Winners of the 2000s - What happened to them?
For the last in our series of articles about previous winners, we look at the 2000s where many new countries won the competition and the contest changed quite remarkably.
It's been quite a journey, hasn't it? We started all the way back in the 1950s and have now come full circle and ended up smack bang in the present. Now you can read about all the winners from Lys Assia in 1956 to Ell/Nikki in 2011 and what happened to them after their victories.
The contest has produced some mega stars from ABBA to Céline Dion and now we have reached the 2000s where more history has been made. This is the era when 9 of the 12 winning countries had never won before, giving new countries the opportunity to host the competition.
We also saw the introduction of the single semi-final format in 2004 and the dual semi-final format in 2008. In 2009 the juries also joined the competition for the first time since the late 90s where they now have 50% influence.
New technologies have been used in the production of Europe's favourite Tv show with broadcasts now in HD and our first Blu Ray was released after the competition in Düsseldorf. We also saw the use of impressive pyrotechnics and effects to make each show and performance even more spectacular.
With all these advances, it will be exciting to see what the next 10 years bring to the competition. But for now at least, just sit back and read what happened to all the latest winners of the competition, from Denmark in 2000 to Azerbaijan in 2011. Enjoy!
2000 - Olsen Brothers (Denmark)
Having been regular entrants in the Danish national selection programme Dansk Melodi Grand Prix the Olsen Brothers triumphed in 2000 with the song Smuk Som Et Stjerneskud. It was given an English lyric, and at the Eurovision Song Contest it stormed to victory as Fly On The Wings Of Love, being the first song since Waterloo in 1974 to lead the voting from start to finish
The song did well in the charts in Scandinavia, as well as Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium, although it took a cover version by XTM and DJ Chucky before making the top ten in the UK and Irish charts in 2003.
In the wake of their success in the contest, the pair released several albums and in 2003 by popular demand the brothers released an album Weil Nur Die Liebe Zählt for the German market, and further albums for the English market were to follow.
In 2005 they returned to the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix with the song Little Yellow Radio, and finished in second place. Elder brother Jørgen also competed in 2007, but could only finish in seventh place. In 2010 they released an album of covers of Eurovision songs called Wings Of Eurovision to mark the tenth anniversary of their victory in Europe's favourite Tv show.
2001 - Tanel Padar & Dave Benton (Estonia)
For only the third time in the history of the contest a male duo took the title, following Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan (1994) and the Olsen Brothers in 2000.
The song Everybody gave Estonia their first victory, and made the Baltic state the first former Soviet republic to win Europe's favourite Tv show. Commercially though the winning song was one of the least successful as far as the European charts were concerned.
However Dave Benton, originally from Aruba, made his mark by becoming the first black performer to win the top prize. Tanel Padar had previous experience in the contest by providing backing vocals on the Estonian entry in 2000.
The pair didn't remain long as a duo, and only just managed to appear on stage together at the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest when opening the show with a reprise of Everybody. Both though continue to perform as soloists.
The boy band 2XL, also known as Soul Militia, which had backed the pair onstage in Copenhagen in 2001, returned to the Estonian national selection in 2007, where they finished fifth, coincidentally behind Gerli Padar, sister of the aforementioned Tanel Padar.
2002 - Marie N (Latvia)
It was a case of third time lucky for Marija Naumova, otherwise known as Marie N, when she won the Latvian national selection in 2002 with her song I Wanna, having competed previously in 2000 and 2001, both times just missing out in a place in Europe's favourite Tv show.
When she finally represented her country in 2002, she won a close and exciting competition in Tallinn, giving her country its first, and to date only win in the contest.
Like the winners of 2001, the song didn't go onto have much commercial success, but Marie N returned the following year to co-present the contest when it was staged in Riga.
Since then she has released several albums, singing songs in Latvian, English, French and Portuguese, and has had a career in musical theatre, appearing in productions of The Sound Of Music and Les Misérables. Proving her versatility even further, in 2007 she appeared on the show Dancing With The Stars.
