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EUROVISION contestants grace the world stage year on year, performing in front of millions of adoring viewers.

But while some of them have hit the big time with chart-topping albums and critical acclaim, not everyone has gone on to enjoy life in the spotlight.

AlamyEurovision sees singers perform in front of millions of adoring fans, but not every contestant continues a star-studded career[/caption]

Since it began running in 1956, the Eurovision song contest has seen 67 winners from across Europe, who come together to sing their hearts out.

Despite wins, some of our favourite stars have returned to their normal lives too, from working in Tesco to political activism.

While others have followed media-related careers including TV judging, competition hosting, or singing careers bringing international renown.

From Celine Dion to Bucks Fizz, ABBA and more – here we take a look back at some of Eurovision’s favourites, and look at where they are now.

Getty – ContributorWe look back on some of the winning acts[/caption]

Sandie Shaw

Sandie gave the UK its first Eurovision victory in 1967 with her famous barefoot rendition of Puppet On A String.

The now 73-year-old star took to the stage with a number of hits already under her belt, having recorded songs in French, Spanish, German and Italian.

Despite being one of the most successful British artists in the 1960s, she was absent until the 70s, recording a cover of The Smiths’ song Hand In Glove.

Getty – PoolSandie Shaw was awarded an MBE in 2018[/caption]

Sandie ducked under the radar again to focus on being a mum to daughter Gracie, and in 2013 revealed she was retiring from music for good.

Instead, she focused on political campaigning and joined Amnesty International in 2012, and later campaigned against Brexit in 2016.

In 2018, she was awarded an MBE at Buckingham Palace, and has been recognised by her local council, Dagenham, with a top honour award.

Sandie, who was a practicing Buddhist for 35 years, revealed how her ex-husband and designer Jeff Banks blew her Eurovision fortune, leaving her to live in a caravan.

AlamySandie was one of the most successful British artists of the 1960s[/caption]

Lulu

Scottish pop singer and TV personality Lulu rose to global fame for singing the theme to American blockbuster To Sir, With Love in 1967.

Starting her TV career, the 72-year-old became the TV host for BBC Show Gadzooks! It’s The In-Crowd as well as starring in comedy Three of a Kind.

Lulu went on to win the 1969 Eurovision song contest with Boom Bang-a-Bang in a four-way tie with Spain, France and the Netherlands, taking her career to new heights.

She sang the theme for Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun in 1974, and went on to release a number of UK top ten hits over the years.

More recently, Lulu took part in Strictly Come Dancing in 2011, sang at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and starred in London’s West End musical 42nd Street.

The star continues to sing for her adoring fans across the world and last toured along with Take That on their Greatest Hits tour in 2019.

GettyLulu won the contest in 1967[/caption]

ABBA

Sweeping the winning title with hit song Waterloo in 1974, ABBA went on to be one of the biggest pop groups in the world, selling 380million records.

The Swedish group began their career in 1972, naming the band after members Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad

Agnetha broke off from the band and continued to have success as a solo artist, until her life was struck with tragedy and she stepped away from the limelight.

Becoming a recluse, she hid from the public eye until 2004, living on a farm outside Stockholm, before performing for Children In Need in 2013.

Meanwhile, Anni-Frid married the late Prince Heinrich Ruzzo Reuss von Plauen, who died in 1999, and inherited his £75million fortune.

She currently lives in Switzerland with her British partner, Henry Smith, 5th Viscount Hambleden, recently reuniting with bandmates Benny and Björn at London’s fifth-anniversary performance of Mamma Mia! the musical.

Benny and Bjorn continued to work together after ABBA, penning Mamma Mia! the musical which premiered on the West End in 1999.

Bjorn lives in Sweden and is believed to be worth at least £90million, while Benny, the richest of the group, is reportedly worth £100million.

PA:Press AssociationABBA took home the trophy in 1974[/caption]

News Group Newspapers LtdMembers of the band are now worth tens-of-millions each[/caption]

Izhar Cohen & the Alphabeta

Izhar Cohen took Israel to their first every Eurovision victory in 1978 by singing hit Hebrew song A-Ba-Ni-Bi.

