Class of 2017: Guess who’s back?11 May 2017 at 12:58 CEST
If there's someone this year who is addicted to the Eurovision Song Contest it is without a doubt, Valentina Monetta from San Marino, having participated in 2012, 2013 and 2014 where she qualified for the Grand Final.
After a two year Eurovision hiatus she's back in the competition, although she's not alone this time. Her duet partner is German-based American vocalist Jimmie Wilson, but for Valentina that makes no difference as she still feels the same vibes and the love from the fans who have named her the "Queen of Eurovision". She is, in fact, joinly topping the list for most participations, with her four appearances as the lead artist. She ties with Swedish-Norwegian Elisabeth Andreassen as well as with Peter, Sue and Marc from Switzerland.
An epic comeback
In 2010 Sunstroke Project represented Moldova in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Run Away alongside Olia Tira.
It was after the 2010 contest that saxophonist Sergey Stepanov became a YouTube sensation, known all over the world as the Epic Sax Guy. They tried to comeback to the contest several times since then, ultimately making it this year with Hey Mamma, already qualified for the Grand Final on Saturday.
From Kyiv to... Kyiv!
A curious comeback case is that of the duo representing Estonia. Both Laura and Koit Toome represented Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005 and 1998 respectively. Laura's first participation was with the band Suntribe with the song Let’s Get Loud, also in Kyiv. Sadly for Suntribe they didn’t qualify for the Grand Final. Koit Toome placed 12th with Mere Lapsed in Birmingham. Since then the two singers have become among the hardest working artists in the Estonian music scene but this is the first time that the ambitious duo will unite for a project.
Koit and Laura's modern take on Romeo and Juliet, Verona, was inspired by a recent trip to the city by the author of the song, Sven Lõhmus. The songwriter is also returning to the contest for the fourth time this year.
Another artist who is making a comeback not only to Eurovision but to Kyiv is Slovenia’s Omar Naber. He represented his country at the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest with the self-composed song Stop placing 12th in the Semi-Final.
Omar participated again in the national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009, 2011 and 2014. This year he entered again and won with the song On My Way which he wrote himself which unfortunately for him didn't qualify from Tuesday’s First Semi-Final. When asked about coming back to Kyiv he said that he "loved the idea, as in 2005 I didn’t have time to do any sightseeing."
From back to front
For some singers the experience is much more exciting this time around comepared to their previous Eurovision experiences they took part as backing singers but now are in the limelight representing their countries. That is the case of Serbia’s Tijana Bogićević, who backed Nina in Düsseldorf in 2011 with Čaroban.
Although she is recognised as an excellent backing vocalist, Tijana points out that she always wanted to pursue a career as a solo artist, and her time has arrived here in Kyiv with the song In Too Deep.
Israel’s IMRI follows the same path as Tijana with the peculiarity that he's been a backing vocalist before. He participated for Israel in 2015 with Golden Boy by Nadav Guedj and 2016 with Made of Stars by Hovi Star. IMRI is incredibly proud and excited to made it to the stage in his own right this year, something that he explains in his song I Feel Alive.
It's all because of You
Another interesting comeback this year comes from Sweden. Robin Bengtsson will perform I Can’t Go On in the Grand Final. The song was written by Robin Stjernberg, who represented Sweden in 2013 and won the Marcel Beçenzon Composer Award for his entry You.
"To be the songwriter is a huge difference, now I get to relax and hang out with people. To be honest, I was 22 I was so new to the whole business, it was a cool experience but I was very nervous. I feel more relaxed now, also as a person, so this is way more fun."