F.L.Y. to represent Latvia in Eurovision

The trio of Mārtiņš Freimanis, Lauris Reiniks and Yana Kay, known collectively as F.L.Y., will represent Latvia in the Eurovision Song Contest scheduled May 24 in Rīga.

The three well-known singers, who performed the song “Hello From Mars,” were the resounding winners in the Latvian national contest, Eirodziesma 2003, held Feb. 1 in the Ventspils Olympic Hall.

F.L.Y. finished well ahead of the other contestants in two rounds of voting.

Freimanis is lead singer of the Liepāja rock group Tumsa. Yana Kay is a popular Russian-Latvian pop and dance music performer. And Reiniks is a relatively new talent who has quickly become a celebrity in Latvia. All three have competed in previous national contests.

A total of 15 artists were in competition. The winner was chosen in a two-stage process. After all the songs had been performed, people around Latvia voted by telephone during a 30-minute period. The top five songs were then performed once more and listeners given another 15 minutes to vote again.

In the first round of telephone voting, “Hello From Mars” received almost twice as many votes as the second-place song to finish well in the lead. The song got 43,922 votes, according to results posted on the Eirodziesma Web site.

Ivo Fomins and Tomass Kleins came in second, earning 22,248 votes for their performance of “Muzikants,” the only Latvian-language entry in the contest.

Rounding out the top five were Madara Celma’s “Away From You” with 10,759 votes; Tatjana Tamčuka’s “Roses and Tears” with 10,235 votes, and Andris Ābelīte’s “I Need Love” with 10,235 votes.

A total of 126,350 votes were cast in the first round.

In the second round, F.L.Y.‘s ‘Hello From Mars” got 64,850 votes. In second place was “Muzikants,” with 43,304 votes, followed by “Away From You” with 16,175 votes, “Roses and Tears” with 14,179 votes, and “I Need Love” with 12,109 votes. In all, 150,617 votes were cast in the second round.

The national contest was broadcast live on Latvian state television and radio, as well as streamed over the Internet.

A total of 57 songs were submitted to the national contest. Fifteen earned a spot in the national competition, with three songs in reserve.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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