Top 10: Worst winners in ESC history

Today sees the first of the negative top tens in the ‘Top 10’ series and in this countdown, we’ll pick out our least favourite winners that have taken part in Eurovision since it began. Now, you may find some of the choices controversial, but for us, they are literally the worst  winners in Eurovision history… but which one is the worst of the worst? Well keep reading to find out!

Was Ell and Nikki the worst winner Eurovision has ever seen?
Was Ell and Nikki the worst winner Eurovision has ever seen?

Like I said at the start, you may find some of our choices in the countdown quite controversial, but these are, according to us, the worst winners that ever graced the stage of Eurovision. If you find any of our choices offensive or anything like that, feel free to let us know by commenting at the end of the article and we’ll try and justify ourselves. Right then, let’s go!

10 – Lordi – “Hard Rock Hallelujah” (Finland 2006)

Lordi kicks off our top at number 10 for a number of reasons. First of all, congratulations to the Finns who eventually managed to win the Contest and finally break their curse that lasted a mere 45 years, but they could have done it with a better song. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ was a great song and the performance was great, and Mr. Lordi even got a spot on out hottest guys top, but the song was definitely the last thing you’d expect to win Eurovision! Personally, I’m not a fan of rock or metal or whatever you want to want to call it (I’d only really listen to it if it was like Leave Me Alone, which is like the best host song ever.. well maybe just as good as ‘Taken By A Stranger’, but you get the idea!), so to me, it really surprised me when Lordi won., whether it was of disgust or not is still yet to be answered.

9 – Udo Jürgens – “Merci, Cherie” (Austria 1966)

From a horrible song with a great performance to a brilliant song with a horrible performance. Is it just me or did you kind of just start to drift off and fall asleep during “Merci, Cherie”? I know this is Austria’s only winning song so far and it was performed in a very *performance restricted* era, but he could have spiced it up just a little bit! The song is amazing like I said, but the performance was just so boring and after a while, I did find myself having to move on with the show because I just couldn’t put up with it anymore. Now, if Udo adapted it slightly and sang it like Anke and Stefan or have some woman adoring him by the piano a la Petra, he would definitely have not been in this countdown, but one can dream, eh?

8 – Bucks Fizz – “Making Your Mind Up” (United Kingdom 1981)

Bucks Fizz: our most memorable outfits in Eurovision history, and now our eight worst winner in the Contest. The UK had much to offer, and they obviously did if they won, but the performance was just a cheese-fest and to what goes to Eurovision in the modern times, it’s just really cringy . As well as that, the song hasn’t aged so well and when you go to listen to them, it just sounds so badly dated and that’s not what you’d like a supposed ‘golden oldie’ to end up as. So as much as we love Bucks Fizz and that simply fantabulous removal of some clothes (I’ll let you watch the video and see for yourself), the song is just a big No No* and that’s why the group are our #8 in this countdown. (*Lerika quote not intended!)

7 – Herreys – “Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley” (Sweden 1984)

Herreys were those guys who wore those weird golden shoes right? Of course they are! I find it horrible that one of the few years Ireland sends a song I actually like (you wouldn’t believe how much I hate most of Ireland’s songs), Terminal 3, don’t the Swedes go and win the competition with a song that I would say shouldn’t have even gotten into the top 10, and James can back me up on this! The song is just so bad, it’s beyond words and those boots as well are just… why are they even there?! I just think that Ireland deserved to win in 1984 and then the Swedes go and steal the trophy. I think maybe there should be a recount.. just kidding, but for us, Herreys are just..ugh. Can we move on please before they sing it again??

6 – Marie N – “I Wanna” (Latvia 2002)

Marie N, the only Latvian to ever win Eurovision, gave us a song that couldn’t be more associated with the Contest. Of course, the performance was memorable for the amount of clothes that she took off, but we have remember that this is a SONG contest, not a stripping contest (well… you COULD say that a couple of artists have competed on that level as well on a musical level). The song is just really cheesy and I’m just surprised it won. Okay, yes, it’s catchy but after the actual Contest, the song was a complete failure in the music charts and it only charted at #15 in Belgium; it didn’t even chart in the country it won the Eurovision for! I don’t know exactly how Latvia managed to win, but one things known; ‘I Wanna’ is on this countdown.

