10 Eurovision Songs that did not deserve nul point

No Eurovision song deserves to come last with nul point. In the 58 years Eurovision has been on our screens, 32 entries have received the dreaded nul point and as we approach the end of the year, I’m going to run down the top 10 Eurovision entries that did not deserve the nul point.

10. Daníel Ágúst – ‘Það sem enginn sér’

Poor Daniel, he was only 19 when he represented his country at the 1989 Eurovision Song Contest and came last with the dreaded nul point, especially when he performed in a well respected place.

Daníel Ágúst came last with nul point at the 1989 Contest
Daníel Ágúst came last with nul point at the 1989 Contest

The song itself is a ballad, in which the singer asks the moon to light his path, musing that “Though the road seems clear there are things the eye can’t see. The music to the song is suspense and the lyrics are powerful, however I can seem to understand why it was overlooked by the juries, the song itself was sung in a very lacklustre style, which you will rarely hear at a Eurovision Song Contest, also for the whole two and a half minutes he makes no movement around the stage, other than waving his arms.

 

9. Thomas Forstner – ‘Venedig im Regen’

Thomas Forstner, had previously represented Austria at the 1989 Eurovision Song Contest, with ‘Nur Ein Lied’, the song itself earned a respectful fifth place at the contest and was the best Austrian placing since 1976 and until their victory in 2014. Two years later Thomas entered the National Final with his new song ‘Venedig im Regen’ which was selected by the Austrian public to represent Austria at the 1991 Contest.

Thomas Forstner had previously represent Austria at the 1989 Contest
Thomas Forstner had previously represent Austria at the 1989 Contest

From what I’ve heard from fans who were at Rome in 1991, it was a badly produced and rushed production, the original venue had been San Remo, but conflicts with Yugoslavia and the Gulf War caused production to be moved to Rome at the film studio of Cinecitta and for a contest which was saddled with the two Italian winner and an out of tune orchestra, Austria were this contests nul point victims. After watching a documentary on Eurovision, this entry was brought up on why it was not awarded points and from what I hear it sounded interesting, apart from walking to the centre of the stage, Thomas makes no movement at all during the duration of the song, his Michael Bolton hairstyle didn’t help and not many Eurovision commentators were keen on his suit. But what has that got to do with it, its a fantastic songs, well written and well perfomed – had the orchestra been in tune, it may have picked up a substantial amount of votes.

 

8. Domenico Modugno – ‘Dio, come ti amo’

1966 was to be Domenico Modugno, third and final Eurovision performance (he had represented Italy at the 1958 and 1959 Contest) and in my opinion this is his best Eurovision performance out of the other two, but Europe couldn’t see it and together with Monaco, Italy came last with the dreaded nul point, as of 2014 this is the only contest Italy came last in.

Modugno had represented Italy at the 1958 Contest with his biggest hit 'Voalre'
Modugno had represented Italy at the 1958 Contest with his biggest hit ‘Voalre’

So why was this song overlooked by the juries in 1966, well I have one answer to that, prior to the final, Domenico had written an up-to-date version of the song, which overran by 20 seconds and broke contest rules as all songs can be no longer than three minutes. During the Friday rehersal, Domenico performed the song with the orchestra, but was unhappy with how they played it so for the Saturday afternoon rehersal he brought three musician to the stage (a pianist and two guitarists) and performed his new version of ‘Dio come ti amo’ which overran the 3 minute duration, after the rehearsal he was confronted by the show’s producers, Modungo then threatened to withdraw from the contest if he couldn’t perform the new version, this caused a stir in RTL and the EBU as the contest was due to air live in a few hours and they felt it was too much short notice to fly Gigliola Cinquetti to Luxembourg to perform, so both RTL and the EBU gave in and allowed Modungo to perform past the three minute duration with his musicians, you may also notice that on the night the conductor walks the opposite way to the orchestra. But you know what, Italy and Modungo put their hardest effort into this song, its a beautiful ballard, the music is astonishing and Modungo give a fantastic performance, check it out folks you won’t forget it.

 

7. Seyyal Taner – ‘Şarkım Sevgi Üstüne’

1987 I have to find was  probably one of the best Eurovision years, there were some fantastic entries from countries like Cyprus, Italy, Iceland, Norway, Austira, UK, Sweden and Germany. However once again the nul point strikes again and this time the victim is Turkey, for the second time out of three, Turkey recieved the dreaded nul point, when they sent Seyyal Taner and her backing group the Lokomotif, with their song ‘Şarkım Sevgi Üstüne’, at the time this was the worst possible placing for a country as is was the largest Eurovision contest with 22 countries taking part.

