The Eurovision Song Contest 2004 was the 49th edition of the annual Eurovision Song Contest. It took place in Istanbul, Turkey, following Sertab Erener's win at the 2003 contest in Riga, Latvia with the song "Everyway That I Can". It was the first time Turkey had hosted the contest - 29 years after the country made its debut. Organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and host broadcaster Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), the contest was held at the Abdi İpekçi Arena, and (for the first time) consisted of a semi-final on 12 May, and the final on 15 May 2004. The two live shows were hosted by Korhan Abay and Meltem Cumbul.
Thirty-six countries participated in the contest, beating the record of twenty-six in the previous edition. Albania, Andorra, Belarus and Serbia and Montenegro took part for the first time this year. The old relegation system was replaced with a semi-final format. This was done in order to accommodate the increasing number of countries who wished to participate. The new format allowed all countries to participate every year, rather than being forced to sit out per the relegation rules, which had been the standard since 1994. Because of this, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Macedonia, Monaco and Switzerland all returned to the contest.
The winner was Ukraine with the song "Wild Dances", performed by Ruslana who wrote it with Oleksandr Ksenofontov (her husband). This was Ukraine's first victory in the contest, after only 1 year of participation. Serbia and Montenegro, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus rounded out the top five.
This year was the first time in which a non-winning entry scored over 200 points. Prior to this contest, only the winning entries in 1994 and 1997 had passed this mark. In this contest, the top 3 songs all got over 200 points.
Abdi İpekçi Arena, Istanbul – host venue of the 2004 contest.
The contest was held in Istanbul following Turkey's victory in the 2003 contest in Riga, Latvia with Sertab Erener's "Everyway That I Can". Originally the
Mydonose Showland was chosen by TRT to host the event, but was changed to the Abdi İpekçi Arena as the contest approached due to its bigger capacity. Korhan Abay and Meltem Cumbul were presenters of the show.
In the semi-final and the final, Meltem Cumbul warmed up the audience with a sing-a-long of Eurovision classic "Nel blu dipinto di blu (Volare)", originally by Domenico Modugno. Sertab Erener returned to the stage in the final to perform "Everyway That I Can", the 2003 winning song, and one of her new songs called "Leave". Sertab also interviewed contestants in the green room. The Turkish dance ensemble Fire of Anatolia performed as the interval act. An official CD was released and, for the first time, the entire contest was released on DVD which included the Semi-final and the Grand Final.