5 – Johnny Logan – “What’s Another Year?” (Ireland 1980)

This could be the most surprising choice we picked, but we’ve only put Johnny in for the pure fact that we despise the song. ‘Hold Me Now’, of course, is the better song he sand and ‘Why Me?’ doesn’t really count as it wasn’t him that sang it, that job was left to Linda Martin. But ‘What’s Another Year?’ is the worst song he ever sent because the song is just so dull and boring. Now some may say it’s one of the best songs Ireland ever sent to the Contest, but for us, we just find the song really annoying. The performance was just really bare and really just quite dull on stage. For me, I’d have preferred if another country won instead of Ireland, because we didn’t really deserve that win (okay, shoot me now!) Sorry Johnny, but it had to be said!

4 – Toto Cutugno – “Insieme: 1992” (Italy 1990)

‘Insieme: 1992’, Italy’s second ever win at Eurovision.. not a very good one if I say so myself. The song is supposed to be a huge stadium anthem that everyone waves their hands in the air and everything like that, but to be honest, it just ended up like a bland piece of forgettable rock in a year filled with great entries. I mean, look at Yugoslavia, Spain, Portugal, all brilliant entries; then Italy comes along and tries too hard to be an anthem and ends up winning the whole thing, even though it was incredibly forgettable. Italy, you had so many other opportunities to win, but you had to do it in that year, didn’t you? Well, at least you won before you abandoned us for nearly fifteen years.. only to come back to the competition and finish in second place!

3 – Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan – “Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids” (Ireland 1994)

Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan have got to be the only winners that only won because of another person.. or more precisely, Riverdance. The only reason they actually did so well was because of the way us Irish showed we can move our feet without moving our arms and not because of the actual song. Speaking of, the song was just so boring and forgetful! I’m sure if Riverdance wasn’t the interval act, then Ireland wouldn’t have won Eurovision for the third time in a row and we would have been heading to Warsaw in 1995, thanks to Edyta Górniak. To most people I know, they absolutely despise this song and to be honest, fair play to them! Seriously, Europe?! There were so many other songs that could have done well. Not cool.

2 – Ell and Nikki – “Running Scared” (Azerbaijan 2011)

When Azerjaban Azerbaijan bought won the Eurovision in Düsseldorf, it would be safe to say that there was complete and utter outrage among fans and to be fair, I wouldn’t blame them. I never liked Ell and Nikki and wasn’t it nice that the first time I actually went to see Eurovision, it was won by the one entry we all didn’t like (you’ll see that later on in the article). The song is just so lifeless and all that moving around the stage and the fireworks just add to the confusion as to what the song is actually about. I am actually disappointed with Europe now (again!) for letting that song win; have you not seen Eric Saade or Mika Newton?! It was just a real mess on stage and the fact that it won is, what we believe, the result of a lack of judgement by the public..What were you thinking, people!?! At least our #1 is even worse than those two!

1 – Dima Bilan – “Believe” (Russia 2008)

Dima Bilan has to be the least deserving winner of Eurovision of all time. Okay, Russia put on a spectacular show the following year and probably gave us one the best stages the world has ever seen, but the way they managed to actually get that is just horrible. ‘Believe’ is actually worse than the song he sang in Athens two years before, ‘Never Let You Go’, so when it won, I was just left in shock. More than likely, he actually managed to win because of that pesky little ice skater and the guy playing the violin; best way of using the stage ever, right? WRONG! As well as that, he robbed the victory from Ani Lorak who CLEARLY deserved it more than Dima did. Ani was the fan favourite and were it not for those voting patterns, she’d have been almost guaranteed a victory and we’d have returned to Kyiv in 2009. Shame on you Dima Bilan, you stole a victory from someone who is way better looking than you. But congratulations for being ESC Views’ Worst Winner in ESC History!

Your views:

What would you say would be the worst winner in Eurovision history?

Does our top 10 reflect your own top?
Does our top 10 reflect your own top?

Jack Cuffe from the United Kingdom:  It’s got to be Azerbaijan 2011. It wasn’t a bad song but there were so many better songs that year… It’s Azerbaijan’s worst song, in my opinion.

Anthony Ko from Slovenia: 2001 no doubt. It haunts me today!

Shaun Underhay from the United Kingdom:  Alexander Rybak for me. Can’t for the life of me understand how it was the most successful winner in Eurovision history. Molitva and I Wanna have also gotta be contenders too.

Aydin Agayev from Azerbaijan: 2006 the worst can not be worse than that!

As well as the views mentioned above, Azerbaijan 2011 was mentioned more frequently than most other artists, but other artists that received mentions included the Olsen Brothers (2000), Riva (1989), Séverine (1971), Dave Benton and Tanel Padar (2001) and Niamh Kavanagh (1993). But what we’d like to know is who do you think is the worst winner? Be sure to tell us what you think by commenting below!

