Eurovision 2022: Where are the UK's past hopefuls now 25 years on from last win?
The Eurovision Song Contest is back once again for 2022. The celebration of weird and wonderful musical acts has been running since 1956 and has grown from just seven nations to become a sensation all over the continent.
The final of this year's contest is on Saturday, May 14 and it's TikTok star Sam Ryder who has been tasked with representing the UK this time around. You can find out more about this year's contest, including who is taking part and how to watch it, by clicking here.
The 32-year-old musician from Essex rapidly rose to prominence during lockdown, when he began posting music covers on TikTok, becoming the most followed British artist on the platform by the end of 2020. It is hoped that his song Spaceman will put an end to the UK's horrendous run of form in the contest, having finished bottom in the last two competitions.
Sam has automatically qualified for the final due to the UK's position as one of the Big Five and his entry is remarkably one of the favourites to win amongst the bookies. Whatever happens, he shouldn't have to do much to beat last year's entry, with James Newman receiving the dreaded nul points in Rotterdam in 2021.
It's not been all doom and gloom for the UK however, as we are actually one of the most successful countries in the contest's history with five wins. It has been a while since we've tasted Eurovision glory however, with Katrina and the Waves recording the last UK victory in 1997 with Love Shine a Light.
But, a quarter of a century on from our last win, whatever happened to past UK entrants? From managing a football team in the Pacific Ocean to working at a Canadian retirement home, here's what the hopefuls of the last 25 years are up to now.
1997 - Katrina and The Waves - 'Love Shine a Light'
Having scored a worldwide hit in 1985 with Walking on Sunshine, Katrina and the Waves knew what international success felt like long before Eurovision came along. After being dropped by their label in 1989, the band were quiet throughout much of the 1990s, but launched a surprise comeback to represent the UK in the 1997 song contest in Dublin.
Their song Love Shine a Light'was hugely popular and won the contest by a then-record margin of 70 points over Irish runner-up Marc Roberts. The tune would go on to be the band's biggest-ever UK hit, peaking at number three in the singles chart.
Despite their Eurovision success, however, they split up in 1998, with lead singer Katrina Leskanich leaving after several rows. Though attempts were made to find a new "Katrina" to front the group, the three remaining group members eventually dissolved the band to pursue individual careers in 1999.
1998 - Imaani - 'Where Are You?'
After Katrina and the Waves took the crown in 1997, UK representative Imaani had a lot to prove in front of a home crowd in Birmingham. Her song Where Are You? was a runaway winner with the British public and there was a suggestion that it could be enough for the contest to return to the UK the following year.
She certainly came close, finishing in second place with a whopping 166 points, just seven points behind Israeli winner Dana International. After Eurovision, her track sold over 250,000 copies and spent 15 non-consecutive weeks in the top 100.
In 2000 she re-entered the top 20 of the UK Singles Chart alongside Tru Faith & Dub Conspiracy with their UK garage cover of "Freak Like Me". Later, she recorded many songs with jazz-dance group Incognito, and in 2014 released her debut studio album, Standing Tall.
1999 - Precious - 'Say It Again'
Formed in 1998, the five-strong girl group had a dramatic rise to the Eurovision stage as they were selected as the UK representatives for the contest in Jerusalem the following year. There was much hope for them too, with their song Say It Again, debuting at number six in the UK singles chart ahead of the competition.
This was not enough, however, and the group failed to carry on the UK's successful run in the contest, finishing joint 12th overall. This was not to stop them pursuing a pop career, however, and they released their debut self-titled album in 2000, although it failed to chart.
After being dropped by their label, each member of the group went on to pursue new careers with Sophie McDonnell presenting for CBBC and fellow founding member Jenny Frost replacing Kerry Katona in Atomic Kitten. Meanwhile, Anya Lahiri has become a model and an actress, Kalli Clark-Sternberg is now a session singer, while lead singer Louise Rose has worked with a number of other acts in the UK and Italy.
2000 - Nicki French - 'Don't Play That Song Again'
Best known for her 1995 dance cover version of Total Eclipse of the Heart by future Eurovision entrant Bonnie Tyler, Nicki represented the UK in Stockholm with Don't Play That Song Again. The song was selected by the British public ahead of seven other choices on TV and radio.
However, many on the continent agreed with the song's sentiment, and she finished in 16th place overall. The track entered at number 34 in the UK chart following Eurovision.
Nicki is still making music and has appeared in musicals including Annie and Menopause the Musical. In 2003, she appeared on a Eurovision edition of The Weakest Link, winning the show and raising £13,000 for Cancer Research.
2001 - Lindsay Dracass - 'No Dream Impossible'
Having been discovered at the age of 13, Lindsay was still a schoolgirl when she was selected to be the UK's entrant for the contest in Copenhagen. She performed the song No Dream Impossible, which would later reach number 32 in the UK Singles Chart.
