That’s how you write another song: The definitive ranking of returning Eurovision winners


On Saturday, Eurovision 2009 winner Alexander Rybak won Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix 2018. This means he’ll not only get the ticket to Lisbon, but the chance to do what only one artist has done before — win Eurovision twice.

But how have returning winners fared? Over the years, various Eurovision victors have given the song contest a second shot, but with mixed results. While some have enjoyed top ten success, others have languished in the semi-finals. What fate awaits Alexander Rybak and “That’s How You Write a Song”?

We have looked at all the returning winners of the 12-points scoring era and ranked them based on the results of their comeback song.

7. Dana International (Israel)

Winning song: “Diva” (1998)
Comeback song: “Ding Dong” (2011) – 15th in its semi-final, 15.08% of available points

Dana International was the first winner of the 100% televote era, but the Israeli diva didn’t have the same luck 13 years later. By 2011 the vote was determined by 50/50 televote and jury vote and the jury wasn’t all that impressed with “Ding Dong”.

6. Niamh Kavanagh (Ireland)

Winning song: “In Your Eyes” (1993)
Comeback song: “It’s for You” (2010) – 23rd in the grand final, 5.48% of available points

Niamh Kavanagh was one of the four winners of Ireland’s golden age at Eurovision in the 1990s, so it made sense to send her back for another turn 17 years later. However where “In Your Eyes” had soared, “It’s For You” sunk. The ballad placed only 23rd in the grand final

5. Charlotte Perrelli (Sweden)

Winning song: “Take Me to Your Heaven” (1999)
Comeback song: “Hero” (2008) – 18th in the grand final, 9.33% of available points

As Charlotte Nilsson, in 1999 the Swedish diva gave her country its fourth Eurovision win with “Take Me to Your Heaven”. Nine years later La Perrelli made her comeback with “Hero”. It was a big fan favourite coming into the contest, but ultimately it only placed 18th in the grand final.

4. Lena (Germany)

Winning song: “Satellite” (2010)
Comeback song: “Taken by a Stranger” (2011) – 10th in the grand final, 21.23% of available points

In 2010, Lena had given Germany its second Eurovision win with “Satellite”. The following year she made the rare move of returning to defend her crown. Lena’s slinky “Taken by a Stranger” cracked the top ten and remains one of Germany’s best placings in the past decade.

3. Carola (Sweden)

Winning song: “Fångad av en stormvind” (1991)
Comeback song: “Invincible” (2006) – 5th in the grand final, 39.35% of available points

In 1991, Carola followed ABBA and Herreys and gave Sweden a third Eurovision win. Fifteen years later she returned — along with her wind machine — and performed “Invincible”. The schlager hit was a fan favourite and took home a decent fifth placing in the grand final.

2. Izhar Cohen (Israel)

Winning song: “A-Ba-Ni-Bi” (1978)
Comeback song: “Olé, Olé” (1985) – 5th in the grand final, 43.06% of available points

In 1978, along with The Alphabeta, Izhar Cohen gave Israel its first Eurovision win with “A-Ba-Ni-Bi”. Seven years later he showed up as a solo performer with the upbeat “Olé, Olé”. The juries appreciated his party vibes and he placed fifth.

1. Johnny Logan (Ireland)

Winning song: “What’s Another Year?” (1980)
Comeback song: “Hold Me Now” (1987) – 1st in the grand final, 68.25% of available points

In 1980, Johnny Logan gave Ireland its second Eurovision win with “What’s Another Year”. He returned to the contest seven years later and won the whole thing again with his own song “Hold Me Now”. And if that wasn’t enough, he returned in 1992 as the songwriter behind Linda Martin’s winning number “Why Me?”.

What do you think? Who is your favourite returning Eurovision winner? How do you think Alexander Rybak will place? Share your thoughts below!