Switzerland is a founding member of Eurovision, and were the first winners of the contest back in 1956. With 57 entries to choose from, you’d have imagined that it would be tough to decide which made the top 5. Well, it’s been tough, but for different reasons!
Switzerland have only won twice in all that time, and while they had many top 10 finishes until the mid-90s, they only rarely got the runners up or third spots. The 21st century has been especially tough, only qualifying for the grand final twice in 10 years, and coming in last place in their semi-final four times. So, aside from my top 2, it’s been a struggle!
5. Lys Assia “Refrain” (1956, winner)
This has a place in my top 5 more for historic and sentimental reasons than my musical tastes – Lys Assia was the first ever winner of Eurovision with the song “Refrain”. Lys went on to represent Switzerland in 1957 and 1958. Now a sprightly 92, she still remains involved with the contest to this day, attending each year’s show, going to fan events, and also popping up at the Swiss national final on occasions. She even went to Euroclub last year, partying with that year’s entries!
4. Vanilla Ninja “Cool Vibes” (2005, 8th place, 128 points)
Switzerland’s only top 10 placing since 1993 came through the Estonian girl band who represented them in 2005. The band was well known and popular in central and eastern Europe before their participation in the contest so it proved a wise move on Switzerland’s part at that time – it was 100% public vote then and Switzerland has few countries it can get easy points from.
3. Sinplus “Unbreakable” (2012, 11th place in semi-final, 55 points)
This rocky band and song narrowly missed out on a place in the final in Baku. A shame, as I like seeing and hearing these songs in finals to break up what can sometimes be a flood of female solo power ballads. Denied a place in the final then, it makes my Swiss top 5.
2. Sebalter “Hunter of Stars” (2014, 13th place, 64 points)
It’s the gorgeous Sebalter in the runner’s up spot – I can vouch for his gorgeousness having got to meet and speak to him in person at the London Eurovision Preview party that year. Love the song, and was pleased it did so well (at last) for Switzerland after a dreadful run of results.
1. Céline Dion “Ne partez pas sans moi” (1988, winner, 137 points)
What else could it be? Eurovision’s biggest success story in terms of follow up career (after ABBA), the 20-year-old Céline won by a single point over the the United Kingdom in one of the closest and most exciting voting sequences Eurovision has seen. I won’t begrudge either Céline or Switzerland that win though, as this is the better song than the UK’s that year.
Do you agree with my choices? Can you find any hidden gems in the Swiss back catalogue that I may have missed? Do comment below!