#2018Points - 1 is not the loneliest number!
37 songs have gotten nil points over the years at Eurovision. We asked members to write a short piece in defense of one of these songs, and why it should have gotten points. Why 37 and not the original 36? Well we have decided to add in Switzerland 2004 (which got nil points in a semi final) to provide an extra opportunity. Below are each of the 37 songs, and members please for your votes. once you have had a chance to review all of the songs, please go here to vote!
Voting will close Noon CET on 20 August.
Song 1 - “Llalame” – Victor Balaguer (SPAIN/1962)
Johnny Kollin - With a grandiose and dramatic opening by the string section of the orchestra, followed by Victor’s opening statement, the “Llámame” subsequently picks up in tempo at an early stage as Victor starts singing “call me if you cry, call me if you lose the course of your life”. I find the melody to be quite romantic and catchy and the composition is very rhythmic throughout with great support from the orchestra, which together creates a storyline. I get the feeling the composer has been influenced by the rock & roll era at the time and translated it into orchestral music. I find this song could have been a qualifier for example for West Side Story. Overall, Victor does a great vocal performance, and the live orchestra is great. In my book, this songs and performance deserves a point. Perhaps if there would have been a televoting, Victor’s demand to call him might have worked better.
Stuart - In 1962, Victor Balaguer represented Spain at Eurovision and was one of the first ever contestants whose song failed to score a single point (remarkably, there were four that year). While I can’t say that “Llámame” (“Call Me”) is the greatest ever Eurovision song, it seems unfair it did not receive any votes. Not much can be said about the staging options in those days, but Victor had a good presence on the stage and sang well. It does not seem to me to be an easy song to sing, and he clearly had some talent as a singer – the length and pitch of some of the notes was quite impressive. As for the song itself, it’s quite an upbeat tune, and makes good use of the band at points throughout to keep up the momentum and create interest by alternating quickly between the singer and the band. All in all, “Llámame” was a respectable entry from Spain for the time, and probably deserved a few more points!
Song 2 - “Katinka” De Spelbrekers (NETHERLANDS/1962)
Jason Watkins - Having met in a munitions factory during World War II Theo Rekkers and Huug Kok take to the 1962 Eurovision stage as De Spelbrekers. They sing of Katinka a young girl who walks through town with her mother at the same time every day. She has become the object of desires for all the boys even though they have only caught a glimpse of her. They plead with her to turn around so they can see her nose, claiming that her mother won’t know. The song validates the glory days of the live orchestra with catchy string and brass lines that would feel at home as the theme to a 60’s television sitcom. Theo and Huug sing with pleasant confident voices and perform with just the right amount of charm and mischief to make you hope that Katinka is an adult daughter walking with her mother. They wear elegant dinner suits and have minimal chorography speaking to a time in Eurovision long before Barbara Dex or any Wild Dances. This song was way ahead of its time with the use of lighting effects to heighten the excitement during the presentation…or it’s just a technical glitch that gave the image of empty suits performing the number Bed Knobs and Broomsticks style. Douze points just for the professionalism in the dark.
Sascha Stolp - Looking back at the 1962 Contest, one cannot fail to feel that De Spelbrekers were certainly unfairly awarded the dreaded Nul Points. This duo were the epitome of what the Eurovision Song Contest was about, namely uniting Europe after a devastating war. The Dutch singers met during World War 2 at a munitions factory in Germany where they were working as forced labour. Their joint love of music brought them together and they formed the duo De Spelbrekers. On the night, they encountered a number of issues. Not only were they in a dreadful position, following the very upbeat fun German song "Zwei kleine Italiener" as well as preceding the eventual French winner "Un premier amour”, but a power failure on the night meant their entry was not entirely shown on the night. Adding to the fact that the juries were only voting for their top 3 songs of the evening, it is not difficult to see why Katinka was overlooked. The eventual success of Katinka after the contest only shows that should the Netherlands have had a better draw on the night, and the opportunity to have their entry broadcast in full, they may have been more successful.
Song 3 - “Ton Nom” – Fud Leclerc (BELGIUM/1962)
Anjoum Noorani - My defence of this song is simple. It’s not the tune, which is a pretty bad example of a third-rate Bond-film ‘cut to casino scene' background warble. Nor the mediocre singing - listen to Fud struggle to hit the right notes at 01:05 and 02:30, for example. I also can’t defend the change of pace at 01:20, where he gives up on the previous song and even has the cheek to put his hands in his tux pockets. And I’m not defending the lyrics: the first line is ‘Your name that plays with my name’ (eh?), and the whole thing sounds like it was created by the Versificator from the Orwell novel '1984'. No, dear reader. My defence of this song is based on one simple thing: his eyebrows. Watch them and you’ll be transfixed. It’s impossible to focus on anything else with those huge, perfectly-coiffured man-brows performing contortions and acrobatics which leave the viewer stunned and gasping for more. Those eyebrows are a veritable work of art. They redefine Belgian 60s manhood. They demand their own TV series. They scream for public attention. They are magnificent. In short, they deserve at least a point.
