From ABBA’s historic win and Celine Dion’s nail-biting victory to Cliff Richard’s shocking snub – a lookback at Eurovision’s most iconic acts as fans descend on Liverpool for the final
- READ MORE: Eurovision winners: Year by year from ABBA to Celine Dion, every act and country to lift the iconic trophy
The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest has arrived in Liverpool, with die-hard fans descending on the UK for the much-anticipated final.
The annual showcase of the weird and wonderful music that Europe has to offer draws in an audience of millions around the world, and has created some of the most iconic acts in history.
From the legendary ABBA and Celine Dion, to the zany Verka Serduchka and Scooch, Eurovision has made stars out of many of its winners, and is being hosted in the UK after last year’s victors Ukraine were unable to due to their ongoing war.
This year, UK fans are hoping that Mae Muller can do one better than Sam Ryder and be crowned champion, after the British performer stunned fans by ending a poor run of form with a second place finish in 2022.
So, as Eurovision’s grand final prepares to kick off, MailOnline takes a look-back at some of the show’s most iconic acts.
It’s here! The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest Final kicks off in Liverpool on Saturday, with fans hoping Mae Muller can storm to victory as this year’s UK act
Blast from the past! By far ABBA are viewed by Eurovision fans as the most successful act in the contest’s history, with the group representing their native Sweden in 1974
By far ABBA are viewed by Eurovision fans as the most successful act in the contest’s history, with the group representing their native Sweden in 1974.
Taking to the stage for the final in Brighton, ABBA performed their now-legendary track Waterloo, and finished in first place with 24 points.
The song is now viewed by many fans as the greatest, and most well-known, Eurovision song in history, and frequently tops polls with that same question.
Although many of the band had found prior success in different bands, Bjorn, Benny, Agnetha and Anni-Frid were catapulted into stardom after winning Eurovision.
Going on to sell over 150 million records, writing hits such as ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘Fernando’, ABBA are undoubtedly the band to have achieved the most success after a Eurovision appearance.
She competed? Celine Dion famously represented Sweden in 1988, and was narrowly crowned the winner by just one point
Shock! The Canadian-born star represented Switzerland in 1988 with the song Ne Partez Pas San Moi, and her victory was one of the most nail-biting in the contest’s history
Many music fans aware unaware that years before she topped the charts with her stunning Titanic ballad, Celine took to the Eurovision stage.
The Canadian-born star represented Switzerland in 1988 with the song Ne Partez Pas San Moi, and her victory was one of the most nail-biting in the contest’s history.
Celine beat the UK’s act Scott Fitzgerald by just one point to be crowned winner of the contest, after receiving 12 points from Portugal and six points from Yugoslavia
The victory kickstarted Celine’s international career, and she became one of the must successful musicians of all time.
Whip it off! For many UK fans, Bucks Fizz are one of Eurovision’s greatest success stories, with their legendary skirt-ripping hit Making Your Mind Up in 1981
For many UK fans, Bucks Fizz are one of Eurovision’s greatest success stories, with their legendary hit Making Your Mind Up.
The group, consisting of Bobby G, Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and Jay Aston, won the contest in 1981, with their signature dance routine.
During the performance, female members Jay and Cheryl whipped off their skirts to reveal a shorter version underneath, sending viewers into a frenzy.
They went onto have three number one singles, and have sold 50 million records worldwide.
Sensational! Glam rock group Maneskin were crowned Eurovision champions for their country Italy in 2021, after the contest returned following a Covid-enforced break
When Eurovision returned in 2021 after a year off due to the Covid pandemic, many of that year’s acts had been due to represent their nation in 2020.
But Italy opted to choose a new act for that year, instead competing with glam rock group Maneskin and their song Zitti e Buoni.
Following their performance in Rotterdam the band stormed to victory with 524 points, and a huge majority from the televote.
Since then Maneskin have earned huge mainstream success including three Top 40 singles in the UK and a sellout tour in the US.
Bassist Victoria De Angelis told The Guardian in May 2022: ‘Our lives have completely changed [since Eurovision]. We haven’t stopped.
‘We’ve been having a lot of crazy experiences… all the things we dreamed of that we never thought would come true.’
Shocking! Music legend Sir Cliff Richard represented the UK twice, in 1968 and 1973, but on both occasions failed to win
Despite being viewed as one of the greatest icons in music, Cliff missed out on lifting the Eurovision trophy not once, but twice.
The musician first competed for the UK with his song Congratulations in 1968, and despite a stellar performance, finished in second place after losing by just one vote.
In 1973, Cliff tried again with his song Power To All Our Friends, but again fell short, finishing in third place behind winners Luxembourg.
Stunning! For modern Eurovision fans, Loreen is considered one its greatest acts in history, wowing viewers with her song Euphoria while representing Sweden in 2012
For modern Eurovision fans, Loreen is considered one its greatest acts in history, wowing viewers with her song Euphoria while representing Sweden in 2012.
The anthemic track sent fans into a frenzy and she went onto win the contest with 372 votes, with Loreen continuing to be a fixture at Eurovision parties and events in the years since.
In 2023, Loreen has launched a bid to regain her Eurovision crown while representing her native Sweden.
She is already the bookies favourite to win after flying through the semi-final with her song Tattoo, and fans are already hoping she could be only the second Eurovision winner to regain her title.
Amazing! After decades without a victory, Austria finally lifted the Eurovision trophy in 2014, when Conchita stunned Europe with her performance of Rise Like a Phoenix
After decades without a victory, Austria finally lifted the Eurovision trophy in 2014, when Conchita stunned Europe with her performance of Rise Like a Phoenix.
The singer — whose real name is Thomas Neuwirth — gave a moving rendition and the decision to rely on minimalistic staging proved to be the right thing to do.
Her performance earned a total of 290 points, and Conchita remains one of Eurovision’s most recognisable modern acts.
Earlier this week she returned to the stage to perform at the National Lottery’s Big Eurovision Welcome event, leaving viewers in awe with her stunning vocals.
Music fans were so impressed with her vocals that they took to Twitter to say they’d been left with ‘goosebumps’, with some branding her performance ‘spectacular’ while calling for her to compete once again in the future.
Wow! In one of Sweden’s six Eurovision victories, Mans won the contest in 2015 with his track Heroes, earning 365 points
In one of Sweden’s six Eurovision victories, Mans won the contest in 2015 with his track Heroes, earning 365 points.
The performance stunned viewers thanks to its use of eye-catching animation to create a cartoon figure
Mans had tried twice before to represent the nation, and finally succeeded with this winning song, and went onto co-host the event in Stockholm in 2016.
Hard rock hallelujah! While Eurovison is best known for its pop tracks, in 2006 Finland stormed to victory with heavy metal rock group Lordi
While Eurovison is best known for its pop tracks, in 2006 Finland stormed to victory with heavy metal rock group Lordi.
Dressed in intricate monster costumes with horror-inspired staging, the band performed their track Hard Rock Hallelujah in Athens, and earned 292 points, a record at the time.
The band has continued to find success in later years, releasing their newest album Screem Writers Guild in March 2023.
Stellar! Norway made history in 2009 when Alexander Rybak earned a record 387 for his song Fairytale, winning the contest at the final in Moscow
While Sweden are well-known for their Eurovision success, Norway made history with a record-breaking score in 2009.
Alexander Rybak took to the stage with his catchy song Fairytale, wowing viewers with his violin skills.
It’s become one of the most beloved performances in the contest’s history, becoming the runaway victor with an impressive 387 points at the final in Moscow.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2023 Final will air on Saturday at 8pm on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and BBC Radio 2.
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