2003 - Sertab Erener (Turkey)
Sertab Erener was another artist who succeeded in representing her country at the third opportunity, having competed unsuccessfully in 1989 and 1990. In 2003 though she was selected internally as Turkey's entrant, with Everyway That I Can, and it was the nation's first ever entry sung entirely in English.
In a thrilling contest, Sertab Erener edged home as the narrow winner, and gaveTurkey their first ever victory at their 25th attempt in the finals of Europe's favourite Tv show.
Everyway That I Can was a number one hit in Turkey, Sweden and Greece, as well as being a top ten hit in Spain, Belgium, Netherlands and Austria, and charted in Germany, Switzerland, Ireland and Hungary, and even made the lower reaches of the UK charts. A follow up single Here I Am also managed to chart in several countries.
She has continued to release albums, both in Turkish and English, and formed a band, along with Demir Demirkan, called Painted On Water, and they released an album in the USA.
2004 - Ruslana (Ukraine)
With only their second ever entry in the contest, Ukraine took the prize home in 2004 with Wild Dances sung by Ruslana, though only after having finished in second place in the first ever Semi-Final of the Eurovision Song Contest behind Serbia & Montenegro.
The song did well across the European charts, reaching the top spot in Greece and Belgium, and not surprisingly topped the air play charts in Ukraine. Elsewhere it reached the top 50 in Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Romania, Ireland and the UK.
Ruslana received an award from the Ukrainian President on her victory, and she too embarked on something of a political career, as a member of the Ukrainian Parliament in the period 2006 to 2007. She was also appointed a Good Will Ambassador of Ukraine by UNICEF.
She continues to record albums both in Ukrainian and English, and her involvement with Europe's favourite Tv show has seen her perform at various national finals as a guest artist, and in 2011 she was the spokesperson delivering the results of the Ukrainian voting.
2005 - Helena Paparizou (Greece)
Having previously finished in third place for Greece in the 2001 contest, as part of the duo Antique, with Die For You. Helena Paparizou provided Greece with its first ever win in the contest with appropriately titled My Number One.
The song topped the charts in Greece, as well as Sweden, as Paparizou herself had been born and raised in Sweden by Greek parents. Elsewhere the song charted in Romania, Hungary, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Austria and Russia. The song also reached the top ten of Billboard's Hot Dance Singles in the USA.
She has continued to release several albums and singles, in both Greek and English, and achieving her biggest successes in Greece and Sweden, and has received numerous awards, including 15 Mad Music Video Awards, more than any other artist. She also collaborated on a duet with Nana Mouskouri.
More recently she has appeared as a judge on Dancing On Ice, although she admits that her knowledege of the sport is somewhat limited, and she intends her comments to reflect her feelings on the performances, rather than the technical abilities of the competitors.
2006 - Lordi (Finland)
At their 40th attempt Finland finally took top honours in Europe's favourite Tv show, when Lordi stormed to victory with their Hard Rock, Hallelujah. With their outlandish monster costumes, and spectacular stage show, they created a memorable impression with the voters across Europe, and at the time achieved the highest score yet seen in the contest.
The song also did well in the European charts, reaching the top spot in their native Finland, and the top ten in Sweden, Norway, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland and Greece, and in the top 30 in the Netherlands and United Kingdom. Their follow up single Who's Your Daddy? also charted in Germany and Austria, as well as once again taking the number one slot in Finland.
Hard rock and heavy metal music tends to do better in album sales and charts, rather than the singles charts, and their follow up albums charted in a number of European countries, as well in the USA, where their Deadache album did well. The group have also toured in the USA and Japan, as well as in Europe.
Part of their appeal is in keeping their true identity a secret, behind their monster masks. Nevertheless there has been a small change in their line-up since winning the contest, with a character called Otus, replacing Kita on drums. The rest of the group comprises Ox, Awa, Amen and their lead singer Mr Lordi.
2007 - Marija Šerifović (Serbia)
Competing for the first time as an independent nation, it was Serbia who took the prize home in the 2007 contest with the song Molitva. It was the first winning song since the introduction of the free language choice in 1999, that the winner wasn't performed mainly or entirely in English.
