Winning Eurovision may be the ultimate aim for all the song contestants but losing Eurovision won’t stop you from having a hit song across Europe. Over the past few years at least one losing song has gone on to chart throughout Europe following the contest.
This year Ivi Adamou from Cyprus was a good example of a loser turned winner with her song “ La La Love”. Despite only coming 16th in the final, Ivi went on to take her single into the charts in no fewer than 13 countries. It was no surprise she made number 2 in Greece but she also made top 20 in Sweden, Norway and Finland. The song made the top 50 in Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain and Austria, top 100 in Switzerland and the UK. And as reported on escxtra.com it has already been tipped as a summer hit in Spain for 2012.
In 2011 it was Jedward who charted throughout Europe with “Lipstick”, which finished 8th in the final following that somewhat memorable stage performance. As well as making number 1 in their home country Ireland Jedward also made the top 20 in Austria, South Korea, Sweden, Germany and Belgium. They made top 50 in Belgium, Switzerland, Finland and the UK as well as the top 100 in the Netherlands.
In 2010 Tom Dice from Belgium with “Me and My Guitar” which had finished a very creditable 6th charted number 1 in Belgium, as expected and went Gold, but it also made the top 40 in Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland as well as the top 100 in France and the Uk.
Alexander Rybak took his winning song “Fairytale” to charts throughout Europe in 2009 but he was not alone, Yohanna from Iceland, who finished a very creditable runner up with her song “Is it True” went on to chart in 13 countries. It made number 1 in her home country Iceland and top 10 in Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Greece and Finland. It was also top 40 in Belgium, Denmark, Estonia and Ireland as well as top 100 Belgium, Slovakia and the UK.
2008 and former Eurovision winner Charlotte Perrelli represented Sweden and despite struggling to make the final, in the end thanks to the jury votes, she went on to finish 18th with the song “Hero”. Not surprisingly Hero topped the Swedish charts and was the best selling single of the year but it was top 30 in Finland, Norway, Denmark and Hungary as well at top 75 in Switzerland.
In 2007 the Ukraine’s “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” sung by the unforgettable Verka Serduchka was a hit in Eastern Europe but went on to become the first non-Eurovision winner to chart in the UK since 1974 and also was also a top 30 hit in France, Sweden and Belgium. It was also a top 50 seller in the likes of Ireland, Poland, and Austria and top 100 in Germany and Switzerland.
In 2006 many Eurovision fans were shocked when Kate Ryan, representing Belgium, failed to make it out of the Semi Final with her track “Je t’adore” (“I Adore You”). But the song went on to be a number 1 in the Belgium Flanders charts staying there for five weeks it also got to number 4 in Poland. It was top 40 hit in Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden and made the top 100 in Switzerland – it also featured on her “Greatest Hits Album” which was a European wide hit.
Of course non- winning Eurovision songs in the past that also went to be charting hits include the likes of:
• Luxembourg’s “Love Is Blue” sung by Vicky Leandros, which was also a hit for a number of another artist including -Paul Mauriat
• UK’s “Congratulations”-by Cliff Richard in 1968 – which was a huge European hit
• 1971 U.K. “Jack in the Box” sung by Clodagh Rodgers was number 1 in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands to mention but a few
• In 1972 U.K’s. “Beg Steal or Borrow”-by the New Seekers – was a major European hit
• In 1973 Cliff Richard lost in Eurovision again but “Power To All Our Friends”-charted in a number of European countries and beyond!
• Losing to Abba in 1974 didn’t stop the Dutch duo Mouth & McNeal with “I See A Star” or Italy’s Gigliola Cinquetti with “Go, Before you break my heart” both charting throughout western Europe.
• In 1981 it was the German entry “Johnny Blue” by Lena Valaitis which came runner-up in the contest that was the one that went on to chart in Ireland and many other European countries.
• In 1982 Tight Fit failed at the first hurdle in the Dutch National final with “Fantasy Island” but it went on to be a huge chart hit across Europe and Eastern Asia/Oceania
• And then 1996 Gina G, who only came 8th in Eurovision yet the Aussie, representing the UK, was to have a number 1 across Europe, US and Australia
So when it comes to Eurovision it certainly is a case that winning isn’t everything, and there can be success despite the Eurovision voting outcome, but what makes a losing song in Eurovision go on to have chart success?
In some cases it can be the artist, established names like Blue, Kate Ryan, Cliff Richard and the New Seekers are well known throughout Europe and will sell to their fan base. Other acts have the quirky factor, the likes of Jedward and Verka Serduchka being examples of the gimmick being greater than the quality of the song but still selling singles. In other cases it can be the wider fan base consider the quality of the song, Yohanna, Lena Valaitis being good examples, past and present, when the song was appreciated and that was reflected in their chart success.
It’s hard to predict which songs will go on to have any international commercial success, many expected the likes of Mandinga or Nina Zilli to be potential European hits following this year’s contest but that honour went to Ivi, the real challenge however is sustainable success and that, even for winners, is difficult to achieve.