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Many happy returns - a recipe for success at Eurovision?

18 October 2017 at 17:00 CEST
Estonia first reharsal 2017 Thomas Hanses
If at first you don't succeed, try and try again. That's how the saying goes but when it comes to Eurovision is it true? Over the years many performers have returned to the contest but with mixed fortunes. Let's take a look at some who have taken to the Eurovision stage more than once.

Literally from the very first year that the Eurovision Song Contest started, artists returned to the competition. Lys Assia, the first ever winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, participated for Switzerland in 1957 and 1958. Lys became the first of several artists who won the contest, only to return and fail to repeat their success. 

Second time unlucky?

Cliff Richard was widely tipped to win the 1968 Eurovision Song Contest with his song Congratulations but was narrowly beaten by Spain's La La La. Whilst his song went on to become a huge hit, he remained hungry for a Eurovision win and returned to the competition in 1973 only to be beaten again. Anne Marie David won the 1973 Eurovision Song Contest for Luxembourg with the song Tu te reconnaîtras. Anne Marie David returned to the contest in 1979, this time representing France where she placed third.

Ireland's Niamh Kavanagh triumphed at the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest with In Your Eyes. She returned to the contest in 2010, taking Ireland to the Grand Final for the first time in years but failed to repeat her earlier success. Despite any initial disappointment she might have had, she has gone on to become a firm fan favourite. 

Dana International made headlines when she won the Eurovision Song Contest for Israel in 1998. The transgendered singer became a symbol of freedom to many and her song Diva became a massive hit all over Europe. Dana returned to the contest in 2008 as a songwriter for Israel's entry The Fire In Your Eyes performed by Boaz. 

In 2011 Dana took part in the Israeli national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest and won with the song Ding Dong. Unfortunately for Dana though, not only did she not win in 2011, she failed to qualify for the Grand Final, despite one of the sassiest struts ever seen on a Eurovision stage.

2011 was also the year that Lena, who won the Eurovision Song Contest for Germany the previous year, decided to defend her title on home group. Lena's song in 2011 was Taken By A Stranger which was in stark contrast to her winning song from 2010, Satellite. Despite its originality, Lena finished 10th in the Grand Final.

Elisabeth Andreassen won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1985 as part of Bobbysocks. She previously participated in 1982 as part of the band Chips. Andreassen returned to the contest in both 1994 and 1996, failing to win again. She did however finish second in Oslo in 1996 and attempted to represent Norway again in 1998. Hanne Krogh, Elisabeth's counterpart in Bobbysocks had previously entered the contest in 1971 and returned again in 1991.

Arguably the only winner who continued to succeed each time he entered was Eurovision legend Johnny Logan. Not only did he win the Eurovision Song Contest in 1980 for Ireland with the song What’s Another Year, he won again in 1987 with the song Hold Me Now. Logan was the first singer to win the contest twice but went on to win again in 1992 for the third time, writing the song Why Me? which was performed by Linda Martin.

Take a chance on a second chance

Ireland's Linda Martin participated in the 1984 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Terminal 3. The song was written by Johnny Logan and despite a strong showing during the voting, Linda finished second to Sweden. Over the years she participated in the Irish national selection for Eurovision again and in 1992 she took to the stage in Malmö to perform another Johnny Logan song, Why Me? The wait was worth it and Linda gave Ireland its fourth Eurovision victory. 

In 2001 Helena Paparizou represented Greece as part of the group Antique. The song, (I Would) Die For You gave Greece its best placing in the Eurovision Song Contest up until that point. Not content with this accolade, Paparizou returned as a solo artist in 2005 finally winning the contest for Greece for the first time in Eurovision history. Her song, My Number One went on to become a big summer hit around Europe.

The 2006 Eurovision Song Contest was held in Athens following Helena Paparizou's win the year before. The 2006 contest saw the first appearance of Russia's Dima Bilan. His song, Never Let You Go finished second behind Lordi from Finland. Bilan decided to take revenge and returned to the contest in 2008 winning with his song Believe. The victory was big news in Russia and the 2009 competition in Moscow was one of the most lavish Eurovision Song Contests ever produced.

Does it pay off to return? 

The jury is still out on that one (excuse the pun!) unlike Lys Assia who never repeated the success of her 1956 Eurovision win, Dutch singer Corry Brokken won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1957 after she placed eighth the year before. So far so good but what about those who return again for a third time? Corry participated again in 1958 placing joint last.  

Another example comes from Sweden's Carola who made her Eurovision debut in 1983 with the song Främling. The entry finished third in the contest and marked the beginning of her successful career. 

In 1991 Carola took to the Eurovision stage again and lifted the trophy with her energetic rendition of Fångad av en stormvind. In 2006 Carola entered the Eurovision Song Contest once more but failed to beat both her previous placings and finished fifth in Athens with Invincible.

Carola was rightfully proud of consistently placing in the top five of the Grand Final of Eurovision but her story highlights that once you've reached the top, it's almost impossible to stay there. Unless you're Johnny Logan!

Then there are those who have never won and yet keep returning to the contest but that's another story, for another time!