It’s summer — the season when one-hit wonders thrive. Those catchy songs come along, provide a soundtrack for your holiday and then suddenly vanish. The artists behind some of those tunes inevitably find themselves struggling to match the success of their earlier hit. And some, keen to re-launch their career and taste chart success again, choose to have a go at Eurovision.
Singing at Eurovision following a life-changing hit may seem like a great idea: if you once managed to get the whole world to dance to your music once before, why not do it again? Of the 200 million Eurovision viewers, surely someone will remember you! Until they don’t. In honour of their efforts, let’s have a look at five acts who tried to drive the masses crazy again at Eurovision…but didn’t quite achieve that.
Note: We’ve trawled through the years, and no other one-hit wonder managed to do better than these five. Also, please note that we’re talking one-hit wonders on a continental level. Some may still be popular in their own countries/regions/cities/local gay bar. Or not.
1. Nicki French – “Don’t Play That Song Again” (United Kingdom 2000)
Can “Don’t Play That Song Again” be a more suitable name for a one-hit wonder? The UK’s first entrant of the millennium came with a so-so portfolio with one stand-out hit. Her 1995 dance cover of Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” reached No.5 in the UK and was a No.2 hit single in the United States. That’s major.
Nowadays, Nicki French is still known — and much-loved — in the Eurovision bubble. She’s kept on releasing music and she’s a regular performer at Eurovision parties and Eurovision cruises. She found a niche and she’s holding on to it. Kudos for that!
2. Las Ketchup – “Un Bloodymary” (Spain 2006)
They stormed the charts globally in 2002 with their infectious song “Aserejé (The Ketchup Song)”. Spanish sisters Pilar, Lola and Lucía, known as Las Ketchup, made the world dance… and their fame lasted for a total of three months.
Four year laster, Las Ketchup kept the tomato juice flowing when they represented Spain at Eurovision with “Un Bloodymary”. There’s actually merit in the title — naming your song after a drink does grab attention. Unfortunately their office chairs and red outfits — presumably dyed with tomato sauce — failed to set Europe alight. Las Ketchup later explained that they had no input into their Eurovision song or costumes, and would have preferred to sing something else. Maybe “Mojito” or “Vodka Soda”…
3. DJ Bobo – “Vampires are Alive” (Switzerland 2007)
DJ Bobo is a big deal in his native Switzerland and other German-speaking countries. However, to the rest of the world, he’s known only for to his 2003 Euro novelty “Chihuahua”, which could contend for the most irritating song ever.
Five years later, Bobo decided to ride Lordi’s dark wave and head to Helsinki. Let’s just say he surfed it as a chihuahua would. The song was a fan favourite, but unfortunate staging and the singers’ so-so voices left Switzerland in the semifinal.
4. Plastic Bertrand – “Amour, amour” (Luxembourg 1987)
Plastic Bertrand took the world by storm at the end of the ’70s with his song “Ça plane pour moi”, which you’ve probably heard in commercials, TV shows, or documentaries. He was known for singing dressed up as Superman, and not keeping quiet for a single second.
Ten years later, he ditched the super hero aesthetic and went on to represent Luxembourg in 1987 with his song “Amour, Amour”. He showed the same quirkiness, but the juries weren’t so impressed. The didn’t give him much amour and he finished 21st with 4 points. Ça ne planait pas pour lui.
5. Arsenium – “Loca” (Moldova 2006)
OK, Arsenium wasn’t a one-hit wonder himself, but he was part of O-Zone, a one-hit wonder boyband. That makes Arsenium a one-third-hit wonder, I suppose. Anyway, he and his mates put Moldova on the map in 2004 with their infectious “Dragostea din tei”.
Europe stopped singing “Numa numa iei” and, in 2006, Arsenium tried to re-boot his career by representing Moldova at Eurovision with the song “Loca”, together with Natalia Gordienko and a rapper called Connect-r. This super hetero-normative hot mess finished 20th in Athens. And yes, if you were wondering, rhyming “loca” with “boca” and “poco” is as painful to a Spaniard as rhyming “fire”, “desire” and “higher”.
Do you remember these artists? Are they still famous where you live? And are there any other one-hit wonders you’d like to see singing at Eurovision? Tell us in the comment section below!