Nul point entries in the Eurovision Song Contest
Over the last 64 years of the Eurovision Song Contest 38 entires (from Grand Finals and Semi Finals - with combined points) have received the infamous nul points.
Nul points, also known as ‘nil points’, is ingrained in the Eurovision lexicon to refer to a song that has received no points, zero, nothing. In the current voting system this occurs when a song fails to reach the top ten from any country. Following the voting changes in 2016 when a country has received no points from the televoting public it has been announced as ‘zero points’.
19 countries have been bestowed this honour within the Grand Final and Semi Finals in the Contest, with three countries tying for the most nul point entries. With four each they are Austria, Norway and Switzerland.
Throughout Eurovision history the zero point score has not discriminated with Italy, United Kingdom and even Sweden having once each received the the big nought for an entry. In fact out of the “Big Five” countries only France has managed to not be bestowed with this honour. Out of the 19 countries that have received nul points only three non-winning Eurovision countries have been given the big zero.
Nul points came to prominence when Tim Moore infamously wrote the book ‘Nul Points’ in 2006 where he recounts his travels throughout Europe interviewing thirteen past performers who received nul points for their Eurovision songs. He checks up on them to see how their careers have tracked after Eurovision. It is a must read for any big Eurovision fan. You can check out our book review on Tim Moore’s ‘Nul Points’ right here.
Today we take a look back in time listing all the nul point entries throughout Eurovision history, with a few interesting facts and performances along the way.
It would be six years after the inaugural Eurovision Song Contest in 1956 when the first entries would be awarded with zero points. Though it was possible in the previous voting system for an entry to receive nul points, it just never occurred. 1962 saw a change in the voting where the national juries had to award points to only three entries. This led to four songs all finishing in last place and receiving the nul points honour.
Fud Leclerc ‘Ton nom’ - Belgium - 13th Last Place
Victor Balaguer ‘Llámame’ - Spain - 13th Last Place
Eleonore Schwarz ‘Nur in der Wiener Luft’ - Austria - 13th Last Place
De Spelbrekers ‘Katinka’ - Netherlands - 13th Last Place
For Fud Leclerc it would be his fourth and last Eurovision, having competed in the first Contest. His best placed entry was in 1958 with the song ‘Ma petite chatte’ which finished in 5th place.
This year saw a change in the voting system. Since there was 16 countries now competing the amount of jury members doubled and each member voted for a top 5. This change still led to a four way tie for last place with zero points.
Annie Palmen ‘Een speeldoos’ - Netherlands - 13th Last Place
Anita Thallaug ‘Solhverv’ - Norway - 13th Last Place
Laila Halme ‘Muistojeni laulu’ - Finland - 13th Last Place
Monica Zetterlund ‘En gång i Stockholm’ - Sweden - 13th Last Place
Netherlands was the first country to receive nul points in two consecutive years. Interestingly the Dutch entry didn’t have the smoothest run of luck. The national final to select their entry, did not air due to industrial action. Annie Palmen was internally selected but for the national final she performed three songs alone to the jury and ‘Geen ander’ was selected. The lyrics and song tile were changed afterwards to ‘Een droombeld’ and then again to ‘Een speeldoos’ right before the Contest.
The voting changed yet again to jurors voting for their Top 3 best songs. Again we saw a four way tie for last place with zero points.
Nora Nova ‘Man gewöhnt sich so schnell an das Schöne’ - Germany - 13th Last Place
António Calvário ‘Oração’ - Portugal - 13th Last Place
Sabahudin Kurt ‘Život je sklopio krug’ - Yugoslavia - 13th Last Place
Anita Traversi ‘I miei pensieri’ - Switzerland - 13th Last Place
For a fourth consecutive year we would see four songs receive nul points. Germany would also become the second country to receive nul points two years in a row.
Conchita Bautista ‘¡Qué bueno, qué bueno!’ - Spain - 15th Last Place
Ulla Wiesner ‘Paradies, wo bist du?’ - Germany - 15th Last Place
Lize Marke ‘Als het weer lente is’ - Belgium - 15th Last Place
Viktor Klimenko ‘Aurinko laskee länteen’ - Finland - 15th Last Place
Téréza ‘Bien plus fort’ - Monaco - 17th Last Place
Domenico Modugno ‘Dio, come ti amo’ - Italy - 17th Last Place
Domenico Modugno would return to represent Italy for the third time in 1966. Unfortunately it would see him came last along with Téréza from Monaco with nul points. He would be forever known for his first Eurovision entry in 1958 ‘Nel blu, dipinto di blu’ which went on and be one of the most successful and most covered Eurovision entries of all time. Also known as ‘Volare’, Domenico’s song reached No. 1 in the Australian singles chart and the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. It even received Grammy Awards for Record and Song of the Year at the 1st annual Grammy Awards in 1959. There is no beating that achievement.
