Plenty of Eurovision stars come from big-name franchise talent shows like The Voice or Idol, but other have got their start on other shows. Here are eight of this year’s acts who got a career boost from appearing on a television talent show.
Austria: Zoë (Kiddy Contest)
In 2007, at the age of 10, Zoë competed in the Austrian kids’ talent show Kiddy Contest. She performed a cover of “Engel ohne Flügel”.
Belarus: Ivan (Clash of the Choirs)
In 2013, Alexander “Ivan” Ivanov competed in the Russian version of Clash of the Choirs. His choir, from St Petersburg, came second in the competition. Here they are giving an emotional performance.
Hungary: Freddie (Rising Star)
In 2014, under his birth name Gábor Alfréd Fehérvári, Freddie competed on the Hungarian version of the Rising Star talent show where he placed fourth. There don’t seem to be any videos of his Rising Star performances, but here’s the audio only of his performance of “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic.
Israel: Hovi Star (A Star is Born)
While winning a talent show is what got Hovi Star to Eurovision, he got his start on another show. Back in 2009 Hovi “Star” Sekulets appeared on Kokhav Nolad (A Star Is Born). He was one of the stand-out performers of the series, and after he was eliminated, the public voted him back (…and eliminated him again). Here he is duetting with the series’ third-place-getter (and Israel’s 2014 ESC singer) Mei Finegold.
Netherlands: Douwe Bob (The Best Singer-Songwriter in the Netherlands)
In 2012, Douwe Bob won De beste singer-songwriter van Nederland (The Best Singer-Songwriter in the Netherlands), which launched his career as a, er, singer-songwriter in the Netherlands. His winning song “Multicolored Angels” was a chart hit.
Romania: Ovidiu Anton (Star School)
He might not be in competition anymore, but Ovidiu Anton has been performing for over 10 years. In 2005, he appeared on the long-running Romanian youth talent show Scoala vedetelor (Star School) – the show where Calin Goia from Voltaj got his start a decade prior. Ovidiu credits the show for launching his career as a rock performer. Here are some highlights.
Spain: Barei (Benidorm Song Festival)
In 2001, Barei competed in the Benidorm Song Festival, as part of the duo Dos Puntos. Their song “Abrazo del tiempo” placed second in the competition, with — Eurodrama alert! — first prize controversially going to a song that was suspiciously like an earlier release by the same artist. Here is Dos Puntos with their entry.
Ukraine – Jamala (New Wave)
With her avant-garde jazz style, Jamala wasn’t the sort of performer who’d usually do well in the international New Wave contest. But she soon won over audiences with her eclectic style and ending up jointly winning the contest along with the Indonesian act. Here’s her delightfully weird rendition of “History Repeating”. And, hey, the show host looks rather familiar…