ABBA. Celine Dion. Toto Cotugno. Maneskin. All names that became popular thanks to “Eurovision”.
On the other hand, there are not too many who remember winners like Lorin, Mance Zelmerlow and Salvador Sobrai. Winners who won the contest even further back in time sink into even greater oblivion.
In fact, a huge number of those who grabbed the grand prize and the shiny encrusted statuette-microphone remain one hit wonders – they have only one popular song and nothing more.
Even otherwise bright and scandalous winners like Neta Barzilai and Conchita Wurst do not enjoy colossal fame at the moment.
One of the main reasons is that the Eurovision format demands from its participants a lavish performance on stage, which often borders on and goes beyond kitsch.
The performers and the countries behind them invest millions to achieve the most impressive costumes and effects possible, because there are countries for which participation in the competition is a matter of honor and prestige. After the boom, however, investments stagnate, and finding new ones is difficult.
Two of the three cases in which Bulgaria reached the top of the Eurovision Song Contest confirm this. Both Elitza and Stunji’s performance and Polly Genova’s are memorable and with plenty of special effects that certainly came at a price.
But once they get off the pageant stage and start doing more select performances without as much fanfare and fanfare, the former winners look more like disappointments in the eyes of the public.
Filming videos, renting recording studios, make-up, costumes and transport costs do not come cheap either.
And since Eurovision is focused not so much on the singing and music as on the show, many manage to catch up to this standard only once.
Along with that comes the fact that the award is given once a year in an industry like music, where trends sometimes change in months. If in a certain year ethnic rhythms were in fashion, which captured the hearts of the jury and the audience, then next year they may be totally out of fashion.
Eurovision singers, on the other hand, do not have endless vocal possibilities and rarely have the opportunity to transcend the style with which they won. Others win anyway for political reasons or because of their messages, further dooming them to failure.
A great example of this is the Israeli Neta Barzilai, who in 2018 won the contest with the song “Toy”.
The song and Netta’s entire performance has a strong feminist flavor and a message for women to feel like Wonder Woman regardless of their looks and male opinion.
The singer combines the lyrics with her signature animal sounds and calls and complements it all with a flashy look and demeanor. Barzilai also has more luxuriant forms, which he declares that he loves and that he will never change, especially to find a boyfriend.
And, logically, she wins, only when she opens the next edition of the competition in Tel Aviv, some hardly remember her anymore.
Last but not least is the “USA” factor with its omnipresent multi-billion dollar music business that largely dictates the rules on a global scale as well.
The messages that the Eurovision contestants send and the style of the performances are rarely in sync with what is considered successful by American standards.
When these standards are not met, singers can only rely on a more boutique audience and keep their fingers crossed that it sustains their career.
Those Eurovision winners who have secured fans and distribution in the US necessarily enjoy more success and have a harder time going into oblivion.
The Italians from Maneskin, with their rocker look and harder sound, conquered not only the music competition, but also the audience in the USA. This earned them three top 10 songs on the Billboard charts, appearances on Jimmy Fallon and Ellen DeGeneres, and an MTV Award for Best Rock Performance.
A song by the Italian band was also included on the soundtrack of the film “Elvis” by Baz Luhrmann.
The founders of “Eurovision” from the European Union for Radio and Television recall that the contest was created with the aim of uniting nations and not necessarily giving birth to stars.
Such an explanation sounds increasingly implausible. In 2022, the final of the competition gathered in front of the screens 33 million viewers, which means that the unification of nations does not necessarily hinder the glory, but on the contrary – it should help it.
Instead, it increasingly seems that Eurovision, with few and notable exceptions, is eating its own children and consigning them to oblivion.