Michaela Sowden - Fud Leclerc was Belgium’s entry in 1962. He has gone down in Eurovision history as the very first performer to receive the dreaded “ nulle pointes”. Was it deserved? Well he did share the spotlight with Austria, Spain and the Netherlands. However, the scoring system had been changed that year, with each country only allowed to score three countries. Seems Belgium wasn’t on anyone’s love list that year. But what of his song, did it really deserve nil pointe? I say no. His song was presented in the usual manner, singing with the orchestra , with no backdrop. His performance was solid. His enunciation of the words were clear! Hey , I could understand the lyrics with my limited school French. For that one point should have been awarded. It was the fourth time, he participated for Belgium , scoring 9th place in 1956, 5th in 1958 and 6th in 1960. You do need to give the guy a point for persistence! Then we have his debonair performance in the vein of Gilbert Bėcaud and his smooth, dulcet tones. His modulation and breathing control were good, a point there. He was handsome with a great smile and used just enough arm movements to give the performance interest. The orchestration of the song was interesting and did build momentum and created drama. He was also Juliette Greco’s pianist, ok, maybe bias snuck in there! Nil points, really not fair! By my reckoning , he deserved 4-8 points, enough to do well, but not enough to overtake my favourite Connie Froboess with Zwei kleine Italiener! Oops, here comes my bias again. Ton nom is still being covered and you can purchase the original on ITunes. He must have been traumatized by his experience as he retired from singing, which is a pity, travelled the world and made a new career as a building contractor. Well, I rest my case, you be the judge of this nice little ditty.
Song 4 - “Nur In Der Weiner Luft” Eleonore Schwarz (AUSTRIA/1962)
Osmar Valdebenit - “Nur in der Wiener Luft” was the 6th entry of Austria in the Eurovision Song Contest and the third time the country didn’t get any points. The song, performed by the opera singer Eleonore Schwarz, described the beauty of the Austrian capital, Vienna. This operetta was an ode to the city – the song’s title can be translated to “Only in the Viennese air” and describes a place where you could feel the magic of the waltz. The song brings back memories of the city, mentioning iconic places such as the St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Staatsoper or the statue on top of the Rathaus. For those that have visited and enjoyed the capital of Austria, especially those who went in 2015 when Vienna hosted the Eurovision Song Contest 2015, it is a particular song that reminds us of the beauty of this classic and historical city. Sadly, the jury at the time didn’t agree and Mrs. Schwarz ended the contest without points, with other three songs.
Mahmoud El Achi - Back in 1962, Austria decided to send Eleonore Schwarz to the Eurovision finals in Luxembourg with the song “Nur in der Wiener Luft” (Only in the Air of Vienna). The song didn’t receive any points, but it did give Austria the chance to provide viewers across Europe with a taste of traditional Viennese music. From the moment the orchestra begins it’s clear that “Nur in der Wiener Luft” will evoke the mood of a classic Viennese waltz. The lyrics back this up, with their description of how the magical quality of the wind in Vienna plays a part in evoking the beauty of Austria’s capital city, through its buildings (such as the Vienna State Opera), its music (such as the Viennese waltz) and its people (such as Johann Strauss II). At the time of her Eurovision appearance, Eleonore Schwarz worked as an opera singer in her homeland, and she gives a powerful operatic performance that hits every note perfectly. That said, it’s not a serious performance and it’s delivered with warmth and a smile – and there’s even a part where she does a bit of yodeling (sort of!).
Song 5 - “En Gang I Stockholm” Monica Zetterlund (SWEDEN/1963)
Nick Bradshaw - Back in the 1960s, unlike in the decades that followed, getting “nul points” was not necessarily an indication of a bad song – with an extremely limited number of points on offer, a song that wasn’t an obvious crowd pleaser could easily end up “pointless”. Such was the case in 1963, when Sweden’s sublime En Gång I Stockholm, (Once Upon A Time In Stockholm) performed by Monica Zetterlund, was one of four out of 16 songs to languish at the bottom of the scoreboard. Certainly not the catchiest of Eurovision entries, but a sophisticated song flawlessly performed by a singer with one of Sweden’s most tender and stylish voices in a way that transports the listener to Stockholm’s shoreline. She bids us to take her hand and join her. It’s hard to resist her gentle plea. Rather than date badly, En Gång I Stockholm went on to become something of a cherished favourite in Sweden, and deservedly so. Not kitsch, not quirky, not gimmicky, but with plenty of heart – and strangely similar in tone and sentiment to a certain Portuguese winner from 2017. Pleasingly, Monica Zetterlund continued to enjoy great success as a jazz singer on both sides of the Atlantic and becoming the subject of a biopic in 2013, nine years after her death.
Kevin Fansler - Is Monica Zetterlund’s 1963 null points entry for Eurovision defensible? Monica Z is one of the giants of Sweden’s Golden Age of Jazz. There isn’t a person of a certain age in Sweden who doesn’t know her song, En Gång i Stockholm. Notably, she was one of the first singers in Sweden who thought jazz could be written in Swedish and be about Swedish subjects. Until that time, people just translated American jazz songs. But is a jazz song ever going to do well at Eurovision? Even in 1963, this was the only jazz song at the competition. En Gång i Stockholm has no chorus, no bridge, no recognizable hints that it’s even in the same category as the rest of the songs. But it’s a gorgeous song. The gist of the lyrics says that even in the deepest of winter, it will feel like summertime as long as I’m with you. The wistful lyrics about light glimmering on the water and going out in boats is sure to make even a hardened Swede long for summer. It’s a song for the ages.
