The longest qualification streaks following Eurovision 2023
Now that the dust is settling on Eurovision for 2023, it's time to take a look at which countries hold the longest qualification streaks for qualifying through to the Grand Final from the semi-finals.
The semi-final format was introduced to the Contest in 2004 in order to accommodate the increasing number of countries who wished to participate. The new format allowed all countries to participate every year.
The countries who make up the 'Big Five' do not have to qualify through the semi-final system as their broadcasters make the biggest financial contribution to the organisation of the contest - these countries are France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Also exempt from qualifying through the semi-finals is the host country (if they are not one of the 'Big Five'). As the United Kingdom was hosting the contest on behalf of Ukraine in 2023, Ukraine did not have to qualify for the Grand Final this year.
Let's take a look at which countries are getting it right and which are struggling -
1. Ukraine - 13 qualifications (2004 to 2023)
Ukraine is the only competing country who holds a 100% qualification record. Although they missed the Contest in 2015 and 2019, Ukraine have qualified through to the Grand Final in every year that they have had to compete in the semi-finals.
Since 2004, they did not have to qualify three times as they were the host country - 2005, 2017 and 2023. They were also exempt from qualifying in 2007 because they had finished in the Top 10 in 2006, however this rule was removed after the Contest that year.
Kalush Orchestra continued their perfect qualification record when they won the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest with 'Stefania'. Will Ukraine be able to keep up their perfect qualification record in 2024?
2. Sweden - 10 qualifications (2011 to 2023)
After Sweden's Anna Bergendahl failed to qualify in 2010, Sweden has gone on to make the Grand Final on every occasion, including their win this year and victories in 2012 and 2015.
Excluding 2013 and 2016 where they automatically qualified due to being the host country, Sweden finished in the Top 3 of every semi-final between 2011 and 2019. This record was broken by Tusse in 2021 who finished in seventh place in semi-final 1.
Sweden were back in form last year with Cornelia Jakobs and this year with Loreen coming in first and second in their semi-finals, with Loreen going on to win the Contest with 'Tattoo'.
3. Norway - 6 qualifications (2017 to 2023)
Alessandra's qualification this year means Norway is now in the middle of their longest qualification streak since the semi-final qualification system was introduced in 2004.
They have now made the final six times in a row including four Top 10 finishes!
In fact Norway has an enviable qualification record, only failing to make the Grand Final in 2007, 2011 and 2016. Their last non-qualifier was Agnete's 'Icebreaker' which finished 13th in its semi-final in 2016.
4. Serbia - 5 qualifications (2018 to 2023)
With Luke Black's 'Samo Mi Se Spava' finishing 10th in semi-final 1 this year, Serbia just managed to extend their qualification streak to five in a row. It came down to the wire with only three points separating Serbia from 11th placed Latvia!
It was a reversal of fortune for Serbia. The last time they failed to qualify was in 2017 when Tijana Bogićević finished 11th in semi-final 2. 'In Too Deep' also missed the final by a mere three points...this time losing out to Australia's Anja Nissen who was representing Denmark.
Serbia's best result in their qualification streak is Konstrakta's 5th place with 'In corpore sano' in 2022.
5. Switzerland - 4 qualifications (2019 to 2023)
Switzerland is another country whose recent fortunes at Eurovision have dramatically turned around. After failing to qualify four years running, they achieved a 4th place in 2019 (Luca Hanni) and a 3rd place in 2021 (Gjon's Tears).
Marius Bear also managed to qualify in 2022 and this year Remo Forrer made it through, finishing 7th in semi-final 1. Their last non-qualification was Zibbz with 'Stones' in 2018. Can they make it five in a row in 2024?
Other countries continuing their qualification streak in 2023
Three qualifications in a row
Two qualifications in a row
And the winning streak ends for...
Unfortunately Netherlands, Azerbaijan, Iceland and Greece all ended their three year or more winning streaks with their non-qualifications this year.
The five year qualification streak for Netherlands sadly came to an end in 2023 with a 13th place in semi-final 1 for Mia Nicolai & Dion Cooper. The highlight of this streak was Duncan Laurence's win in 2019 which saw Netherlands host the Contest in 2021. Their last non-qualification was in 2015 when Trijntje Oosterhuis finished 14th in semi-final 1 with 'Walk Along'.
This year also marks the first year that Azerbaijan, Iceland and Greece have not qualified to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest since 2018.
On the other end of the scale these nations are struggling:
Georgia - 6 non-qualifications (2017 to 2023)
Since qualifying for the 2016 Grand Final with 'Midnight Gold', the Georgians have missed out on every occasion thereafter. They were unlucky finishing 11th in 2017 with 'Keep the Faith' but also saw last places in the semi-final in 2018 and 2022 and a second-last in 2021.
This year's hopes were on Iru who won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2011 as a member of Candy. But not even she could not break Georgia's losing streak, with 'Echo' finishing 12th in semi-final 2.
Latvia - 6 non-qualifications (2017 to 2023)
After Justs with 'Heartbeats' made the Grand Final in 2016, it's been heartbreak for Latvia. Sudden Lights missed Grand Final qualification by just 3 points this year with 'Aija'. Laura Rizzotto also came close in 2018 with a 12th place in the semi-final but they've also had two last places with Triana Park (2017) and Samanta Tina (2021).
Ireland - 4 non-qualifications (2019 to 2023)
As the country that now shares the record with Sweden for the most number of Eurovision wins, Ireland will be looking for a change in fortune next year. 2023 saw their fourth non-qualification in a row, although this year's 12th for Wild Youth in the semi-final is Ireland's best result since Ryan O'Shaughnessy qualified with 'Together' in 2018.
Other countries continuing their non-qualification streak in 2023
Three non-qualifications in a row
Two non-qualifications in a row
And the losing streak ends for...
Croatia, Austria and Slovenia all ended their two year or more losing streaks in 2023.
When Let 3 made the Grand Final, it was the first time for Croatia since 2017 Let 3 ended a four year non-qualification streak for their nation. They had two unlucky 11th semi-final placings in 2021 and 2022 so it was great to see their fortunes change for them.
Austria and Slovenia also ended their run of non-qualifications. Prior to this year's Contest, Austria last qualified in 2018 and Slovenia in 2019.
Cyprus and Israel both ended their qualification streaks in 2022. Prior to last year, Cyprus had qualified six times in a row and Israel five times. This year they were back, along with Albania who didn't qualify last year but had qualified three times in a row before that.
What about Romania?
After a non-qualification streak between 2018 and 2021, Romania's WRS turned things around in 2022. 'Llámame' qualified to the final in 9th place from semi-final 2 and ultimately finished in 18th place.
Unfortunately Theodor Andrei could not keep the streak going in 2023, with 'D.G.T. (Off and On)' finishing second last in Semi-Final 1 with 0 points.
Will some of these top nations drop out and can some of these struggling nations make it back to the Grand Final? All will be revealed in 2024!
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