A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Nul points: Switzerland 1998

Swiss starlet and media darling Gunvor won a comfortable victory in the national final, the first public selection organised in Switzerland for many years. She went to Birmingham with a song she had written herself, backed by former entrant Egon Egemann (Switzerland 1990) and four backing singer, attracting notable media attention from her domestic press.

What she didn't know was that the Swiss press was about to go all dirty on her and disclose spectacular details of her private life during eurovision week. The details, far too many and un-appetising to be re-told here, as well as the entire passage of events can be found in the excellent Tim Moore book "Nul Points".

Given the pressure suddenly put on her, Gunvor stepped out in style and gave a brave, almost heroic, performance of her entry. In this year, the first with full televoting, she however failed to make it into top ten in any country.

Which means nul points in the end.

Nul points?

Even without the story of how viciously Gunvor was treated by the Alpine tabloids and gossip mags, I always found this nul-pointer particularly inexplicable.1998 had its fair share of odd and underwhelming entries (Greece, Spain, Turkey, the list goes on) and I never understood quite why Switzerland would deserve the nul points.

It does prove a point of mine, though. If your entry is horrible or bad in an outstanding way, it will appeal to at least a certain number of people for its entertainment value. If your entry is nice, people will nod their heads, smile and think to themselves "That's nice", but nobody is going to vote for it.

In the world of televoting, "nice" means "bad". Tough luck for Gunvor.

Gunvor - Lass' ihn (Switzerland 1998)


  1. Agreed, very much so. Though from your list of underwhelming entries, Greece only gets Cyprus's 12, so effectively got nul points too!

    1. Very true. You can also debate whether Slovakia's eight points were for real or traded with Croatia.

      I'm not sure this would make Gunvor any happier, though.

    2. I'd never really considered that, but you're probably right. And they're three of my favourites in 1998 too (Switzerland, Slovakia and Greece).

    3. I'm with you all the way on Switzerland and Slovakia. And I find it a bit touching that somebody somewhere does like that Greek entry too.

  2. The fundamental difference between televoting and juries voting is just that what you mentioned. Before it was juries job to give points, so they sat and gave their points to all of the songs, so even mediocre songs would get some.

    But in the televoting world the song has to impress you enough for you to pick up the telephone and spend the 99 cents to give your votes. You will do that if the song is good enough. Mediocre is not enough.

    Gunvor was one of the several favourites of mine during the years that ended last.