We’ve already looked at Eurovision 2017 stars who found fame on The Voice or X Factor (and sometimes both!), but that’s not all. Eleven stars from this year’s Eurovision lineup have had experiences on television talent shows, including Idol. Let’s take a look!

Albania: Lindita Halimi – American Idol

After establishing her music career in Albania, Lindita aimed high and auditioned on the final series of American Idol in 2016. Her big voice impressed judges Harry Connick Jr, J. Lo and Keith Urban, who put her through to the next round. Lindita was eliminated in the final 51, but that meant she was free to go on and win Festivali i Këngës 55.


FYR Macedonia: Jana Burceska – Macedonian Idol

In 2010, Jana Burceska was a contestant on the first — and to date the only — series of Macedonian Idol. Two-time Macedonian Eurovision representative Kaliopi was one of the show’s judges. Jana placed fifth on Idol and was the highest-placed female contestant. She proved to be a versatile performer, tackling pop, soul, country and rock. Here Jana performs Aretha Franklin’s soul classic “Think”.

Portugal: Salvador Sobral – Idolos (Portuguese Idol)

In 2009, at the age of 19, Salvador was a contestant on Portuguese Idol. He proved himself a versatile, delivering songs in a variety of genres and in both Portuguese and English, and eventually placed seventh. Salvador’s sister and “Amar pelos dois” composer Luisa Sobral was a contestant on Idol in 2003, where she placed third.

Sweden: Robin Bengtsson – Idol (Sweden)

Just like Loreen, Måns Zelmerlöw, Anna Bergendahl and Robin Stjernberg, Robin also got his start on Swedish Idol. He competed in the 2008, where he came third. Series winner Kevin Borg and runner-up Alice Svensson also made national final appearances this year, for Malta and Sweden respectively. Here’s Robin delivering Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn”.

Poland: Kasia Mos – Must be the Music/Tylko Muzyka

Polish diva Kasia Mos got her start in 2012 on the Polish talent show Must Be the Music – Tylko Muzyka. She placed third on the show which was enough to launch her music career. Here is a clip from Kasia’s audition, where she impressed the judging panel with her performance of the soul classic, “Natural Woman”.

Watch the video here.

San Marino: Jimmie Wilson – Must Be the Music/Tylko Muzyka

American-born, German-based singer Jimmie Wilson has twice missed out on making the finals of Poland’s Tylko Muzyka. His first appearance was in 2012 — which Kasia Mos went on to win. He then returned in 2015 and again missed out on making the final cut. Here he is performing “So Damn Beautiful” from his 2015 appearance.

Austria: Nathan Trent – Kiddy Contest (Austria)

In 2003, aged around 11, Nathan was a contestant on the Austrian children’s talent show Kiddy Contest. He placed ninth on the series with his ode to football, “Fußball”. He’s not the first Eurovision star to appear on Kiddy Contest — four years later, Zoë placed fourth on the show.

Georgia: Tako Gachechiladze – Erti Ertshi (Your Face Sounds Familiar – Georgia)

The very versatile Tako “Tamara” Gachechiladze showcased her many talents on the celebrity impersonation show Your Face Sounds Familiar. She won her series in 2014, which included this show-stopping performance of Conchita Wurst’s “Rise Like a Phoenix”.

Hungary: Joci Pápai – Megasztár

Joci Pápai found fame 12 years ago on the Hungarian talent show Megasztár, the show that also launched the career of András Kállay-Saunders. While Joci was eliminated in an early round, his appearance on the show was enough to get him started in the music business. In this video, a shave-headed Joci is profiled in a VT, then he performs a bluesy song live in the studio.

Watch the video here.

Malta: Claudia Faniello – Hotspot

Back in 2005, Claudia Faniello got her start on the Maltese talent show Hotspot, where she finished fourth. The show immediately launched Claudia’s music career and the following year she made her first appearance in Malta’s national final for Eurovision. Here’s Claudia’s audition for the show, where she absolutely nails the sultry “Black Velvet”.

