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This year's Eurovision contest was the first to be a two-day event, with one qualifying round held on a Wednesday and the grand final held on the following Saturday. Under this new format, 'byes' into the final were given to the Big 4; the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain (as the largest financial contributors to the European Broadcasting Union) and the ten highest placed finishers in the 2003 contest. Andorra, Albania, Belarus and Serbia and Montenegro participated in the Contest for the first time, with Monaco returning after an 25-year absence. Luxembourg were due to return after an absence of 11 years, but later pulled out after money issues arose between RTL and the EBU.
After all performances were completed, each country opened their phone lines to allow their viewers to vote for their favourite song. Voting for the country in which you are situated is not allowed, however. Each country awarded points based on the number of votes cast for each song: the song 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.
All participating countries had the right to vote in both the qualifying round and the grand final. This was the first year in which all 36 participating countries voted based on a public phone vote. However France, Poland and Russia did not broadcast the semi-final (as they were not participating in it) and therefore did not give votes for it like the other thirty-three countries.
In the event of a tie, the number of countries to vote for the tying songs would be counted, and the song having the most countries awarding points to it, would be the winner. In the event of a further tie, then the previously used method of counting back on the number of 12 points, 10 points etc, would be used to find an eventual winner.
Commentary as ever with Sir Terry Wogan...
File: The Eurovision Song Contest - 2004 Final (15th May 2004) [BBC1 (DivX]) DW Staff Approved.avi
Filesize: 2228.44 Mb ( 2,336,686,080 bytes )
Play length: 03:16:00.480 (294012 frames)
Subtitles: Not Present
Video: 544x416 (1.31:1), 25 fps, DivX Codec 5.x or 6.x ~1469 kbps avg, 0.26 bit/pixel
Audio: 48 kHz, MPEG Layer 3, 2 ch, ~113.10 kbps avg
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