Always the bridesmaid, never the bride! Over the next 5 days, we are going to be counting down the most patient countries at the Eurovision Song Contest - countries that live by the old adage try, try and try again!
10. FYR Macedonia – 18 Participations – Debut: 1998 – Highest Pos: 12th
A former entrant as part of Yugoslavia, it’s now been 20 years since FYR Macedonia first participated in the Eurovision, and, unfortunately, they’ve only managed middle-of-the-road results, having never finished in the top 10 in the 8 times they’ve made it to the final. Things didn’t get off to a brilliant start for them when their first two attempts at entering floundered due to failing to qualify for the final in 1996 (before the semi-finals existed) and in 1997 being a victim of an unfortunate (and now defunct) rule which meant countries with the lowest average scores from the previous 4 years were excluded.
Their first entry, by Vlado Janevski in 1998, only managed a disappointing 19th place, but over the next few times they participated they began creeping up the table, peaking in 2006 with Elena Risteska and "Ninanajna" finishing in 12th place. It’s a feat they’ve been unable to beat or repeat since then, with Kaliopi’s 13th place in 2012 being the nearest they’ve come.
FYR Macedonia had high hopes for Jana Burceska with "Dance alone" in 2017, which was popular with bookies and fans. In the semis, however, it failed to qualify and Jana wasn’t able to break FYR Macedonia’s streak of not qualifying for the final since 2012. Fortunately for Jana, she didn’t end up dancing alone – as her boyfriend Alexander proposed to her live on air at the semi-final, a surprise that charmed Eurovision fans and journalists alike.
9. Lithunania – 19 Participations – Debut: 1994 – Highest Pos: 6th
Lithuania got an inauspicious start to Eurovision in 1994, with Ovidijus Vyšniauskas and his ballad “Lopšinė mylimai” not hitting the right note with the audience and finishing in last place with the dreaded nul points. This is possibly the most disappointing debut in Eurovision history, with no other debuting country getting no points and ending up in last place all on its own. Perhaps out of a need to lick their wounds from this harsh defeat, Lithuania withdrew from the contest and didn’t return until 1999.
Despite a political clash with Russia in 2009 which lead to Lithuania threatening to boycott, and funding problems in 2010, Lithuania has managed to make the top 10 twice in its 19 entries. They’ve produced some lows that have landed them in last place twice, some highs that saw Donny Montell place 9th in 2016 with "I've Been Waiting for This Night", and some fan favourites - with InCulto’s checked-trousers-to-sequin-hotpants reveal being an outfit often reproduced on the Eurovision events circuit.
Their highest scoring entry was LT United with the tongue in cheek "We Are the Winners" which came 6th in 2006. A group of blokes in suits insisting that they were the winners was unfortunately not to everyone’s taste, and the song was booed at the final, but it scored well, receiving douze points from Ireland in both the semi and the final. It regularly makes compilations of notable Eurovision entries, and with its football-chant style, immediately memorable lyrics, and a slightly unhinged dance solo by a bald guy who looks like he works in IT, it might not have won, but it certainly hasn’t been forgotten. The CD single even went on to become the first platinum single in Lithuania in four years.
For more of the Top 10 countdown, don't forget to check back here, or check out our countdown video on our YouTube channel!