Song 6 - “Solhverv” Anita Thallaug (NORWAY/1963)
Cindy Zhang - From Norway, we have Anita Thallaug with “Solhverv (“solstice” in Norwegian). The song describes the singer’s feeling while she is with her lover, and the winter solstice, a harbinger of the coming spring, serves as the central metaphor for the happiness that the singer and her lover share. It’s quite the atmospheric number in chanson style, reminiscent of old-timey movie soundtracks in dark Scandinavian winter nights. And, while the staging is by no means expertly done even by 1960s standards, has a concept that fit the song well and with better camera angles and movements that provide more variety, might even lift the presentation to a more decent position. The song and its singer start in darkness and dissonance, much like its theme of winter solstice--the longest night of the year. As the song progresses, the tone of the music as well as the lighting gradually brightens, signifying that hours of light--and by extension, hope and happiness--will only grow from here on. Thallaug also brings with her faultless vocals and a charming smile befitting of her background as an actress. All in all, while not a masterpiece, the dreaded nul point belies a quaint charm and sweetness.
Clarel Rodrigue - Solhverv (Solstice in Norwegian) by Anita Thallaug might sound a little confusing and look rather simplistic. However, after watching the video of Anna’s performance several times, it strikes me how much the subtleties of the melody and well as the minimal changes in scenery brings so much to the performance. We go on this journey from the dark ominous presence of winter to the light-hearted and playful nature of Spring and finally to the final climax of summer and Anita's voice, with help from the strings, horns and flutes, just beautifully carries us through each season. It is quite artistic, a quality that I appreciate in my Eurovision songs. In the bigger picture of the 1963 Eurovision Song Contest, you could argue that other selections that night may have brought a bit more originality, but it is quite hard to disagree with the fact that this song can definitely hold its own. This song has the tradition and elegance of a chanson-type song and the performance is pure class. Overall, this song, especially compared to the other 3 that also landed in nil point territory, deserved a lot more.
Song 7 - “Een Speeldos” Annie Palmen (NETHERLANDS/1963)
Steve Stigwood - When you review the Eurovision entrants on the night, you see that 1963 was the toughest competition in a decade and that 4 countries received the dreaded "null points". Difficult juries to please that year! Famous singers like Ronnie Carroll(UK) singing his chart topping song "Say wonderful things" could only manage 4th place and Nana Mouskouri (Luxembourg) only ranked 8th on the night. Very stiff competition! But now I can offer two conspiracy theories for you to consider... Nederlands in fact DID NOT receive the 1963 Eurovision memo, explaining that it was a POP SONG contest. A conspiracy? Or the other theory that Nederlands submitted the wrong form and thought they were entering Annie in Junior Eurovision! Yes, "Een Speeldoos" outright winner for the children's competition. It is undeniably an enchanting nursery rhyme featuring shepherds, fairies and angels. And Annie is perfect as it's cheery enthusiastic presenter. (Flashback to when your mother used to sing to you at bedtime!). So let's right the wrongs of the past - 12 points for the Nursery Rhyme.
Lukman Andi Uleng - Poor Annie, it just seemed like her 1963 Eurovision adventure representing the Netherlands was doomed from the start. There was a dispute between the national broadcaster and the orchestra so the National Songfestival (Dutch national final) was not broadcast. The title and lyrics were changed as well before the Eurovision night, thankfully she didn't forget the lyrics! Just for these inconveniences alone she should of gotten points! "Een speeldos" translates as "A musical box", who doesn't like songs about those things? The song is about the love between a shepherd and a shepherdess - oh how romantic and rustic. Zero points was not fair because the song is gentle, dreamy and fairytale-esque, her performance was confident and use of props made it creative. Everyone believes in happy endings and this song ends with one, sadly Annie didn't get her Eurovision fairytale. Let's give her one in 2017!
Song 8 - “Muistojeni Laulu” Laila Halme (FINLAND/1963)
Phill Beames - Laila Halme brought Finland to London 1963 with grace and poise with her song Muistojeni Laulu (The song of my memories). It is a sad song about how a certain song reminds her of her former lover and makes her sad every time she hears it. Interestingly this song was performed at the Finnish national final by two women, neither of whom took it to London. It is executed perfectly and overlies her sad, strong and sombre voice with a song that doesn’t overpower her and accentuates her voice. The Finnish language is used beautifully to sound strong and emotional. There is a rapid snare at the beginning that is a nice contrast to the slow solemness without distracting from it. She is engaging, stylish and confident. Sung at the height of the Cold War it is interesting that Laila’s home town of Jääski became part of Russia during the Winter War. Perhaps a hidden meaning? It unfortunately became one of three null points of the night, finishing equal 13th out of 16.
Herluis Alvarado - Why I defend this song?: This song is a classic, worthy of a soundtrack an English 60's movie, with beautiful lyrics, but I can not blame her that during her ESC performance I saw that she was nervous and the jury may have noticed it, apart from that Laila was not even the winner of the Finnish national final that year and maybe could be for that reason that punished her in that way, but at least they could have given to her at least 5 points due her splendid performance. Does Finland 1963 entry deserve a 0?: Absolutely not, as neither Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands that year as well. The saddest thing of all was that due her bad result at ESC 1963 was the beginning of the end of her music career, because she retired from the music scene 4 years later, around 1967.