The 16th act to perform on the night, she came 15th overall, having been awarded 28 points. Ireland was the country to give her the most points, with four.
After Eurovision, Lindsay toured Europe, supporting bands such as The Eagles, and later appeared on BBC One's singing show All Together Now as part of the 100. She is still performing and released her album Waiting for You in 2019.
2002 - Jessica Garlick - 'Come Back'
The singer from Kidwelly was no stranger to showbusiness by the time she headed to Tallinn, having won the Welsh final of BBC One's talent show Star for the Night at the age of 16 and finishing ninth on Pop Idol in 2001. The following year, she was invited to represent the UK in Israel with her song Come Back.
The tune was very well received, with Jessica finishing joint third with Estonia behind the Maltese and Latvian entries. Receiving 111 points - including 12 points from Austria - it was the UK's highest polling since Imaani in 1998, and has yet to be topped in the last 20 years.
After taking a break from singing, she restarted her music career in 2009, with a live gig and new single. She is now married to Owen Satterley, a personal trainer, and the couple have two children together.
2003 - Jemini - 'Cry Baby'
With big shoes to fill, the Liverpudlian pop duo went down in Eurovision history with their song Cry Baby, but for all the wrong reasons. Chris Cromby and Gemma Abbey were the first ever UK contestants to finish in last place - and to make it even worse they received the dreaded nul points.
The pair endured a torrid time in Riga, with their dressing room broken into and vandalised following the show to add insult to injury. Louis Walsh branded the song "a disgrace" but while Jemini admitted their performance was off-key, they blamed it on not being able to hear the backing track.
After their failure in Europe, the group were dropped by their record label and they split up but they have since got back together for special Eurovision shows and - ironically - a celebrity edition of Pointless in 2014. In 2016, Gemma was arrested and handed a 30-week suspended sentence for social security fraud.
2004 - James Fox - 'Hold Onto Our Love'
The Welsh singer came fifth in BBC's Fame Academy in 2003, but was a relative unknown when he took to the stage in Istanbul. His song Hold Onto Our Love only landed him a 16th place finish, but he and others blamed biased political voting for his lack of points.
However, Cardiff-born James, who was invited to sing the song in the House of Commons and Welsh Assembly, didn't let his disappointment in Turkey stop him, as he went on to perform his own tunes across the UK and US while also supporting a number of artists, including Tina Turner, Wet Wet Wet, Lulu and Will Young.
In 2004, he turned to the stage and toured in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar as Judas, before making his Broadway debut in Movin' Out the following year. He also wrote the official Cardiff City single for the 2008 FA Cup Final and in 2012 took on the starring role of Paul McCartney in the Beatles musical Let It Be.
2005 - Javine - 'Touch My Fire'
Javine could have topped the charts as part of Girls Aloud, but famously missed out on joining the girl group that was put together on Popstars: The Rivals. Instead embarking on a solo singing career, she got the nod to represent the UK at the contest in Kyiv after winning Eurovision: Making Your Mind Up ahead of Katie Price and Gina G - despite a mid-performance wardrobe malfunction.
There was no such embarrassment for the singer during her actual performance of Touch My Fire, but she finished in 22nd place. It was reported that she had suffered a throat infection before taking to the stage.
Javine went on to appear in Skins and a series of reality TV shows, including Come Dine With Me, Celebrity Masterchef and Channel 4 sports show The Games, which she won in 2006. Today, she is the face of own sports and fitness brand, Javine Total Fitness.
2006 - Daz Sampson - 'Teenage Life'
Rapper Daz brought something different to the Eurovision stage with his song Teenage Life. He was famously joined by four women - dubbed the Sampsonites - who dressed up as schoolgirls to perform an accompanying dance routine.
Daz finished low down the table, placing 19th out of 24 acts, but enjoyed commercial success, with his single climbing to number eight in the UK charts in the week following the contest. His performance in Athens also attracted half the UK television audience, leading to the country's highest viewing figures in Eurovision history.
Having worked in radio before Eurovision, Daz returned to the airwaves, before switching career direction entirely and becoming a hypnotist. He then returned to his football roots and took charge of a semi-pro club in the third level of Polish football, before managing sides in the Pacific Ocean and Florida and becoming a scout for Scottish Championship side Ayr United in 2016.
2007 - Scooch - 'Flying the Flag'
Perhaps one of our most iconic entries ever, Scooch were literally Flying the Flag for the UK when they sang a song of that name in Helsinki. The unforgettable airline-themed performance was branded as "absolute s***" by Wales' own Charlotte Church, but the foursome won a legion of fans who couldn't get enough of their innuendo-filled anthem.
They divided opinion on the continent, however, as they finished in a disappointing 22nd place with 19 points. However, 12 of these came from Malta, the nation's first maximum score for five years.
