From Heavy Rock Goblins to Three White Men Dancing, Here Are the Best and Worst Eurovision Winners Over the Years

From Heavy Rock Goblins to Three White Men Dancing, Here Are the Best and Worst Eurovision Winners Over the Years
Image: Getty

It’s time to get your (environmentally friendly) glitter out; Eurovision 2022 is almost upon us! That’s right, the beloved European singing competition is back and better than ever and we can’t wait to see all the weird, wacky and wonderful acts. We’re especially keen to see which wild act will become the Eurovision winners for this year.

For those who don’t know, several acts from various European nations (and Australia) perform at Eurovision in the hopes of getting enough points to win. Eurovision is known for its rather colourful performances and has helped push countless artists into international stardom, like the little-known band, ABBA or singer Celine Dion.

Most of the time, the winners are very justified. Other times, however, some performances just miss the mark and still get enough votes to win anyway.

The Eurovision voting process is a little confusing so here’s a little explainer of how it all goes down.

In honour of the most theatrical night of the year, we’re taking a look back at the best and worst Eurovision winners.

Three of the best winners

1. Eurovision 2014 winners

Conchita Wurst (Austria) 

To me, this is the pinnacle of a Eurovision performance. It’s got everything you could want and more.

From the stunning dress to the wind machine that was working overtime to the fog and the fire wings – it’s all incredible.

What’s so special about this performance though is how Conchita commands the stage, as any good Eurovision performer should. It’s no wonder Conchita was the 2014 Eurovision winner.

It’s also one of the best vocal performances I’ve seen out of all of the Eurovision winners.

What’s more, at the heart of Eurovision lies the push to embrace the unconventional, and in 2014, it was pretty unconventional to have someone who presented differently represent a nation on an international stage. It was a massive step forward for queer inclusivity.

In terms of Eurovision voting, Conchita snatched the win after they received 290 points.

2. Eurovision 2006 winners

Lordi (Finland) 

I don’t think anything screams Eurovision more than a heavy metal band dressed up as Klingon-goblin type characters.

Now, I’m not normally one for a hard rock Christian song, but I can’t not put this on the top three – purely because it’s absolutely chaotic.

When you’re watching this performance you’ll be flooded with a lot of questions, the biggest one being why? 

The lead singer then has a reveal that any Drag Race contestant would be jealous of. Towards the end of the song, the singer’s wings start to grow (I’m assuming this is where Courtney Act got the idea for this runway from).

It’s not overly surprising that Lordi was 2006’s Eurovision winner because they were wildly popular in their home nation of Finland. Their win was pretty much sealed after they won the popular vote from about 67,000 viewers.

From the Eurovision voting process, Lordi received 292 points, so they were the clear winners of the night.

File this performance under ‘things that I’m scared of but cannot stop looking at’.

3. Eurovision 1974 winners

Lordi (Finland) 

It would be remiss of us to not include the legendary ABBA in a list of the best winners at Eurovision after they won the competition in 1974.

What makes this win so special was how it rocket-launched ABBA’s international career and would see them become household names for many, many years to come.

Their impact on music since has been immense. I mean, who hasn’t heard an ABBA song at least once in their life?

When ABBA performed at Eurovision 1974, they were the clear winners. The power of their song Waterloo is still so strong that it’s almost impossible not to get up and boogie along.

Although, not everyone believed that ABBA should have won. In classic Eurovision drama, apparently, Britain gave the band zero points because they wanted Olivia Newton-John to win and they saw ABBA as her biggest threat.

They were obviously correct because, from that point, ABBA altered the course of music history forever.

ABBA is probably the pinnacle of what Eurovision should be. You’ve got fun and campy costumes, a killer and catchy song and just good vibes all around. While they aren’t the biggest and most show-stopping performers in Eurovision history, they proved that you don’t need all the theatrics to win; you just need to make people feel something.

Overall, ABBA scored a total of 302 points.

3 of the worst winners

1. Eurovision 1984 winners

Herreys (Sweden) 

Look, I don’t speak Swedish, but this song doesn’t make me want to get up and have a cheeky dance, which is one of the hallmarks of a good Eurovision song.

I’m sure it was a popular 1980s hit, but it obviously didn’t stick. Listening back, it’s a bit lacklustre and sounds very similar to other pop songs around the same time.

Eurovision is all about doing something new and innovative that we haven’t heard of or seen before and all this performance gives me is the ick.

I mean, where is the flavour? Where is the drama? It’s very much giving three white dudes dancing.

One thing I will say is that they are a trio of brothers, so it’s sweet the see them perform together – but beyond that? Meh.

However, I can’t say I’m totally shocked that this performance won Eurovision. It has very big galactic, Europe pop energy.

But hey, who am I to judge? In the voting, Herreys won with a total score of 145 points.

2. Eurovision 1980 winners

Herreys (Sweden) 

I’m not saying a Eurovision song has to be positive, but I am saying it has to be catchy. Sure, give us a sad song but make it fun or at least dramatic.

Johnny Logan’s ‘What’s Another Year’ is very sad and doesn’t offer the lively vibes that we know and love Eurovision for.

I suppose this was a few years after the end of the Vietnam War so things were still very much doom and gloom as the various nations counted their losses from the horrors of war.

This was also the middle period of the Troubles, which plagued his home country of Ireland, so Johnny had every right to give a melancholy performance. But it just didn’t seem to match the general tone of the comp for me.

Don’t get me wrong, he has an incredible voice and the song is actually quite lovely if it weren’t part of the competition. It’s Eurovision, goddammit! Give the people hope!

At least runner up Katja Ebstein gave us something to work with in her performance.

Once again, I clearly am the only one who thinks this because dreamy Johnny Logan won Eurovision with a total of 143 points.

Maybe we will see sad boy music make a return to the Eurovision 2022 competition given the state of the world is currently in shambles.

3. Eurovision 2009 winners

Alexander Rybak (Norway)

I had high hopes for this performance when it first began, because who doesn’t love a theatrical orchestral flourish? But things quickly went downhill from there in terms of entertainment.

To start us off, Alexander sings, “Years ago when I was younger, I kind of liked a girl I knew,” which is a very boring way to start a song, especially after that amazing instrumental beginning.

Then, adding fuel to the fire, his violin strings break almost immediately, so I do have to commend him on continuing to perform like nothing was wrong.

It’s at this point that his backup singers randomly come in and add absolutely nothing besides intensely staring at Alexander.

The song itself is quite basic and we all know that if a song is boring, you best spice that shit up – but spice Alexander does not. It’s about as flavourful as an unseasoned grilled chicken.

I would hesitate to call this a song; it’s more of a spoken-word piece about his love story falling apart because he believed in fairytale romances. That might sound harsh but compared to other Eurovision winners, like Conchita or ABBA, he doesn’t really stack up.

He does do a pretty cool back bend thing which makes it look like he dislocated his legs, so that’s fun. But by the end of it, I wished he had sung less and played the violin more.

I know I’m the only one who holds these opinions because Alexander gained a whopping total of 387 points from the combined Eurovision voting process.

Special mention: Verka Serduchka – 2007 Eurovision

If you want to know how to do a Eurovision performance, learn from Ukraine’s Verka Serduchka 2007 performance.

Although they came in second place, this is by far my favourite Eurovision performance of all time. It actually has everything. Disco ball costumes, an upbeat and catchy song, funky dance moves and more importantly, it makes you think “What am I watching?”

If you want more Eurovision content, check out our other article about the Eurovision 2022 competition, including where you can watch all the chaos unfold live from Australia.

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