Performing on the Eurovision stage is something special. The modern contest has a massive worldwide audience, with anything up to 200 million watching annually. If you’re lucky, it can launch an amazing career to match ABBA, Celine Dion and most recently, Loreen. But for some Eurovision is much more than a one-off event. Returning artists are a common occurrence, and below we’ve rounded up ten acts who came back with aplomb.
Anna Vissi (Greece 1980 and 2006, Cyprus 1982)
Back in 1980, Anna Vissi stepped on to the Eurovision stage for the first time. Singing “Autostop” along with the Epikouri, she secured 13th place for Greece. Unfortunately, at the time this was the country’s joint worst placing. However, Anna fared much better as a solo act. Two years later she represented Cyprus, the island of her birth, finishing fifth with “Mono i agapi“. And after a wait of 24 years, Anna returned to the contest in 2006. Representing Greece on home soil, she once again finished in the top ten, this time with the power ballad “Everything”. Almost a decade has passed, but the song still remains a huge fan favourite.
Carola (Sweden 1983, 1991 and 2006)
The legendary Carola Häggkvist has competed in the Eurovision Song Contest no less than three times. The first was in 1983, when she came third with “Främling”, just 16 points behind the overall winner, Luxembourg. Following an absence of almost a decade, Carola came back in 1991. After all the points were counted, her entry “Fångad av en stormvind” was neck and neck with France’s Amina. However, victory was not about to slip Häggkvist’s grasp yet again. The tie-breaker fell in her favour, and Eurovision was off to Sweden. The schlager-queen returned once again in 2006 with “Invincible”, earning herself a third top-ten by finishing fifth.
Dima Bilan (Russia 2006 and 2008)
After finishing runner-up in the 2005 Russian national final, Dima Bilan was chosen internally for 2006. Singing “Never Let You Go”, Dima and his torso sporting piano, finishing an impressive second. However, there was no catching Finland’s Lordi. Undeterred, Dima returned in 2008. For his second time representing the Motherland in three years, he entered “Believe” and won the whole thing. The victory isn’t amongst the contest’s most popular, but we’ll leave that discussion for another day.
Gigliola Cinquetti (Italy 1964 and 1974)
In 1964, Gigliola Cinquetti won San Remo and in the process, the right to represent Italy at Eurovision. Singing “Non ho l’étà”, she won the contest by a landslide, scoring almost three times as many points as the runner-up. Two years later she won San Remo yet again together with Domenico Modugno. However, Domenico went to Eurovision alone. In hindsight this worked out well for Gigliola, as he finished last. Ten years after her victory, Gigliola went back to Eurovision. The former winner failed to match the heights of her debut, and came second. Although that’s not so shabby when you consider that ABBA were the ones who beat her.
Helena Paparizou (Greece 2001 and 2005)
Receiving points from every country and finishing third, the Greek group Antique did extremely well with “Die For You” at Eurovision 2001. Four years later, and Antique had gone their separate ways. However, Helena Paparizou, their lead singer, had already established a successful solo career. Spying her talents, Greek television asked her to represent her country a second time. Her return to Eurovision was glorious. Singing “My Number One”, the Swedish raised star comfortably won the 50th edition of the contest.
Johnny Logan (Ireland 1980 and 1987)
A list of Eurovision’s greatest comebacks would be incomplete without one name. A name that won the contest twice as a singer, and twice as a songwriter. Of course, we’re talking of Ireland’s Johnny Logan. He won his first Eurovision in 1980 with “What’s Another Year”. In 1987, Logan had us asking what’s another seven years, when he waltzed to the top spot with his self-penned entry, “Hold Me Now”. He found himself on the winning podium yet again in 1992, when Linda Martin won with his song, “Why Me”. He hasn’t returned since, but you never know what the future holds.
Lena (Germany 2010 and 2011)
In 2010, fresh-faced Lena Meyer-Landrut burst onto the public’s conscience upon earning Germany’s first victory since reunification, and the first big five win since the concept was introduced. Not content with winning under such historic circumstances, the “Satellite” singer decided to defend her title in 2011. Victory eluded her this time, but “Taken By A Stranger” did secure Germany it’s second top ten in as many years.
Linda Martin (Ireland 1984 and 1992)
Four years after his victory, Johnny Logan re-entered the Eurovision foray. However, this time he was amongst the supporting cast, with Linda Martin performing his song “Terminal 3”. She finished second behind the Swedish Herreys, giving her the unenviable honour of being the only person not to win with a J-Lo penned entry. By 1992, she was ready to avenge that statistic. Once again she sang one of Logan’s songs, but this time “Why Me” soared to the top, and set Ireland up for a decade of dominance at the contest.
Valentina Monetta (San Marino 2012, 2013 and 2014)
An amazing comeback does not necessarily mean one has to win the contest outright. Just look at Valentina Monetta. She first represented San Marino in 2012 with the “The Social Network Song”, but failed to qualify for the final. Like a boomerang, she was back in 2013. “Crisalide (vola)” quickly became a crowd favourite, however heartbreak awaited. The entry finished 11th, missing out on qualification by the closest of margins. But our Val was no quitter. She returned again in 2014, and this time “Maybe” finally brought her all the way to Saturday night. History was made, as San Marino could proudly boast of their first-ever finalist.
Vicky Leandros (Luxembourg 1967 and 1972)
The Greek born Vicky Leandros represented Luxembourg in 1967, singing “L’amour est bleu”. Despite finishing fourth, the track charted worldwide, with an orchestral version scaling the American Billboard Hot 100. Five years later she sang for Luxembourg again at the 1972 contest. This time though, luck was on her side. “Apres Toi” sailed to victory and a successful musical (and political) career beckoned.
What other superstar comebacks impressed y’all? Zeljko Joksimovic? Dino Merlin? Let us know below!