• Kyriakos Tsinivits

Eurovision winners that returned over the decade


Every year there is always speculation on which Eurovision winner dares to make their Eurovision comeback and return to repeat the success they previously had.


Over the history of Eurovision only one winner has ever returned to successfully reclaim the Eurovision trophy, and that is ‘Mr. Eurovision’ himself Johnny Logan! He won in 1980 with “What’s Another Year” and then returned to reclaim the trophy for Ireland in 1987 with “Hold Me Now”. Impressively he composed the 1992 Eurovision winning song “Why Me?” by Linda Martin, being the only person in the Contest to achieve this.


From 2010 to 2019 only 12 previous Eurovision winners returned to try and reclaim the Eurovision trophy and taste sweet success! Most of them had to firstly get over the national selection process hurdle in their respective countries. Making a return as a winner is a tough feat as over the decade only five out of the 12 Eurovision winners actually got the honour to return to the Eurovision stage in some capacity.


In this article we look back counting down from 2019 to 2010 and see which Eurovision winners returned, and in some cases tried to make a comeback into the Contest!


Alexander Rybak - 2009 Winner

First up has to be the ‘Mr. Eurovision of the last decade’, Alexander Rybak. He won the Contest for Norway in 2009 with his infectious “Fairytale”. He proved that he has Eurovision running through his veins as years after his win he made an appearance in three National Finals as a composer. None of the songs made it to the Contest but all three of his songs finished in the top 5 in their respective National Selection Finals.


  • Annsofi - I'm With You (4th place Norway Melodi Grand Prix - 2013 - Norway) Alexander as composer

  • Franklin Calleja - Still Here (5th place Malta ESC NF - 2015 - Malta) Alexander as composer

  • Milki - Accent (4th place Belarusian National Final - 2015 - Belarus) Alexander as composer and features in music video


Alexander made a big return in 2018 when he won Melodi Grand Prix with his self-penned "That's How You Write A Song”. His Eurovision return created a lot of buzz that year with many wondering if this enthusiastic winning violinist and singer could do it all again. He finished in a respectable 15th place.


Alexander Rybak - That’s How You Write A Song (15th place in 2018 - Norway)


Emmelie de Forest - 2013 Winner

This barefoot Danish won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013 with “Only Teardrops”. From 2013 to 2017 Emmelie released several singles and in between her releases she was songwriter for two National final songs. In 2016 Emmelie was songwriter to Anja Nissen's "Never Alone" in Melodi Grand Prix 2016. Anja narrowly missed out going to Eurovision in the Super final.


Anja Nissen - Never Alone (2nd place in Melodi Grand Prix 2016 - Denmark) Emmelie as songwriter


In 2017 Emmelie went on to participate in the United Kingdom’s Eurovision national selection show 'Eurovision: You Decide'. Emmelie’s co-written ballad “Never Give Up On You” performed by Lucie Jones was selected to compete along with five other acts and won.


“Never Give Up On You” resorted hope for the United Kingdom that they may finish on the left side of the scoreboard. In the end Lucie Jones came 15th, improving on the United Kingdom’s previous placings, achieving their second best result over the decade.


Lucie Jones - Never Give Up On You (15th place in 2017 - United Kingdom) Emmelie as songwriter


Loreen - 2012 Winner

In 2012 Loreen (the undisputed Eurovision winner of the decade - my personal opinion here haha)- won Eurovision with the epic “Euphoria”. She was awarded 18 full 12 points from the other competing countries, the most 12 points ever given, beating Russia’s Buranovskiye Babushki. Many believe “Euphoria” was the change that Eurovision needed and left a legacy.


Following her sweet Eurovision success, Loreen made her return for euphoric glory five years later. She entered Melodifestivalen 2017 with “Statements”, a more abstract and arthouse pop song but with a massive chorus. Unfortunately she didn’t make it past the Second Chance round. To some in the eurofandom “Statements” remains a robbed favourite, and the song won the Aussievision National Final Countdown this year.


Loreen - Statements (Second Chance round Melfest - 2017 - Sweden)


Charlie McGettigan - 1994 Winner with Paul Harrington

Charlie McGettigan and Paul Harrington won Eurovision in 1994, which was a historic third time in a row for Ireland, a feat never since repeated. They won with “Rock ’n’ Roll Kids” where Charlie played guitar, Paul played piano and both of them sung together.