Géraldine ‘Quel cœur vas-tu briser?’ - Switzerland - 17th Last Place
David Alexandre Winter ‘Je suis tombé du ciel’ - Luxembourg - 12th Last Place
Jahn Teigen ‘Mil etter mil’ - Norway - 20th Last Place
Finn Kalvik ‘Aldri i livet’ - Norway - 20th Last Place
Kojo ‘Nuku pommiin’ - Finland - 18th Last Place
For the third time ever in Finnish Eurovision history Finland’s entry finished last, with zero points. Kojo’s rock song ‘Nuku pommiin’ wasn’t well received. It didn’t deserve last place with such an infectious build up to that drum beat in the chorus, and the band all dressed in black tuxedos and bowler hats, with the lead singer all clad in a striking red suit, it is definitely not something you would forget! But, the bleak lyrics of the song which suggests that the best way of avoiding a nuclear crisis is to sleep through it may have sealed its fate.
Remedios Amaya ‘¿Quién maneja mi barca?’ - Spain - 19th Last Place
Çetin Alp & the Short Waves ‘Opera’ - Turkey - 19th Last Place
Seyyal Taner & Lokomotif ‘Şarkım Sevgi Üstüne’ - Turkey - 22nd Last Place
Wilfried ‘Lisa Mona Lisa’ - Austria - 21st Last Place
Daníel Ágúst Haraldsson ‘Það sem enginn sé’ - Iceland - 22nd Last Place
Thomas Forstner ‘Venedig im Regen’ - Austria - 22nd Last Place
Ovidijus Vyšniauskas ‘Lopšinė mylimai’ - Lithuania - 25th Last Place
Tor Endresen ‘San Fransisco’ - Norway - 24th Last Place
Célia Lawson ‘Antes do adeus’ - Portugal - 24th Last Place
Gunvor ‘Lass ihn’ - Switzerland - 25th Last Place
Jemini ‘Cry Baby’ - United Kingdom - 26th Last Place
The 2003 Contest the United Kingdom took its turn in receiving nul points for the song ‘Cry Baby’ by the duo Jemini. It is the first entry to receive nul points that is in full English lyrics. It did fair better in the United Kingdom reaching No. 15 on the UK Singles Chart.
Piero Esteriore & The Music Stars ‘Celebrate’ - Switzerland - 22nd Last Place SF1
Piero Esteriore & The Music Stars was the first entry to receive nul points in a Eurovision Semi Final, and hence not making it to the Grand Final. It’s a shame as the song itself was rather uplifting to get everyone to clap their hands and celebrate.
Gypsy.cz ‘Aven Romale’ - Czech Republic - 18th Last Place SF1
The Makemakes ‘I Am Yours’ - Austria - 26th Place
Ann Sophie ‘Black Smoke’ - Germany - Last Place
The 2015 Contest made for an interesting year when it came to nul point entries. It had been 18 years since there was two entries that received zero points, but it was the first time that a nul point entry beat another nul point entry in final placings. The Austrian entry by The Makemakes finished in 26th place whereas Ann Sophie came in last place for Germany as she performed after The Makemakes. It was also the first time a hosting country received nul points, making it Austria’s fourth nul pointer.
Since the voting overhaul in 2016 we have not seen any entries receive nul points since 2015 with combined points, though it is still possible.
As the voting is split between televoting and jury voting we have seen songs receive nul points, but not overall combined. They include:
Gabriela Gunčíková ‘I Stand’ - Czech Republic - Grand Final (Jury: 41 points - Televote: nul points)
Valentina Monetta & Jimmie Wilson ‘Spirit of the Night’ - San Marino - Semi Final (Jury: nul points - Televote 1 point)
Claudia Faniello ‘Breathlessly’ - Malta - Semi Final (Jury: 55 points - Televote: nul points)
Manel Navarro ‘Do It For Your Lover’ - Spain - Grand Final (Jury: nul points - Televote: 5 points)
Nathan Trent ‘Running on Air’ - Austria - Grand Final (Jury: 93 points - Televote: nul points)
Ari Ólafsson Our Choice’ - Iceland - Semi Final (Jury: 15 points - Televote: nul points)
Paenda ‘Limits’ - Austria - Semi Final (Jury: 21 points - Televote: nul points)
S!sters ‘Sister’ - Germany - Grand Final (Jury: 24 points - Televote nul points)
Kobi Marimi ‘Home’ - Israel - Grand Final (Jury: nul points - Televote: 35 points)
Check out the video below for a preview on all the nul point entries from Eurovision Grand Finals.