Song 9 - “Zivot Je Sklopio Krug” Sabahudin Kurt (YUGOSLAVIA/1964)
Kyle Woods - Having spent so long living in Croatia, I am naturally predisposed to love Yugoslav songs. For those who do not have the benefit of understanding the language: “Život je sklopio krug” means “Life has come full circle.” Most of the lyrics don’t really make a ton of sense, even if you do understand them, a highlight being “If I were to turn to stone, I wouldn’t find oblivion. I would be the only one on the beach, a blue stone deep in thought.” But it is in this very strangeness of lyrics that the song finds its strength. Sabahudin Kurt sings us a kaleidoscope of odd images of change and acceptance, one spinning off into another in slow succession. Throughout the song, Sabahudin contemplates transformation: whether he is a branch covered in autumn leaves or a blue stone all alone on the beach, ultimately he returns to where he started, a man and a friend. Life comes full circle, and the changes he may have contemplated do not matter – there is a finality of acceptance at the end of the song. Given that lyrical image of acceptance, the music that accompanies it is something quite special. Rather than a more exciting choice of music that rises and falls and changes, composer Srđan Matijević has chosen to present a solid, linear sound that never strays far from where it started. By allowing his music to fade into the background behind the singer’s subtle, understated voice, “Život je sklopio krug” intentionally fades to the back of your mind. It takes a lot of courage to show up to Eurovision and sing a lounge song. If 2017 has taught us anything, you can even win with that! But Yugoslavia’s entry certainly deserved at least some love, yet in a year with 4 entries taking the Nil Points Crown, at least this one feels poised for acceptance of what it is.
Roy Van der Merwe - Sabahudin Kurt (born 18 July 1935) is a Bosnian folk and pop singer. Kurt represented Yugoslavia in Copenhagen in the Eurovision Song Contest 1964 with the entry "Život je sklopio krug" (English - Life Has Come Full Circle). He finished in thirteenth place with the dreaded nul points. The scoring system was changed in 1964 with juries allocating 5, 3 and 1 points to their TOP THREE songs. Almost inevitably, with this type of scoring, a number of countries will receive no points at all. There were four countries, besides Yugoslavia, also Germany, Switzerland and Portugal (on their debut). Although I heard the song today for the first it, it is not a horror and it is sad it did not get a single point. With no video available of the song, just audio, I cannot even say he should have gotten points because of his smile or colourful shirt or the way the song was performed. So I base my defense on the title, LIFE HAS COME FULL CIRCLE - that is really a good title and just for that should have gotten at least 1 point.
Song 10 - “I Miei Pensieri” Anita Traversi (SWITZERAND/1964)
Jo Baker - Some might say Anita Traversi's "I Miei Pensieri" is slower and more painful than standing through Eurovision voting, with a tempo that is just begging to be wound up like a Swiss watch and a promising final crescendo which only leads to anticlimactic disappointment like realising that outfit isn't hiding a costume change. Anita's second appearance at Eurovision is with a simply beautiful love song performed with honesty, passion as sweet as Swiss chocolate and technical aplomb as perfect as her coifed hair. She sings of heartache and longing for a lover far away. Like the elusive title of Eurovision winner that Anita tried for year after year. Who needs jury pleasing power notes or a pathetically catchy chorus? This is the perfect song for gliding around a dance floor in full evening attire or the background to a fabulously romantic kiss. Four countries received nil points in 1964 with the young upstart Gigliola Cinquetti being just old enough to win with 49 points, a record score which remained until 1971. In 1964 there were only 144 points given in total, with a maximum of 80 for any country. Poor Anita unfairly left alone with only her thoughts.
Belinda Conn - In 1964 there were two songs performed in Italian. One (representing Italy) won, the other (representing Switzerland) got nul points. This song would have been very much at home in an Italian language Disney film. I can’t seem to locate a video, but something about the way the orchestra is playing evokes a feeling of small birds flitting around folding your laundry for you. It feels whimsical and sad and romantic all at once. I want to sit in a smoky bootleg bar with a glass of whiskey and listen to Anita sing this song, a small orchestra keeping her company. 1964 was a bit of a bloodbath – 4 songs got nul points (and another 3 got 2 points or less). I’m confident that this reflects the voting system in place at the time, rather than the quality of the songs. You could only award 5, 3 or 1 point in 1964, so there were not a lot of points to share around. This almost sultry little number deserved better, and I am pretty confident that using a modern voting system, there is no way this would ever have suffered the dreaded nul points.
Song 11 - “Oracao” Antonio Calvario (PORTUGAL/1964)
Darren Tompsett - António was Portugal's debut to the Eurovision Song Contest in 1964 with the song Oração which means prayer. António is singing about the fact he has hurt his lover and that he wants forgiveness by god. Let's face it everyone we have all been there! People can relate to this song, I know I can. In my life I have both, been hurt by others and have hurt people but as humans we need to forgive and forget. Love is very powerful and can sometimes punish you this song is explaining that.There is not a person on this planet that has not gone through what António is singing about. This is why I am shocked to see this song getting the dreaded nil points. António did Portugal proud, he performed the song with such grace, you can feel the emotion in his voice and at times you can see it through his facial expressions and his hand gestures.This was Portugal's debut and I feel this was an excellent first entry for them. The style of this song was very popular back in the day and in the early years of Eurovision, anyone that re-watches his performance will think he deserved a better placing than last place. I'm putting my hands together just like António did in his performance and praying that everyone gets behind this beautiful entry.
Eduardo Lobo - March 1964. The Grand Prix Eurovision jury voted, and the winner, with 49 points, a record at that time, was Italy with Gigliola Cinquetti. This huge amount of voting led 4 countries to receive 0 points. Including Portugal. On its debut. The entry were “Oração” sung Antônio Calvário, and the theme the country had chosen to represent them was a story, just like a poem, of a guy praying confessing being a sinner, and mistreating\losing his lover. A good (and well composed) melancholic story. Calvário’s story deserved to get some points: First: The song’s theme, which differed from most of the entries that year and on the past years (and it was a really good composition). Second: Calvário’s voice was unique and he is used to do great vocal performances. The third reason could be because it was the country’s debut. Luckily, Portugal maintained its interest after losing on the first time. Because 48 times after Calvários performance in Copenhagen, more nul points, last places and non-qualifications for the finals, the country finally won the Eurovision Song Contest, which will be held next year.