However it was given an English lyric for the international market and released as Destiny, but didn't make make a huge impact on the European charts, though it reached the top ten in Sweden, and the top 20 in Switzerland. The song was also recorded in Russian and in Finnish
Marija Šerifović took part in a European promotional tour in the wake of her victory in the contest,. and has subsequently released a couple of albums. She also took on the role of a judge in the national selection of Ireland in 2008 and was on the international jury that helped select the Swedish entry in 2009.
2008 - Dima Bilan (Russia)
Having previously finished in second place in the 2006 edition of Europe's favourite Tv show with Never Let You Go, Dima Bilan's victory in 2008 with Believe meant he joined a select group of artists who have finished in the top two positions, and is the only male soloist to have done so.
The victory was a long overdue win for Russia, which had come in the top three on several previous occasions, including Bilan's second place in 2006.
Suprisingly Believe didn't make a huge impact on the European charts, only making the lower positions in a few countries. The song was also recorded in Russian and Spanish.
Bilan's career has continued to flourish, and he has won numerous awards, including MTV Music Awards as Best Russian act and Muz-Tv Awards as Best Performer. He has released numerous singles in both Russian and English, and several albums. Bilan has also turned his hand to acting, appearing in several Russian films and serials.
He considered entering the Eurovision Song Contest again in 2010, but ultimately decided it was too soon following his victory in 2008, so perhaps a third appearance in Europe's favourite Tv show may be on the cards in the future?
2009 - Alexander Rybak (Norway)
Few songs had gone into the contest as such a hot favourite, and Alexander Rybak did not disappoint when his own composition Fairytale stormed to victory, breaking several contest records in the process, including the highest ever points total of 387. It also broke the run of countries winning the contest for the first time, and gave Norway its third Grand Prix.
It was not suprising therefore that Fairytale topped the charts in more than half a dozen countries, and the top ten of several more, including Germany and the United Kingdom. In Russia it achieved sales in excess of 400,000.
Follow up singles and albums also did well in both Norway and Sweden, and a film was made of Rybak also called Fairytale which documented the singer's career since winning the top prize in Europe's favourite Tv show.
Apart from guest appearances in various national final selection programmes, Rybak also appeared in the 2011 Swedish edition of Dancing With The Stars, where he finished in fourth place.
2010 - Lena (Germany)
Lena Meyer-Landrut had already created history in the German record charts, when all three of her songs from the German national final. debuted in the top five singles, including Satellite at the number one position.
She arrived in Oslo as one of the favourites for the 2010 contest, and she emerged a comfortable winner, giving Germany their second win in Europe's favourite Tv show.
Satellite was another winning song that topped the charts in half a dozen countries, and reached the top ten of several more countries all across Europe. It also became the first Eurovision winner to top the European Hot 100 singles, which combines the charts of 15 European countries. Outside of Europe it also reached the top 40 in Australia. Her first album My Cassette Player also topped the German and Austrian album charts.
Lena became the first singer since Corry Brokken defended her title in 1958, to try and win back to back victories in the contest. However her entry in 2011 Taken By A Stranger could only achieve a respectable tenth place when the contest was staged in Düsseldorf.
She has continued her career by performing in concerts across Germany, and has won several awards including two MTV Europe Music Awards for Best German Act and Best European Act.
2011 - Ell/Nikki (Azerbaijan)
In what was regarded as one of the most open contests for years, it was the song Running Scared sung by the duo Ell/Nikki that gave Azerbaijan their first win in Europe's favourite Tv show.
Perhaps reflecting the diverse voting in the contest, and the relatively low winning score compared to other recent winners, Running Scared only had modest success in the European charts. It made the top 40 in Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and Germany, and the top 75 in Ireland, Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
The duo has since travelled to several European countries to promote Running Scared, and will probably be appearing as guest artists in several national finals in the coming season as the current holders of the title.
2012 - ??? (???)
We'll find out who won the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest on the 26th of May next year in Baku, Azerbaijan!