Is there a recipe for a song to come out first at Eurovision? And if so, who is she?
After collecting data from the 1,371 Eurovision finalists since its debut in 1956, the Guardian has determined the type of song and artist with the best chance of winning the infamous twelve points.
Whether you’re fascinated by kitsch or watch it under duress, at least one song a year will have you thinking, “Even I could write better than that!”
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“Well, dear Eurovision fans/skeptics, we’ve analyzed the 1,371 Eurovision finalists over almost seven decades, looking at the ingredients of winning songs, runners-up and third place, across genres. , sex, groups and mood, to find the perfect recipe for the Eurovision song”, write the journalists who edited the article.
Here are the results of the Guardian jury
Pop has become the dominant genre at Eurovision
Delve into the Eurovision archives and you’ll find a wealth of genres, many of which differ from the country they represent: take the copla songs introduced by Spain in 1965 and 1982. Norway’s traditional joik chorus, used in 1980, or the Celtic sounds behind the Irish song of 2007.
Prior to the 1970s, 85% of entries that placed first, second, or third in the contest were non-pop songs (meaning the song had two or more other genres that were more prominent). Indeed, big band swing sounds and French chanson were the dominant genre until the early 1970s, when pop and rock began their meteoric rise to competition, according to data provided by Cyanite, which uses AI to analyze and classify music.
Now, pop is essentially the only path to the confetti-strewn catwalk. Analysis shows that only five non-pop songs have made the top three since 2000.
Finland won with Lordi’s memorable heavy metal entry in 2006, while, in stark contrast, Salvador Sobral’s jazz waltz topped the competition for Portugal in 2017. Italy won best performance in 2021 with Måneskin’s rock performance, 10 years after Italian Raphael Gualazzi finished second with a jazz song. Russia took third place in 2019 with Sergey Lazarev’s psychedelic rock.
Chances are, if you’re a lifelong Eurovision fan, you associate the competition with high-energy, high-profile songs, and for good reason: four out of five songs in the top three over the duration of the contest, the competition had high or medium energy, those that tended towards the ‘powerful’ or ‘jumpy’ beat, rather than low energy songs with a more ‘fluid’ beat.
Meanwhile, two-thirds of lists are written with happier primary keys, but that’s changing. Songs in a minor key have been increasing and gaining prominence since 2000, with two-thirds of entries earning a place in the top three now being sung in a minor scale.
Yes, the two previous winners – the Ukrainian Kalush Orchestra and the Italian Måneskin – were groups. And yes, ABBA is arguably the most recognizable Eurovision winner of all time. But the facts are that if you want to win the competition in the modern age, you’re more likely to do so as a solo artist.
It wasn’t always like this. In its very first incarnation, the singing competition was dominated by solo singers with a few duos, averaging less than one group per year – but by 1971 a quarter of entries were groups, dropping to half of competitors a year later, according to Eurovision Six on the Stage database.
Eurovision bands became popular in the 1970s
When ABBA won the competition in 1974 with the song Waterloo – only the second group to do so after Grethe & Jørgen Ingmann for Denmark in 1963 – it was the start of a golden era for the bands, who collected two of its five gongs Eurovision in the 1970s and 1980s, including two UK entries: Brotherhood of Man’s Save Your Kisses for Me in 1976 and Bucks Fizz’s Making Your Mind Up in 1981.
But solo artists have made their voices heard again in the past two decades, taking the top three spots in more than two-thirds of the competitions held since 1990.
Solo female artists dominate the singing competition. Over 42% of finalist performances since 1956 have been by female soloists, compared to 30% by male solo artists, although the number of males performing solo or in bands has increased since the 1990s.
The greater participation of female solo artists may explain why they occupy more of the top positions. Since 1957, almost half of the first three places have been occupied by female soloists, followed by groups (28%, mixed or not) and male soloists (23%).
While women dominate the scene, men are more present in the famous “green room” of Eurovision: more than four out of five composers/lyricists are men. And while there has been an improvement in the representation of women in recent decades – before 1980 only 5% of composers and lyricists were women – they still represent only 20%.
Nostalgia and romance gave way to strong, confident songs
It is of course not difficult to guess that the most used verse (apart from the so-called words like, one, me, you etc.) is ‘love’ followed by ‘la la’.
The inclusion of “love” has gone from a whopping 80% of songs in the 1950s to less than half of entries since 2000.
There was a corresponding mood shift: the emotional, nostalgic and romantic songs of earlier decades gave way to the uplifting music of the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1990s, the Eurovision scene saw a certain number of songs designed to inspire confidence and strength in their listeners, such as the British Sam Ryder who finished second with Space Man in 2022. Zitti e Buoni de Måneskin, the 2021 winners or the 2018 winner Netta Barzilai.
English songs have played a very important role in the Eurovision Song Contest since the rule of one song in the national language of one entry, introduced in 1977, was abolished in 1999.
Three quarters of the entries contained (at least some) English lyrics since the turn of the millennium. English was another common factor on the podium, with more than 8 of the top 10 songs sung in English.
What is the ultimate Eurovision song?
It’s time for the Guardian delegation to award their 12 points. He narrowed down nearly 1,400 entries to present us with the song he thinks might fit the readership model. And after adding it all up, the winner is…the Swedish entry and the winning song of the 2012 contest, Euphoria performed by Loreen! Who, by the way, is the favorite to win again this year. Enjoy!