• Sakis Rouvas in 2009 (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
If at first you don’t succeed…
Chris North

15 Apr 2016 - 4:33 PM  UPDATED 4 May 2016 - 9:07 AM

It’s the phrase you don’t need to finish to understand the meaning. So here’s seven suckers for punishment who’ve tried more than once to wear the Eurovision crown.  

Sakis Rouvas (Greece): Two attempts

TV star, film director, actor and singer Sakis finished in 3rd place in 2004 with the Euro-tragic hit ‘Shake It’ before returning in 2009 with ‘This is our night’. He finished 7th, keeping Greece’s one-and-only win record intact for another year.

Oh, and did we mention he’s also a pole vaulter? Show off!


Dana International (Israel):  Four attempts


Dana International has one of the most iconic Eurovision-winning songs with ‘Diva’ (1998). She actually first tried out in 1995 though with the oddly-named ‘Good Night, Europe’, and failed to even be selected.

1998’s victory came and went, much like her career. Then she returned as a writer in 2008 with ‘Fire in your Eyes’ that finished 9th. But in 2011 she returned singing her own song ‘Ding Dong’. It was a shocker. The Hebrew-English hybrid failed to make it to the finals. 

ABBA (Sweden): Three attempts…technically


The Swedes take Eurovision so seriously they have Melodifestivalen – a contest to choose their contestant that’s equally as big as the main event. So you might be surprised to know that one of their most successful pop industry products of all time didn’t actually qualify the first time round.

In 1973 ABBA entered with “Ring Ring”, but weren’t selected. They returned in 1974 and the rest, as they say is in....their 380 million records sales!

So ABBA went for a second win, offering to write a song – and Norway jumped at the chance in 1981.

Finn Kalvik performed the bouncy number ‘Never in my Life’, and never in their life did Norway expect this song to be the musical version of the Titanic.

It convincingly took out last place with zero points. Surprisingly ABBA never again took a chance on this dancing queen again!


Valentina Monetta (and San Marino in general): Three attempts


San Marino debuted in 2008 and unsurprisingly failed to qualify past the semi-final. It took three years for them to recover, returning in 2011 with Senit who (...ahem...) failed to qualify for the final.

Enter Valentina Monetta. In 2012 she broke the rules and nearly got disqualified with a song about Facebook. Nevertheless, they didn’t qualify for the final.

Valentina came back in 2013 and, I’m not sure if you’re seeing a pattern here, again they didn’t qualify. So with a shattered reputation, and fast becoming the next ‘Portugal’ at the contest, San Marino entered Valentina for a 3rd time in 2014.

She wrote the song “Maybe” herself, and this time… cue drumroll…. San Marino qualified for their first ever Grand Final! Copenhagen partied with them at this historic time that saw them eventually finish second last.


Sir Cliff Richard (United Kingdom): Two attempts


Sir Cliff’sfirst attempt was in 1968. He was the crowd favourite with the kitsch classic ‘Congratulations!’, and still he somehow lost to Spain! He came back in 1973 and finished third.


Eduard Romanyuta (Ukraine/Moldova): FIVE attempts

Eduard auditioned for the Ukrainian national selections four times and didn’t get through. So in 2015, when the Ukraine had withdrawn from the competition, he went to neighbouring Moldova and was selected!


Bonnie Tyler (United Kingdom): Two attempts

The famous ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ crooner was a surprise choice to represent the UK in 2013. But that wasn’t her first knock on the door. Well, sort of. She was asked by the UK to represent in 1985, at the height of her success, but she said no.

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