While the contest saw the star rise to fame, competing again in the contest in 1985 – the star came fifth but was undeterred by his defeat.

Izhar tried twice more to represent Israel in 1982 and 1996, but when he didn’t make it through to the show, he stepped back from music for good.

Turning his hand to something knew, Cohen now owns a jewellery store on Tel Aviv’s famous Dizengoff Street, selling his own line of costume jewels.

RexIzhar and his band The Alphabeta won the song contest in 1978[/caption]

Bucks Fizz

Not only did Bucks Fizz take the Eurovision trophy in 1981 with Making Your Mind Up, the band went on to sell an impressive 15million records.

The group was made up of singers Bobby G, Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and Jay Aston – who was later replaced by Shelley Preston.

Their number one hits included The Land of Make Believe and My Camera Never Lies, as well as securing the top ten with Now Those Days Are Gone, If You Can’t Stand the Heat, When We Were Young and New Beginning.

Tragedy struck the band in 1984 when a bush crash broke the spine of band member Cheryl and sent Mike into a three-day coma, causing life-changing injuries.

In one of the messiest band breakups in history, in 1985, Jay announced she was discontinuing with the band after having an affair with Andy Hill, the husband of the group’s creator, Nichola Martin.

While Shelley was brought in as a replacement, she departed in 1989 – signalling the end of Bucks Fizz and a court case discussing the rights to use the band’s name by it’s remaining members.

In 2009, Baker, Nolan and Aston got back together as The Fizz, embarking on a successful UK-wide tour before releasing their third studio album in March.

This year, Cheryl announced the band were coming together for a Covid-friendly gig taking place in her garden, selling tickets for £148 each.

GettyBucks Fizz sold an impressive 15million records[/caption]

AlamyCheryl is still a member of the band, now known as The Fizz[/caption]

Celine Dion

Canadian born Celine snatched victory with a single point, singing Partez Pas Sans Moi for Switzerland in the 1988 Eurovision song contest.

Having released a number of French-language as a teen, the star went on to learn English before returning with chart topper Where Does My Heart Beat Now the following year.

Taking a break in the early 1990s to spend time with her manager and husband René Angélil, she returned with a bang in 1997 recording Titanic theme My Heart Will Go On.

In 2004, the star was presented with the Chopard Diamond Award at the World Music Awards as she became the best-selling female artist of all time.

Celine has now sold more than 200million albums worldwide, and since Eurovision has gained 12 World Music Awards, five Grammys and seven Billboard Music Awards.

Dion has had her share of Las Vegas residency shows over her three-decade-long career, as is due to return in November 2021 to Resorts World.

This year she is also due to kick off her Courage World Tour after it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Getty – ContributorCeline Dion is due to kick off a world tour this year[/caption]

Rex FeaturesCeline represented Switzerland in 1988[/caption]

Niamh Kavanagh 

Quickly after her win in 1993 with In Your Eyes, Niamh was signed by music mogul Simon Cowell in a million-dollar deal with Arista Records.

She recorded an album in Nashville, Tennessee, and won rave reviews, but still remains largely unknown on the American music scene.

Nonetheless, she continued her music career with coved band The Illegals, and performed on Eurovision for a second time in 2010.

Gaining a place in the final with It’s For You, she failed to secure her place and finished 23rd overall – failing to replicate her previous success.

However, the star ducked out of the limelight during the global pandemic when it was revealed she was working in Tesco supermarket last year.

She joked that her colleagues were too young to know her from Eurovision, and insisted she still had her heart set on music outside of her job.

As well as caring full time for her husband, who suffered a devastating stroke in 2018, and a 17-year-old son, the Irish star spends time listening to and coaching young musicians online.

Reutersamh took home the trophy for Ireland, but last year worked in Tesco[/caption]

Lordi

After 40 years in the contest, Finland finally had their first Eurovision win with rock band and monster-esque Lordi’s Hard Rock, Hallelujah in 2006.

