2008 - Eurovision Win

In February 2008 Dima travelled to Miami to record a few tracks with the famous producer Rudy Perez. That’s how the Spanish version of his first international single Number One Fan came to light, as well as the hit ballad Porque Aun Te Amo.

On March 9th 2008 Dima won the national final of the Eurovision, gathering the most points from the jury and from the TV-voting. He was chosen to represent Russia once again at the 53rd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest in Serbia with the song Believe, which Dima Bilan penned together with Jim Beanz.

In the semi-final, from May 20th Dima electrified the crowds and qualified for the final. He then went on to win the final on May 24th and became the first Russian artist in the history of Eurovision to take the big prize back to Moscow.

This victory made Dima only the fifth artist (after Lys Assia, Gigliola Cinquetti, Linda Martin and Elisabeth Andreassen) in the history of the contest to be both winner and runner-up and the first male performer to do so.

Dima’s winning entry also featured Olympic and World Figure Skating champion Evgeny Plushenko and Hungarian violin virtuoso Edvin Marton playing on a Stradivarius violin dating from 1697.

Only a few days later Dima started the Eurovision Winner’s Tour on May 27th. In just one week he managed to travel to nine European countries – Finland, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, UK, Germany, Belgium, France and San-Marino. Accompanied by Edvin Marton, Dima toured Europe giving many performances and interviews. He also visited top TV- and radio-shows all over Europe. Such was the appeal of the single Believe that in June 2008 Universal Music successfully released it in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The month of May was not only marked by his mesmerizing Eurovision performance, but also by the release of his fourth album Protiv Pravil (Against Rules).

Dima’s hard work during that year was rewarded by two prizes at the Muz-TV awards ceremony as he won Best Male Artist and Best Ringtone for the song Nevozmozhnoe vozmozno (Russian version of Lady Flame). He was also named Best Russian Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards.

2008 was also the year in which Dima finally changed his official name from Viktor to Dima Bilan. Although Dima is a diminutive of Dmitry, he preferred the diminutive form. The name change occurred as a result of the conflict he had with the heirs of his late producer Yuri Aisenshpis, who claimed rights to his stage name. It was believed that making it his official name would help avoid any such claims in the future.

Dima performed his song Believe in the interval act of the 2008 Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Limassol, Cyprus.

In the autumn of 2008 Dima began his collaboration with Philipp Plein, one of Europe’s most famous high-end fashion designers, much favoured by many Hollywood celebrities such as Justin Timberlake, Paris Hilton and Johnny Depp. Dima also starred in Philipp Plein’s advertising campaign for his spring-summer 2009 collection. This campaign featured supermodel Naomi Campbell as the face of the women’s collection and was showcased in the French, German and Russian editions of Vogue magazine in April 2009.

Towards the end of the year, Dima took part in the Zvesdny lyod (Stars on Ice) figure skating show where he was runner-up with his partner, Olympic champion Elena Berezhnaya.

Awards for 2008:

  • “ZD Awards” –  “Male singer of the year”, “Album of the year” – “Vremya-reka”  (2 Febriary 2008)
  • “Person of the year” award – “Person of the year in showbiz” (20 Febriary 2008)
  • “World Fashion Channel Style Awards” –  “Male singer” (2008)
  • Eurovision song contest 2008 – THE WINNER & “Best Eurovision song” – “Believe” (25 May 2008 – Belgrade, Serbia)
  • “Muz-TV 2008” national music awards – “Best male singer”, “Best ringtone” (6 June 2008)
  • “Ukrainian Music Awards 2008” –  “The most popular Russian singer in Ukraine” (11 October 2008)
  • “MTV Russian Music Awards 2008” – “Best male singer”, “Best video”,  “Best pop project” (28 November 2008)
  • “MTV Europe Music Awards” – “Best Russian act” (6 November 2008, Liverpool – Great Britain)
  • “Golden gramophone” by “Russian radio” awards –  the song “Vsyo v tvoikh rukakh” (Russian version of “Believe”) (29 November 2008)
  • “Song of the year” festival – the song “Believe” (7 December 2008)