Every year, the Eurovision Song Contest serves up a treasure trove of musical delights, but it’s also a feast for trivia buffs, as well. Like clockwork, I’ve taken my annual trawl through this year’s cavalcade of Eurovision acts to crunch some numbers. How did these artists get to the international stage? What’s the gender split? How many are singing in their native languages? How many are familiar faces, and how many are newcomers to our fabulous musical family? This year is no exception.
It’s my pleasure to serve up this year’s crop of easily consumable statistics, perfect for use at your Viewing Parties, Pub Quizzes, or simply to delight and amuse your friends. No editorialising, no predictions, just the facts!
Who’ll be performing (42 nations, equalling last year’s total):
- Solo Female (17, 18 including Russia): Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, FYR Macedonia, Malta, Poland, Russia*, Serbia, United Kingdom
- Solo Male (14): Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Montenegro, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden
- Duets (6): Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Romania, San Marino
- Groups and Collaborations (6): Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Ukraine
Artists under the age of 20:
- Australia: Isaiah Firebrace (17)
- Belgium: Blanche (17)
- Bulgaria: Kristian Kostov (17)
- Romania: Ilinca (18)
Artists over the age of 40:
- Iceland: Svala (40)
- San Marino: Valentina Monetta (42)
Who wasn’t born in the country they’ll be representing?
- Albania: Lindita Halimi was born the town of Vitina, in what is now Kosovo.
- Bulgaria: Kristian Kostov was born in Moscow to Bulgarian and Kazakh parents.
- Denmark: Anja Nissen, who is of Danish descent, was born in Winmalee, New South Wales, Australia.
- San Marino: Jimmie Wilson hails from Detroit, Michigan, in the United States.
- Switzerland: Although Timebelle was formed in the city of Bern, Switzerland, members Miruna Manescu and Emanuel Daniel Andriescu are Romanian-born, and Samuel Forster was born in Stuttgart, Germany.
How they were chosen:
- National Final (24): Albania, Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy**, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom
(** – The winner of Italy’s San Remo Festival was given first right of refusal for the ticket to Eurovision. This year, the winner accepted the invitation.)
- Partial National Final:
- Public artist selection, internal song selection (2): Armenia, Israel
- Internal artist selection, public song selection (1): Greece
- Internal Selection (15, 16 including Russia): Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Ireland, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Russia*, San Marino, Serbia
Songs changed/significantly modified from original winner/announcement/release
- Albania: As per usual, the Albanian delegation decided to translate their song into English. “Botë” was adapted into “World”.
- France: A few lines in English were added to the originally all-French “Requiem” and the song underwent a general re-arrangement
- Slovenia: “On My Way” underwent a re-arrangement.
- Sweden: A few of the original lyrics in “I Can’t Go On” were modified in order to remove a bit of salty language.
- United Kingdom: Whilst the vocal has remained virtually the same, the musical arrangement has changed significantly from the simple piano and cello arrangement performed at the National Final.
What language will the song be performed in?
- English (35, 36 including Russia):
Albania, Armenia, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, FYR Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia*, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom
- Bilingual (3):
Croatia (English/Italian), France (French/English), Spain (Spanish/English)
- No English (4):
Belarus, Hungary, Italy, Portugal
How many songs this year were written (at least partially) by the performer?
How many of this year’s entries include a songwriter who had previously taken part at Eurovision as a singer (including returning artists)?
- Georgia – Co-written by Georgia’s 2012 entrant Anri Jokhadze.
- Moldova – Written by returning act SunStroke Project.
- Slovenia – Written by returning artist Omar Naber.
- Sweden – Co-written by Sweden’s 2013 entrant Robin Stjernberg.
- United Kingdom – Co-written by Denmark’s 2013 Eurovision winner Emmelie de Forest.
How many songs this year include at least one Swedish songwriter on their roster?
How many have previous involvement with Eurovision?
Laura was a member of the group Suntribe, which represented Estonia in Kyiv back in 2005 with “Let’s Get Loud”, failing to qualify from the semifinal. Koit Toome is also a returnee, having performed “Mere lapsed” in Birmingham back in 1998. His entry tied for 12th place overall.
Tako Gachechiladze was a member of Stephane & 3G, who were due to represent Georgia at Eurovision 2009 with “We Don’t Wanna Put In”. The song was disqualified prior to the Moscow-hosted competition due to its perceived political message.
Imri Ziv was a backing vocalist for Israel’s 2015 and 2016 entries, “Golden Boy” and “Made of Stars”.
The group “Sunstroke Project” represented Moldova alongside vocalist Olia Tira in 2010 with the song “Run Away”, which came in 22nd place overall in Oslo. The song ended up going viral, as the song’s horn riff made Sergey “Epic Sax Guy” Stepanov an internet sensation.
- San Marino:
This being her fourth time at the contest, Valentina Monetta now ties the record for most participations at Eurovision as a lead artist (a record she shares with Fud LeClerc, Lys Assia, Elisabeth Andreassen, and the band Peter, Sue, and Marc).