In 2015 Charlie would go on to try and have a taste of Eurovision again but this time as composer. He wrote the beautiful ballad “Anybody Got a Shoulder?” sung by Kat Mahon and was selected as one of five songs to compete in Eurosong 2015, the Irish Eurovision national selection show. They were so close to victory, Kat missed out on representing Ireland by just 4 points.


Kat Mahon - Anybody Got a Shoulder? (2nd place Eurosong 2015 - Ireland) Charlie as composer


Helena Paparizou - 2005 Winner

The Greek-Swedish singer made her first Eurovision appearance with her childhood friend Nikos Panagiotidis as Antique with their song “(I Would) Die For You” for Greece in 2001. It got them a third place finish, and was Greece’s highest place finish in Eurovision at the time. Four years later Helena was chosen to represent Greece again this time on her own with “My Number One”. On that occasion luck was on her side giving Greece its first Eurovision victory.

In 2014 she decided to make a big Eurovision comeback this time representing her birth country of Sweden in Melodifestivalen. She cruised through the semi finals and duels. But the final was tough as she came fourth overall being beaten by Alcazar, Ace Wilder and the winner Sanna Nielsen.


Helena had some success with “Survivor” as it won the international OGAE Second Chance Contest 2014 for Sweden.


Helena Paparizou - Survivor (4th place final in Melfest - 2014 - Sweden)


2XL (now known as Soul Militia) - 2001 Winners with Tanel and Dave Benton

Back in the 2001 Contest Lauri and Kaido were known as 2XL. They were joined by Tanel and Dave Benton and successfully won the trophy for Estonia with “Everybody”. Lauri and Kaido later became known as Soul Militia. In 2007 they entered the Estonian preselection Eurovision show with the song “My Place” and finished 5th.


It wouldn’t be until 12 years after their Eurovision win that they would make a return to the big stage. Though not as the main act but as back up vocalists for Estonia’s 2013 entry "Et uus saaks alguse’ by Birgit. You can spot them in the background of the performance in their tuxedos.


Birgit Õigemeel - Et uus saaks alguse (20th place in ESC - 2013 - Estonia)


Charlotte Perrelli - 1999 winner

In 1999 Charlotte Perrelli cruised through Melodifestivalen and won with her song “Take Me to Your Heaven”. She took it to the 1999 Eurovision Song Contest in Jerusalem and won Sweden its fourth Eurovision trophy at the time. She ended up hosting Melodifestivalen in 2003 and 2004 and then competed in the show in 2008. She smashed her way through the national final and represented Sweden in Belgrade with her power banger “Hero”. She went into the Contest as a hot favourite, but finished up in 18th place.


Charlotte would go on for a third attempt to represent Sweden in Eurovision, this time in 2012. She entered Melodifestivalen with her song “The Girl”. Unfortunately Charlotte was eliminated in the semi finals as she came 5th in Semi-Final 4. Loreen’s “Euphoria” dominated that year and won the Eurovision trophy in Baku.


Charlotte Perrelli - The Girl (5th place Semi Final 4 Melfest - 2012 - Sweden)


Dima Bilan - 2008 Winner

After being runner up in the 2006 Contest in Athens with his song “Never Let You Go” which lost to Lordi’s rock epic “Hard Rock Hallelujah”, “Russia’s Iglesias”, Dima Bilan, earned his sweet victory in 2008. He won the Contest in Belgrade with his song “Believe” joined on stage with Hungarian violinist Edvin Marton and Russian Olympic and world champion figure skater Evgeni Plushenko. He scored Russia’s first ever Eurovision win.


Only two years later Dima recorded a demo song called "White Night” which was intended for Eurovision. He ended up not entering the song stating that just two years after winning maybe too soon for a Eurovision comeback victory.


However two years later again, this time in 2012 Dima competed in Russia’s Eurovision national selection final for the Contest in Baku. He entered with t.A.T.u member Yulia Volkov with their duet “Back To Her Future”. Unfortunately they finished runner up to Buranovskiye Babushki with “Party for Everybody”. Luckily for the grannies they almost took out the Contest if it hadn’t been for Loreen’s “Euphoria”.


