Sahlene Runaway
4.1/10 rating (7 votes)

Draw Position 8, Final Position 3, Points (Final) 111

"Runaway", sung by Sahlene, was the Eurovision 2002 entrant for that year's host nation Estonia. The song's composers: Pearu Paulus, Ilmar Laisaar and Alar Kotkas (music) and Jana Hallas (lyrics), had previously written "Once In A Lifetime" the Estonian entrant for Eurovision 2000. "

The song is an upbeat number with English lyrics which advise the narrator's "babe" to be more open minded in his life's vision: "just runaway to the stars/ I'll be waiting above". The resemblance of the melody of "Runaway" to that of "I Believe I Can Fly" was much noted: Alar Kotkas, co-writer of "Runaway", stated: ""I know the two songs are similar" but denied any plagiarism.

"Runaway" had been placed with Ines the performer of "Once in a Lifetime". However Ines withdrew shortly before Eurolaul 2002 - the Estonian preselection Eurovision round - and the song's composers, after unsuccessfully shopping their song to a number of Estonian singers including Koit Toome - contacted the Swedish division of Virgin Records who suggested Sahlene who was on the Virgin roster: on the evening of the same day Sahlene received a telephone call from Virgin Records and resultantly flew out to the Estonian capital of Tallinn at 6 a.m. the following morning. Sahlene had two weeks to work with the song's composers prior to performing "Runaway" in Eurolaul 2002 held at the Linnahall on the evening of January 26 2002 and broadcast live on ETV.

Performed ninth in a field of ten Eurolaul entrants, "Runaway" was not the top vote getter from the television viewers who were invited to vote for their favorite number and who favored "Another Country Song" by Nightlight Duo & Cowboys which entrant received 40% of the popular vote. However the official decision as to the winner of Eurolaul was made by an international panel of eight judges whose votes decided that "Runaway" by Sahlene would be the Estonian entrant at Eurovision 2002, the judges' vote awarding "Runaway" eighty-five points, twenty more than the Eurolaul runner-up which was "Another Country Song".

The composers of "Runaway" would again have a song they had written be the Estonian Eurovision entrant: the Eurovision 2006 entrant "Through My Window" which, like "Runaway", was performed by a Swedish vocalist, in this case Sandra Oxenryd.

The studio recording of "Runaway" was produced by Erik Bernholm: the background vocals were performed by Sahlene with one of her Eurovision backing vocalists Lena Olsson-Björkén. On the June 6 2006 chart of the Top 60 singles in Sweden, "Runaway" by Sahlene debuted at #20: this proved to be the track's peak although it remained on the chart for a total of seventeen weeks, thirteen of them in the Top 40 with seven of those weeks spent in the Top 25. "Runaway" was Sahlene's only release on Virgin Records: the track made its album debut on her 2003 album release It's Been a While (M&L Records).

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