Last year in Kyiv, not only did Salvador Sobral break the record for the highest number of points ever scored at the Eurovision Song Contest (so far!), he also broke another slightly more dubious record – namely, ending Portugal’s reign as country with the Most Participations at Eurovision Without a Win!
Portugal had to take part in 48 contests over a staggering 53 years from their first-ever participation in 1964 till they finally lifted that coveted Eurovision trophy. Prior to this, Finland had waited 40 years for their first win… which begs the question… who is STILL waiting?
Well, we’ve compiled a Top 10 of Eurovision countries still awaiting that first sweet victory, ranked according to who has waited the longest. Who is on the list? Who’s waited the longest? Let’s find out!
10: MACEDONIA – 17 contests without a win
Taking part at Eurovision for the first time in 1998, Macedonia has a somewhat unfortunate relationship with the contest. Frequently relegated from taking part in the early 2000s, Macedonia has NEVER made it into the Top 10 at a Eurovision final and hasn’t even qualified for a final in 6 years – another unenviable record… Elena Risteska propelled the country to 12th place in 2006, but it seems Macedonia might be waiting a while to win yet!
9: LITHUANIA – 18 contests without a win
Lithuania’s first ever appearance at the contest was a disappointing debut as Ovidijus Vyšniauskas’ “Lopšinė Mylimai” didn’t get a single point! This seems to have cut them quite deeply, as Lithuania huffed off for 4 years before returning to the contest! In 2006, LT United proclaimed they were the winners of Eurovision – but the country has never managed to place higher than 6th in the 12 finals they’ve reached… maybe they’re just waiting for the right night 😉
8: ROMANIA – 18 contests without a win
Although both Lithuania and Romania have entered the contest 18 times, Romania ranks slightly higher as they’ve made it to more Eurovision finals, thus giving them more chances at victory. In fact, since the introduction of the semi finals, Romania is one of only a handful of countries to have never missed out on a final! With one 4th place and two 3rd places, Romania have nearly cracked the code… and one Romanian artist has made it his mission to bring home gold… can you guess who?
7: BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA – 19 contests without a win
One of the 3 former-Yugoslav states to first take part in the contest in 1993, Bosnia is so far the only one of them to ever make it into the Top 3. Outside this placing in 2006, Bosnia’s results in the contest have been more mixed, with only 5 placings in the Top 10. This being said, Bosnia’s qualification rate from the semifinals was 100% until “Ljubav Je” narrowly missed out on the final in 2016. Currently withdrawn from the contest, we hope for Bosnia to return soon – you have to be in it to win it!
6: POLAND – 20 contests without a win
Poland set the bar very high for themselves upon entering Eurovision in 1994, finishing 2nd only to Ireland. At the time, it was the most successful début of any Eurovision nation, save for Switzerland’s win back in 1956. Taking a brief break from the contest in the early 2010s, since returning in 2014 they’ve consistently qualified for the final and if Michał Szpak’s televoting result was anything to go by, Poland will win by a big margin when the time comes!
5: SLOVENIA – 23 contests without a win
Despite coming first in the 1993 qualification round “Kvalifikacija za Millstreet” (hosted in Ljubljana… hmmm… ) Slovenia’s results in Eurovision itself have been a bit less impressive. With only 3 entries in the (lower) Top 10, the introduction of the semi-finals further complicated matters for Slovenia by relegating them from taking part 10 times – meaning a Slovene song only reaches the final roughly once every 3 years. Poor Slovenia… but don’t worry, your fans are here for you! 😉
4: CROATIA – 23 contests without a win
Taking part for the same number of years as Slovenia, Croatia has had much more luck in the contest. Only failing to qualify 5 times, Croatia has also found itself in the Top 10 on the scoreboard 6 times over the years, including every year between 1998 and 2001. With two 4th placings in 1996 and 1999, Croatia clearly know how to grab Europe’s attention… I mean, just check out their 1996 entry… if that note doesn’t wake you up, nothing will!
3: ICELAND – 30 contests without a win
One of Eurovision’s most successful country without a win after coming 2nd in both 1999 and 2009, Iceland has managed only 5 placings in the Top 10 since their first foray into the contest in 1986. Many fans think that bringing back Johanna to the contest will finally take Eurovision further north than ever before – but after missing out on the last 3 finals, Iceland may just be all out of luck!
2: MALTA – 30 contests without a win
What Malta lacks in size (it’s the second smallest country taking part in the contest!) it makes up for in Eurovision placings! No win yet, but when you consider that out of 24 finals, they’ve reached the Top 10 at 13 of these contests- over half! Malta clearly makes a sound Europe loves… let’s face it, it’s the Sweden of Junior Eurovision too! It’s purely a question of time before we’re in Malta – and this natural showman needs to host when they do!
So who tops our list? Who’s been waiting the longest for a Eurovision win?
1: CYPRUS – 34 contests without a win
Yes, Portugal have passed their crown down to the Mediterranean paradise of Cyprus! First taking part in 1981, Cyprus have managed 9 placings in the Top 10 since then, but have never ranked higher than 5th. Since their break in 2014, Cyprus have qualified every year, but their results in the final after qualifying haven’t been great… while this might not look like it bodes well for Cyprus, if Portugal had to wait almost half a century to win, Cyprus can do it too – even if it takes another 2 decades of trying! Then they can welcome Europe to their homeland – or Mana Mou!
What do you think? Who is your favourite country that has yet to win Eurovision? Let us know below!
Author: James Scanlan
Source: Eurovision Ireland
Image Source: authenticchoices.blogspot.com