- 2012: “The Social Network Song (Oh Oh – Uh – Oh Oh)” – 14th place in the semifinal with 31 points.
- 2013: “Crisalide (Vola)” – 11th place in the semifinal with 47 points
- 2014: “Maybe” – 24th place in the final with 14 points.
Tijana Bogićević was a backing vocalist and dancer for Serbia in 2011, supporting Nina’s “Čaroban”.
Omar Naber will return to Kyiv in 2017, as he performed “Stop” in 2005. The song failed to progress from the semifinal.
How many have previous involvement with Junior Eurovision?
- The Netherlands:
O’G3NE performed “Adem in, aden hit” as “Lisa, Amy, and Shelley” at Junior Eurovision 2007. The trio came in 11th place with 39 points.
How many of this year’s entrants have family connections to past Eurovisions, or to their song?
- Greece: “This Is Love” was co-written by Demy’s sister, Romy Papadea.
- Iceland: Svala’s father, Björgvin Halldórsson, performed the song “Núna” at Eurovision 1995, coming in 15th place overall.
- Italy: “Occidentali’s Karma” was co-written by Filippo Gabbani, brother of Francesco.
- Malta: Claudia Faniello’s brother, Fabrizio, represented Malta twice at Eurovision. His song “Another Summer Night” placed 9th in 2001, and “I Do” placed 24th in 2006.
- The Netherlands: “Lights and Shadows” was written by Rick Vol, the father of the members of O’G3NE.
- Portugal: “Amar pelos dois” was written by Salvador’s sister, Luisa Sobral.
How many had previously performed in a National Final (not counting their 2017 victory)?
- Albania: Lindita Halimi
- 2010: “Nuk të dorëzohem” with Erti Hizmo – 12th
- 2015: “S’te fal” – 3rd
- Austria: Nathan Trent
- 2017: Shortlisted to participate in Germany’s Unser Song 2017, but forced to withdraw due to his participation for Austria.
- Azerbaijan: Diana Hajiyeva
- 2011: 4th in her heat.
- Belarus: NAVI
- 2015: “Veberu sam” – Did not pass from live audition stage.
- 2016: “Heta ziamla” – 4th
- Croatia: Jacques Houdek
- 2002: “Čarolija” – 13th
- 2003: “Na krilima ljubavi” – 5th
- 2004: “Nema razloga” – 4th
- 2005: “Nepobjediva” – semifinalist
- 2006: “Umrijeti s osmjehom” – 15th
- 2011: “Lahor” – 2nd
- Cyprus: Hovig
- 2010: “Goodbye” – 3rd
- 2015: “Stone in a River” – 4th
- Denmark: Anja Nissen
- 2016: “Never Alone” – 2nd
- Estonia: Laura
- 2005: “Moonwalk” – 2nd
- 2005: “Let’s Get Loud” – 1st, as a member of Suntribe
- 2007: “Sunflowers” – 3rd
- 2016: “Supersonic” – 2nd
- Estonia: Koit Toome
- 1998: “Mere lapsed” – 1st
- 2003: “Know What I Feel” – 2nd
- 2007: “Veidi veel” – 10th
- Georgia: Tako Gachechiladze
- 2008: “I’m Free” – 4th, as a member of Stephane & 3G
- 2008: “Me and My Funky” – 10th
- 2009: “We Don’t Wanna Put In” – 1st, as a member of Stephane & 3G
- Latvia: Triana Park
- 2008: “Bye Bye” – 4th
- 2009: “Call Me Any Time You Need A Problem” – Unranked Finalist
- 2010: “Lullaby For My Dreammate (Diamond Lullaby)” – 6th
- 2011: “Upside Down” – Qualified for Second Chance round, withdrawn due to illness.
- 2012: “Stars Are My Family” – 9th
- Malta: Claudia Faniello
- 2006: “High Alert” – 12th
- 2007: “L-Imħabba Għamja” – 7th
- 2008: “Caravaggio” – 2nd
- 2008: “Sunrise” – 3rd
- 2009: “Midas Touch” – Did not qualify from heats.
- 2009: “Blue Sonata” – 4th
- 2010: “Samsara” – 8th
- 2011: “Movie In My Mind” – 9th
- 2012: “Pure” – 2nd
- 2013: “When It’s Time” – 7th
- Moldova: SunStroke Project
- 2009: “No Crime” – 3rd place
- 2010: “Run Away”, featuring Olia Tira – 1st
- 2012: “Superman” – Did not pass through to televised competition.
- 2015: “Lonely” – Did not pass through to televised competition.
- 2015: “Day After Day”, featuring Michael Ra – 3rd
- Poland: Kasia Moś
- 2005: “I Wanna Know” – 10th
- 2016: “Addiction” – 6th
- Serbia: Tijana Bogićević
- 2009: “Pazi Šta Radiš” – 17th in the Semifinal
- Slovenia: Omar Naber
- 2009: “I Still Carry On” – 2nd
- 2011: “Bistvo skrito je očem” – Unranked Finalist
- 2014: “I Won’t Give Up” – Unranked Finalist
- 2016: “Take Me Far” (Swiss Preselection) – Did not pass through to televised competition.
