On Saturday, Eurovision 2009 winner Alexander Rybak won Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix 2018. This means he’ll not only get the ticket to Lisbon, but the chance to do what only one artist has done before — win Eurovision twice.

But how have returning winners fared? Over the years, various Eurovision victors have given the song contest a second shot, but with mixed results. While some have enjoyed top ten success, others have languished in the semi-finals. What fate awaits Alexander Rybak and “That’s How You Write a Song”?

We have looked at all the returning winners of the 12-points scoring era and ranked them based on the results of their comeback song.

7. Dana International (Israel)

Winning song: “Diva” (1998)
Comeback song: “Ding Dong” (2011) – 15th in its semi-final, 15.08% of available points

Dana International was the first winner of the 100% televote era, but the Israeli diva didn’t have the same luck 13 years later. By 2011 the vote was determined by 50/50 televote and jury vote and the jury wasn’t all that impressed with “Ding Dong”.

6. Niamh Kavanagh (Ireland)

Winning song: “In Your Eyes” (1993)
Comeback song: “It’s for You” (2010) – 23rd in the grand final, 5.48% of available points

Niamh Kavanagh was one of the four winners of Ireland’s golden age at Eurovision in the 1990s, so it made sense to send her back for another turn 17 years later. However where “In Your Eyes” had soared, “It’s For You” sunk. The ballad placed only 23rd in the grand final

5. Charlotte Perrelli (Sweden)

Winning song: “Take Me to Your Heaven” (1999)
Comeback song: “Hero” (2008) – 18th in the grand final, 9.33% of available points

As Charlotte Nilsson, in 1999 the Swedish diva gave her country its fourth Eurovision win with “Take Me to Your Heaven”. Nine years later La Perrelli made her comeback with “Hero”. It was a big fan favourite coming into the contest, but ultimately it only placed 18th in the grand final.

4. Lena (Germany)

Winning song: “Satellite” (2010)
Comeback song: “Taken by a Stranger” (2011) – 10th in the grand final, 21.23% of available points

In 2010, Lena had given Germany its second Eurovision win with “Satellite”. The following year she made the rare move of returning to defend her crown. Lena’s slinky “Taken by a Stranger” cracked the top ten and remains one of Germany’s best placings in the past decade.

3. Carola (Sweden)

Winning song: “Fångad av en stormvind” (1991)
Comeback song: “Invincible” (2006) – 5th in the grand final, 39.35% of available points

In 1991, Carola followed ABBA and Herreys and gave Sweden a third Eurovision win. Fifteen years later she returned — along with her wind machine — and performed “Invincible”. The schlager hit was a fan favourite and took home a decent fifth placing in the grand final.

2. Izhar Cohen (Israel)

Winning song: “A-Ba-Ni-Bi” (1978)
Comeback song: “Olé, Olé” (1985) – 5th in the grand final, 43.06% of available points

In 1978, along with The Alphabeta, Izhar Cohen gave Israel its first Eurovision win with “A-Ba-Ni-Bi”. Seven years later he showed up as a solo performer with the upbeat “Olé, Olé”. The juries appreciated his party vibes and he placed fifth.

1. Johnny Logan (Ireland)

Winning song: “What’s Another Year?” (1980)
Comeback song: “Hold Me Now” (1987) – 1st in the grand final, 68.25% of available points

In 1980, Johnny Logan gave Ireland its second Eurovision win with “What’s Another Year”. He returned to the contest seven years later and won the whole thing again with his own song “Hold Me Now”. And if that wasn’t enough, he returned in 1992 as the songwriter behind Linda Martin’s winning number “Why Me?”.

What do you think? Who is your favourite returning Eurovision winner? How do you think Alexander Rybak will place? Share your thoughts below!

CHECK OUT MORE OF OUR EUROVISION LISTS

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Charli Cheer Up
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Charli Cheer Up

I have a positive feeling about Rybak. The way he plays that violin on stage and smiles in front of the camera is a winning combo in today’s Eurovision. Just like in Idol USA, where males with guitars have dominated every season. So I won’t be surprised if he does super well again 😉

LILLIAN LLEWELLYN
Guest
LILLIAN LLEWELLYN

Why is everyone hating on Rybak this year? I hope he wins the whole damn thing and all you haters can finally leave the poor guy alone. Nothing worse than a keyboard warrior! #EndRant

Malin
Guest
Malin

Well, a typical esc fan here om wiwi seems to love to hate. I you don’t like the song ok. But why hate a person?
Kärlek från Sverige ??

LILLIAN LLEWELLYN
Guest
LILLIAN LLEWELLYN

Seems to me like he’s damned if he do and damned if he don’t. I personally think he’s a decent guy who doesn’t deserve the crap that’s been flung at him. Gonna back the underdog. Go #TeamNorge. Go slay them Alexander. ?

