What makes a Eurovision winner: The one thing all champions have in common

Eurovision Communications lead Dave Goodman reveals what all Eurovision winners have in common - and it has nothing to do with their song choice or what country they're from.

What makes a Eurovision winner

This year, Eurovision 2021 will bring us the show’s 64th winner. They’ll follow in the footsteps of current champion Duncan Laurence who won the competition back in 2019.

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It’s Eurovision tradition for the current champ to sing their song at the next event, but unfortunately Duncan won’t perform live at the the Eurovision 2021 final after testing positive for coronavirus.

From Lys Assia – who represented Switzerland at the very first Eurovision Song Contest with Refrain in 1956 – to ABBA – who won the show with their hit Waterloo, which was recently voted Eurovision’s most popular song – the show has seen many winners.

So, what does it take to win one of the biggest song competitions in the world?

RadioTimes.com spoke to Eurovision Communications lead Dave Goodman who revealed what all the Eurovision winners have in common.

“I would say it’s about creating a moment, I think that’s what all the winners have in common,” he said.

“People say, ‘We won’t win Eurovision because nobody likes us’ –  this is what you hear, not just in the UK but from other countries. When you look at who has won over the years and particularly the last decade, there is no one region of Europe that has given us winners. We’ve had winners in Scandinavia. We’ve had winners in Austria. Portugal won for the first time after competing for 50 years.  The Netherlands won for the first time after competing for 44 years.  Any country can win Eurovision.”

Eurovision 2014 winner Conchita Wurst
Eurovision 2014 winner Conchita Wurst

When it comes to winning Eurovision, Goodman says the type of song is just as unimportant as the part of the world contestants come from.

“Any song can win Eurovision because there’s no similarity between Netta’s Toy and Duncan Laurence’s Arcade,” he explained.

“One is sort of an empowerment pop song, one is a heartfelt sort of ballad. They’re not similar at all, but what both of them did – the last two winners of Eurovision – is create a moment on television, and that is with the song and the performance and the artistry of the acts, but also the production and creating a moment on stage that makes you feel something.”

For Goodman, who has worked on the show for several years, it all comes down to that feeling the contestant brings to viewers and the audience.

He continued: “It’s about reaching out and making people remember you by creating a moment that touches people. Conchita Wurst did that for Austria with Rise like a Phoenix. Loreen did that with her dancing and a very stylised stage show for a dance song. And of course,  Salvador Sobral for Portugal sang a very traditional song entirely on his own. There were no whistles and bells. There was very little performance or innovative staging. And he won in Portuguese, a language most of Europe does not understand. So, what makes a winner? Creating something special that that makes people want to vote for you. That’s what makes a winner!”

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The Eurovision Song Contest 2021 will air on the BBC this May. Check out the full list of previous Eurovision winners here. If you’re looking for something to watch tonight, check out our TV Guide.