Observations. Eleven Eurovision winners (alongside three non-winners) were featured at the special concert Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005, in which ABBA’s “Waterloo” was voted the most popular song of the contest’s first fifty years.
Ireland and Sweden have won seven times, more than any other country. Ireland also won the contest for three consecutive years (1992, 1993, 1994), the only country to ever do so. Three countries have won twice in a row: Spain (1968 and 1969), Luxembourg (1972 and 1973) and Israel (1978 and 1979). Serbia is the only country to win with its debut entry (in 2007), although Serbia had competed previously as part of Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro. By contrast, Portugal holds the record for waiting the longest to achieve their first win, doing so in 2017; 53 years after their first appearance in the contest. Austria holds the record for longest wait in between wins, having won for the first time in 1966 and a second time in 2014. Under the voting system used between 1975 and 2015, the winner of the contest was decided by the final voting nation on eleven occasions.[N 1]
Changes to the voting system, including a steady growth in the number of countries participating and voting, means that the points earned are not comparable across the decades. Portugal’s Salvador Sobral holds the record of the highest number of points in the contest’s history, earning 758 with the song “Amar pelos dois”. Norway’s Alexander Rybak holds the largest margin of victory in absolute points, a 169-point cushion over second place in 2009. Italy’s Gigliola Cinquetti holds the record for largest victory by percentage, scoring almost three times as many as second place (49 points compared with 17 by the runner-up) in the 1964 contest. The lowest winning score is the 18 points (of the 160 total votes cast by 16 countries) scored by each of the four winning countries in 1969.
Under the voting system used from 1975 until 2015, in which each country gives maximum points to its first place choice, Sweden’s Loreen won the 2012 contest with the most ever first place votes earned, receiving first place votes from 18 of 41 countries (excluding themselves). The 1976 winner for the United Kingdom, Brotherhood of Man, holds the record of the highest average score per participating country, with an average of 9.65 points received per country. 2011 Azerbaijani winners Ell and Nikki hold the lowest average score for a winning song under that system, receiving 5.14 points per country.
Around two-thirds of the winning songs were performed in the second half of the final. According to the official statistics, until 2019, only 34.3% of the winning songs were performed in the first half, including 3 of the 4 winners in 1969. The only song to win without being clearly in one half or the other was the Israeli entry “Hallelujah” in 1979, which was drawn 10th out of 19 songs. Between 2005 and 2013, all the winning songs were performed in the second half of the final’s running order.
The United Kingdom has finished second sixteen times at Eurovision (most recently in 2022), more than any other country. France has finished third and fourth seven times at Eurovision (most recently respectively in 1981 and in 2001), and Sweden has finished fifth nine times at Eurovision (most recently in 2019). The country with the most top three places that has never won the contest is Malta, having finished second in 2002 and 2005 and third in 1992 and 1998. Another island nation, Iceland, has also finished second twice, in 1999 and 2009. With Portugal achieving its first win in 2017, Malta now also holds the record for longest wait for a first win, having first shown up in the contest in 1971 (although Cyprus has more winless appearances, with 36 since debuting in 1981, due to Malta taking a break from 1976 through 1990). Spain holds the current record for longest drought by a winning country, having last won in 1969. They are followed by France (1977) and Belgium (1986).
There is no official runner-up for two of the contests – 1956 and 1969. In 1956 only the winner, Switzerland, was announced, whilst there were speculative reports that Germany ended up in second place with “Im Wartesaal zum großen Glück” by Walter Andreas Schwarz, given that Germany was chosen to host the 1957 contest. In 1969, four songs shared first place by achieving the same number of points; fifth place was achieved by Switzerland, which is not considered an official runner-up, because of the draw for first place.
- Those occasions were in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1998, 2002 and 2003.