Every year at Eurovision the acts are a mix of brand new artists who have never graced the stage before and returning performers ready to have another stab at the trophy.
We’re used to San Marino’s admirable commitment to recycling, which has seen Senhit and Serhat return and Valentina Monetta represent the country no less than four times (three solo, once with a duet).
But have any countries never sent a returning lead artist? Let’s take a look. (Note: I am still counting individuals as returning artists if they have also been solo and part of a group or if they have appeared in more than one group, e.g. Cheryl Baker. I’m not counting backing performers.)
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Morocco have never sent a returning act. They only took part in the Contest once so by definition…
Serbia & Montenegro
Their two participations could have featured a returning artist, but no – although 2004’s Željko Joksimović did return for Bosnia & Herzegovina in 2006 and Serbia in 2012, so arguably represented Serbia twice if not under the same flag.
The country with the next fewest participations is Australia and they too are yet to repeat a performer – with the caveat that Montaigne was of course their nominal entrant in 2020 as well as 2021. Dami Im has expressed a desire to return, though, so they may not be on this list for much longer.
Andorra have taken part in Eurovision six times without a returning act – although backing singer Belinda Sánchez Leal has been on stage with them four of those times.
Seven acts; no repeat artists. Like Morocco, Serbia & Montenegro and Andorra before them, Slovakia don’t currently take part in Eurovision so this isn’t about to change.
Like Australia, their 2020 act (Benny Cristo) has returned for 2021, but other than that they have sent different artists every time they’ve taken part.
They have taken part in Eurovision 11 times but have been sitting it out since their poor result in 2019.
Georgia wouldn’t be on this list if they hadn’t withdrawn their 2009 entry, the subtly political We Don’t Wanna Put In, as the group Stephane & 3G included Tamara Milanova, who went on to represent them in 2017. Although if they hadn’t withdrawn maybe she wouldn’t have come back. That’s the problem with counterfactuals.
Across 15 entries, Ukraine have sent new artists every year. Their 2020 act Go_A also return for 2021.
Albania and Belarus
With 16 entries, Albania and Belarus are the two countries that have jointly entered the most times without a single lead artist returning.
No repeat performers at all
If we do include backing performers, there are six countries that appear never to have had the same person on stage twice: Morocco (obvs), Serbia & Montenegro, Australia, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Ukraine – although this comes with the caveat that I’m missing the names of quite a few backing artists for Slovakia and Ukraine so if you can help there, please get in touch!