried away, I really liked it and the performance was also nice. 7/10

13. Estonia
Talk about overrated! What is so special about this? Average ballad, average performance (or maybe slightly better), average everything .... I like most of the Estonian songs, but this is an exception. I don't hate it and I'm not saying that it is bad, but not exactly worthy of no. 8. But it does grow on you (a little) after a while ... 4/10

14. Bosnia-Herzegovina
I liked the music, but it was stolen from another song ... I'm not sure which one, but I'm sure that it was stolen. And it is a little old-fashioned ... but definitely pleasant. As strange as it may sound, I actually expected it to score lower, but it didn't. That's not a bad thing. 4/10

15. Portugal
As with most other nul-pointers, this should have also received a little (butnot much) more than that. It isn't exactly easily remembered and there were many similar songs this year, but there were also a few songs which should have done worse than this ... and there weren't many of those ... Also, hasn't Portugal suffered enough already? 3.5/10

16. Sweden
Here's one of those songs I mentioned above ... this was terrible ... How did it get anything more than 10 points (there's always a few with these things - just look at the Netherlands and switch the genders)? I hated this (even though, I must admit, it has a few things going for it) from the start. I never could stand boy-bands ... 1.5/10

17. Greece
This isn't Greek?!?! It sounds Turkish .... not as good as other songs like Dinle (for example), but then how many are? It did better than I expected it to, but I didn't mind. It is very ethnic which means that I really like it, but some of it was a little too much. 6/10

18. Malta
Better than most of the ballads performed on the night, but not exactly groundbreaking. The performance wasn't perfect (I couldn't understand a word she said for some reason), but a nice, well-behaved melody helped it to a relatively deserved place in the top 10 (a rare achievement for a Maltese entry. They always get in the top 10, but rarely deservedly. 6/10

19. Hungary
Oh, great! Another boy-band! I can't stand these things ... even though the song, admittedly yet again, did have a few nice things in it. Still, this is tragic ... All those English-speaking Backstreet Boys wannabe's are enough. Better than Sweden, but that really isn't a major achievement. I hate it anyway. And the translated lyrics always make me throw up. 2/10

20. Russia
Now, this is a diva! A real diva! Although she didn't exactly look perfect, she gave such a professional, heartfelt and touching performance .... She really made me believe that those were her own words ... and they probably were. A truly underrated song with a rare component, almost never before witnessed in the ESC ... some like to call it 'feeling'. 10/10

21. Denmark
Man, this is supposed to be funny (at least you know that you don't have to take it seriously). It almost looks tragic instead. The lyrics really ARE funny when you understand them, but not particularly outrageous. And he really reminds me of a person who spends way too much time in front of a computer screen. Barely bearable. 3/10

22. France
I have always been attracted by the French culture and their language is especially beautiful. That's the main reason I love this very slow song of the kind I really don't like. Fanny is cute and the lyrics are great in any language. The final song to enter my top 20 this year. 10/10

23. Croatia
This is one of those songs I may (or may not) have heard on the radio, enjoyed it, heard it again (once or twice before I go to sleep, despite the title, I could fall asleep to this, that meant in a nice way) and then totally forgotten about it. It's a nice average pop tune which never quite gets started even though you expect it to. ENI really (and I do mean this) are clones of the "Spice Girls" (while they were still popular). They gave a relatively good performance for a girl band. They're pretty, they're cool, but they definitely do not rule! (Unlike, you guessed it, XXL.) However, this is that bonus-point song of the year. It's Croatian ... 7/10

24. United Kingdom
The song isn't particularly groundbreaking, but the performance was high above average. Despite many opposing comments, I still don't think that this deserved to win ... I'm not particularly angry that it did, but this strange year, there was a truly exceptional number of GREAT songs and this wasn't one of them. It was simply very good. 7/10

25. Iceland
An interesting performance ... visually. The vocal performance wasn't as inventive. I probably would have liked the song much more if Icelandic was a more familiar language and his voice wasn't as coarse. It is unlikely that I will ever listen to this song again, if I have a choice. 3.5/10

MY TOP 25:
1. Slovenia
2. Italy
3. Turkey
4. France
5. Cyprus
6. Russia
7. Ireland
8. Poland
9. UK
10. Croatia
11. Greece
12. Malta
13. Bosnia & Herzegovina
14. Estonia
15. Spain
16. Netherlands
17. Austria
18. Germany
19. Portugal
20. Iceland
21. Switzerland
22. Denmark
23. Hungary
24. Norway
25. Sweden