Famous Performers at the Eurovision Song Contest

Finnish DJ Darude may be most famous in the UK for his 1999 hit Sandstorm, which peaked at number three in the top 40; but in his native of Finland, he has four number one hits, as well as a number one album. And at the age of 43, he will represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest with his song Look Away, performed by Sebastian Rejman. He may only be ninth-favourite to win the contest, but what better way to pay homage to Darude than take a look back at other famous performers who’ve sang at the legendary contest.

1969: Lulu (United Kingdom)

Lulu was a popular singer during the 1960s, prior to her performance in the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest. Her song Boom-Bang-a-Bang saw her win the contest in a four-way tie and when it was released, reached the top 10 in 11 countries before more recently, going on to be the theme tune for BBC show Him & Her. However, it was after Eurovision that Lulu became a household name, where she continued to release music as well as appear in TV and film. Some of her post-Eurovision highlights include singing the theme tune for the 1974 James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun; featuring on Take That’s number one single Relight My Fire in 1993; and receiving an OBE in 2000.

1970: Julio Iglesias (Spain)

Prior to performing at the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest, Julio Iglesias was a professional footballer before embarking on a career in music. His debut album peaked at number three; and although he only came fourth in Eurovision, his song Gwendolyne reached number one in the Spanish chart. He has continued to release music as recently as 2015, and still regularly performs. With over 300 million records sold worldwide in 14 different languages, Iglesias has released over 80 albums and even won a Grammy (Best Latin Pop Performance in 1988). Of course, more recently, he is equally as famous for being the father of Spanish singer/songwriter Enrique Iglesias.

1974: ABBA (Sweden)

Abba were formed in 1972 and it’s fair to say their career really took off after performing at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, which they won with Waterloo. It’s without a doubt that ABBA are the most-successful act that ever appeared on Eurovision, with 500 million record sales worldwide and despite disbanding in 1982 – before coming back together in 2018 to a record a couple of songs – they remain one of the most popular and best-loved bands today. Of course, we must also mention the popular 2008 film Mamma Mia! and its sequel of 2018 – with the former winning awards for its famous soundtrack.

1988: Celine Dion (Switzerland)

Another performer to really hit the bigtime after appearing on the Eurovision Song Contest, Celine Dion went on to become the best-selling Canadian artist of all-time. She reigned supreme in the ‘90s with five number one albums and five number one singles (in Canada) – and is still performing and touring today. She’s also won a Brit Award, a handful of Grammys, scooped up at two VH1 ceremonies and received the Order of Canada in 1998 and 2008. Celine’s performance at the Eurovision Song Contest saw her sing in French, with Ne parlez pas sans moi, but she went on to learn English before releasing her debut Anglophone album in 1990.

2003: t.A.t.u (Russia)

The controversial duo from Russia were famous prior to their 2003 Eurovision Song Contest performance, largely courtesy of their hit single All the Things She Said. Known for catchy melodies and lyrics containing subliminal references (mainly with regards to sexuality), the pair came third with their Russian song Ne Ver’, Ne Boysia. They continued to release music in the noughties, before splitting in 2011. However, they got back together to perform at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, before disbanding again permanently to concentrate on solo careers and their personal lives. Russia are the favourites to win this year’s contest and you can find all the odds on Betfair Eurovision.

2013: Cascada (Germany)

German Eurodance act Cascada are famous all over the world, notably for their catchy noughties tunes Everytime We Touch, What Hurts the Most and Evacuate the Dancefloor. Fronted by singer Natalie Horler, Cascada performed at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest and came a disappointing 21st with only 18 points. Post-Eurovision, Cascada continued touring and releasing singles – and most recently a new remix of Everytime We Touch was released. Natalie has appeared as a judge on the German edition of Pop Idol, while DJs Manian and Yanou had little success post-Eurovision.

Engelbert Humperdinck talks about new song and the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest

Engelbert Humperdinck is an internationally loved and respected singer, who has been in the business for over 45 years.  He was recently chosen to represent the UK in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 with his new song “Love Will Set You Free”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Engelbert again about Eurovision, love songs and his constant touring.

Mike Gencarelli: Let’s talk about how you came to represent the UK in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2012?
Engelbert Humperdinck: Actually, it all came down to the BBC in the UK. The big bosses came together and picked me out of a hat. They figured I’ve been in the business a while and I am a great embassador for the country. I was very honoured to be chosen to represent my country.

MG: Tell us about the origin of “Love Will Set You Free”?
EH: The two guys that wrote the song are very well known. Sacha Skarbek is an Ivor Novello Awards winner and Martin Terefe is the number one producer in England at the moment. Martin plays guitar…and bass on the song. I also just made an album with him about four months ago. He is so laid back and unbelieveable to work with. What happened with the song is that BBC setup everything. They found the writers and the song. They heard it, loved it and passed it on to me and I loved it. I have had a trendous success with waltzes. This is a Viennese Waltz. “The Last Waltz” was a big hit for me and I am thrilled about it.

MG: What do you think makes a great love song?
EH: A great experience I suppose. The writers must have had a great experience. It resonates to the listeners who also can relate to an experience. Good lyrics. Good melody. Good message. That is what it is that makes up a great song. Waltzes last a life time. Maybe one day they will be dancing to this song on “Dancing with the Stars”.

MG: I watched your concert at Northern Quest Resort & Casino last month presented by Front and Center, how do you feel that you are now streaming your shows to the internet?
EH: It is a whole new market. It is a great way to get the masses. Once it catches on, it will be great. Of course there is nothing like a live concert. If they watch it online they will get a chance to see what it would be like live. We have had a wonderful reaction to this concert, especially with the ability to chat with other fans via Facebook comments.

MG: Do you plan to do more concerts like this in the future?
EH: I am sure in the future we will be doing this again soon!

MG: You are always touring all over the world, how can you feel that touring internationally differs from the U.S.?
EH: I am touring more world concerts now. I just finished in Dubai, Sinapore…I am everywhere. It was great to go countries like Russia that do not even speak the language but they are still singing along. How do they do this I do not know? But it is just amazing.

MG: You are very involved with your fans, any words of wisdom to share with them?
EH: Not wisdom but gratitude. Thank you for supporting me for the last 45 years. They have been nothing but terrific.

MG: With Eurovision and constant touring, has this delayed the progress on your new album?
EH: It should be released right after Eurovision and it is a collabaration album. I can’t say who I will be collaberating with yet since you know how record labels like to keep things in the bag waiting for a suprise [laugh].