This was the last time Turkey received nul point
This was the last time Turkey received nul point

The Song itself is a fantastic effort for Turkey themselves, the choreography is fantastic, the vocals are unbelievable and  Seyyal and her backing group were dressed the part.  UK representative of that year Rikki Peebles recalls that after the contest Seyyal cried on his shoulder, he also told me it wasn’t the worst song of the evening and that they deserved to take some points. Okay so why did the juries overlook this entry and give it the silent treatment. Well I read in a Eurovision book, that prior to the contest Seyyal has boasted to a Radio DJ that she was going to win the 1987 Contest, she also claimed she had a better chance than the other Eurovision artists of that year, I’d imagine her overconfidence back fired after a performance and the juries decided not to award Turkey any points. You know what this deserved at least some points in the contest.

 

6. De Spelbrekers – ‘Katinka’

1962 was the last year the contest was not held on a Saturday and the first contest that was hosted by Luxembourg, the first contest that won the most times by France and the first time a country got nul point, infact four countries got nul point that year: Belgium, Spain, Austria and the one were having a look at The Netherlands.

Despite the nul point, 'Katinka' was a big hit in the Netherlands
Despite the nul point, ‘Katinka’ was a big hit in the Netherlands

So the Netherlands, this was the most underrated out of the other three that got the nul point, it was a big hit in the Netherlands and both Theo and Huug put their hardest effort into this song, they sang it well and the orchestra arrangement performed it well and the song itself was one of the best on the night, however 1962 was faced with a few problems. During the contest camera blackouts effected several of the entries and the Netherlands was one of them, infact during these blackouts some countries chose not broadcast the full entries and instead show viewers a break captions as a result they were not asked to go on after the last entry to perform again, The reason the song is at No.6  is because this was back in the hey-days were countries that sang their hearts out would finish with the nul point.

 

5. Jahn Teigen – ‘Mil etter Mil’

Probably the most famous nul point that ever occurred at the Eurovision Song Contest  and for one song that is now regarded as one of the most underrated Eurovision entries that was ahead of its time, this is Jahn Teigen – a Norwegian singer and regular Melodi Grand Prix contestant, regarded as one of Norway’s most famous singer he has represented Norway at three Eurovision Song Contest 1978, 1982 and 1983.

Despite the nul point, Jahn made a fortune on Mil etter Mil, including a tour of Europe
Despite the nul point, Jahn made a fortune on Mil etter Mil, including a tour of Europe

However his first try at Eurovision, resulted in the nul point in the current Eurovision system, in addition it was the fifth Norwegian entry to come last in the contest, as well as their second nul point (first occurred in 1963). I think the causes of the nul point were that Jahn had to perform in the Number 2 slot, which as we know is regarded as the Death Knell placing of Eurovision, also the fact that when he was on his way up to the stage he walked into the wall instead of the elevator and when performing the song while twanging his braces and kicking his legs, this didn’t impress the juries. However over the years, the song itself as been regarded by Eurovision fans and commentators as one of the most underrated nul points at the contest, it has somewhat become a ‘Eurovision Cult’.

 

4. António Calvário – ‘Oração’

As I said in the introduction, no Eurovision song deserved to get nul point, but what’s even more upsetting is that no country that makes it’s debut in the contest deserves to come last (Austria – 1957, Monaco -1959, Portugal – 1964, Turkey – 1975, Lithuania – 1994 and San Merino – 2008 SF) and more upsetting the first country to make its début, come last and get the nul point was Portugal in 1964.

I can only describe this as one of the best début entries for a country
I can only describe this as one of the best début entries for a country

Infact I have to say listening to this song and commenting on the music and the lyrics it stands out from the majority of entries that were entered in the 1964 Contest, despite their is no known film that is known to have survived (Thanks DR for that fire), listening to the song is like music to my ears. António has such a powerful voice and the song itself ‘Oração’ tells a very clear story about God and confesses to hurting his lover. He goes on to beg for forgiveness, even suggesting that love itself may be a punishment. However the majority of juries in 1964 were rewarding their points to the winner, which was Italy, in fact out of the 16 countries that were participating Italy received points from 11 of them, including the maximum 5 points from 8 of those countries, however Portugal was not the only one with nul point. Germany, Switzerland and Yugoslavia all were given the silent treatment that year.

 

3. Tor Endresen – ‘San Francisco’

As we saw our No.5 Eurovision entry that didn’t deserve the nul point was the infamous Mil etter Mil, which was from Norway, we fast forward 19 years later and once again Norway are the nul point victims, this time on their fourth nul point. This year we saw Tor Endresen a regular contestant in the Melodi Grand Prix, having first participated in 1987, where he finished 9th he went to the Eurovision Song Contest firstly in 1988 as a backing vocalist for Karoline Krüger, where she finished 5th. In 1997 after seven failed attempts to represent his home country, Tor finally won the golden ticket to represent Norway at the Contest in Dublin, however the voting didn’t turn out we had expected and Norway received the dreaded nul point with Portugal.

