Politics

Eurovision contestants who went back to normal lives after fame

We may have officially said goodbye to Europe but Eurovision lives on with contestants wowing us with larger than life performances every year.

While some of them have hit the big time achieving critical acclaim and chart success, not everyone has gone on to enjoy life in the spotlight.

Some have disappeared into obscurity after enjoying their short lived fame, while other have will forever be remembered for Eurovision and have embraced it.

Niamh Kavanagh

Niamh Kavanagh now works in Tesco

Niamh was signed by Simon Cowell in a million-dollar deal with Arista Records after her 1993 win with In Your Eyes.

Despite recording an album in Nashville, Tennessee that won rave reviews, she remains largely unknown on the American music scene.

She performed for a second time on Eurovision in 2010 with It’s For You, but failed to replicate her success finishing 23rd overall.

The star has since stepped out of the limelight and it was revealed that she was working in Tesco’s last year and joked that her colleagues were too young to know her from Eurovision,

Niamh still keeps her passion for music alive, coaching young musicians online as well as caring for her husband who suffered a stroke in 2018.

Gina G

Eurovision contestants who went back to normal lives after fame
Gina G was the UK entry in 1996

Gina G became an overnight star when she performed ‘Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit’ to the Eurovision Song Contest in 1996.

Amazingly, her catchy eurodance track only finished eighth that year when she represented the UK.

Despite not winning the song became a huge number one single, and even reached number 12 in America. It’s still fondly remembered as one of the competition’s greatest songs.

Gina Gardiner was previously a DJ in Melbourne and a singer in the Australian group Bass Culture.

After the huge success of ‘Just a Little Bit’, Gina G released ‘I Belong to You’ in 1996, which was also a top 10 hit in the UK.

After this, she disappeared from the music industry for a number of years. This was mainly due to a long lawsuit against a former manager.

She returned to the spotlight in 2003, when she took part in the reality TV show Reborn in the USA. In 2005, she attempted to represent the UK at Eurovision again, but finished fifth out of five entries on the pre-selection show with her song ‘Flashback’.

Gina G has stayed out of the limelight in recent years, but as of 2017 Gina has her own record label, Stunt Girl Music, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

Sandie Shaw

Eurovision
Sandie Shaw said she didn’t speak to her husband for 50 years after he left her penniless

Sandie Shaw won the UK’s first Eurovision trophy in 1967 with Puppet On A String.

She already had a number of hits under her belt before the competition, having recorded songs in French, Spanish, German and Italian.

Sandie stepped out of the spotlight to focus on being a mum to daughter Gracie, and retired from music for good in 2013.

The singer turned campaigner focused on political campaigning and joined Amnesty International in 2012, she later campaigned against Brexit in 2016.

The 73-year-old was awarded an MBE at Buckingham Palace in 2018 and has been recognised by her local council, Dagenham, with a top honour award.

Sandie, who was a practicing Buddhist for 35 years, famously revealed she was left to live in a caravan after her ex-husband and designer Jeff Banks blew her Eurovision fortune

Katrina and the Waves

Eurovision
Katrina and the waves at Eurovision in 1997

The last time the UK triumphed at Eurovision was in 1997 with Katrina and the Waves.

Their song was called Love Shine a Light, receiving 227 points.

The band have been together since the 1970s and was formed of Katrina Leskanich, Kimberley Rew, Vince de la Cruz and Alex Cooper. Their previous big hit was with Walking on Sunshine in 1985

Walking on Sunshine went to Number Eight in the UK and Number Nine in the USA, and they were nominated for a Grammy for Best New Artist.

They have broken up and reunited a number of times, and also made solo material. But as they are remembered once again at Eurovision,

After their Eurovison success they dissolved in 1998 for a short time, and each member attempted to start solo careers. There were some disagreements at this time, and the Waves prevented Katrina from using the group’s name without them.

The band did come back together for a performance in 2013, then in 2019 and 2020 Katrina had a short comeback for the Eurovision Song Contests, which saw Katrina perform.

Bucks Fizz

Eurovision contestants who went back to normal lives after fame
Bucks Fizz won Eurovision for the UK in 1981

One of the catchiest Eurovision songs, Bucks Fizz took the trophy in 1981 with Making Your Mind Up, The group was made up of singers Bobby G, Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and Jay Aston.

The band went on to sell 15million records with hits including The Land of Make Believe and My Camera Never Lies, as well as securing a string of top ten hits.

In 1984 a bus crash saw band member Mike suffer life changing injuries following a coma and Cheryl suffered a broken spine in the accident,

The band split acrimoniously in 1985 after Jay announced she was discontinuing with the band after having an affair with Andy Hill, the husband of the group’s creator, Nichola Martin.

While Shelley Preston joined as a replacement, but she departed in 1989 – signalling the end of Bucks Fizz and a court case discussing the rights to use the band’s name by it’s remaining members.

Eurovision
Chery Baker has fallen on tough financial times after her work dried up

In 2009, Baker, Nolan and Aston got back together as The Fizz, embarking on a successful UK-wide tour before releasing their third studio album in March.

Cheryl Baker has carved out a successful TV career as a presenter and still performs the band’s hits. She ran into financial trouble when all her work dried up during the pandemic.

Cheryl recently announced the band were coming together for a Covid-friendly gig taking place in her garden, selling tickets for £148 each



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