After packing their own bags, the group decided not to release any new material and most of them headed to the stage.
Russ Spencer and Caroline Barnes started a relationship in 2010 and were one of the longest lasting couples on the fourth series of Coach Trip. Other band members Natalie Powers and David Ducasse are both principals at different performing arts schools.
2008 - Andy Abraham - 'Even If'
Andy was used to high finishes, having famously come runner-up to Shayne Ward on The X Factor in 2005 in one of the tightest public votes the show has ever seen. So it was a shock to the system for the singer when he found himself in joint last place in Belgrade in just three years later.
Andy's performance of Even If fell flat across the continent, finishing on 14 points, which came only from San Marino and Ireland. During the final, commentator Terry Wogan expressed frustration with the result, having called Andy "the best UK entry for a while".
After doing variety shows across the country, the singer hosted his own show, An Evening with Andy Abraham, while in 2015 he was back on the stage as both Judas and John the Baptist in the musical Godspell. However, after touring, work dried up and he decided to return to his old job as a bin man, saying he was "enjoying keeping his feet on the ground".
2009 - Jade Ewen - 'It's My Time'
Jade earned the right to represent the UK at the contest in Moscow after winning the first series of Eurovision: Your Country Needs You. She performed It's My Time, a song penned by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber and Diane Warren.
Europe was impressed and she finished in a very respectable fifth place, making her the most successful UK entry since 2002. Having already signed with Polydor Records before the Eurovision selection, she then began working on her debut album
However, this solo album was put on hold when she joined the Sugababes in September that year, controversially replacing Keisha Buchanan. While she recorded two studio albums with the group, she also became the face of Miss Ultimo lingerie and took part in ITV diving show Splash!. With the Sugababes "pretty much done" in 2013, Jade turned to the stage, with her most notable role as Princess Jasmine in Aladdin.
2010 - Josh Dubovie - 'That Sounds Good to Me'
Josh from Essex flew the flag for the UK in Oslo and ahead of the contest claimed that he was going to be the UK's first Eurovision winner for 13 years. However, things didn't exactly work out that way.
His song That Sounds Good to Me didn't sound so good to the rest of the Europe, as he finished in last place with just 10 points to his name. Despite the humiliation of coming bottom, however, the cheeky chappy insisted that he was "still smiling".
After Eurovision, he performed in pantomimes and at charity concerts, rebranding in 2013 as Josh James and moving towards RnB as he looked to leave 2010 behind him. In August 2021, he made a complete career change and started working in Ottawa in Canada as the marketing manager at a retirement home.
2011 - Blue - 'I Can'
After a six-year hiatus, chart-topping legends Blue reunited in 2011 to compete at Eurovision with their song I Can. The boyband - famous for hits All Rise and One Love - became the first UK representatives since The Shadows in 1975 to have had multiple number one singles in the UK charts prior to appearing at the contest.
However, despite refusing to give up or indeed give in, they finished in 11th place. Duncan James insisted, however that the disappointment wouldn't affect their comeback, adding: "It won't be the last of us – we're all fully committed to this band again."
After returning from Dusseldorf, the lads released their fourth studio album before joining The Big Reunion for a series of special gigs across the UK and Ireland. They headlined their first tour for a decade in 2013 but were dropped by record label Sony in 2015 after their fifth album flopped.
2012 - Engelbert Humperdinck - 'Love Will Set You Free'
Old school charmer Engelbert had already topped the charts in the 1960s with his tunes Release Me and The Last Waltz, but couldn't resist the challenge of Eurovision. At 76, he was set to become the oldest singer to ever take part in the contest, but was beaten on the night by Russian grannies Buranovskiye Babushki.
However, despite his experience, he finished second from bottom, with just 12 points to his name after performing Love Will Set You Free. In a 2017 interview, he said he did not watch Eurovision anymore, saying the contest is "very political".
He is still performing around the world, despite being well into his 80s. In 2019, he performed in Singapore, Manila, and Tokyo and has gigs planned across the UK and Europe later in 2022.
2013 - Bonnie Tyler - 'Believe in Me'
As a three-time Grammy and Brit Award nominee, the Welsh singer also had little left to prove by taking part in Eurovision in 2013. Known for her distinctive husky voice, the Total Eclipse of the Heart singer was a surprise choice for many, but chose to take part as it was "great publicity" for her recently released album, Rocks and Honey.
Performing Believe in Me - a single from that very album - Bonnie only managed a 19th place finish. Despite this, she was very positive about the experience, saying she was glad she took part and comparing it to the Grammy Awards.
She is still performing to this day, and undertook a 22-date tour of Germany and Austria in 2018. The Skewen-born singer also released her 18th studio The Best is Yet to Come in February 2021.
2014 - Molly - 'Children of the Universe'
Molly Smitten-Downers, or just Molly as she was known at Eurovision, was one of the favourites to win in 2014. Having written her song Children of the Universe herself, she aimed to break down political barriers with her performance.
