Last Saturday, the 67th edition of the world’s largest music competition, the Eurovision Song Contest, held its Grand Final. (You can learn more about the contest with my beginners’ guide.) 37 countries competed for the coveted trophy, and after two Semi-Finals narrowed this number down to 26, Sweden’s Loreen took first place with her song “Tattoo.” Bookmakers predicted this victory as soon as Loreen was selected to represent Sweden, so it was no surprise that she won; however, expected or not, this win was impressive and significant for multiple reasons.
This was not Loreen’s first appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest. Sweden chooses its entries for the ESC via a smaller contest called Melodifestivalen, which Loreen participated in for the first time in 2011. While she didn’t win the chance to represent her country that year, she found success the following year, and ended up winning the 57th edition of Eurovision with her song “Euphoria.” This performance is considered by many to be the best winner in Eurovision history. But “Tattoo” quickly became beloved as well: a poll on the homepage of eurovisionworld.com asks, “Who’s the best ESC winner [in] the last 10 years?” Less than a week after her second win, Loreen’s 2023 performance already stands at second place on the poll, just behind global sensation Måneskin’s win for Italy in 2021.
Loreen competed in Melodifestivalen for the third time in 2017 but failed to make it all the way to Eurovision that year. Her love for and commitment to the contest was proven by her competing in Melodifestivalen for a fourth time this year. After winning both Melodifestivalen and Eurovision in 2023, Loreen has become even more of an ESC legend. Back in 1987, Ireland’s Johnny Logan became the first ever artist to win Eurovision twice. Several artists, including Norway’s Alexander Rybak, Ireland’s Jedward, and Moldova’s Zdob și Zdub, have represented their country more than once at the contest (and successfully qualified for the Grand Final), but Logan is the only person to ever win it twice; at least, he had been, until last week. Now he shares that honor with Loreen. Speaking of Ireland, Sweden is now tied with Ireland as the country with the most Eurovision wins under its belt (7). Sweden’s most famous winner is, of course, ABBA, who secured the country’s first victory in 1974.
Furthermore, Loreen is the first female solo artist to win the contest in five years, the last being Israel’s Netta in 2018. Except for Måneskin’s bassist, Victoria De Angelis, every winner after Netta has been a man—until now. Unfortunately, one downfall of Loreen’s victory is that “Tattoo” has broken the streak of non-English-language winning songs. This pattern would have continued if the runner-up, “Cha Cha Cha” by Finland’s Käärijä, which is in Finnish, had taken home the crown.
You can watch Loreen perform “Tattoo” here.