The Anders
Guest
The Anders

Out of these, Lena had by far the best song when returning in 2011. Very intriguing composition, and much stronger than “Satellite”.

AngieP
Guest
AngieP

Dana was a disappointment indeed.
Lena’s song in 2011 was better than her winning song for me.She defended her crown for sure that year.
I don’t think anyone will top what Johnny Logan did in Eurovision.

About Alexander Rybak, no one knows what’s to come. I personally think he will qualify so good for him and Norway.

Mar
Guest
Mar

I think Alex will get a respectable position on this list. I don’t think he’ll win, but I can see him anywhere between 10th and 20th place in the final. I’m just happy to have him back <3

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Rybak is ready for that 8th place in this list!

Currikitaum
Guest

I love me some Polegend Godgarina in every wiwi article, keep slaying!

Alex
Guest
Alex

Your shade only has as much value as it’s realistic. If you really think Rybak won’t make the final you’re kidding yourself

desfolhada
Guest
desfolhada

Lena 2011 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
(>>>)>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Lena 2010

Gobio
Guest
Gobio

Are you gonna cover Israel topping the bookies odds?

TheDrMistery
Guest
TheDrMistery

Lys Assia
Corry Brokken
Isabelle Aubret
Gigliola Cinquetti
Anne-Marie David
Jean-Claude Pascal
Elisabeth Andreassen & Hanne Krogh

ESC didn’t start in 1980s.

thespb01
Guest
thespb01

Read the article – it only covers songs from the 12-points era.

TheDrMistery
Guest
TheDrMistery

Even then David, Pascal, Andreassen and Krogh returned in the 12-points era. It would be worthy to learn viewers about old ESC as well.

TheDrMistery
Guest
TheDrMistery

Not to mention Bobbysocks! (Andreassen and Krogh) won in 1985, 10 years after the system was introduced.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

The article covers only winners who actually won during the 12 point system, not only returned during it…so that leaves Bobbysocks, but seeing as they returned separately in totally different acts, I think their exclusion is fair. You’re not comparing like with like.

Ana
Guest
Ana

John Logan’s comeback is absolutely the most spectacular one, at least for me. Not only because of his double victory, but also because “Hold Me Now” is one of the best ESC entry ever – he “won” with himself. Love the guy!

KESC
Guest
KESC

I know that it won’t happen, but imagine Bulgaria sending Loreen to Eurovision.. Alexander Rybak vs Loreen, that would be really insane.

Ari
Guest
Ari

I feel like I could already write my response for Bulgaria’s reveal today:

“Really? THIS is what they made us wait for so long?”

Ethan1994
Guest
Ethan1994

Let’s not forget Elisabeth Andreasson, who was one-half of Bobbysocks, the winners of 1985. She returned in 1996, and finished 2nd.

Also, when it comes to songwriters, Rolf Løvland wrote “La Det Swinge” (performed by Bobbysocks), Norway’s entry in 1985, which scored Norway its first win. He returned twice, in 1987 with “Mitt liv” (performed by Kate Gulbrandsen), which came 9th. And then in 1995, he returned both as a performer (one-half of Secret Garden) and songwriter with “Nocturne”, which won the 1995 contest for Norway.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

Let’s not also forget that Elisabeth first returned in 1994, duetting with Jan Werner Danielsson. Does that make her the only previous winner to return twice?

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

Oh wait, I forgot about Lys Assia.

Ari
Guest
Ari

“Taken By A Stranger” was a good song and also well performed by singer I don’t like at all. But Credit where credit is due.
La Perelli on the other hand I would have loved to crash and burn in the semi final. The Macedonian entry should have qualified. Those juries…

gynx
Guest
gynx

i wanted to say anne marie david but she won before the 12 points 🙁 gigliola cinquetti and jean claude pascal deserve to be mentioned aswell. gigliola is the closest to win twice but she could only loose against abba

NN
Guest
NN

France favorite for win in 1974 with La vie est 25 and sang by Dani , witherdraw from contest becuase death of France president . I think with France in contest , Italy would be winner , becuase France would took some points from Sweden, The Netherlands and UK.

desfolhada
Guest
desfolhada

I just read
jean claude pascal
CLAUDE PASCAL
CLÁUDIA PASCOAL portuguese representant this year

Weißbrot
Guest
Weißbrot

Actually I feel like ”Taken by a stranger” is so much better than Satellite… I would have been happier if we had won with our 2011 song tbh.

