An Xtra Happy Birthday; week 42!

October 16th

A total of ten, (yes, you read that right; TEN!!) former Eurovision participants were born on this date! And thank heavens we have the tradition of presenting the oldest first! Otherwise I honestly wouldn’t have had the faintest idea where to start!

Ilya Lagutenko, 50

Russia picked the band Mumiy Troll to go as their reprecentative to Eurovision in 2001. Ilya is the lead singer of the band, and therefore sang their song “Lady Alpine Blue” on the stage. They got good results, that is placed 10th at the final.

Michael van der Heide, 47

Michael represented Switzerland at the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo. Being a fan favorite, he performed his song “Il pleut de l’or” in the second semi-final. However, he only managed to finish in 17th place, thus not making it to the grand final. Michael also took part in the German national final in 1999. There he finished in 5th place with “Bye Bye Bar“.

Signe Svendsen, 44

Signe represented Denmark on home ground in Copenhagen at the 2000 Eurovision Song Contest. She did so together with Rollo & King. They were very close to copying Olsen Brothers and thus giving Denmark their second consecutive victory. In the end, however, they finished as number two with “Never Ever Let You Go”.

Dirk Naessens, 44

Dirk represented Belgium at the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest in Riga. He was part of the group Urban Trad, who perform modern folk music. They participated with their own song “Sanomi”. This song was performed entirely in an invented language. “Sanomi” finished second, a mere two points behind “Everyway That I Can”, thus making it one of the most successful Belgian entries. The Eurovision edit is only 3.01 long, while the original version of “Sanomi” is more than a minute longer.

Aurela Gace, 43

Aurela represented Albania at the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest in Dusseldorf. Unfortunately she failed to place in the top 10 in her semi-final with her entry “Feel the Passion”. As a result she did not qualify for the grand final.

Loreen, 35

Loreen won the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Baku for Sweden. She did this with her song “Euphoria”. In addition to winning the contest, “Eurphoria” became a big hit all over Europe. It is still getting quite a bit of air play on radio stations, and is a garanteed dancefloor filler. This was Loreens’s second attempt at representing her country at Eurovision. Already in 2011 she took part in Melodifestivalen with “My Heart is Refusing Me“. Loreen returned to Melodifestivalen in 2017 with her “Statements“, but failed to make it to the final. She was knocked out in the Andra chansen round.

Jala Brat, 32

Jala represented Bosnia and Herzegovina at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm. He did so together with Dalal Midhat-Talakić, Deen and Ana Rucner. They performed their song “Ljubav je” in the first semi-final, but failed to qualify for the grand final. Jala also co-wrote their entry.

Yohanna, 28

Yohanna represented Iceland at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow. She won her semi-final just ahead of Turkey. In the grand final she went on to finish second, behind Norway’s Alexander Rybak and his “Fairytale”. This is the best result Iceland has achieved at Eurovision. They also finished second in 1999, but the number of entries was much higher in 2009. Yohanna has participated in Söngvakeppnin twice after almost winning Eurovision. In 2011 she finished third with “Nótt“, before returning two years later with “Þú“. This time however, she did not make it to the national final.

Jedward, 27

John and Edward Grimes, better known simply as Jedward, represented Ireland both at the 2011 and 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. The first time, in Dusseldorf, they finished in 8th place with “Lipstick”. Next time, in Baku, they performed “Waterline“, finishing in a rather disappointing 19th place. A lot of fans would like to see Jedward return to Eurovision, and the twins themselves have not said an absolute no to this. Whatever happens, they have already gained a huge following, both in their native Ireland and abroad.

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Hlynur Sigurðsson

Icelandic Eurovision fan!

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