- Sweden: Robin Bengtsson
- 2016: “Constellation Prize” – 5th
- Switzerland: Timebelle
- 2015: “Singing About Love” – 2nd
How many had taken part in non-Eurovision-affiliated TV talent shows?
- 2007: Albanian Idol/Ethet: Finalist
- 2016: American Idol: Top 51
- 2013: Golos (Russia): Eliminated in Battle Rounds
- 2016: The X-Factor Australia: Winner
- 2011: X Factor (Germany): Eliminated in Live Week 1 as a member of the group “Boyz II Hot”
- 2016: The Voice Belgique: Eliminated in Live Week 2.
- 2014: Golos Deti (The Voice Kids, Russia): Finalist
- 2016: The X Factor (Bulgaria): 2nd place
- Croatia: (judge)
- 2011: X Factor (UK): Passed audition, unable to proceed due to visa issues.
- 2015-present: Judge and mentor on The Voice – Najljepši glas Hrvatske.
- 2009: The X Factor Greece: 7th place
- 2008: Australia’s Got Talent: Semifinalist
- 2014: The Voice Australia: Winner
- Estonia: Koit Toome:
- 2007: Tantsud tähtedega (Strictly Come Dancing): Winner
- 2013: Su nägu kõlab tuttavalt (Your Face Sounds Familiar): Winner
- Leena Tironen: 2010: The X Factor (Finland): 3rd place
- 2015: Erti Ertshi (Your Face Sounds Familiar): Winner
- Greece: (judge)
- 2015: Judge on The Music School
- 2005: Megasztár: Eliminated in repechage rounds
- Iceland: (judge)
- 2015-present: Judge on The Voice Iceland
- 2012: The Voice Israel: Eliminated in the Battle Rounds
- Macedonia: 2011:
- Macedonian Idol: 5th place
- Aleksander Walmann: 2012: The Voice – Norges beste stemme: 2nd place
- 2012: Must Be The Music: 3rd
- 2009: Ídolos: 7th
- Romania:Alex Florea:
- 2015: Vocea României: Eliminated in Semifinals
- Romania: Ilinca:
- 2012: Românii au talent: Qualified for live rounds
- 2013: X Factor (Romania): Eliminated in Live Week One, as a member of the group Quattro.
- 2014: Vocea României: Eliminated in Semifinals
- 2013: Faktor A: Runner-up
- San Marino:
- Jimmie Wilson: 2012: Must Be The Music (Poland): Semifinals
- 2004: Bitka Talentov: Winner
- 2008: Idol: 3rd
- The Netherlands:
- 2014: The Voice of Holland: Winners
- United Kingdom:
- 2009: The X Factor: Eliminated in Live Show 5
How many of this year’s artists have released at least one full-length studio album?
- Australia: Isaiah (2016)
- Belarus: Soncam sahretyja (2014), Illuminatsiya (2017)
- Croatia: Čarolija (2004), Kad si sretan (2005), Živim za to (2006), Idemo u zoološki vrt (2008) Crno i bijelo (2008), Najljepše ljubavne pjesme (2010), Meni za ljubav (2012), Tko je, srce, u te dirn’o? (2016)
- Denmark: Anja Nissen (2014)
- Koit Toome:
- As a soloist: Duetid Puudutus (1998), Koit Toome (1999), Allikas (2007), Sügav kummardus õpetajale (2009), Kaugele siit (2010)
- As a member of the group Code One: Code One (1995), Code One 2 (1996)
- Laura: Muusa (2007), Ultra (2009)
- Koit Toome:
- France: Ma peau aime (2017)
- Germany: Unexpected (2017)
- Greece: #1 (2012), Rodino Oneiro (2014)
- Hungary: Vigaszdíj (2005)
- As a soloist: The Real Me (2001), Birds of Freedom (2005)
- As a member of the group Steed Lord: Truth Serum (2008), Heart II Heart (2010), The Prophecy Part 1 (2012)
- Ireland: As a member of the band Hometown: HomeTown (2015)
- Italy: Greitist Iz (2014), Eternamente ora (2016), Magellano (2017)
- Latvia: EnterTainment (2010)
- Lithuania: Contraction (2005)
- Malta: Convincingly Better (2010)
- Montenegro: San o vječnosti (2014)
- The Netherlands: 300% (2008), Sweet 16 (2011), We Got This (2016)
- Poland: Inspination (2015)
- Portugal: Excuse Me (2016)
- San Marino:
- Valentina Monetta: Il mio gioco preferito (2011), La storia di Valentina Monetta (2013), Sensibilità (Sensibility) (2014)
- Slovenia: Omar (2005), Kareem (2007), Na Glavo/No Helmet (2014)
- Ukraine: O. Torvald (2008), V Tobi (2011), Prymat (2012), Ty E (2014), #нашiлюдивсюди (2016)
* After Yulia Samoylova was selected to perform for Russia with “Flame Is Burning”, let’s just say that ‘things happened’ and Russia will not be appearing on the Eurovision stage this year.