Eurovision is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most contestants, many of whom dream of becoming the next ABBA, Celine Dion or Loreen. But if that doesn’t happen, some acts decide to come back and give it another go. Sadly for most, the second-time-around isn’t nearly as sweet as the first. In honor of them, here are 10 Eurovision acts that finished lower during their comeback than on their debut.
Anne-Marie David (1973 and 1979)
Many Eurofans see 1974 as the best Eurovision ever, but the 1973 edition in Luxembourg had an amazing list of participants too, including Cliff Richard and Mocedades. But neither could overcome the power that was Anne-Marie David, who represented her home country with Tu te reconnaîtras. Six years later Anne-Marie came back to the contest for her own country France. And while she took third place with her song Je suis l’enfant-soleil, that number just couldn’t live up to her previous effort which has become a Eurovision evergreen.
Charlotte Perrelli (1999 and 2008)
Charlotte Nilsson competed at Eurovision 1999 with the song Take Me to Your Heaven. Prior to the contest, Iceland’s Selma was considered the favourite, but Charlotte rocked the purple eye shadow and her (now dated entry) to give Sweden its fourth victory. Following years of rumours, she finally returned to the Swedish national final in 2008 and won it again. But at Eurovision everything went wrong for La Perrelli. She finished two places too low to qualify for the grand final with Hero but the jury saved her (that rule no longer exists and she would have been axed in subsequent years). In the final she did not do much better and finished on the right side of the scoreboard. She later revealed her personal trauma: while she was in Belgrade she learned that her man-at-the-time was cheating on her.
Chiara (1998, 2005 and 2009)
Some artists think two appearances aren’t enough, and come back for a third time. Chiara is one of them. In 1998 she represented Malta for the first time with The One That I Love and finished third, only seven points behind winner Dana International. Seven years later she came back with Angel and while the difference between her and the winner was 38 points this time, she came second. So far so good. Then came 2009. She finished 22nd with her song What If.
Dana International (1998 and 2011)
When Chiara placed third in 1998, Dana International won with her song Diva. In 2011 the world’s most famous transgender performer decided to return to the contest and immediately became one of the favourites after winning Israel’s national selection. One of the least predictable Eurovision years did not go well for Dana and she didn’t even make the final with her Ding dong (the song, obvs).
Edsilia Rombley (1998 and 2007)
A third participant from Eurovision 1998 who came back to the contest is Edsilia Rombley. In 1998 she finished fourth with Hemel en aarde. She returned again in 2007 with the song On top of the world…and finished near the back of the pack in 21st. In the semi-final.
Elitsa & Stojan (2007 and 2013)
Elitsa & Stojan represented Bulgaria in 2007 with Water, ultimately finishing fifth in the final. In 2013 Bulgaria selected them with the hope they could bring the country back to the final after several years of non-qualification. Their song Samo shampioni failed to make the cut, and Bulgaria has not competed since.
Femminem (2005 and 2010)
In 2005 Femminem represented Bosnia and Herzegovina with Call Me and finished fourteenth in the final. Five years later they returned for Croatia with Lako je sve. One of the early favourites, they ultimately crashed out in the semi. And to think: They lost despite dragging an oversized heart on stage.
Niamh Kavanagh (1993 and 2010)
In 1993 Niamh Kavanagh won Eurovision with her song In Your Eyes. Her second effort did not go as well. In 2010 she squeezed through the semi-final with her song It’s for You in tenth place (by a margin of only five points). Standing on a box hidden by her dress, she finished 23rd out of 25 acts in the final.
Paula & Ovi (2010 and 2014)
Whereas Niamh Kavanagh finished in the bottom three in 2010, Paula and Ovi finished in the top three with their song Playing with Fire. Europe had high expectations for their comeback four years later. Their song Miracle had higher notes and more piano and a very expensive hologram. The German commentator went as far as to name them one of the possible winners alongside Austria, The Netherlands and Sweden during the live broadcast. The other three countries took the top three places, but Romania finished about ten places lower.
Selma (1999 and 2005)
Selma was All Out of Luck in 1999. Despite being the heavy favourite, she ended up in second. When she returned in 2005 with If I Had Your Love she failed to qualify, and a nation wept.
What other Eurovision comebacks disappointed you? Sakis Rouvas? Jedward? Let us know below!