This year Turkish performer Serhat is representing San Marino, Canadian singer Rykka is a hot favourite to win the Swiss national final, and Finnish singer Krista Siegfrids will be competing at Sweden’s Melodifestivalen. But using talent from abroad is is as old as Eurovision itself – in the very first song contest in 1956, French singer Michèle Arnaud represented Luxembourg and Austrian singer Freddy Quinn represented Germany. Let’s take a look at some of the best known artists who sang for other countries.
1. France Gall (Luxembourg, 1965, 1st)
The French pop star sang for Luxembourg with the Serge Gainsbourg-written song “Poupée de cire, poupée de son”. Her infectious pop beats brought Luxembourg its second victory.
And France Gall isn’t the only foreigner to bring victory to Luxembourg. All five of the country’s wins were performed by singers from outside the Grand Duchy: French performers Jean-Claude Pascal, France Gall, Anne-Marie David and Corinne Hermès, as well as Greek singer Vicky Leandros. Also of note is Belgian/Canadian singer Lara Fabian who placed fourth in 1988.
2. Betty Missiego (Spain, 1979, 2nd)
Peruvian singer Betty Missiego was internally selected by the Spanish broadcaster. She took her song “Su canción” to second place.
3. Céline Dion (Switzerland, 1988, 1st)
The Canadian singer was not yet the world famous diva when she represented Switzerland with “Ne partez pas sans moi”, which went on to secure Switzerland its second Eurovision victory.
4. Fionnuala Sherry (Norway, 1995, 1st)
Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry was one half of Secret Garden which represented Norway. She performed on the largely instrumental “Nocturne” which gave Norway its second Eurovision win.
5. Gina G (United Kingdom, 1996, 8th)
Hailing from down under, the Australian singer represented the UK in 1996. While “Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit” came in eighth place at Eurovision, the song went on to become an international hit, the last ESC song to reach No.1 in the UK.
6. Natasha St-Pier (France, 2001, 4th)
At the age of 20, Canadian singer Natasha St-Pier represented France at Eurovision with the power ballad “Je n’ai que mon âme”. The song placed fourth – which France has not managed to top in the years since.
7. Vanilla Ninja (Switzerland, 2005, 8th)
The Estonian girl band had come close to representing their home country in 2003, but it was Switzerland who gave them the chance to perform at Eurovision. Their song “Cool Vibes” placed eighth, and remains Switzerland’s best result since 1993.
8. Arash (Azerbaijan, 2009, 3rd)
Born in Iran, raised in Sweden, Arash represented Azerbaijan along with Azeri pop star Aysel Teymurzadeh. Their duet “Always” continued Azerbaijan’s streak of top-10 finishes.
9. Hadise (Turkey, 2009, 4th)
Belgian-born singer Hadise represented Turkey, the country of her parents, with “Düm Tek Tek”. She now has an established music career in both Belgium and Turkey.
10. Eduard Romanyuta (Moldova, 2015, NQ)
Using an artist from another country isn’t always a formula for success. Last year Ukrainian singer Eduard Romanyuta won the Moldovan national final. However, his R&B song “I Want Your Love” was not a hit in Vienna, failing to qualify for the final.
11. Every San Marino act who isn’t Valentina Monetta (San Marino, 2008, 2011, 2015, NQ)
The microstate often looks abroad for its entries. It debuted in 2008 with Miodio, a band made up of three Italian and two Sammarinese members. In 2009 Eritrean-Italian singer Senhit represented her neighbouring country. In 2015 Sammarinese singer Anita Simoncini was joined by Italian singer Michele Perniola.