Slovenia: Omar Naber – Bitka Talentov

Back in 2004, Omar Naber was a contestant on Bikta Talentov (Battle of the talents). He ended up winning the series, and went on to represent Slovenia at Eurovision for the first time the following year. Here he sings with the finalists on their group song “Vsi za enega” (All for one).

Who is your favourite talent show star at Eurovision 2017?

Which of these acts is your favourite? Have your say by voting in our poll. You can vote for as many acts as you like, but you can only vote once — so choose carefully!



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Seddik Ghoule

The Dutch participants O’G3NE took part in The Voice (of Holland)


Tako as DivaPlavlaguna in another episode of Your Face Sounds Familiar


Nathan Trent – Kiddy Contest 😉


This Robin is actually a bad singer. Painful to hear.

Charli Cheer Up

I remember Lindita well last year. You guys even wrote an article about her debuting on the Albania’s ESC national selection show before she started her music career.


What is the diva from the movie The 5th element doing here? The actress is Maiwenn and the singer is Inva Mula from Albania. I can’t see how it can be related to Eurovision….


Tako, Lindita & Kasia.

Purple Mask
Thanks for this Robyn. Lindita blows them all out of the water (or “slays”), vocally. No contest there. Watching Salvador at 19 was interesting – he had more of an Elvis Presley vibe, but has since found his own sound. I wish I could watch Kasia’s, but I only found an advert at that link. 🙁 Still there is plenty of footage of her around – she has really developed her sound over the past few years. I always liked Claudia’s voice. 🙂 Surprisingly, some of these are actually awful! :O I’ll let y’all try and guess which ones I… Read more »

So did Kasia come third or win her series? You have conflicting information about that.


Kris: That’s Tako going as “Conchita” in Your Faces Sounds Familiar.


That lady would happen to be Georgia’s Tako.

There was a separate article for X-factor participants. Slavko was covered in that.


You seem to have mistakenly embedded a video of Conchita under Tako’s name. 😮


You missed Slavko Kalezi? from Montenegro. He participated in serbian X Factor Adria in 2013, where Željko Joksimovi? was one of the judges.
That year the winner was Daniel Kajmakoski who represented FYR Macedonia in ESC 2015.


Eeeeeeeek. Someone needs to tell me who the lady with the octopus head is I the photo please..?

Tak babes


@Robyn – THANK YOU very much for this report and your research,
I found this highly entertaining incl some optical (Salvador, Joci) and vocal
surprises! (Lindita, Tako and Jana) 🙂


What’s with Diva Plavalaguna’s pic??


None, i don’t like anyone of them 🙂


Damn Salvador was cute af..


Robin here even looks like Martin Stenmarck who won Melfest in 2005 the same way Robin did and who also went on to flop in Kyiv


Jana will be so high right now because she has great eurovisoon song but I remember when people hated her when she was chosen

(J)ESC Fanatic

Lindita, Tako and Kasia. <3


Why? Because Robin was the only one who can’t sing? 🙂
Seriously, that was painful to watch.


Makedonsko devojce of course 🙂


Surprised Rising Star didn’t get a mention, but then again, Israel’s version was retweaked to become a national selection show for Eurovision so it probably doesn’t count.


Hey, I think you missed the Czech representative Martina Barta. She got famous through a TV Show called “Robin Hood – Cesta ke slave”, a casting show where the contestants were competing for the the roles of Robin and Marian in the Robin Hood musical. Martina Barta, back then under the name Martina Bartova, won the show and she got the contract for the role of Marian in the musical. It was 2010. This is one of her performances in this TV show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIOqmYjmmwI


Robin Bengtsson is in a league of his own


I voted for Albania as I think she’s got the best voice between all these artists listed. 2nd would be Georgia, also a big voice. 3rd would be Portugal, while the rest mentioned are meh….