PP
Guest
PP

Anne Marie David 1 st place 1973, 3 rd place 1979 first time for LUX, then FRA
Gigliola Cinquetti 1 st place 1964, 2 nd place 1974 both times for ITA
Lys Assia 1 st place 1956, 8 th place 1957, 2nd place 1958
Elisabeth Andreassen 1st place 1985,6 th place 1994, 2 nd place 1996 all for NOR
Hanne Krogh 1 st place 1985, 17 th place 1991 for NOR
Corry Brokken 1st place 1957, 9 th 1958, last place with LUX from NET

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Well done. 🙂
All were before the “12 points” system started in 1975, except for Elisabeth Andreassen and Hanne Krogh. Those last two could in theory be added to the article. Yey. 🙂

NickC
Guest
NickC

I think all of them should be added 🙂

NickC
Guest
NickC

What about Anne-Marie David and Je Suis Enfant du Soleil?

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

It’s technically borderline, statistically.
There are two issues with Anne-Marie David. She sang for Luxembourg in ‘73, but represented France in ‘79. That’s a different representation, not really a “return”.

The other issue is that the “12 points” era of Eurovision began in 1975. David won in 1973, so probably doesn’t make the list for that reason.

Colin
Guest
Colin

I love Lena’s, Charlotte’s and Niamh’s returning song. I dislike Dana’s returning song.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Lena’s “Taken by a stranger” is one of my favourite all-time Eurovision performances. I also really like Niamh’s “It’s for you” and obviously Johnny Logan’s “Hold me now”. 🙂

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

Only Lena and Johnny Logan made worthy comebacks.

Philip
Guest
Philip

Rybak will be the only one to have a win and a last place on his second time.

NN
Guest
NN

They have Jon Ola Sand and Bjorkam from neihbours country in Portugal.

James
Guest
James

The Lys Assia Circle of Champions-Turned-Returnees now has a new member!

Paul
Guest
Paul

Dana International was robbed with ding dong!!

Nico
Guest
Nico

I have one word for you: No!

Philip
Guest
Philip

Agree, Dana is not a singer, maybe an entertainer, and we all know why she won. Still sad for Imaani (was it?).

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Yeah, Imaani was 2nd in 1998. But Chiara (Malta) was also very close behind her.
‘98 was a tight result.

NN
Guest
NN

UK and The Nehterlands had best song in 1998. Imaani lost becuase 1 point from neigbourg Ireland, Germany and Slovakia. From maxiumum 36 points they got only 3 points from that 3 countries.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Proud as I am that Israel got another win, and with such a strong LGBTQ+ message, I’d still have preferred the Netherlands win just cuz it was the better song.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

Agreed! Hemel En Aarde is one of the all-time greats, and it sounded so good with the live orchestra.

I disagree with Philip’s implication that Dana only won because of the trans thing, Diva was a brilliant entry and Dana had charisma, regardless of her vocal abilities. Without a great song, she would not have won.

Pavel
Guest
Pavel

Dana International was the first winner of the 100% televote era
+++++++++++++
5 countries were 100% jury in 1998

DR
Guest
DR

What about Lys Assia? The first winner competed I think at least another two times.

Nico
Guest
Nico

“We have looked at all the returning winners of the 12-points scoring era and ranked them based on the results of their comeback song.”

Just above the Ding Dong video 😛

Oisín T
Guest

The best thing about Rybak being picked is that Ireland (even though we’re awful) has more of a chance of qualifying from the weak semi.

Darren
Guest
Darren

Norway is in semi 2 I think, and Ireland is in Semi 1 no?

Mel
Guest
Mel

Yes, Ireland in Semi 1, Norway in Semi 2. Semi 1 was supposed to be a cakewalk but it’s turning out to be a bloodbath. I don’t think Ireland has any chance of qualifying, unfortunately.

Darren
Guest
Darren

I knew before the songs were revealed that Ireland wouldn’t qualify. I remember saying it I never the comments section before. Just too many countries in the semi that have higher qualification records.
– Azerbaijan (Really shouldn’t this year though)
– Armenia (Probably shouldn’t either)
– Bulgaria (Seem to be on some kind of roll)
– Belgium (Have been doing really well lately, kudos to them)
– Israel (They gotta qualify this year)
– Croatia (Somehow they manage to qualify, dunno why)
– Finland (Deffo qualifying this year)
Then I would say Greece, Cyprus and Austria would take the final 3 spots though. Who knows?

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

How are Greece and Cyprus even allowed in the same semi-final? I thought they split such obvious vote traders.

Harvey Skuse
Guest
Harvey Skuse

What about Lena??

Harvey Skuse
Guest
Harvey Skuse

Sorry I just noticed she was here

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

This article is so close to being perfect. But there is one typo. Final paragraph: Logan returned as songwriter for “Why Me?” in 1992 (not 1993).
But well done otherwise. 🙂

Vladimir P.
Guest
Vladimir P.

Actually, Linda Martin won Eurovision in 1992, not 1993.

Sok
Guest
Sok

Glad Dana will finally move up a spot on this lisf