Almost all songs on this kind (a soloist with a guitar) have a certain heartwarming appeal, ever since Nicolestarted it in 1982.
And before Nicole, there was Norway's Åse Kleveland, whose 1966 entry placed 3rd and was Norway's highest ranking entry until they won for the first time in 1985.
Iceland's 2011 entry was "Coming Home" by a band called Sjonni's Friends, which only formed because the writer of the song, Sjonni Brink, died days before he was meant to perform it in the Icelandic national selection. Sjonni's musician friends, believing the song should stay in the competition, formed a tribute band and took the song all the way to Eurovision (it finished 20th).
Loreen: I want to say that I love you so much, thank you for believing in me, I wouldn't be able to do this without you guys. Thank you so very much. I love you for real, I do. This [the trophy] isn't just mine, this is ours. This is ours together. Really.
It should be noted that she absolutely adored the Russian grannies that year, who ended up in second place.
Malta's entry for 2013 was Gianluca Bezzina, a Hospital Hottie with an exceptionally sweet song called "Tomorrow", detailing the love story between IT Guy Jeremy and his Manic Pixie Dream Girl. The song (reminiscent of Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours) placed 8th in the finals and was Malta's most commercially successful.
In 2014, during the 2nd Semifinal, Austria's Conchita Wurst was the favorite to get into the final. Nine qualifying countries later, Austria still hadn't been announced for the final so the audience started cheering "Austria" before breaking out in very loud cheer when she was finally called as the 10th and final entry to perform in the final. For context on why this was unique — she performs in a gorgeous Pimped-Out Dress, elaborate makeup, and a full beard. Her completely heartfelt "Thank you! Thank you so much!" right after her performance was also a major moment of heartwarming, and she cried tears of joy backstage, saying she wanted to go right back. She kept on crying with joy as one country after the other announced L'Autriche, douze points, all the way to victory.
In the first semi-final, San Marino qualified for the very first time (and, as of 2017, their only time) - the roar that came up from the audience has to be heard to be believed. Making it better was that the same singer had tried and failed to make the final for two years in a row, so she finally got her break here.
Iceland 2014 has a children's punk rock band called Pollapönk performing a song called "No Prejudice," which, as Graham Norton noted, should have been wildly annoying on paper, but was full of energy, sunshine, happiness, and bearded Teletubbies in technicolor suits.
Graham Norton: (after their performance) Oh come on, United Kingdom! That was fun! I feltyouresisting.
All the contestants at the 2014 final joining 2013's winner Emmelie de Forest on stage during her performance.
According to these reporters who went to the 2015 final, after each time Australia was awarded major points by the other countries, Guy Sebastian would head over to the country's tables and thank them.
The day before the 2015 final, Ireland had a historic referendum on legalising gay marriage. The vote passed and Ireland received a massive applause from the crowd in Vienna when announcing their points.
As soon as Jamala was announced the winner of the 2016 contest, Bulgarian representative Poli Genova darted to the Ukrainian delegation in the green room to hug and congratulate her.
Dutch 2016 representative Douwe Bob singing together with other artists in his own Stockholm bar.
In January 2016 Terry Wogan who had commentated United Kingdom for over 30 years died. At the contest his successor Graham Norton toasted him at song nine note when Norton took over as commentator Wogan advised him to avoid drinking until song nine along with many in the UK.
Earlier that night she had announced her pregnancy through the introductory postcard before her performance.
In 2017, Portugal sent Salvador Sobral, a singer with a hipster hairstyle and a very delicate health. When Sobral won the Portuguese selection with an old-timey sounding ballad "Amar Pelos Dios" (love for both), he had to have hernia and heart operations, couldn't partake in overseas promotion gigs, and had to miss technical rehearsals, where his sister Luisa, also the song's writer, performed on his behalf. When Salvador was able to perform, he became the first Portuguese song in the final in 7 years and many tastemakers thought that he could be their first top 5 placing at the 47th attempt - and indeed, not only did he place in the top five, Sobral ended up winning the whole thing, Portugal's first Eurovision winner ever. And making it even more heartwarming, he then performed the winner's reprise as a duet with his sister.
He also wore a jumper reading "SOS refugees", to lobby for an improved application system for the benefit of asylum seekers, so that they don't have to require an application form, at the qualifiers press conference.
During the 2017 jury voting, the Israeli spokesman, Ofer Nachshon, announced that the IBA (the now-former broadcaster of the contest in Israel) would be shutting down right after the final. The hosts in Ukraine and the audience gave him a warm round of applause as he said he hoped to see Israel perform again in the future.
