Abba say ‘no way’ to reuniting on stage for Eurovision next year

The 2024 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Sweden, 50 years after Abba won the competition. But, sorry fans, it's a no from the group to performing at the event.

Abba say 'no way' to reuniting on stage for Eurovision next year
The members of Abba, from left, Björn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson at the premiere of the Abba Voyage concert in London in 2022. Photo: AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali

Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, one half of Abba, downplayed the prospect despite Sweden hosting Eurovision on the 50th anniversary of the band’s win – the country’s first – with their breakthrough hit Waterloo.

The Nordic nation is set to stage the world’s biggest live music event for the seventh time after Swedish singer Loreen won this year’s contest, hosted by Britain on behalf of war-torn Ukraine.

Her victory at the eccentric, much-loved competition in Liverpool this month prompted immediate speculation that Abba could take to the stage next year.

However, in an interview with the BBC’s Newsnight programme, Andersson said there is “no way” the group will make a celebratory performance or even appearance.

“I don’t want to. And if I don’t want to, the others won’t. It’s the same for all four of us. Someone says no – it’s a no,” he explained.

Ulvaeus added: “We can celebrate 50 years of Abba without us being on stage.”

Abba – which also comprised Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, and is an acronym of their first names – shot to international fame after their 1974 Eurovision success.

The band went on to sell hundreds of millions of records and top the charts worldwide, including in the United States in 1977 with Dancing Queen – their only stateside number one.

Other global hits include Super Trouper, Money, Money, Money and Knowing Me, Knowing You.

In 1981, the group released what they said would be a final album and split up the following year.

But their success continued, notably with the compilation Abba Gold released in 1992, and in 2021 they made a comeback, releasing their first new album in nearly 40 years.

They also launched a new concert format featuring de-aged digital avatars – dubbed Abbatars – in London who perform their hits and resemble their 1979 selves.

Ulvaeus and Andersson said the show’s success was “surpassing every expectation”.

“We achieved more than we could ever hope for… seeing this happening after four or five years of work… and realising that the audience actually connected to what was on stage,” Andersson told the BBC.

He added that he would like to take the show to Australia in the future.

“It would feel good to go back there and say thank-you to Australians for supporting us from day one.”

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Thousands welcome Eurovision queen Loreen home to Sweden

Large crowds welcomed Eurovision Song Contest winner Loreen home to central Stockholm on Tuesday after she claimed the Scandinavian country's seventh title triumph at the weekend.

Thousands welcome Eurovision queen Loreen home to Sweden

Thousands of fans turned out in the Kungsträdgården park in central Stockholm despite gloomy weather to watch the 39-year-old artist perform her winning song “Tattoo”, a pop anthem about unconditional love.

“I’m so grateful you sent me off to represent you, with everything my song stands for: compassion, hope, love and constructive solutions,” she told the cheering crowd made up of young and old.

“That’s what we’re all about.”

“I think she’s a really great artist,” Viktor Rydefors, a 26-year-old student, told AFP.

“It really is a performance, she totally captures the audience.” Andreas, a 40-year-old unemployed fan, called Loreen a “unique” performer.

“If you’re going to win Eurovision, you have to do it with a unique song, a unique artist, and a unique performance, and in that way she beats everything that’s come before her.”

Born in Sweden to parents of Moroccan Berber origin, Loreen – her real name Lorine Talhaoui – already won the contest in 2012.

She is just the second artist to achieve a Eurovision double, 36 years after Johnny Logan for Ireland in the 1980s, and the first woman to do so.

Eurovision is hugely popular in Sweden and speculation is already rife about which city will host the show next year – exactly 50 years after ABBA’s victory with its breakout hit Waterloo.

“Perfect timing,” the daily Dagens Nyheter said the day after Loreen’s victory.