The 10 best Eurovision songs that didn’t win

It’s not long before the Malmö Arena in Sweden will be packed with fans ready to watch the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024.

Have you ever wondered what makes a Eurovision song a massive hit? Sometimes it’s not just about winning but rather the unadulterated passion an artist puts into a song that keeps it relevant through the years.  

The Eurovision song contest is well known for its production value, interesting lyrics, and eccentricity, which keeps viewers coming back year after year.

Some of the most memorable Eurovision songs didn’t win, but the performance, the lyrics, the beat, or all of the above leave an impression on viewers long after the contest is over.

Take ABBA, for example. They entered “Ring Ring” into the 1973 competition and didn’t win, yet they’re still at the height of superstardom more than 50 years later.

We’ve rounded up the best Eurovision songs that didn’t win ahead of this year’s competition as a reminder that your favourite entry doesn’t necessarily have to win to become iconic.


The 10 best Eurovision songs that didn’t win


1. “Ring Ring” by ABBA, Sweden (1973)

It’s not technically a Eurovision song, but it did come third in the 1973 Melodifestivalen, an annual Swedish song competition that determines the nation’s Eurovision Song Contest entry.

ABBA’s rise to global fame after they won the 1974 competition with “Waterloo” makes it too good not to mention. They started a pop revolution and became one of the best-selling bands of all time.

It might not be a “Dancing Queen” or “Mamma Mia!”, but “Ring Ring” is still regarded as one of the most famous Eurovision songs, and it’s undeniably catchy.

Where are they now? This will likely come as no surprise to you but, after a 34-year hiatus, ABBA are currently still on their Voyage tour which runs until January 2025.

1973 winner: “Tu Te Reconnaîtras” by Anne-Marie David, Luxembourg


2. “Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu (Volare)” by Domenico Modungo, Italy (1958)

Many of the best Eurovision songs pre-70s fade into obscurity, as there are so many new additions each year. But this one has only grown in popularity, being covered by the likes of Dean Martin and David Bowie.

Despite not winning, it was Billboard’s No.1 single of the year in 1958 and went down in history as the first song to win Song of the Year at the first-ever Grammy Awards.

Where are they now? Modungo went on to represent Italy multiple times in the Eurovision Song Contest and even had one of his songs covered by Elvis Presley.

He found success as a musician and actor, acting in an impressive 44 movies before his death in 1994.

1958 winner: Dors, Mon Amour” by André Claveau, France


3. “Moustache” by Twin Twin, France (2014)

It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since a group of French men almost stole the show singing about moustaches.

On the surface, it’s nothing more than a fun pop song. But if you pay attention to the lyrics, you’ll notice it makes a statement about the effects of consumerism on modern life.

It may have finished last in the 2014 final, but its catchy nature and vibrant music video made it a favourite with viewers, and it’s still just as addictive today.

Where are they now? Twin Twin have largely faded into obscurity in recent years.

Their X (formerly known as Twitter) was active as recently as last year, but they haven’t released any new singles since 2019.

2014 winner: “Rise Like a Phoenix” by Conchita Wurst, Austria


4. “One Step Out of Time” by Michael Ball, UK (1992)

If the title doesn’t make it obvious, this runner-up from 1992 was an 80s-inspired ballad about the singer pining after a former lover. Perhaps this is why it was so popular with an audience high on cheesy hits.

“One Step Out of Time” was a pre-competition favourite, but it lost to “Why Me?” by 16 points during the final.

Still, it’s one of the best Eurovision songs in our eyes, mostly thanks to the powerful vocals and irresistible synth-pop sound.

Where are they now? A veteran of British theatre, Michael Ball’s most recent album was his fifth collaborative studio album with Alfie Boe, released in 2022.

The singer, actor, and presenter also added author to that list in 2022 and has published two books to date.

1992 winner: “Why Me?” by Linda Martin, Ireland


5. “Just a Little Bit” by Gina G, UK (1996)

Every 90s kid knows this one from their school discos, and it still frequents many wedding playlists in the UK. It’s one of those nostalgic hits that has stood the test of time and is certainly one of the best Eurovision songs that didn’t win due to its ability to stick around.