Other than his participation to the Norwegian delegation in 1988, this was Tor's only Eurovision outing
Other than his participation to the Norwegian delegation in 1988, this was Tor’s only Eurovision outing

Now this song has always had a mixed reaction from the fans, regarding the nul point, several Norwegian fans have described it as one of the worst Norwegian entries in the contest, one has described it as ‘absolutely dreadful’. However one fan told me out of Portugal and Norway, Norway didn’t deserve the nul point as San Francisco is a cheerful song, others have said the cause of the nul point could be of the following: the fact that the song itself was forgettable and somewhat embarrassing, others have said that the Melodi Grand Prix of the that year was quite a weak year and that Tor’s entry was probably the best out of that year, another Norwegian fan admits it wasn’t the best entry they’ve sent but it was better than some of the entries of 1997, including that parody from Russia. I myself don’t think its a too bad of an entry, the song itself is cheerful, I do like the lyrics explaining all thing American and having been to San Francisco , I can tell you that there are people singing John Lennon songs, Love, Love, Love.

 

2. Kojo – ‘Nuku Pommiin’

Now Finland, like their Northern Brothers Norway, they as well have tried their hardest to claim the Eurovision crown, but have come last 9 times and have picked up the nul point 3 times, including this entry from 1982. This is Kojo a rock pop singer who had come to fame in 1977 and 1982 was his year to shine for Finland at Eurovision, however yet again no country wanted to hear a song about the protest of nuclear bombs and gave the song nothing.

Despite the nul point, Kojo managed to continue success in Finland
Despite the nul point, Kojo managed to continue success in Finland

Now this is at #2 for several reasons. Many Eurovision fans have called this one of Finland’s best entries, One Fan stated this song, no matter what the motive was, the song itself is great. Another fan told me it was far too modern for the juries in 1982, Eurovision was really stuck in the 1960 and early 70’s. It became a bit better a few years after, but this kind of music struggles in ESC. Why did this entry get nul point, well from what I heard from another fan: the writers of the song wanted to write a song that wouldn’t score and apparently fans who attended the 1982 Contest apparently covered their ears during the song. I think that concluded my #2 Eurovision entry that didn’t deserve nul point.

 

1. Gunvor – ‘Lass Ihn’

Now 1998 was probably a fantastic year, but there is one entry that is a favourite of mine that was struck with the dreaded nul point. That entry of course is Switzerland, this the No.1 Eurovision entry that didn’t deserve the nul point for many reasons, Its a fantastic song, Gunvor sang the song extremley well, she showed no signs of nerves on the stage and gave everything she could.

In my opinion, Gunvor is the most underrated nul point entry
In my opinion, Gunvor is the most underrated nul point entry

Despite the fact, this was a favourite to win the contest and Gunvor’s powerful and emotional voice, the juries and televoting decided not to award Switzerland any points, I mean c’mon did everyone think that Guildo Horn from Germany or Thalassa from Greece were better than Gunvor. Okay so why was this song overlooked by the countries participating in 1998, well according to Tim Moore’s Nul Point, regarding this one. When She won the Swiss final she was hailed as the new Celine Dion by certain areas of the Swiss Press, then came the scandals one after the other about her life prior to becoming a singer. By the time she came to Birmingham the Swiss press had completely ruined her and there were rumours that the Swiss delegation even wanted to withdraw because of the scandal her private life caused. But you know what, that should not be involved in Eurovision, why should they deal with someone’s past life when they enter a song contest, I mean did anyone in the press spark controversy with Lee Ryan’s past life when he and Blue represented the UK in 2011, No. I think this song went through a bad stage of negative press and bad publicity and had that not occurred, this may never have been given the nul point.

 

And that concludes my 10 most underrated nul point entries.

 

 

One comment Add yours
  1. Hello Luke,

    I am the songwriter for Turkey’s “Sarkim Sevgi Ustune” as well as 1982 entry Hani and I was one of the singers of Group Nazar representing Turkey in 1978.

    I wanted to thank you for choosing Sarkim Sevgi Ustune as one of the songs that DID NOT DESERVE null points.

    Well having been in Eurovision for a couple of times I can assure you that this song was one of the favorites before the contest. The best way to understand that aside from the views of those present for the contest as either contestants or journalists is the number of music publishers who believed so and flew to Istanbul to get my permission and paid me. This went on until the last moment and I remember myself signing contracts even only a few minutes before the broadcast begun.

    Then why did we get this bad result. I can only speculate upon this except for the fact that it had never been so easy for us to get enough votes to be in the first 10 in each country to get at least 1 point at those years but my main reason has always been the fast metronom counted by our conductor which resulted in a 2.55 minutes song to be performed in 2.45 minutes eventally causing the song to lose all its groove and the singers to rush back and forth for their choreography.

    Another reason might be that as you quoted in your writing my very good friend Seyyal Taner was so often speculating to everyone she sees that “we will win this year” I had told her ” I pray to God that we become the last and you get a lesson for talking so big” . Funny but yes this is true.

    Well it has been a long time. Years later I had the opportunity to write a song ( a duet) for Victor Lazlo the presenter of that year recorded in Brussels called Total Disguise by just mere coincidence which sometimes made me think God wanted it this way.

    Well thanks again for your views as to the song, choreography and vocals. Keep up the good work

    Olcayto Ahmet Tugsuz

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