A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Sunday, May 24, 2015

ESC 2015: the return of the nul points

When the current points system was implemented in 1975, one of the important things about it was that it was thought to make it impossible for any country not to score.

They should have seen flashing lights of warning in 1975 and 1977 when Turkey and Sweden, respectively, only received points from one country each.

In 1978 Jahn Teigen made his grand entrance and made sure once and for all that it was fully possible to cling on to your zero all the way through. In 1981, Finn Kalvik did the same.

There is no shame in ending on nul points, that must be said. You might have a better average result than other songs that happened to slide into top ten in one or two countries. You had bad luck, that's all.

The responsible people back in 1975 must have felt happy lately as there was no country leaving the final without any points for twelve years, but this year the big zero returned with a vengeance. Not only did we have a double nul-pointer - like in 1983 and 1997 - but this time the host country left the voting without a single point. This has never happened before.

It also puts Austria in some kind of lead if you so wish - together with Norway - after having finished without any points three times since 1975.

It only makes sense to count nul-pointers since 1975, since the voting systems changed a lot before that. Some years it was very easy not to score, some years impossible. So here they are: all that songs that failed to score under the current system. Any personal favourites among this bunch?

1978 Norway – Jahn Teigen / Mil etter mil
1981 Norway – Finn Kalvik / Aldri i livet
1982 Finland – Kojo / Nuku pommiin
1983 Spain – Remedios Amaya / Quién maneja mi barca?
1983 Turkey – Cetin Alp & The Short Wave / Opera
1987 Turkey – Seyyal Taner & Grup Lokomotif / Sarkim sevgi üstüne
1988 Austria – Wilfried / Lisa Mona Lisa
1989 Iceland – Daniel / Það sem enginn sér
1991 Austria – Thomas Forstner / Venedig im regen
1994 Lithuania – Ovidijus Vysniauskas / Lopsine mylimai
1997 Norway – Tor Endresen / San Francisco
1997 Portugal – Celia Lawson / Antes do adeus
1998 Switzerland – Gunvor / Lass’ ihn
2003 United Kingdom – Jemini / Cry Baby
2015 Austria - The Makemakes / I Am Yours
2015 Germany - Ann Sophie / Black Smoke


  1. Norway had both in 1978 and 1981 excellent entries which prove my point that number of points often does not correlate with the quality of the song.

    1. All voting systems have their flaws. The way the juries voted 1975 - 2009 had the disadvantage of favouring safe entries. If you were the favourite of one or two jury members, you would flunk. But if you were 4 - 10 on everyone's list a good average could give you a 12-pointer.

  2. There is no such thing as pefect or flawless voting system. The current one is the best so far, although as the number of countries have risen considerably since 1975 I would add 15 points for the best song and then 12 to 1 to the ten following countries.

    What I want to say for people losing their sleep for the last place (or worse last place with nul points) that the voting and the result should not be taken too seriously. It makes the show exciting and makes you want to send the best song possible, but main thing is to enjoy the biggest tv show on earth and hear different music from different countries no matter what the result is. If result is not to your liking there is always next year to do it all over again. It should be fun.

  3. Congratulations Sweden for winning ESC 2015 in Vienna and Russia and Italy for 2nd and 3rd place.
    Betty MacDonald fan club ESC fans from 5 continents adore these entries!
    The 2015 Eurovision voting has run in to a spot of bother after it emerged that two participants had their jury votes disqualified.
    Both FYR Macedonia and Montenegro’s jury votes – which account for 50 per cent of the total votes cast – were dismissed, with their points made up entirely from public televoting instead.
    The news was confirmed in a statement by Eurovision representatives.
    ‘The jury results of FYR Macedonia and Montenegro for the grand final have been excluded after consultation of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the contest’s independent voting observer, and upon the decision of the executive supervisor and the chairman of the reference group,’ they said.
    ‘In both countries, televoting applied for 100%. The exclusion of two juries will be further discussed in the next reference group meeting in June.’

    Betty MacDonald fan club ESC 2015 TOP 10 was great but it seems that some of the so called Big 5 countries like UK, Spain, Germany and France might leave Eurovision Song Contest in future because ESC fans in these countries aren't longer interested in ESC. We got many mails from ESC fans from these countries who said they were no longer interested in watching ESC because of many bad results in the past.
    If several of these countries really leave ESC what Italy did for a long time this might mean the end of the contest.

    I case of Spain and Germany we are not able to understand the bad results. Germany was even in TOP 5 in Betty MacDonald fan club ESC 2015 and Spain in TOP 10.
    Austria as host of ESC 2015 didn't get a single point.
    This happened for the first time ever in ESC history.
    It was the first time since 1997 that more than one country has gone home with ‘nul points’, with Norway and Portgual both failing to score that year.
    However it’s also the first ‘nul points’ to occur in a Eurovision final since the UK’s Jemini scored their notorious duck at the 2003 contest.