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Notable runners up of Eurovision

22 December 2011 at 11:29 CET

We recently looked back at all the winners of the Eurovision Song Contest, which we hoped you enjoyed! Now we are taking another trip back in time to look at some of the contest's most notable runner ups.

We have chosen 10 runner ups to look at so take a look below to see who they are and why we think they are important and stand out. Some names you may know, and some you may not but we hope you enjoy reading nonetheless!

1958 - Lys Assia (Switzerland)

In 1956 Lys Assia won the first ever Eurovision Song Contest with the song Refrain. At that time only the winner was announced and officially every other participant was a runner-up.

Lys also took part in 1957 and then again in 1958 where she came second in Hilversum with the song Georgio with 24 points to France's 27. This makes her a very significant runner-up coming first and then second two years later, entering three years in a row.

In an attempt to repeat her earlier success, this year Lys entered the Swiss national selection where she came 8th out of 14 songs with C'était ma vie.

1968 - Cliff Richard (United Kingdom)

Cliff Richard is one of the biggest selling artists in the world and even in the sixties he was an incredibly popular figure. When he entered the Eurovision Song Contest held at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1968, he was a big favourite with his song "Congratulations". In fact there was so much hype around his entry that he himself was convinced that he would win.

However, during the voting Spain's Massiel came out as the winner, only one point ahead of the United Kingdom. Cliff Richard has since told of his nerves and that he had to hide in the toilet during the voting.

Cliff went on to represent the United Kingdom again in 1973 with the song "Power To All Our Friends", which came 3rd.

1969 - Paola Del Medico (Switzerland)

This was the year of four winners, which is why it is worth writing about the runner up who in fact came in fifth place.

The four winners all received 18 votes and were Spain, United Kingdom, Netherlands and France. In fifth place came Switzerland's Paola Del Medico with the song "Bonjour, Bonjour". This was no doubt a bit of a hollow placing for Paola who had the four winners ahead of her.

Rest assured, this result could not reoccur due to rule changes that in the event of a draw will determine the winner by looking at how the individual votes were awarded. This was put into practice in 1991 (see below).

1988 - Scott Fitzgerald (United Kingdom)

This was the year of one of the great artists of the Eurovision Song Contest, Céline Dion. An early favourite in the competition with success at home in Canada and in France to boast about, people were sure she would win quite convincingly.

However when it came down to the voting the United Kingdom became a very clear contender with Scott Fitzgerald and his song, "Go" fighting Switzerland for a place at the top of the scoreboard. In fact towards the end of the voting it looked like the United Kingdom would win pending just a few points from Yugoslavia. Switzerland was also trailing a little bit at this point so people resigned themselves to the fact that it wouldn't be Switzerland's year.

But in the end Yugoslavia awarded no points to the United Kingdom and 6 points to Switzerland, which ended with Céline Dion winning by just one point. This was definitely one of the most thrilling voting sequences ever at the competition.

1991 - Amina (France)

After four countries won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1969, new rules were introduced to prevent this from happening again and these were put into practice in 1991.

Amina and her song "Le Dernier qui a parlé" received 146 points whilst Carola from Sweden and her song "Fångad av en stormvind" also received 146 points thus producing a draw. As such, a "count back" procedure was inacted that determined the winner by looking at how the votes were awarded.

Both Sweden and France had received four lots of 12 points which meant that the winner was determined on how many sets of 10 points each country were awarded. Sweden had received five lots of 10 points and France only two, so Sweden was declared the winner.

This is the last time that there has been a tie in the competition and has been the closest France has come to winning since its last victory in 1977.

1994 - Edyta Górniak (Poland)

After the collapse of communism in Europe, seven new countries entered Europe's favourite TV show in 1994. These were Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia and Slovakia.

Of these new countries three came in the top 10, namely Poland (2nd place), Hungary (4th place) and Russia (9th place).

During the initial stages of the voting it seemed that Hungary may win the competition as they were awarded three lots of 12 points in a row. However it later became clear that Ireland would win for the third time in a row and that Poland's Edyta Górniak would come second with "To nie ja!" after wowing the viewers and audience in the hall with her incredibly powerful voice and extensive range.

This result was quite significant for Poland and showed that the new participating countries were warmly welcomed into the Eurovision Song Contest family.

1998 - Imaani (United Kingdom)

The voting of the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest brought back memories of 1988 where it came down to the very last country's vote to decide the winner. This time it was the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia who were to deliver the thriller as the United Kingdom, Malta and Israel were all in the running.

For much of the voting it was between Chiara from Malta and Dana International from Israel but when it came down to the last vote any of the three countries could have won. At this point Israel got 8 points, the United Kingdom 10 points and Malta received nothing, which meant that Israel was declared the winner, the United Kingdom the runner up and Malta in third place.

Imaani and her song "Where Are You?" was the last time the United Kingdom has come in second place, coming close in 2002 when Jessica Garlick came joint third in Tallinn.

2003 - Urban Trad (Belgium)

Belgium were leading throughout much of the voting together with Turkey in Riga. This led to viewers all over Europe teetering on the edge of their seats.

Urban Trad were very unusual in that they sang their song "Sanomi" in an imaginary language, something that appealed to the viewing public. However in the end there were only two points in it and it was Sertab Erener from Turkey who clenched victory with 167 points to Belgium's 165.

This was the last very close result we have seen in the Eurovision Song Contest but we of course hope that we will see something similar in the coming years!

2009 - Yohanna (Iceland)

In 2009 the voting was not what one would call a thriller as it was clear from the very start that Alexander Rybak from Norway would win as the 12 points kept flowing in.

However, Yohanna from Iceland with her song "Is It True?" quietly moved up the leaderboard to claim second place.

What makes this significant is the distance in points between Iceland and Norway. Norway won with a record-breaking 387 points compared to Iceland's 218 points. This is a difference of an entire 169 points, which until recently was enough to win the competition outright.

2011 - Raphael Gualazzi (Italy)

After an absence of 14 years, Italy returned to the competition in Düsseldorf with the song "Madness of Love" performed by Raphael Gualazzi. With his unusual vocal talents and pretty amazing piano playing skills, Raphael brought Italy screaming back to the competition, coming second with 189 points to Azerbaijan's 221.

Not only did Italy come second overall but in the jury vote, Italy came top of the table. Not a bad comeback, is it?