Of course, a lot gets made of the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest – how can it not? They’ve just won the biggest televised competition on the planet! But what about the songs that came in 2nd? The songs that a lot of people loved, but it wasn’t quite enough for them to lift that trophy? After all, some of them came very, VERY close!
Take a look below at our Top 10 below to find out which 2nd place entries came closest to beating #1 to the top of the scoreboard. Of course, as the contest has grown and the number of countries taking part has increased, there has been a real surge in the number of points available meaning snatching victory by a handful of points is much less likely – but even recently, there have been some very close calls!
Read on to find out more!
10 – Sing, Little Birdie – United Kingdom, 1959 – 5 points behind winner
The UK missed the 1958 edition of the contest, but their return in 1959 was a successful one! Husband and wife duo Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson finished only 5 points behind the Netherlands with Teddy Scholten’s Een Beetje, but scored at least one point from every country except for Italy, Sweden and Germany. While the Netherland’s victory was their 2nd at Eurovision, Sing Little Birdie would be the first of the UK’s record 15 second place finishes at the contest!
9 – Eres Tú – Spain, 1973 – 4 points behind winner
Mocedades came tantalizingly close to bringing Spain what would have been a 3rd victory at Eurovision in 1973. The band received 3 sets of 10 points from Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands, equalling the same number of maximum points awarded to the host nation’s Anne Marie David. While Luxembourg’s Tu Te Reconnaîtras won the night, Eres Tú is still notable for being the highest scoring Spanish entry at the Eurovision Song Contest ever!
8 – Johnny Blue – Germany, 1981 – 4 points behind winner
The second of Germany’s FOUR 2nd place finishes during the 1980s, Johnny Blue was (at the time) the highest scoring German entry at the contest – even though it would only hold on to this spot for a year! Although both this song and Eres Tú were both only 4 points behind their winners, Johnny Blue been ranked 8th on this list as there were 20 countries taking part in 1981, compared to the 17 in 1973. Meaning with more points available, a narrower margin is more impressive!
7 – Giorgio – Switzerland, 1958 – 3 points behind winner
Not content with winning the inaugural Eurovision Song Contest in 1956, Lys Assia represented Switzerland in both 1957 and 1958 too! Giorgio was the first multilingual song to enter the contest (sung in both German and Italian), finishing in 2nd to France’s André Claveau with Dors, Mon Amour. It was also Lys’ last appearance at the contest as a contestant, despite entering the Swiss national selection again over 50 years later!
6 – T’En Vas Pas – Switzerland, 1963 – 2 points behind winner
Appearing again on our list, Switzerland came within touching distance of victory in 1963 – but after a certain set of Norwegian jury points seemed to be miscalculated and new results given after a call back, they were ultimately left 2 points behind Denmark’s Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann with Dansevise. Switzerland cried foul at the time, but Norway have always assured their voting wasn’t tactical or planned, just chaotic!
5 – Sanomi – Belgium, 2003 – 2 points behind winner
Belgium edge ahead of Switzerland in our list with 26 countries voting in 2003 to 1963’s 16. Famous for being the first Eurovision entry not sung in a national language but an imaginary one, Sanomi fought tooth and nail in one of the contest’s closest results in history! Finishing 2 points behind Turkey’s Every Way That I Can, Belgium also finished a single point above Ne Ver’, Ne Boysia from Russia – meaning the Top 3 were separated by just 3 points!
4 – Congratulations – United Kingdom, 1968 – 1 point behind winner
It’s been argued that the UK expected to win their own contest by sending Cliff Richard in 1968 and even though he secured points from more individual countries than Spain’s Massiel and La La La did, she still pipped him to the post by a single point. Austria refused to attend next year’s contest in Madrid as they deemed it was being hosted in a dictatorship – seemingly quite forgetting that’s they’d given Spain the 2 points in 1968 that helped them secure victory!
3 – Go – United Kingdom, 1988 – 1 point behind winner
Another UK song beaten by just a single point, Scott Fitzgerald held a 5 point lead over Céline Dion after 20 countries had voted with only Yugoslavia left to announce their points. Awarding 6 to Switzerland, many assumed that the UK would get a higher denomination of points as they had been getting all evening. But as Yugoslavia didn’t award any points to the UK, Switzerland won by one point – much to the audible shock of everyone in the audience!
2 – C’est Le Dernier Qui A Parlé Qui A Raison – France, 1991 – 0 points behind winner
France didn’t just come close to getting the score of the winner in 1991 – they got it as well! Fans like to point out that modern tie-break rules would have declared Amina the winner that night, but as the rules in 1991 were different to the ones we have now, Carola’s Fångad Av En Stormvind for Sweden was declared outright winner instead. But hang on… surely nothing can beat two countries scoring the exact same?
1 – 4-way tie – Spain, UK, France, the Netherlands 1969 – 0 points behind winner
Simple – 4 countries all scoring the same number of points! Urban legend says that just before going live in 1969, someone asked what would happen if more than one country tied for 1st place – only to be told words to the effect of “What are the odds of that?”. Well, that’s exactly what happened at the close of voting and as there were no rules in place to break a tie, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France and hosts Spain were all declared joint winners, much to the bemusement of everyone present. Needless to say, the decision wasn’t popular and 4 countries pull out of the following year’s contest in protest!
What do you think of this list? Are there any songs here you preferred to the actual winner?
Let us know what you think!
Author: James Scanlan
Image Source: alamy.com