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Can search engine data predict the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest?

  • International search engine data suggests that Norway’s Eurovision candidate Alexander Rybak is in pole position to take the crown this year – but he could face competition from Saara Alto of Finland
  • Spain is highlighted as the most enthusiastic country for Eurovision online – despite not winning the competition since 1969 and finishing bottom of the rankings in 2017.
  • The most-searched winner of recent years is Austria’s 2014 winner Conchita Wurst, who beat Salvador Sobral (Portugal, 2017), Jamala (Ukraine, 2016) and Mans Zelmerlow (Sweden, 2015) by a significant margin

The results of a new study from online data provider SEMrush show that Norway’s Alexander Rybak is the entrant in pole position to win Eurovision 2018, topping the online search polls in 19 different countries.

The study looked at the most-searched Eurovision entrants in the 48 voting countries across Europe, factoring-in that most countries were likely to search for their own representative over others in the first instance.

The search data insights found that Rybak is the Eurovision candidate that the majority of Europe is rallying behind. Behind Alexander is Finland’s Saara Alto, who won over audiences following her appearance on The X Factor UK in 2016. Saara topped the polls in 6 countries, including the UK and Ireland, and was hot on Alexander Rybak’s heels in a number of other countries. Interestingly, Belarus’ Alekseev also scored high with 5 countries backing him, but failed to progress beyond the first semi-final in Lisbon.

Most-searched Eurovision 2018 entrants by country

While the UK’s entrant SuRie failed to top the lists in any European countries, Ireland has fared slightly better – their candidate, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, is currently the number one entrant being searched for in Andorra.

The study also looked at which countries were searching for Eurovision the most. Despite finishing bottom place last year, and not having won the competition since 1969, Spain topped the list, followed by France, the UK and Italy. Perhaps surprisingly, the USA completed the top 5, despite never having entered the competition. Meanwhile, recent winners such as Portugal (2017), Ukraine (2016) and Austria (2014) failed to place within the top 10.


Top 10 most Eurovision-crazy countries

RankingCountryEurovision 2017 positionMost recent win
3United Kingdom15th1997

LGBT icon Conchita Wurst, who won the competition in 2014, was found to be the most-searched winner of recent years, with over a million unique searches from 2014 to 2015 in the UK alone. This was significantly higher than other winners, such as Portugal’s Salvador Sobral (2017), Ukraine’s Jamala (2016) and Sweden’s MånsZelmerlöw (2015).

eurovision chart

Finally, after making a Eurovision debut in 2015 as a “wildcard” entry, Australia has competed in the competition every year since; and even managed to finish as a runner up in 2016. Yet the country’s continued participation in Eurovision is still quite puzzling to some, as the third most-searched question about the competition in the UK is ‘Why is Australia in Eurovision?’.

Most-searched questions about Eurovision
1Who won Eurovision 2017?
2When is Eurovision 2017?
3Why is Australia in Eurovision?
4Who won Eurovision?
5Who won Eurovision 2016?