Song 12 - “Mann Gewohnt Sich So Schnell An Das Schone” Nora Nova (GERMANY/1964)
Edward Till - It would be easy to attribute nul points to the song’s having the longest title in Eurovision history and matching running time of what must have sounded repetitious. This is a mistake. I love the musicality; there is a proper “big band” feel that makes you want to quick step. But it’s the historic context that fascinates me. In 1964, West Germany’s economic miracle, the Wirtschaftswunder, was well underway. People finally had food on the table and could buy new clothes and―to paraphrase the entry―they were getting used to the good life rapidly. This abundance was all thanks to a “strange man”―America perhaps? But would it last? Who better than a Bulgarian emigre to remind Germans that tensions with the East were high. The Berlin wall was after all only 3 years old. Would current success end in catastrophic world war like the boom of the ‘30s, a period well within living memory? The song is tantalizingly silent on the question, but anxiety is hinted at in dramatic―even melodramatic―use of instrumentation worthy of a Marlena Dietrich ballad. German entries have often reflected the preoccupation of their age. It is sad this was overlooked by the juries in this case.
Jonathan Wood - Germany's 1964 Eurovision entry MAN GEWOHNT SICH SO SCHNELL AN DAS SCHONE was performed by Nora Nova and received nil points. This song was beautifully performed by the elegant and sophisticated Nora Nova. She looked stunning in a gorgeous white gown with a very stylish updo hairstyle. The song talks about love and what a lovely game it is - the ups and downs - how joyous it can be and then how hurtful and disappointing it can also be. Everyone can relate to this subject matter and find it moving. The song is full of emotion - very dramatic opening and then as the lyrics begin, it takes an upbeat swing. The orchestrations are beautiful, especially the strings - touching the soul of any listener. The song is actually terrific and has a truly wonderful catchy melody. Any listener's foot will start tapping to the rhythm. The song does hook the listener - and will put a smile on anyone's face by the end. Nora's sings with a crystal clear voice. She has a great range and exhibits plenty of impressive vocal power. Overall, Germany's 1964 did deserve more recognition than zero points. A lovely melodic song performed by a very talented singer with touching lyrics should have received a better score than nil.
Song 13 - “Que Bueno, Que Bueno” Conchita Bautista (SPAIN/1965)
Nicolas G. Mancini-Suarez - ¡Qué bueno, qué bueno! (How Good, How Good!) was the 1965 Spanish entry, written by Antonio Figueroa and performed by Conchita Bautista. Some people say ‘never second parts were good’ and could quote this entry as an example, since this was Conchita's second appearance on the Eurovision stage. I couldn’t disagree more because I find that she was much more charismatic than the other contestants and had a unique modern flow; as a matter of fact, she was the only one who danced into that “cage” used as stage. The song also has its merit. It’s an up-tempo flamenco-inspired number in which Conchita explains "how good" everything feels, now that her feelings for her loved one are reciprocated and his kisses are meant for her. Today, ¡Qué bueno, qué bueno! is an anthem that enjoys recognition not only in Spain, but also in Europe and Latin America. Back to 1965, the public gave a warm reception to this entry, which was also one of the press favorites. In words of Conchita, once the contest was over, all the journalists wanted to interview her, instead of France Gall, because they considered the Spanish entry as the moral winner of the night.
Song 14 - “Paradis, Wo Bist Du?” Ulla Wiesner (GERMANY/1965)
Mike Whalley - Poor Ulla Weisner. With Germany reeling from a shocking nil points defeat in 1964 (not that shocking), in 1965 they went for something totally crazily different (a brunette standing in front of a microphone instead of a blonde standing in front of a microphone). In fairness, given how dreadfully dull the Italian winner of 1964 was, they were probably most confused about what could win. I agree that the song is an utter mess - it's actually painful to listen to the whole thing, even at just 2m15s, but I think in a few ways it was ahead of its time. 1) there's a whole section in the middle without words - 'da da da daa da... etc' which is just a forerunner of the 1968 Spanish 'La la la' which surely is a classic in anyone's eyes; 2) ulla has a definite 'dead-behind-the-eyes-I-really-don't-want-to-be-on-the-stage' look about her - she really could be singing her shopping list - paving the way for Belgium's Blanche this year. Singing for all those with zero stage presence everywhere! If you can't give it a point for crazy, messy, forward-looking futurism, what is Eurovision coming to?!
Craig Hardie - In 1965, while the Rolling Stones were trying to find some ‘Satisfaction’, German Eurovision hopeful Ulla Wiesner was trying to find her paradise. After finishing with ‘Nil Points’ at Eurovision 1964 (along with three other countries), (West) Germany was ready to bounce back up the Eurovision scoreboard. While Ulla and her song “Paradies, wo bist du?” ultimately fell to the same fate as the previous German entry, with the benefit of hindsight there is much to appreciate in Ulla’s song. Admittedly, perhaps the song was not the best fit for Eurovision, but none the less, it possesses a classic lounge feel and one could imagine sitting in a bar or by a pool listening to it while drinking martinis and partying with the German bourgeois. In addition, the song is ahead of its time, with the middle ‘Da-Da-Da’ verse a precursor to a modern day ‘scatting’ during a song. These simple lyrics allow the listener to focus on and enjoy the wonderful orchestral accompaniment. In the days before pyrotechnics and costume reveals, this performance is simply a lady in a black dress singing about crying alone and her quest for paradise, and there is a vulnerability to that which is unmatched in modern Eurovision.
