Our beloved Eurovision Song Contest celebrated its 61st edition in 2016. That means 61 years of history of the world’s largest music competition. For some artists, one attempt is enough. For many others, the urge to return to the Eurovision bubble leads them to give it a second (or even third) go. We recently discovered the most successful comebacks of all time. Today we take turn things upside down and look at the least successful comebacks in Eurovision history, based on how far acts fell in the rankings on their return.
In these 61 years, there has been 169 occasions when an artist has returned to the competition at least once in a later year. Of these 169 entries, 58 improved on their previous result, nine equalled their previous result, and a massive 102 failed to do better on their next attempts. Ouch.
For the purpose of this exercise, we decided to include all artists from 1956 to 2016 that have only ever competed as the main performer in their country’s act. This means we have excluded artists who returned as backing vocalists (e.g. Iceland‘s Hera Bjork), artists who returned as musicians (e.g. Albania‘s Bledar Sejko), and artists who previously competed in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest and later returned to the adult contest (e.g. Russia‘s Tolmachevy Sisters). We also based the results on rankings, and not scores.
THE LEAST SUCCESSFUL COMEBACKS OF ALL TIME
1. Dana International (Israel) – Eurovision 1998 to 2011
The legendary Dana International from Israel remains one of the most celebrated Eurovision winners ever. The first out-and-proud transgendered person to grace the stage — and win — Dana turned her 1998 entry “Diva” into an LGBT anthem and set the benchmark for a progressive Europe. Unfortunately Miss International could not match the success of “Diva” on her return to Eurovision in 2011. Her song “Ding Dong” failed to make the final, placing a dismal 35th out of 43 countries. With a fall of 34 rankings, Dana International’s comeback is the least successful of all time.
2. Edsilia Rombley (The Netherlands) – Eurovision 1998 to 2007
Another breakout star from Eurovision 1998 was Edsilia Rombley from The Netherlands. After placing a respectable fourth with her song “Hemel en aarde” and giving The Netherlands their best placing since their win in 1975, she was invited back to participate in the 2007 contest in Helsinki. It had been two years since The Netherlands had made the final…and she made it three in a row. Edsilia placed 35th out of 42 countries — a fall of 31 places — thus making her the second least successful Eurovision comeback of all time.
3. Selma (Iceland) – Eurovision 1999 to 2005
It had been a slow build for Iceland at Eurovision until 1999, where Selma burst onto the stage with her catchy pop tune “All Out Of Luck” and brought home a very respectable second place behind fan favourite Charlotte Perrelli from Sweden. Selma decided to return to the contest in Kyiv in 2005 with her song “If I Had Your Love”. Unfortunately Selma failed to make the Grand Final, placing 16th in the semi and 30th overall out of a field of 39. Slipping 28 places, Selma is the third least successful comeback of all time.
4. Bojan Jovovic of No Name and Highway (Montenegro) – Eurovision 2005 to 2016
Back in 2005, the country then known as Serbia & Montenegro took to the stage for the second and last time as a united nation. The Balkan powerhouse opted for Montenegrin band No Name, of which Bojan Jovovic was a part. They had big shoes to fill after the success of Zeljko Joksimovic in 2004. Their song “Zauvijek moja” managed a comfortable seventh place. Bojan then decided to return to the contest this year in Stockholm as a part of Highway for Montenegro. Their song “The Real Thing” failed to qualify for the final, placing 13th in the semi-final and 32nd overall. Thus making Bogan’s return the fourth worst in Eurovision history with a drop of 25 places.
5. Elitsa & Stoyan (Bulgaria) – Eurovision 2007 to 2013
Fifth place in the least successful Eurovision comebacks of all time belongs to the same country with the most successful comeback. Bulgaria was still a relatively new country to join the contest back in 2007 when Elitsa & Stoyan stormed Helsinki with their folk-dance-pop track “Water”. They got Bulgaria to the final for the first time and finished a commendable fifth place, which was unbeaten until Poli Genova claimed fourth in the contest this year. Elitsa & Stoyan returned to the contest in 2013 with their song “Samo shampioni”, but failed to make the final, placing twelfth in their semi-final and 29th overall. Their slip of 24 places round out the bottom five comebacks in Eurovision history.
What are your favourite and least favourite Eurovision comebacks of all time? Let us know in the comments section below.