Dima Bilan with Yulia Volkova - Back to the Future (2nd place in the Russian National Final - 2012 - Russia)


Lys Assia - 1956 Winner

Now this would have been one of the biggest comebacks in Eurovision history! The first ever winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, Lys Assia, who won with her ballad “Refrain” for Switzerland back in 1956, was determined as ever to make a return to the Eurovision stage in 2012.


At a young age of just 88 years old she entered the national selection in Switzerland with her ballad “C'était ma vie” which was reminiscent of past Eurovision classics. In the Swiss National Final, Die grosse Entscheidungs Show, she finished up in 8th place. Her efforts to return were well received and she still got to go to the 2012 Contest in Baku, but as an honorary guest.


Lys Assia - C'était ma vie (8th place Die grosse Entscheidungs Show - 2012 - Switzerland)

This only gave Lys more momentum as the following year, 2013, she entered another song for the Swiss national final ‘Die grosse Entscheidungs Show’ this time with hip hop band New Jack with a song called “All In Your Head”. Unfortunately it wasn’t selected. Personally I would have loved to have seen this make the Eurovision grand final stage!! Its epic as her opening line in the song “Hello! How’s your flow?” !!


Lys Assia feat. New Jack - All In Your Head (not selected Die grosse Entscheidungs Show - 2013 - Switzerland)


Dana International - 1998 winner

Dana International stormed into the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest to much media attention, being the first openly transgender performer in the Contest. She ended up winning with her song “Diva” sung in Hebrew, and making it Israel’s third win at the time. “Diva” became a huge success charting all across Europe and even in Australia.


Dana International got another taste at Eurovision when she composed Israel’s 2008 entry “The Fire in Your Eyes” by Bo’az Ma’uda which finished up in 9th position in the Grand Final in Belgrade, Serbia.


In 2011 Dana International entered the Israeli national selection show Kdam Eurovision along with nine other performers to be Israel’s 2011 Eurovision representative. She sung “Ding Dong” and her performance scored the second highest jury votes and highest televotes winning the national selection.


With a song named “Ding Dong” you would assume she was onto a winner after The Netherlands had won Eurovision with “Ding-a-dong” in 1975. Unfortunately for Dana International she didn’t get through the semi final in Oslo coming in 15th place. She is the first Eurovision winner to not make it to a Eurovision Grand Final.


Dana International - Ding Dong (15th place in Semi Final ESC - 2011 - Israel)


Lena Meyer-Landrut - 2010 Winner

Lena was selected to represent Germany in Oslo after winning User Star für Oslo, the German Eurovision national selection show. She went into the Eurovision 2010 Contest as the hot favourite and won. Germany’s win was the first time since 1997 that a Big 5 country won the Contest.


It was the first time since 1958 and only the second time in Eurovision history that two Eurovision winners returned to the Contest in the same year, as Dana International made her comeback in 2010.


After Lena’s massive win in 2010 with “Satellite” it was announced that Lena would defend her title with "Taken By a Stranger”. It finished in 10th place. She is the third Eurovision winner to go on to defend the title and the first in over 50 years. Lena is the only Eurovision winner to make an appearance twice in this decade and is the overall most successful returning winner of the decade.


Lena Meyer-Landrut - Taken By a Stranger (10th place in ESC - 2011 - Germany)


Niamh Kavanagh - 1993 winner

In 1993 Niamh Kavanagh won over the hearts of Europe with her beautiful ballad “In Your Eyes” taking out the Contest for Ireland. By many she is regarded as having one of the best voices in Eurovision. Her win was during Ireland’s big winning streak in the 90’s.


In 2010 Niamh won the Irish national selection Eurosong 2010 with her song "It's For You” achieving the top score from both the televoters and the jury panel. She cruised though the Eurovision semi final and reached the Grand Final, which Ireland had failed to do the previous two years. She finished in 23rd place with 25 points and achieved Ireland’s fourth best placing over the decade.


Niamh Kavanagh - It’s For You (23rd place in ESC - 2010 - Ireland)


Personally I would love to see Måns Zelmerlöw or Helena Paparizou make the big Eurovision comeback and slay again! Which Eurovision winner would you like to see return to the Contest?


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