Song 15 - “Aurinko Laskee Lanteen” Viktor Klimenko (FINLAND/1965)
Belinda Conn* – When you watch this performance there are two apparent truths. Firstly, Viktor has an incredibly unique approach to manscaping his beard. Secondly, Viktor is a heartbroken man (a heartbreak he is clearly trying to hind behind his wonderfully sparkly tuxedo jacket). The melancholy is strong with this song. His lyrics and his demeanor are of a man whose heartbreak is incredibly raw. The beautiful richness and depth of his voice really add to the effect. The lyrics of the song tell the tale of a man who is being tortured by nature during his heartbreak. The birds and the sun are all working against him in his time of anguish. I fear that Viktor’s song was simply too sad for his time, and those that could appreciate his performance were lulled into a tub a ice cream to eat their feelings rather than lunging for the phone to vote. This time around, put down the ice cream and vote for Viktor. It may just mend his broken heart.
*Please note – No reviews of this song were received by the deadline. Belinda felt a little sad for poor heartbroken Viktor and contributed a second review so that he could be fairly represented in this contest.
Song 16 - “Als Heet Weer Lente Is” Lize Marke (BELGIUM/1965)
Nigel Bond - What beautiful song that is calm, peaceful, beautiful and exudes warmth. Wonderfully sung by a talented artist. I would be happy to have a lover who promised to do all things for me in Spring when I take my R&R (including buying me anything I want). Lize sung all six of the songs in the Belgium's selection so her the winning smile worked on the Belge - but not the rest of Europe. The grey dress may have let her down – oh wait - they were all in black and white in those days. If she had entered the French version "Si peu de chose".- then I guess France would have given a point or three (yes is was 5, 3 or 1 points back then) thus avoiding the dreaded nul points. The lyrics are great "and for each bite, you'll get a kiss" was my favourite; but it doesn’t work so well in Dutch. Lize can take solace in the fact that three other countries got nul points in 1965 (out of only 18 entries). I must say she was so much better that Fud Leclerc who got nul points for Belgium in 1962 – not sure how anyone could defend that disaster.
Beth Hackney - Lize Marke brings some Belgian sass to the stage with this jazzy little show tune. The beginning of the song has obvious tango overtones, and one can imagine that it would not be out of place in a 1960s Argentine milonga. This is no mean feat, given that the Flemish language is not usually regarded as one of the world’s most sensual. Lize, however, makes it sound languorous and alluring. The change in tempo during the bridge is a perfect opportunity for by Lize’s show(wom)anship and her personality to shine as she works the stage with her expressive eyes and makes the most of her angles. All in all, Lize Marke does a noble job at delivering an engaging and varied performance in little over 2 minutes.
Song 17 - “Bien Plus Fort” Tereza (MONACO/1966)
Peter Fry - It’s easy to like this anthemesque song from Monaco’s Eurovision entrant Tereza Kesovija. Having been selected by Grace Kelly, it is obvious that both style and grace are brought to the forefront of this performance by the woman know as La bete de Scene. With a resounding drum roll the song, “Bien Plus Fort” (Much Stronger) is launched quickly in to the dulcet tones of Tereza who appears on stage in a form fitting dress with bejewelled collar, showcasing her elegance and presence. With lyrics proclaiming a love bigger than the earth and redder than blood, Tereza sings with gusto and passion to an unseen lover you know is waiting to ravish her in her hotel room after the performance. She draws you into her ample bosom with arms thrown wide and a flirtatious glint in her eye as the songs reaches it first crescendo about half way in. The song then allows you to get catch your breath as Tereza almost croons in to your ear about a love sweeter than rain and beyond death before taking you to last highlight of the song where it finishes on staple of Eurovision, the key change. You are left spent, and yet perhaps, wanting more.
Vincent Colagiuri – In 1966 the Eurovision Song Contest was slowly turning away from the era of French Riviera sophistication and embracing the younger, brighter style of the Swinging Sixties. Monaco, a regular and usually successful entrant, was represented by the Yugoslavian singer Tereza Kesovija (billed simply as Tereza), who with her powerful voice was then enjoying a rapid rise to stardom in France. She performed Bien plus fort (English trans. Much Stronger) composed by Gérard Bourgeois with lyrics by Jean-Max Rivière. The singer pleads with her lover to take her far away where they can live together. She expresses, through strong imagery, that her love is more powerful than anything; today, tomorrow and for ever. The music is in a suitably vigorous 6/8 rhythm and powerfully orchestrated, supporting Tereza’s soaring voice. Mysteriously, Monaco received not one point in the voting. Tereza’s confident and passionate performance was surely not to blame. More likely it was due to Monaco being a micro-state with only one big, mean neighbour and in 1966 neighbourly or cultural voting was practiced unashamedly! For those who’d like a taste of mid-sixties flair and optimism, lend an ear to Monaco 1966!
Song 18 - “Dio Come Ti Amo” Domenico Modugno (ITALY/1966)
Enrique Cordova - I feel that it is an extremely romantic song it talks about how much it loves its partner and the happiness that feels to have it and it moves to anyone. The voice of Domenico is very beautiful not at all out of tune, the whole song in sung in time, in addition to the melody that envelops you in a beautiful feeling, relaxes you as if you were in a cloud. Anyone would feel great if their partner dedicated that song. Is a song that represents the Italian culture of the time in music, if i had been a jury i was given by more than 5 points for sure. In conclusion was a underrated song that did not know to appreciate.