The only hard rock act to have won he competition, the band refrains from showing off their faces by wearing creepy looking monster masks.

Lordi have been on a number of tours across the globe, including the UK and America, and have released ten studio albums and 19 singles.

Throughout the pandemic, the band have continued to make music, releasing their tenth album Kellection last January, as well as announcing their European tour.

Recently, they were announced as one of the headline acts for German festival Wacken Open Air, as well as performing at the upcoming 2021 Eurovision song contest.

On May 22, the band will join with five other previous winners to perform their hit song on the Rock the Roof segment on the competition.

AP:Associated PressRock band Lordi are set to perform at the upcoming Eurovision next week[/caption]

Alexander Rybak

Norwegian contestant Alexander didn’t just sing about Fairytales in his perfromance, breaking records with the highest ever point total of 387 at the time.

The song, which won the 2009 contest, went on to top the charts in more than six countries, including Germany and America for three weeks.

Winning at the age of 23, Rybak is the youngest solo male winner of the contest – and went on to compete a second time in the competition in 2018.

Since then, the star has been involved in choosing Norway’s more recent Eurovision entries in the hopes of securing another win for the country.

He took part in the Swedish edition of TV competition Let’s Dance, reaching the final four, and worked as a commentator on Eurovision in 2011.

Alexander has been open about struggling with depression and an unidentified illness, as well as an addiction to sleep medication and antidepressants, which he went to rehab for in 2020.

Getty – ContributorAlexander has taken part in TV competitions and worked as a comentator[/caption]

AP:Associated PressHe took home the trophy in 2009[/caption]

Loreen

Loreen took the Eurovision title home in 2012 with her hit song Euphoria, which reached number one in 15 counties following the contest.

As one of the most successful winners of the last decade, Loreen is still one of the Sweden’s biggest pop stars, continuing to score big hits in the country.

Aside from her music career, Loreen is a passionate human rights activist who has met with local activists around the world whenever she performs.

In 2013, she was appointed the ambassador of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, taking a trip to Kabul to construct a primary school there.

She was announced as a patron for the World’s Children’s Prize in New York, and in 2014 met with Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai to discuss children’s educational rights.

Earlier this year, Loreen became an ambassador for Unicef and frequently advocates on social media, including her own Instagram page.

AlamyLoreen has become a political activist following Eurovision[/caption]

Conchita Wurst

Ausrian singer Thomas Neuwirth took to the Eurovision stage in 2014 as Conchita Wurst and took the trophy with Rise Like A Phoenix.

His career saw a steep rise after the performance, and the star was even asked to perform at the United Nations Office in Vienna the same year.

Conchita, a female character with a beard depicted by Neuwirth, has been seen as a cultural icon and LGBTQ rights activist across the world.

Her self titled album released in 2015 was popular around the world, and Thomas has continued to release albums as Conchita, most recently in 2018.

Conchita has performed at the Sydney Opera House and the London Palladium, as well as turning her hand to TV as a permanent judge on the drag competition reality series Queen of Drags.

The star came out as HIV positive on social media and explained that he has been receiving treatment for many years.

AFP – GettyConchita has since gone on to judge on TV show Queen of Drags[/caption]

AFP or licensorsThe star was well-known for Conchita’s bearded appearance[/caption]

Salvador Sobral

Salvador won the 2017 Eurovision competition with his song Amar Pelos Dois, ending the longest winless run in history for Portugal with 53 years.

He set a new highest ever points total achieved by an act when he was awarded a remarkable 758 points for his performance.

Despite his success on the stage, he announced his temporary hiatus from music shortly after the contest due to an ongoing heart problem.

EPASalvador took time out from music due to a heart condition[/caption]


The star underwent a successful heart transplant the same year, and was awarded an Order of Merit by Portugal’s president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in 2018.

He returned to music the following year, and announced his third solo album, bpm, is due for release at the end of May 2021.

The long-awaited 65th Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final will air on Saturday May 22 on BBC One from 8pm.

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