Rebound (1) Introduction

This season ESCDaily gives you a brand new rubric, called The Rebound. The last three winners of Eurovision only got to the contest, after losing in a previous national final first. This year, many artists with a similar track record will try to follow in their footsteps.

Many artists will represent their country at Eurovision, after one or more previous attempts in the preselection shows of their country. In this rubric, we will highlight the participants from Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Georgia, Malta and Sweden.

But we before we do that, let us explain WHY we have this new rubric, and talk about the last three winners of the Eurovision Song Contest…

Conchita Wurst

It is funny how things go in life, sometimes. Before Rising like a Phoenix in 2014, Tom Neuwirth and his alter ego Conchita Wurst already tried to go to Eurovision in 2012. In the Austrian national final the song ‘That’s What I Am’ reached the superfinal to take it up against ‘Woki mit dem Popo’ by the rap duo Trackshittaz.

The voting was tight. Really tight. Trackshittaz got 51% percent of the votes and Conchita Wurst 49%. With the narrowest margin, Conchita did not go to Eurovision in 2012. In the end, at the semi-final in Baku Trackshittaz came 18th with 8 points. Would Conchita have done better? Or would she also be a non-qualifier to never be seen and heard again? We will never know…

Fact is, that two years later Conchita Wurst was chosen internally by broadcaster ORF to go to the Eurovision Song Contest after all. The rest is history. ‘Rise like a Phoenix’ developed into a Eurovision-winner in the rehearsal weeks and Conchita took the gold in her rebound attempt.

Måns Zelmerlöw

Sweden’s Måns Zelmerlöw followed a rocky road to victory in 2015. His career kicked off ten years before. While you have the feeling that Måns should surely have won Idols in Sweden, fact is that he only came in fifth place. It led to his first participation in Melodifestivalen, in 2007.

His performance of ‘Cara Mia’ finished in third place behind winners The Ark and runner-up Andreas Johnson. The next attempt followed two years later, more experienced and better prepared. ‘Hope & Glory’ ultimately placed fourth, despite receiving the most votes from the jury. A big disappointment for Zelmerlöw.

His dream of representing Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest was in the fridge for a couple of years. Måns Zelmerlöw hosted Melodifestivalen, but never took part again. Until his surprise comeback in 2015. Out of nowhere, he was on the list, won the Swedish preselection and ‘Heroes’ also took it all in Vienna.


The history of Conchita Wurst and Måns Zelmerlöw may be well known to the Eurovision fans and perhaps beyond. But Jamala álso took part in the national final in Ukraine, before doing so with success last year. The most surprising thing is, that her song ‘Smile’ from 2011 is nothing like ‘1944’.

Jamala had good company in the final in Ukraine of 2011. Anastasiya Prikhodko, Zlata Ognevich and – eventual winner – Mika Newton also took part. Zlata got a second place and would go on to represent Ukraine in 2013. But Jamala also came close with her third place in 2011. She made a name for herself, leading to victory in her next national final in 2016, with the song ‘1944’.

Three winners in a row, that scored the Eurovision trophy in a rebound attempt. Will 2017 make that a four? We have nine artists how will (finally?) get to go on the big Eurovision stage to take the crown out of the hands of Jamala. In the upcoming month, we will present these nine artists and their Eurovision history thus far.