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What's another year? The history of Eurovision's returning winner.

02 May 2023 at 17:16 CEST
Alexander Rybak represents Norway at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest Julia Marie Naglestad
As Loreen returns to the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool, to compete once again for that sought-after trophy that she won in Baku in 2012, we take a look at the mixed fortunes of some returning winners of Contests past.
Megababe Johnny Logan, Ireland EBU

At the 67th Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool, we've got the return of an artist who has already triumphed at one of the 66 Contests that have already taken place. 

As Loreen performs Tattoo at the Liverpool Arena for Sweden, she'll become the 18th winner to have competed at the Contest again after having already achieved a Eurovision win. But while Jessica Garlick's pleas to do so were indeed convincing in 2003, is it always the best idea for an artist to Come Back?

Loreen rehearsing Tattoo for Sweden at the First Rehearsal of the First Semi-Final at Liverpool Arena Corinne Cumming / EBU

It's well documented by now that Ireland's Johnny Logan is so far the only winner to have returned to the Eurovision Song Contest and won the whole thing a second time around. But there are actually a trio of returning winners who came within an inch of taking the title again, finishing runner-up in 2nd place.

Gigliola Cinquetti won the Eurovision Song Contest for Italy in 1964 with Non Ho L'età; at the time the youngest participant to win the trophy, at 16 years of age (a record she held onto until over two decades later, in 1986). In 1974 she returned to compete in Brighton with . And she very nearly claimed victory once more - were it not for Sweden's ABBA and their 6-point lead at the top of the scoreboard.

1964 winner Gigliola Cinquetti Nordisk

A similar fortune awaited Lys Assia who won the very first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. She finished in second place two years later in 1958; but not before an 8th-place finish the year before, in 1957. 

Another Contest winner returning twice was Elisabeth Andreassen, who earned victory for Norway in 1985 with La Det Swinge, as a part of the duo Bobbysocks. She competed solo for Norway in 1996, finishing in second place with the song I Evighet. Two years earlier, in Dublin in 1994, she had finished in 6th place for Norway, with the duet Duett, performed with Jan Werner Danielsen. 

A third-place finish was achieved by a former Eurovision Song Contest winner on two occasions. At the 1968 Contest, the 1962 winner for France, Isabelle Aubret, returned to claim the bronze medal for her country. So too did 1973's winner Anne-Marie David in 1979, though this time swapping Luxembourg for France in which country she represented!

But it doesn't always go so swimmingly for artists hoping to achieve that historic double win...

The Contests of the 21st century in particular have been less kind to returning artists. Record-breaking winner for Norway in 2009, Alexander Rybak, came back to compete a second time in 2018, with the confidently titled That's How You Write A Song. Despite winning the Second Semi-Final that year, however, 15th place was the best that the song could manage at the Grand Final.

It fared slightly better than Hero by Charlotte Perrelli though, which finished in 18th place at the 2008 Contest, after Charlotte had scored victory for Sweden in Jerusalem in 1999, with the song Take Me To Your Heaven. Two years later in 2010, another Eurovision champ from the '90s, Niamh Kavanagh, represented Ireland once more with It's For You. But as the Grand Final played out in Oslo, Niamh finished a long way off her first-place victory in 1993, ending the night in 23rd position.

The largest disparity between a triumph and a comeback achieved by a returning winner, however, happened in 2011, when Dana International competed for Israel a second time. 13 years after her iconic win in Birmingham with the song Diva, Dana International competed at the Düsseldorf Contest with Ding Dong, finishing in 15th place at the Second Semi-Final, out of 19 songs. 

Loreen is the latest Eurovision winner to return to the Contest and compete for victory once more. She'll be representing Sweden at the First Semi-Final on Tuesday 9 May, with her song Tattoo. To see which side of the chequered history of returning winners she lands on, join us during the Live Shows

The Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Malmö, Sweden on Tuesday 7 May (First Semi-Final), Thursday 9 May (Second Semi-Final) and Saturday 11 May (Grand Final) 2024.

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