• Salvador Sobral, the winning contestant from Portugal, at the winner's press conference at the Eurovision Grand Final. ( Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)Source: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images
Portugal broke a record in 2017 with its long-awaited victory. Who's next in line to break the drought?
Chris Zeiher

7 May 2018 - 8:45 PM  UPDATED 7 May 2018 - 8:10 PM

For every overachieving competing nation at Eurovision (Ireland, Sweden, UK we’re looking at you) there’s a cluster of countries who’ve been patiently waiting for their first win. 

Last year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev, Ukraine broke the longest standing Eurovision win drought for any nation. On its 49th attempt Portugal finally got to hold aloft the glittery microphone at the world’s biggest song contest.

Having debuted at the contest in 1964 Portugal have been a cherished fan favourite but never really threatened the scoreboard or looked likely to take the top prize. However, in 2017 the charmingly quirky Salvador Sobral wowed audiences with his gentle and endearing ballad “Amar Pelos Dois” and delivered his nation a long overdue win by achieving the most points ever recorded in a Grand Final in the contest’s history. Now that’s a way to break a win drought!

So, now that Portugal are off the “no-wins” list, which nations have been waiting the longest to get their paws on Eurovision’s glittery top prize?

CYPRUS - Wins: 0/34 

Finishing 6th on debut Cyprus signalled from their earliest entries that they were going to be a competitor to watch. However 34 entries later the Cypriotes have only managed to finish as high as 5th, which they’ve achieved 3 times, and have landed in the Top 10 a total of 9 times.

This tiny island nation is pinning its hopes of a win this year on “Fuego”, an ethno-pop belter, performed by the suitably sassy Eleni Foureira (see below). And there’s a chance that Ms Foureira might catch fire on the Lisbon, stage and stomp her way to a first ever win for Cyprus.

She may have been from the UK but lovely Lisa Andreas’ “Stronger Every Minute” got her to 5th spot for Cyprus in 2004…

ICELAND - Wins: 0/30

The only Northern European country not to have won the contest Iceland’s capital Reykjavík is a Eurovision host city in waiting. The popular island nation has found itself in the bridesmaid position twice before; in 1999 with Selma’s “All Out of Luck” and then ten years later in 2009 with Yohanna’s deliciously simple “Is it True?”. And their form in the contest has been impressive since their 1986 debut having delivered five Top 5 finishes. Sadly though this Nordic favourite has faltered in recent years having missed qualification to the Grand Final for the last 3 contests on the trot.

And it’s looking dicey for their chances in 2018. Plum-suited and cute-as-custard Ari Ólafsson was a surprise victor at the Icelandic national selection, Söngvakeppnin, with a by-the-numbers Disney-esque ballad. As pleasant as his entry is, unfortunately it’s not winning material. 


So we look to beyond 2018 for Iceland, who boasts an array of incredibly eclectic musical exports, where a win for our friends in the north is only a matter of when, not if.

Bridesmaid 1 – Selma was “All out of Luck” in 1999…

Bridesmaid 2 – Yohanna could not believe it was true in 2009…

MALTA – Wins: 0/30 

Another tiny island nation ripe for Eurovision hosting duties is Malta who have landed in the Top 10 a staggering 13 times to come up empty handed. Having placed 2nd twice, in 2002 and 2005, the Maltese, like the Icelanders, have fallen into that precarious bridesmaid position in the contest two times too many. The Maltese internal selection contest is one of Europe’s most competitive but last year’s winning entry, Claudia’s “Breathlessly”, got suffocated by the voters and crashed out in the semi-finals, delivering Malta its worst result in the contest since 2008 (gulp!).

This year the pressure falls on young Christabelle who hopes to remedy last year’s shocker with the dystopian flavoured “Taboo” (see below). She’ll need all the fight she can muster if she’s to take the contest to the Maltese capital Valletta in 2019.

Relive Malta’s bridesmaid moment for Chiara from the 2005 contest…

It’s “sticks and stones” in the Maltese Hunger Games – will the risk pay off in 2018 (see below)?

Honourable Mentions

Slovenia – debuted in 1993, 23 entries, 0 wins. Best result 7th in 2001 and 1995
Poland – debuted in 1994, 20 entries, 0 wins. Best result 2nd in 1994 (on debut)
Lithuania – debuted in 1994, 18 entries, 0 wins. Best result 6th in 2006
Romania – debuted in 1994, 18 entries, 0 wins. Best result 3rd in 2010 and 2005


The Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast live and in prime time exclusively on SBS from 9 to 13 May.

Primetime evening broadcasts

Semi Final 1 – Wednesday 9 May, 7.30pm, SBS 
Semi Final 2 – Friday 11 May, 7.30pm, SBS ** FEATURING JESSICA MAUBOY 
Grand Final – Sunday 13 May, 7.30pm, SBS

LIVE early morning broadcasts

Semi Final 1 – Wednesday 9 May, 5am (AEST) SBS and live streaming at SBS On Demand
Semi Final 2 – Friday 11 May, 5am (AEST) SBS and live streaming at SBS On Demand ** FEATURING JESSICA MAUBOY 
Grand Final – Sunday 13 May, 5am (AEST) SBS and live streaming at SBS on Demand

The Eurovision Jury was selected by SBS and had to meet the criteria set out by the EBU.


Semi Final 1: Meet the artists competing and watch their music videos 

Semi Final 2: Meet the artists competing and watch their music videos 

Grand Final:  Meet the artists with an express entry to the Grand Final and watch their music videos