Eurovision for Beginners: Winners of Eurovision

Winning Nations

Who has the most amount of wins at Eurovision? Ireland currently holds the record of the most amount of wins, after winning seven contests. Ireland dominated during the 1990’s, after winning four contests in only five years – 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996.

Coming a close second is Sweden, with a total of 6 wins as of 2016. With the third amount of wins is France, Luxembourg and the UK, all tied on 5 wins. The UK also holds the record for the highest number of runner up placings, as they’ve come second an incredible 15 times.

During the early years, many of the ‘western’ nations were successful at the contest, such as France, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, however the popularity of these nations has since declined, with Luxembourg no longer entering the contest, and France and the Netherlands last winning the contest in the 1970’s.

At the start of the 21st century, Eurovision began to see a shift. Many debuting or newer nations to Eurovision began winning for the first time, along with countries who had participated for many years without a win. Between 2001 and 2008, every country that won the contest had not previous won the contest. Estonia was the first post-Soviet nation to win the contest, and closely followed by Latvia. Turkey and Ukraine were the next to follow, and then Greece in 2005. In 2006, Finland won the contest after participating in the contest for 45 years. The following year, Serbia won the first year it entered as an independent state. Russia was the last nation to continue the streak, however again in 2011, Azerbaijan, a new nation to Eurovision won the contest.

Portugal remains the longest participating nation without winning the contest,  – well, strike that! Cyprus is now the longest participating nation without a win, with their best result achieved in 2018 with Eleni Foureira. Malta is the most successful Eurovision country without a win, finishing 2nd twice, and 3rd twice.

In 2009, Norway won with a record breaking 387 points. Alexander Rybak was the first participant to receive more than 300 points in the contest up to that point. He also received 16 maximum scores. In 2010, Sweden’s Loreen broke this record, receiving a total of 18 maximum points, however just short of the total points, at 372.

With the newest change to the voting, Portugal holds the title for the highest number of points, although had Salvador Sobral won in the previous points system, he still would have broken the record!

In terms of language, English is the most common language of Eurovision winners, with 32 total wins. French is second, with 14 wins.

Winning Artists

Eurovision has been the platform for many artists to break through into mainstream popularity. The most notable example would be ABBA, who launched into mega fame after their Eurovision participation and win in 1974, with the song Waterloo. Another notable artist is Celine Dion, who represented Switzerland in 1988 and won with the song Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi.

Italian artist Domenico Modugno was one of the first Eurovision artists to break through internationally, even though he didn’t win the contest. His entry Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu was well received in the United States, and his sales reached over 22 million, and the song received two Grammy Awards.

In recent years, winning artists have created fame in European nations and beyond, and through the developments in technology and online purchasing of music, Eurovision music is more easily spread around the world, reaching new heights of popularity.