“Just a Little Bit” is also the fourth-highest charting Eurovision song in the US. It’s rare for songs from the competition to hit the charts in America—the latest to do so was “Arcade” by Dutch singer Duncan Laurence, the winning 2019 entry.

Where are they now? After taking part in Eurovision, Gina G released multiple other UK hits in the 90s.

By the end of the 00s, she had moved to LA and stepped away from the spotlight to start her own record label (Stuntgirl Music), now dissolved.

1996 winner: “The Voice” by Eimear Quinn, Ireland



6. “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” by Verka Serduchka, Ukraine (2007)

One of the more eccentric entries the competition has seen, “Dancing Lasha Tumbai”, is one of the most famous Eurovision songs in existence. The iconic live performance from Helsinki still circulates on social media today.

Sadly, the song came in second place during the 2007 competition, losing to “Molitva” by Serbian singer Marija Šerifović. But it featured in the 2015 film Spy during a chase scene with leading actress Melissa McCarthy—not many Eurovision songs have that claim to fame!

Where are they now? Verka Serduchka was on tour as recently as 2023 and has been a judge both on the Ukrainian X Factor and at Vidbir (Ukraine’s National Selection for the Eurovision Song Contest).

They’re still very active on social media and performed a revised version of their song, now titled “Dancing Russia Goodbye” at the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest, which was held in Liverpool due to the war in Ukraine.

2007 winner: “Molitva” by Marija Šerifović, Serbia


7. “Spirit in the Sky” by KEiiNO, Norway (2019)

This song landed its place on our list of the best Eurovision songs that didn’t win for its spellbinding lyrics and catchy nature.

It has an 80s disco sound with a folk twist and certainly has the air of a winning song, so it placed first in the televote that year. It finished in sixth place overall, which feels like a crime, and “Spirit in the Sky” reached #2 on Spotify’s Global Viral Chart following the competition.

Where are they now? KEiiNO is still releasing music and touring today. Their song Damdiggida, released in 2024, has already reached more than 2.5m streams on Spotify.

2019 winner: “Arcade” by Duncan Laurence, The Netherlands


8. “Dark Side” by Blind Channel, Finland (2021)

Reminiscent of Evanescence and Linkin Park, this is one of the most famous Eurovision songs of recent years, amassing chart success in multiple countries following the competition.

It finished in sixth place but was nominated at the 2021 Global Metal Apocalypse Awards and helped the band land their first record deal with Sony Music.

Where are they now? Blind Channel is still releasing music, and you’ll love their 2022 single "Bad Idea" if you enjoyed their Eurovision entry.

2021 winner: Zitti E Buoni” by Måneskin, Italy


9. “Space Man” by Sam Ryder, UK (2022)

We couldn’t create a list of the best Eurovision songs that didn’t win without including this one.

It’s the highest-charting UK entry since the Gina G hit we mentioned earlier and was the best-selling song in the country by the end of 2022.

Unashamedly inspired by Elton John’s “Rocket Man” and Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, the song carries the torch forward by adding a contemporary twist to the theme of a lonely space traveller.

It was a favourite with viewers but narrowly lost to Ukrainian group Kalush Orchestra with their entry, “Stefania!”.

Sam Ryder valiantly discussed coming in second place by saying, “They needed to win that. They were always going to win that. It’s so important that we use the platform of Eurovision to celebrate solidarity and to shine light into darkness.”

Where are they now? Since his Eurovision debut, Ryder became the first Eurovision act to be nominated for Best New Artist at the Brit Awards. He also announced earlier this year that he’s started working on his second studio album.

2022 winner: “Stefania” by Kalush Orchestra, Ukraine


10. “Think About Things” by Daoi Freyr, Iceland (2020)

Before Freyr’s song had a chance to win, the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest was cancelled due to Covid. The futuristic electropop song was not entered again the next year but was the favourite to win before the pandemic cut things short.

Where are they now? Freyr is still releasing music and his Eurovision entry “Think About Things” has now amassed nearly 150 million streams on Spotify.

2020 winner: N/A


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