Seeing an artist to return to the Eurovision stage is not a new concept. In fact, by the second ever Eurovision Song Contest in 1957, there were already two returning artists, Corry Brokken for The Netherlands, and previous winner Lys Assia for Switzerland. Over the history of the contest, artists have returned to the Eurovision stage once, twice, or even more – they just can’t get enough!
Since there’s been a huge range of returning artists, we’re focusing on more recent years of the contest. Most of these Top 5 acts have participated in the last decade, with the exception of one who first made their debut back in 2004 (start guessing!). We’ve also picked artists who made their debut with a song we enjoyed, and who returned with a song we enjoyed, because as we know, some returning artists have gone from zero to hero, or alternatively, from hero to zero! Without further ado, here are our Top 5 Returning Eurovision Artists!
5. Valentina Monetta (Social Network Song, Crisalide (Vola), Maybe, Spirit of the Night)
It would be criminal not to include the Eurovision Queen of San Marino in our list, not only for the sheer volume of participations, but also since we enjoy, well, most of her entries. She started off with the most interesting of her entries, which was the Social Network Song. As much as it was entertaining, it wasn’t anything overly special, especially considering it unsurprisingly failed to reach the final. The following year, she returned with a more serious entry in Crisalide (Vola), which was a complete 180 from her previous entry. It was a song definitely deserving of the final, but once again missed out. Third time’s a charm, they say, and for Valentina this certainly rang true. At Eurovision 2014, she performed the song Maybe, which really showcased her jazz vocals. It was hit with the voters, only just, as she qualified for the final. This made for the first final qualification for San Marino in Eurovision history, and interestingly still remains as the only qualification. After that, it seemed that Valentina had retired from her Eurovision experiences, but in 2017, she returned with American artist Jimmie Wilson to perform Spirit of the Night. We’ve picked our personal favourite, Crisalide as well as her qualifying entry Maybe to be featured below:
4. Lena (Satellite, Taken By A Stranger)
Lena is different to anyone else on this list, and that’s because she is the only one in our Top 5 who actually won Eurovision, only to come back the following year with another competing entry. Usually, coming back to the Eurovision stage is common practice for the artists who have won, but it’s more common to see them return as interval acts, rather than competitors. Lena did the hard yards, as not only did she come on stage to reprise her winning song from 2010, but she also returned to the stage to perform her competing entry to her home audience. We’re not sure if we can choose a favourite between the two entries, as Satellite was a complete bop of a song, but Taken By A Stranger was a bit more mysterious and captivating. We’ll just call it a tie.
3. Sunstroke Project (Run Away, Hey Mamma)
We first saw the Moldovan trio take to the stage in 2010, where they were joined by Olia Tira to perform the song Run Away. It was a personal favourite back in 2010, and it seemed that other Eurovision fans thought the same, as it qualified through the final. Although not hugely successful in the final, the band found their success through the viral videos of The Epic Sax guy, a symbol which has stuck around even to this day. Fast forward to 2017, where the trio returned to the Moldovan national selection, and breezed through to Eurovision with the song Hey Mamma. The catchy pop entry which once again played on the Epic Sax ‘character’ seemed like an easy qualifier, and that it was. In the end, the trio gave Moldova their best ever result, 3rd place!
2. Poli Genova (Na Inat, If Love Was A Crime)
Choosing between our Top 2 Returning Artists really was a struggle, however, there can only be one winner, but really, both are winners to us! We first saw Bulgarian artist Poli Genova take to the stage in 2011 with her national language performance of the rock inspired entry Na Inat. In that year, it was one of our favourites, and still is from 2011, so we were devastated when it failed to reach the final. Fast forward a bit to Junior Eurovision 2015, where Poli Genova was chosen to be the host of the contest. From that, we sensed that she would be making her Eurovision return, and we weren’t wrong! Poli Genova returned to Eurovision 2016, and she came back with a bang. If Love Was A Crime was not only one of our favourites of the year, but it also managed to give Bulgaria their best Eurovision placing at the time, which was 4th place, which as we know has been improved on by Kristian Kostov in 2017.
1. Željko Joksimović (Lane Moje, Nije Ljubav Stvar)
He’s the king of the Balkan Ballad, and for that reason we had to put Željko in our top position. Entries from Serbia, or Montenegro for that matter, have always been a bit hit and miss, but when the Serbian superstar takes to the stage, he is sure to be in the Top 5. His first Eurovision performance was in 2004, representing Serbia and Montenegro with the song Lane Moje. Although without a win, Željko took a respectable 2nd place. As a composer, he returned various times, and he even returned to Eurovision as a host after Serbia won the contest in 2007. He then returned as a lead artist in 2012 with the song Nije Ljubav Stvar, and once again it was a classy Balkan ballad that fans really loved. It was a beautiful song deserving of a Top 5 result, and it did just that, finishing in 3rd place.
Well there you have it, our Top 5 Returning Artists from recent years! Make sure to tell us which returning acts you love!