The Eurovision Song Contest and the success from it
If I’m not mistaken, on May 6th in Copenhagen, at 9:00 pm, the 1320th Eurovision entry will be performed during the opening of the first semi-final of the 2014 edition. Since 1956 and the very first Eurovision Song Contest, more than 1200 artists have performed on stage.
But let’s face it, most of the songs and performers remain unknown once the last set of votes is announced… Nevertheless, ESC is far from being a “newcomers only » contest. Let’s have a look of the famous participants and contributions… Careful, we have here a French vision on the topic, and only the artists and entries that have managed to go beyond the Euro-sphere are mentioned. Here are those that success brought to Eurovision, and those that Eurovision led to success…
Participating international stars
Nana Mouskouri (Luxembourg 1963) 8th out 16
Julio Iglesias (Spain 1970) 4th out of 12
Cliff Richards (United Kingdom 1968) 2nd out of 17
Cliff Richards (United Kingdom 1973) 3rd out of 17
Olivia Newton John (United Kingdom 1974) 4th out 17
The Shadows (United Kingdom 1975) 2nd out 19
Ofra Haza (Israel 1983) 2nd our of 20
Umberto Tozzi (Italy 1987) 3rd out of 22
Toto Cotugno (Italy 1990) 1st out 22
Patricia Kaas (France 2009) 8th out of 26
Blue (United Kingdom 2011) 11th out of 25
Anguun (France 2012) 22nd out of 26th
Bonnie Tyler (United Kingdom 2013) 19th out of 26
On rare occasions, broadcasters choose to send to the Eurovision Song Contest artists who already have international recognition. It happens several times but the truth is that it almost never is a wise choice. Indeed, up to now, only one big name (Italian Toto Cutugno) ended up with the trophy.
When a hit open the way to Eurovision
Even though international recognition can sometimes be based on a single continental or world hit, some artists were asked to participate, believing they could follow the stream of fame , sometimes years after their success. Once again, broadcasters were often proven wrong…
Al Bano & Romina Power (Italy 1976) 7th out of 18
Al Bano & Romina Power (Italy 1985) 7th out of 19
famous for “Felicita” (1982)
Sonia (United Kingdom 1993) 2nd out of 25
famous for “You’ll never stop loving me” (1989)
Katrina & The Waves (United Kingdom 1997) 1st out of 25
famous for “I’m Walking On Sunshine” (1985)
tATu (Russia 2003) 3rd out of 26
famous for “All the things she said” (2002)
Las Ketchup (Spain 2006) 21st out of 24
famous for “Aserejé” (2002)
Brian Kennedy (Ireland 2006) 10th out of 2004
famous for “You raise me up” (2003)
DJ Bobo (Switzerland 2007) non qualifier
famous for “Chihuahua” (2003)
Cascada (Germany 2013) 21st out of 26
famous for “Everythime we touch” (2005)
When Eurovision victory turn intu a springboard…
In the Eurovision Song Contest, every participant has a single goal in mind… victory (even if their homeland sometimes crosses its fingers to make a Top 10 placing only, without having to organize the next edition of the contest).
62 performers have won the contest so far, but it is clear that a victory rarely means international stardom. Most of the time, the winner knows a transitory fame that would not last more than 12 months. But it’s easy to highlight two exceptions to this rule.
In 1974, Abba won the contest with the famous track « Waterloo ». From that very moment the Swedish band started a phenomenal career all over the world, going from huge hits to the most prestigious awards. Even nowadays, 30 years after the band quit the stage, their songs are very popular, and ABBA is more alive than ever. In 2005, « Waterloo » was elected ‘Best Eurovision track of all times » and in May 2013 Agneta, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid witnessed the opening of a tribute museum in Stockholm.
Another artist has known international stardom after her Eurovision victory, Quebec singer Céline Dion. In 1989 she won for Switzerland with « Ne Parter Pas Sans Moi ». At a time when the young Canadian girl was starting to be famous in her home province, but was struggling to cross the Atlantic Ocean, her victory was the first step of her conquest of Europe and the whole world, until she became the number 1 singer she is today.
Successful hits, sometimes without a Eurovision victory…
Some Eurovision entries, winning songs or not, have had a tremendous success after the contest. Here is a non-exhaustive list of those songs that became popular and international hits: Italy 1958, Luxembourg 1967, United Kingdom 1967, United Kingdom 1968, Germany 1979, Luxembourg 1980, Italy 1987, United Kingdom 1996, Israel 1998, Norway 2009, Sweden 2012.
In a nutshell, we can say that Eurovision rarely is the Yellow Brick Road to stardom…
originally presses at Concours Eurovision France