15 thoughts on “Top 10: Worst winners in ESC history”

  1. I think many of the songs mentioned are among the best winners ever. “Hard Rock Halleljuah” – yay! Finally a rock song winning 🙂 The Europeans showed they wanted more rock in 2006m therefore it won. And the winners of 1994, 1990 and 1980 too…great i think. As for 2008, well, maybe not AWFUL, but a nice enough pop song (same with 2011 really). Seems like many ESC-fans have just “decided” to dislike Dima Bilan….but maybe that’s all in my head! 🙂

    If I should say which ones I’d consider….2007, 1988 (great to see Celine Dion doing so well though), 1983, 1957, 1959 and 1961, Hard to compare winners over such a LARGE span of time though. But I think they ll have something in common – not exactly “representative” of modern pop or rock you could hear in the charts back then.

    1. Thanks a lot for your comment Steinar!

      Those are some very interesting choices you picked and yeah it’s probably true that the songs weren’t what was considered to be “pop” at the time when they won. With the all the other winners though, it could be possible that Eurovision fans might have decided to dislki Dima and everyone else, but all the flaws become apparent in the performance if you didn’t like, if you get what I mean.

  2. YES! 2008 is my worst winner as well. Reasons being a) totally undeserved (2008 in general was a year of good songs but crappy results) b) fake, plastic and insincere pandering dirge designed to grab as much votes from their old friends as possible (see also most of Azerbaijan’s entries) c) Dima being the instantly punchable and unlistenable no-talent that he is. Everytime I even think of him and this song it makes me so angry!

    Oh, and that guy in the comments who said 2009 is the worst needs their ears checked 😛

    1. Thanks a lot for your comment Kylie!

      To be honest, well done to them for at least winning, but couldn’t Russia have tried to win with other songs such as ‘Mamo’ or ‘Going Solo’, but why with Dima?! The world is a crazy place sometimes.. Haha, they don’t enjoy ‘Fairytale’, I guess it’s their own opinion, but oh well :’)

  3. I think: the worst winner is “Nous les amoreux” by Jean-Claude Pascal (Luxemburgo, 1961).
    Spain, Yugoslavia, Mónaco, Italy, United Kingdom was best than that.

    And 1958, 1962, 2001 are bad too.

    1. Thanks a lot for your comment Santiago!

      Interesting choices, the start of the Contest is turning out to be when we didn’t like the winners! But thanks for your contribution!

  4. well you need to compare the winner song to the other songs from that year. that’s why 1980 and 1984 are good winners.
    on the other hand, when you compare “Why me” 1992 to “rapsodia” you’ll see that this is a very bad winner.
    also, as an Israeli I would have give the trophy in 1978 to Germany, 1979 to France and 1998 to the netherlands.
    Israel should be the winner in 1983, 1991 and 2005.

    1. Thank you for your comment Leon! 🙂

      When Rory and I were deciding the songs for this list, we did think about that (hence the comments for 1990 and 2008 being unworthy winners because they beat other songs that we felt were faaaar superior!) However, it’s all based on opinion – in 1980, for example, I’d say the entries from Greece, Germany, Turkey, Netherlands and Morocco were all a lot more deserving of the victory, and I personally cannot stand “What’s Another Year”. But there are plenty of others who believe it’s one of the best winning songs ever. So, as fans, we all have very different tastes! In this article, me and Rory only agreed on five of the ten, we had to compromise on all the other entries in the list, so that just goes to show how varied everyone’s opinions can be!

  5. well, i have to agree with Believe & Running Scared (cough cough* bought votes *cough cough), both are extremely overrated, but for me, ‘Fairytale’ from 2009, was way worse, that song is so stupid and so bland, i don’t get how that song was the most successful winner ever, i seriously don’t get it, Ioanna was so much better that year, she should have won instead.

    1. Thanks a lot for your comment João! 🙂

      Well not a lot of us did like either ‘Believe’ or ‘Running Scared’, but it’s surprising to see ‘Fairytale’ being mentioned…I do agree with you though that Yohanna was the best and I’d have loved to have gone to Reykjavík in 2010.. 😀

      1. Yup, she was definitely the best in 2009, i just never got the hype around ‘Fairytale’, sounds so cheesy and so overrated, in my opinion.

  6. 2001 and 2002, no doubt. 2008 was misunderstood by the other fandom, I personally love Dima and so as 2011, I’m very proud and almost cried when I saw our country’s flag.

    Let’s start with 2001. I wanted Greece to win that year’s Eurovision. The winning songs was insulting and gimmicky for me. 2002’s song annoys me on so many levels. Malta or Cyprus should have won because these two were great.

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