The aforementioned Nicole remarked in the BBC documentary 60 Years of Eurovision that, to her, the most meaningful moment of the evening was seeing Israel award Germany twelve points, considering it as something of an olive branch (especially since the song was about peace and bringing an end to war).
Sweetening the deal was that Germany returned the favor and awarded their twelve points to Israel, leading them to come in second.
In 1998, Dana International was chosen to represent Israel with "Diva" - the first openly transgender participant in Eurovision history. Amidst death threats and scorn from ultra-conservative countries, not only did she perform as planned, she earned Israel their third win.
The 1997 winner from the UK, "Love Shine a Light" by Katrina and the Waves. Aside from the song being a triumphant message of hope, on a meta level, it was a rise back to relevance by a band that hadn't had a major hit for twelve years. Having nothing to lose, Katrina Leskanich put all her in energy in selling the song, and her efforts won Eurovision for the UK (and, twenty years later, it remains their most recent win).
Dana performing for Ireland in 1970. With the nation suffering during The Troubles, her performance - simple and charming - was a happy break in the drama. She won, and received an enormous outpouring of support upon her return to Ireland.
The entire BBC Eurovision's Greatest Hits special is a big love letter to the contest. Aside from choosing two of the most popular figures in the contest of recent years to host (UK commentator Graham Norton and 2013 host Petra Mede of Sweden), it was clear that there was genuine love between the performers and the audience.
The audience sang along loudly for many of the songs. Unsurprisingly, since the show was in London, "Save Your Kisses for Me" was possibly the biggest sing-along (made cuter by the riotous applause Brotherhood of Man received when they recreated their Eurovision dance moves), but there was also the Olsen Brothers lowering the volume to hear the entire crowd singing "Fly on the Wings of Love" and Johnny Logan practically being drowned out at the start of "What's Another Year?" It gets cuter when you see how grateful the performers are when they're applauded afterwards, showing how they're still loved and remembered years after they performed (Nicole was actually in tears!).
The guest of honor was Lys Assia, the Swiss winner of the very first contest in 1956. She was clearly pleased to see how far it's come since then.
The grand finale was a medley of classic songs, capped off by Conchita Wurst and Dana International singing the first verse of "Waterloo". This was already sweet as a way to Shout-Out the major LGBT fanbase Eurovision has (two winners, one openly gay and the other transgender, performing a song by a group with its own major LGBT fanbase). Then they were joined by all the night's performers (except, ironically enough, the Swedish Loreen) - even rockers Lordi and the members of Riverdance - to finish the song. The diorama of different performers, from all over the country (and, in Israel's case, the world), all different kinds of music, united together to celebrate music and how it brings people together - it's a good summation of why Eurovision is still beloved today. They're like a big, very silly but ultimately lovable family. A continent brought together by a common desire to laugh and sing. Who says Europe's divided?
In 1999, Sweden's Charlotte Nilsson and Iceland's Selma were neck-in-neck for the win. The moment Sweden started pulling away and their victory was clear, Nilsson immediately went to Selma and gave her a hug.
Similarly, the UK's Sonia being very classy when Ireland's Niamh Kavanagh won over her entry in 1993.
After the winner's reprise, Nilsson then led all of the contestants in a rendition of the winner from twenty years prior, "Hallelujah," as a tribute to the victims of the Balkan War.
Whenever the notoriously snarkyTerry Wogan showed a softer side in his commentaries. Deep in his heart, he did enjoy covering the contest (and admitted as much a few times), and moments where he was clearly enjoying himself were always fun. His showing a particular liking to different vote presenters was quite endearing (on one occasion, when the person giving the votes skipped six points and had to start over, he remarked that it was OK and she was trying her best) as was his quick admission when a song he disliked placed high that he missed something everyone else saw in it.
One charming moment was him inviting Frances Ruffelle, the British competitor in '94, up to the commentator's booth after her performance to congratulate her. They had a nice chat before the German entry, both admitting they needed a freaking drink.
During the first semi-final of 2018, after the announcement of the qualifiers, Spain's Amaia & Alfred (who were in the building because Spain voted in this semi despite having an automatic pass to the finals due to its Big 5 status) darted to Iceland's table to console the country's representative Ari Ólafsson, who hadn't made the cut. Earlier in the day the couple had referred to Ari as "their best friend" in Eurovision.
Everybody loves Ari. Even fans who don't like his song (and there are many) all agree he's incredibly talented and a genuinely nice guy. He made friends with pretty much all of the other competitors - one adorable video shows him dancing to "Fuego" during the first semi-final, and Mikolas Josef from the Czech Republic dashes over to dance with him.
The uproarious cheering for Australia's spokesperson in the 2015 final.