However, things didn't really go to plan as she finished in 17th, gaining 40 points after performing last. The contest was won that year by Austrian sensation Conchita Wurst.
After Eurovision, the singer performed at Glastonbury in 2014 and released Rush with German DJ and producer Zwette in 2015. Her work was even sampled by Kanye West's producer Hudson Mohawke for his 2015 album.
2015 - Electro Velvet - 'Still in Love with You'
After a run of bad results for the UK, it was perhaps no surprise that this poor form continued when the baton was passed to a former X Factor and The Voice contestant and a Mick Jagger impersonator in a Rolling Stones tribute act called The Rolling Clones.
Bianca Nicholas and Alex Larke managed to avoid being handed nul points, but were awarded just five for their song 'Still in Love with You'. This total meant they were good enough for 25th place, two from bottom.
After Eurovision, the duo worked on their debut EP, but it was cancelled due to Bianca - who lives with cystic fibrosis - suffering from ill health. Alex alluded that he was making a music video in 2016 and released his debut solo single "Shine On" in 2017.
2016 - Joe and Jake - 'You're Not Alone'
Joe Woolford from Ruthin and Jake Shakeshaft from Staffordshire met on The Voice in 2015 and decided to pair up and enter BBC selection contest Eurovision: You Decide the following year. After winning the show, they were selected to perform their song You're Not Alone at the contest in Stockholm.
However, the duo came an unimpressive 24th place in the last UK performance before the Brexit vote. Prior to the competition, they had signed a record deal with Sony Music UK and chose to stay together after the contest.
Despite planning to release lots more songs, however, their only one follow-up single, Tongue Tied, failed to chart in 2017. A year later, the act seemingly split as Joe joined swing group Jack Pack.
2017 - Lucie Jones - 'Never Give Up On You'
The Welsh singing sensation got the nod for Eurovision eight years after being controversially knocked out of the X Factor after losing a sing-off with Jedward. Lucie, from Pentyrch near Cardiff, was a favourite with the bookies with her song Never Give Up On You, but finished in 15th place overall. Despite blaming Brexit for the "disappointing" result, it was actually the UK's best finish since 2011.
Having performed in musicals including Les Misérables, We Will Rock You and American Psycho, Lucie returned to the stage after Eurovision starring as Elle Woods in the UK tour of Legally Blonde before winning critical acclaim in the lead role in Waitress in 2019.
Later in 2017, she married fellow former X Factor contestant Ethan Borojan at St David's Church in Miskin. The couple met when they both auditioned for show in 2009.
2018 - SuRie - 'Storm'
Already judged to be an outsider as she boarded the plane to Lisbon in 2018, SuRie's job was made a lot harder when she became the unfortunate victim of one of the most shocking moments in Eurovision history. Having taken to the stage to sing Storm, the then-29 year old had to battle back to finish her song after an activist stormed the stage and tore away her mic from her.
The stage invader - now known to be Dr ACactivism - is thought to have shouted: "Modern Nazis of the UK media, we demand freedom," before being bundled off stage and taken into police custody. While SuRie was offered the opportunity to sing again, she declined, saying she was proud of her initial performance. The one go was enough, however, as she managed to avoid the dreaded nil points, achieving an impressive score of 48.
She is still performing and released her second studio album Dozen in February 2019. However, a year after performing at Eurovision, she was sadly diagnosed with PTSD as a result of her ordeal.
2019 - Michael Rice - 'Bigger than Us'
Prior to Eurovision, Michael had already made a name for himself by becoming the first ever winner of BBC singing show All Together Now in 2018. Four years earlier, he had also appeared in the eleventh series of The X Factor, but was eliminated at the boot camp stage.
He was then selected to represent the UK at the 2019 contest in Tel Aviv after winning Eurovision: You Decide. But despite high hopes for the then-21-year-old, it was in Israel that Michael's fine run of form ran out, as he was given a brutal assessment and finished in last place with song Bigger than Us.
This bottom place finish did not help his career, with his follow up single Somebody failing to chart in the UK. He's still making music, however, and released his latest single Did You Even Love Me in December 2021.
2021 - James Newman - 'Embers'
James, who has written hits for Ed Sheeran, Calvin Harris and Little Mix, was given the task of bettering 2019's abysmal last place finish but somehow did even worse. The Brit Award winning singer's job was made harder by the competition being delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
When he finally got to the stage in Rotterdam, the older brother of pop sensation John Newman performed Embers, which received the dreaded 'nul points' from both the juries and televotes and came last overall. He laughed it off, however, and celebrated with his entourage after receiving the awkward result.
However, his disastrous showing in the Netherlands hasn't put him off performing, with the 36-year-old recently appearing at a Eurovision party in London, while also continuing to write songs.