Alan Tubery - Domenico Modugno represented Italy with the song '"Dio, come ti amo", at the 1966 Eurovision Song Contest It had won the San Remo Festival that year co sharing with Gigliola Cinquetti. This was his 3rd time after "Nel blu, dipinto di blu" more known as one of the most successful. Eurovision song “Volare” and "Piove (Ciao, ciao bambina)". It is a typical Italian ballad “ feeling the pain/ happiness “ of love but the problem here is his voice and the non convincing performance which is strange considering he was very much in love with his wife the beautiful actress Franca Gandolfi he had married in 1955 till his death in 1994. The Lyrics are very “corny” which was the way at the time. He gave an exceptionally emotional performance during which he appeared at some points to be on the verge of crying. And I can see this as a perfect song for a drag show however not anymore for the main Eurovision audience as the contest was moving to a more “updated” sound like Finland with Anne Christine “Playboy” Belgium with Tonia "Un peu de poivre, un peu de sel" and Luxembourg with Michèle Torr's gutsy song "Ce soir je t'attendais". Later the song was also performed by other singers and became quite successful. Despite its total failure in Eurovision, "Dio, come ti amo" became quite successful and a Number 1 song in Italy and Spain It was covered by several other international singers.
Song 19 - “Quel Coeur Vas-Tu Briser?” Geraldine (SWITZERLAND/1967)
Tim Bulman - "Quel cœur vas-tu briser?" is a just title for a song unjustly scored at the 1967 ESC in Vienna. The song describes a heart broken by spite and arrogance, asking who’s heart the ex-lover will break next. The perverse answer is that of the lover himself. Audiences did not appreciate the poignancy of its words, on the cusp of the sexual and social revolution that would explode a year later and transform love and relationships. The brilliance of Géraldine Gaulier’s meta-performance, perhaps inspired by the avant garde cinema emerging at the time, was lost on the audience – singing off-key being the ultimate statement of disdain, disconnection and pain. That Géraldine’s cheek bones reached higher than her voice ever could is a far more substantive cry than the later criticisms of the competition by Sandie Shaw, who sang the UK entry "Puppet on a String", which won by a record margin. The traditional orchestral score, the conservative dress and style and lack of dynamism sharpened the contrast with the blistering emotion of the words. Mend Géraldine’s heart and recognize the power and brilliance of her artistry and performance – douze points pour Géraldine!
Kate Krause - Quel coeur vas-tu briser was a ballad sung about lost love. It deserved points for the composition alone (Daniel Faure showed his talent the following year and came in 3rd place). The recorded version of the song displays the sweetness of this song as well as the musical beauty. The live version did not reach its full potential as the song was sung off key for the most parts. Especially the off high note at the end will have put off a few jurors. However, in Eurovision singing poorly does not always get zero points, and Quel coeur vas-tu briser deserved some points. Especially as compared to other songs from the same year, this was not the weakest entry. Unfortunately Geraldine was singing in the middle of similar songs, making this song more forgettable. But listening to the song on its own, or in a different running order, makes the song deserving points. However, considering that the votes came from a jury where 50% of the jurors had to be under 30 it is not surprising that the upbeat Puppet on a string won that year.
Song 20 - “Je Suis Tombe Du Ciel” David A.Winter (LUXEMBURG/1970)
Niall Drennan - In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Luxembourg was a force to be reckoned with at Eurovision with a total of 4 wins over a 12 year period. However, with every high comes a low, and Luxembourg faced the dreaded nil points in 1970 at the contest in Amsterdam. The song was called “Je suis tombe du ciel” (I fell from heaven) and it was definitely a fall from grace in 1970 for Luxembourg. The song was performed by David Alexandre Winter and is a ballad with David crooning to his lover that he fell from heaven to be with her and does not want to return. The song is a toe-tapping ballad with a quirky hook. David gave a very charismatic and energetic performance and looked like he was really enjoying himself. The song was by no means in the same league the winner that year from Ireland, “All Kinds of Everything”, but last place was undeserved. At a minimum, the handsome David should have received some points for his frilly shirt!
Matt MacDonald - "Je suis tombé du ciel," which translates as, "I Fell From the Sky," is a wonderful song with a great flow to it. Listening to it makes one feel like they are relaxing on a boat going down a river. For a ballad, it's a high-energy tune that tends to create feelings of fun and energy as opposed to the deeper emotions that are usually stirred up during most – albeit not all – Eurovision ballads today. This love song also has some interesting lyrics that describe him falling from heaven to come across a lover and never wanting to go back since he has now found true paradise. "I fell from the sky, and I am mad with joy." Now don't get me wrong; I would not pick this to win Eurovision 1970, but I would have placed it much higher than last (12th), probably around 6th. Of course, it would have helped if four winners had not been chosen at Eurovision 1969 as that act caused several countries to boycott the contest in 1970, making it somewhat easier for the remaining competitors to receive zero points.
