Having just been treated to mere morsels over the last few months the Eurovision news has been coming thick and fast this week. The logo and slogan reveal has split the fandom over the last few days, not everybody’s on board with ‘All Aboard’. Finland’s Yle essentially stuck the middle finger up to the 300 entries submitted to UMK as they chose X Factor fave Saara Aalto to represent them at long last. And we were also treated to the reveal of Aisel for Azerbaijan. Quite the week!
To top all that, yesterday the Netherlands announced the return of one half of country duo, the Common Linnets to try go and one step further than 2014. Purely based on the numbers Waylon is going to struggle to at least match if not better the 2nd place with Ilse DeLange in 2014. He’s far from the first person to try and better a runner up placing and take the victory though. Here I’ll look back at those who’ve done the same to see if the Dutch delegation have a chance of taking the glass microphone home from Lisbon next year.
Well, the quick answer would be yes. Waylon wouldn’t be the first silver medalist to step up to the top spot if he were to succeed in May. Looking purely at the numbers though it is unlikely. Of the 62 runners up from the Contest nine have attempted to go again and win the whole thing. A third of those have actually achieved this, Linda Martin & Dima Bilan both bettered their original finishing positions in 1992 and 2008 respectively.
Most encouraging of the three would be a Dutch compatriot, Corry Brokken. She won the second iteration of the Contest having been runner up on the Contest’s first outing. To come up with this stat though one has to be somewhat economical with the truth. As the first Contest’s full results were never published if you’re name wasn’t Lys Assia you were officially in the joint second spot. But still technically you can say the Netherlands has done it before, why not again!
Between 1999 – 2006 we had a purple patch of second placers return to try and better their previous result. Five of the eight acts during this period would eventually reappear with Bilan being the most successful. Željko Joksimović is the only other runner up to come close to emulating the original result having finished 2nd in 2004 and then 3rd in 2012. Malta have twice failed to best their 2nd places with both Ira Losco & Chiara falling far short of their previous positions. They did at least both make it to the final, Iceland’s Selma fell from a nearly win in 1999 to a 16th place in a semi final and non qualification in 2015. Iceland’s worst performance of all time. Ouch.
Many other runners up have returned in a number of other ways. Some acts have returned to their own or other country’s national finals. Although better known as the first winner Lys Assia’s most recent result in the Contest is actually 2nd place having achieved that in 1958. Her next attempt to represent Switzerland wouldn’t be for another 54 years when she tried and failed in 2012. A number of others have turned to writing after chalking up a runners up spot whilst a few have turned their hand to hosting. Most notable amongst these would be Lill Lindfors who came close to the win with Svante Thuresson in 1966 but also took the helm when the Contest came to Gothenberg in 1985. Any highlight montage of hosts best moments would be incomplete without her infamous “wardrobe malfunction”.
It’s always special to see an artist return to the Contest, it feels like they ‘get’ the Contest the way we do. However, this does feel like a very brave decision on the part of Waylon. Calm After the Storm became such a hit after the 2014 Contest the pressure will be enormous, the expectation will be felt not only from the Netherlands but from right across the continent. But can it be done? Yes. Will he do it? He’s got a 1 in 42 chance.
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To be fair, Chiara improved from 3rd (1998) to 2nd (2005) before tumbling a fair bit down the leaderboard. No one’s managed to win on a threepeat, however. Dima’s the only one who’s succeeded in the televote era—the rest came from juryland.