San Marino have announced that Valentina Monetta will again represent them at the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 in Malmö, making her the first 'returning artist' for this years contest. Each year, it is usual to see at least one act returning to the Eurovision stage. For example, in 2012 Željko Joksimović, Jónsi, Jedward and Kaliopi all returned. 2004 was the last contest where all the performers had no previous Eurovision appearances. 

What do singers or groups have to gain by returning to the contest? Each year the national finals around Europe have contestants trying again for the chance to sing a song to 100 million people. In recent times, we have seen former winners return to the contest. The chances of them repeating the feat of a Eurovision victory are slim - after all, Johnny Logan is the only person to manage it so far although some have come close. Of these recent returns, Carola is the only one who has come close and she finished in fifth place. Less lucrative comebacks have been witnessed too. Charlotte Perrelli, another Swedish winner returned in 2008 after winning in 1999. Her song was the fan favourite of the season but only got into the final after being saved by the juries and limped in to a lowly eighteenth place at the final in Belgrade. Niamh Kavanagh also flopped monumentally in 2010 when she represented Ireland for a second time, she got her country back to the final after a two year absence but failed to win enough votes to finish higher than twenty-third place.

Charlotte Perrelli performing Hero at the second semi final in Belgrade, 2008

The failings of Charlotte and Niamh are nothing compared to that of Dana International in 2011. Dana International became a Eurovision icon after winning with Diva in 1998. Things were different upon her return 13 years later. She would now have to qualify through the semi final format, something that was not a requirement in 1998, Eurovision had changed. Dana's 2011 effort was far inferior to Diva and many thought that Ding Dong would struggle to reach the final. They were right. Dana finished in fifteenth place after failing to score enough points from both the televoters and the juries. She became the first returning winner not to qualify to the grand final.

It is not just winners who have returned and scored much lower than their previous attempts. Non-winning acts have also returned to the contest but failed to live up to their previous successes. Selma came second for Iceland in 1999 (behind Charlotte's winning song) but failed to qualify to the 2005 final. Edsilia Rombley shared the same fate in 2007 on her second try representing the Netherlands. Although it has to be noted that both songs should have been in their respective finals.

Jedward finished in eighth place in Düsseldorf but could only manage nineteenth in Baku the following year, a significant drop. There is also the case of Chiara, who has represented Malta three times and had an amazing record of a third placing in 1998 and was the runner-up in 2005 but upon returning in 2009, she finished in twenty-second place.

Chiara, finished in 22nd place in Moscow, 2009

There is no way of knowing whether a returning artist will succeed or flop at Eurovision. Winners such as Sandra Kim have been quoted as saying that they will never return as they know that they will not repeat history and win twice. But there are artists such as Željko Joksimović, who have yet to win the contest but have tried repeatedly and manage to maintain a consistent track record. He finished second on his first try, has a third place for one of his songwriting credits and another third place for his return as an artist in 2012.

Željko Joksimović and Nije Ljubav Stvar in Baku, 2012

Other artists such as Linda Martin and Dima Bilan prove that an act can be more successful on their second try. Also, artists who were not particularly successful on their first attempt can gain from a second participation. Kaliopi is an example, she failed to qualify for the 1996 final but returned in 2012 and gave her country (F.Y.R. Macedonia) their second best placing. This proves that there can be something to gain from returning to Eurovision with a good song and a strong performance but history tells us that acheiving success more than once can be difficult. 

Can Valentina Monetta improve on her 2012 record? We will soon find out. It will also be interesting to see if she will be joined by other returning artists as more countries select their entries for Malmö.

Valentina Monetta, hoping to improve on this from 2012

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