The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the global music calendar, and in 2023, the UK is set to play host for the first time in over two decades.
Taking place in Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena on Saturday 13 May, this year’s UK entry is pop singer Mae Muller, who will be hoping to go one better than Sam Ryder and take home the trophy in the final.
Unlike entries from previous years, Mae Muller is already a huge name in the music industry, with over 7.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify – but how does that compare to the listenerships of some of the biggest names to have competed on Eurovision in the past?
Business Name Generator has ranked and revealed the top ten most popular artists to have entered Eurovision in previous years, based on their monthly listeners on Spotify.
- Måneskin – 25.3m monthly listeners
Eurovision placing: WINNERS
The Italian rock band, Måneskin, are arguably the biggest thing to come out of Eurovision in decades.
Having already established a name for themselves in Italy by finishing second place in the Italian version of The X Factor in 2017, Måneskin then took Europe by storm four years later, with their performance of ‘Zitti e Buoni’ comfortably winning them the 2021 Eurovision song contest.
Måneskin has since soared to superstardom on a global level. Their smash hit single ‘I Wanna Be Your Slave’ charted in the top 10 in both the UK and the US.
In 2023, the band also received its first Grammy nomination for Best New Artist, and is set to perform at the 2023 Glastonbury Festival this summer.
- ABBA – 24.9m monthly listeners
Eurovision placing: WINNERS
Who doesn’t love a bit of ABBA? The Swedish pop band represent the very essence of what Eurovision is all about, so it is no surprise that the group won the 1974 Eurovision song contest with their now smash hit, ‘Waterloo’.
ABBA famously went on to enjoy huge success all over the world, and was especially popular in the UK, having 19 top 10 singles, nine of which went straight to No.1 between 1974 and 1983.
Almost 40 years on from their Eurovision debut, ABBA still has an enormous listenership of 24.9 million per month on Spotify. Meanwhile, ABBA-themed club nights are still a regular feature across the UK’s nightlife scene.
- Céline Dion – 12.8m monthly listeners
Eurovision placing: WINNER
While it is common knowledge that ABBA started out on Eurovision, fewer people know that Celine Dion is also a former Eurovision contestant. In fact, the singer won the contest in 1988.
Despite being born in Quebec, Canada, Dion – whose first language is French – represented Switzerland at Eurovision 1988, wowing audiences with her performance of ‘Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi’.
However, victory for the ‘My Heart Will Go On’ singer was particularly heartbreaking for the UK that year, because Celine Dion beat the UK entrant (Scott Fitzgerald) to the top prize by just one point.
Following Eurovision, Celine Dion went on to become one of the most successful female solo artists of all time. Famously singing the theme tune to Titanic, plus creating 27 studio albums with over 10 million copies sold in Europe – a feat that only Michael Jackson has also accomplished.
- Olivia Newton-John – 9.3m monthly listeners
Eurovision placing: FOURTH
1974 was a huge year for Eurovision. Not only was it the year that ABBA burst onto the scene, but the UK was represented by the one and only Olivia Newton-John.
Four years before she starred in the smash-hit musical Grease (1978) and became famous for songs such as ‘You’re The One That I Want’, Olivia Netwon-John tried her hand at Eurovision, singing ‘Long Live Love’ and placing fourth in the contest.
- Duncan Laurence – 8.7m monthly listeners
Eurovision placing: WINNER
After reaching the semi-final stage on the Dutch version of The Voice, Duncan was chosen to represent his native Netherlands on Eurovision 2019.
His performance of the powerful ballad, ‘Arcade’ was brilliant enough to crown Duncan Laurence the Eurovision 2019 winner.
A whole four years later and ‘Arcade’ is still an immensely popular track, having racked up over 915.4m listens on Spotify and counting. ‘Arcade’ is one of many songs that has been helped by the power of TikTok, as the song went viral on the social media app.
- Bonnie Tyler – 8.1m monthly listeners
Eurovision placing: NINETEENTH
In 2013, it had been sixteen whole years since the UK last won Eurovision, and after a few too many nil-points over the years, it was time for the nation to pull out the big guns by entering rock ballad legend Bonnie Tyler into the contest.
Unfortunately, Bonnie’s performance of ‘Believe in Me’ in Sweden that year was not enough to return the UK to its Eurovision glory days. In fact, the ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ singer’s efforts proved to be a total disaster as she finished in a lowly 19th place out of 26.
Luckily, a disappointing Eurovision outing is far from enough to tarnish the success that Bonnie Tyler has had throughout her career, which includes three Grammy awards and millions of single and album sales.
- Cascada – 7.2m monthly listeners
Eurovision placing: TWENTY-FIRST
2013 was a Eurovision to remember when it came to already established artists, as Germany selected dance music legend Cascada to represent the nation in the contest.
Cascada boasts a famous back catalogue of tracks including ‘Every Time We Touch’ and ‘Evacuate the Dancefloor’, but in keeping with the contest’s rules about not entering with pre-released music, Cascada opted to perform the previously unheard song, ‘Glorious’ at Eurovision 2013.
Despite being one of the early favourites to win the competition, Cascada finished a disappointing 21st place out of 26 – two places below the UK’s Bonnie Tyler.
To add to the controversy, Cascada was also accused of plagiarism by Swedish artist, Loreen who won Eurovision 2012. Loreen claimed that ‘Glorious’ sounded similar to her winning song, ‘Euphoria’.
- t.A.T.u. – 4.7m monthly listeners
Eurovision placing: THIRD
Another artist who entered Eurovision after already being an established name around the world, in 2003, Moscow-based pop duo t.A.T.u. represented Russia’s best effort for Eurovision glory.
At the time, the nation had never even finished within the top three – this was soon to change however, as Russia would eventually go on to win Eurovision in 2008.
Having released their smash hit ‘All The Things She Said’ in 2002, t.A.T.u. were odds-on favourites to win the contest in 2003. However, some concerns had been raised by Eurovision viewers due to t.A.T.u’s track record of cancelling shows at the last minute, and delivering somewhat explicit performances when they did show up.
In the end, t.A.T.u. finished third in the contest, missing out on first-placed Turkey by just three points, while Belgium finished second place.
- Sam Ryder – 2.7m monthly listeners
Eurovision placing: RUNNER-UP
Sam Ryder officially brought Eurovision fever back to the UK, after he placed second in last year’s contest with his song, ‘Space Man’. It represented the UK’s best performance at Eurovision since 1998.
Due to 2022 winners Ukraine being unable to host the competition, Ryder’s efforts were enough to earn the UK the right to host this year’s contest.
Sam Ryder’s ‘Space Man’ success did not stop at Eurovision, as his song went on to reach number two in the UK charts – the highest any Eurovision song performed by a UK entrant has reached since 1996.
As a child, Eurovision had a huge influence on Sam Ryder, citing the Finnish heavy metal band Lordi – who won the 2006 contest – as one of his biggest inspirations.
- Mahmood – 2.4m monthly listeners
Eurovision placing: RUNNER-UP
Milan-born Mahmood’s musical journey began in 2012 on the Italian version of The X Factor, where he was eliminated at the judge’s houses, only to return as a wildcard entry for the live shows and subsequently be knocked out of the competition three weeks later.
The next few years brought much more success to Mahmood, as the R&B singer won the Sanremo Music Festival twice in a row, before topping the Italian charts with his debut album in July 2019.
Having established himself as a huge name in Italian music, Mahmood was chosen to represent the nation at the 2019 Eurovision song contest with his song ‘Soldi’.
Mahmood finished second place in the competition, narrowly missing out on the top spot behind the Netherlands’ Duncan Laurence.