Song 21 - “Mil Etter Mil” Jahn Teigen (NORWAY/1978)
Michelle Stigwood - When Teigen received null points for "Mill etter mill" (Mile after mile) in 1978, he created history. His score defied the new voting system -specifically implemented in 1975 to ensure no country would ever receive null points again! - and he gained a place in Eurovision folklore with his whacky performance. Described as: Ahead of its time, Legendary, Only appreciated after many years, Most bizarre in Eurovision history, Not the worst on the night, Generally-NOT deserving of null points. Many believe Teigen's bizarre performance of "Mill etter mill" was his way of sabotaging the reworked jazzy version of the ballad he was required to perform in 1978. No! This performance was ahead of its time. Teigen delivered an individual, spirited, progressive interpretation, intended to unsettle juries and a complacent Eurovision establishment. He led the way for many of Eurovision's bizarre performances (too extensive to list here in 200 words!). "Mill etter mill" became a smash hit -19 consecutive weeks on Norwegian charts - and a parody version, in Russian - also successful. Final defence, how could a braces-twanging, gold rose wearing, red panted, leaping pop star ever deserve null points? Never! 12 points for the trailblazer!
Song 22 - “Aldri I Livet” Finn Kalvik (NORWAY/1981)
Luke Brighty - The 1981 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin, Ireland, saw folk singer Finn Kalvik represent Norway with “Aldri I Livet”. Translated into English, the title means “Never in my life”. Dressed in a blue and white football top, complete with scarf, his outfit seemed at odds with the sentimental ballad. Finn sang in Norwegian whilst sat on a stool and strumming his guitar. Although his soft vocals lacked in power on the night, Finn made up for it in spades with a bucket load of enthusiasm and charm, and delivered a strong performance, despite being drowned out in the chorus by his backing singers. Unfortunately, “Aldri I Livet” didn’t stand a chance as it was pitted against strong contenders such as Germany’s “Johnny Blue”, Switzerland’s “Io Senza Te” and the UK’s winning song, “Making Your Mind Up”. Sadly, it scored ‘nul points’ and came last, perpetuating Norway’s poor track record at Eurovision. On the upside, "Here in My Heart", the recorded English version of “Aldri I Livet”, went on to sell 60,000 copies. It was produced by Finn’s close friend, Benny Andersson, and even featured backing vocals by ABBA’s very own Agnetha and Frida.
Nikke Allen - "The dawn is humming a soft, carefree song." So goes the first line of Finn's song. And a soft carefree song is what Aldri i Livet is - a love song and a pledge of faithfullness that is timeless. Like Portugal's entry this year, Norway 1981 has no "fireworks" or gimmicks about it - just a simple understated quiet love song endearingly performed by a gentle guy in his own language. Unfortunately, Finn's song was wrong for its time, I feel, in an era when uptempo ESC songs with gimmicks were the ones that caught the eye and ear. But I feel it's a little gem, caught in a web of a rather brash ESC year. I find nothing wrong with the performance - blue-eyed blond Finn with a winsome pleasant face looks straight into the camera and delivers his words with sincerity and sensitivity. It's all very relaxed, and the performance itself is very intimate - again, very much like this year's winner from Portugal. For me, I fell in love with this song the first time I heard it way back in 1981, and for me, it has never lost its magic!
Song 23 - “Nuku Pommiin” Kojo (FINLAND/1982)
Chris Zeiher - Kojo’s 1982 entry “Nuku Pommiin” was translated into English as “Bomb Out” on the night and sadly that’s what this cluster of Finns did securing all of zero points. How this occurred is a travesty as this entry is as fabulous as the lead singer’s faux red leather suit. In Finnish “Nuku Pommiin” actually better translates to “oversleep” so sadly the kids from Helsinki’s satirical ditty got a little lost in translation which goes a long way to explaining why they got short-changed. Regardless, we should consider the total sum of the elements on stage in our retrospective as all of these are worthy of points in and of themselves…The multi-tasking keyboardist smacking the big bass drum (and often playing keyboard with beater in hand). The backing musician’s all wearing “sunglasses at night” 2 years prior to duck-facing Corey Hart making it a thing. That very sharp bowler hat on the second guitarist (at least 2 points). A brilliantly performed guitar riff three quarters into the song. That faux red leather suit with matching tie AND shoes. The unexpected and literal final “snore” of the lead singer. The “boom boom” and co-ordinated hand moves. We should all wake up and give Kojo’s ode to the sleep-in another chance.
Mirko Hernandez - Watching the amazing show happens in Harrogate -North Yorkshire shire country, a nice develop citywith a Victoria arquitectures and economic development, the show start with a amazing live music orchestra in the Harrogate Conference Center 18 countries participate and almost all Europe and about 300 millions people watch the showthanks for the satellite signal. The first country was Portugal one of my favorite song by the way Finland six spot and the winner was at that year Germany, seen like mostly people at that night expect the winner were United Kingdom but the competition was very. Seen the whole event and mostly of the song are quite face to the new generation of Pop and Schlager of course some of then ballads but basically the song from Finland Nuku Pommiin what in English mean “Oversleep” (The song suggests that sleeping through a nuclear crisis ("If someone soon throws a nuclear poo here on our Europe") is the best way of avoiding it. Oversleeping is said to "calm down ”title "Bomb Out"). Finland send representative with some message,at that time still some struggle time happens in Europé, consider this song was quite different and very catchy apart of the finish was singer but it this kind of song with base and hardly was not that year to being show up. comparing with other competing song were weak . this band alive and also with the orchestra kind of rock what now seen quite extrange nowadays the electrical guitar in the middle of the song create a nice ambience also the peculiarly voice of Timo. I defend this song because it’s was the year of my birthday and also because I respect all kind of human rights lyrics, I don’t consider we’re just cero points because have a lot of potential, innovation and was a great performance. Hieno Sounmalainen.
Song 24 - “Opera” Cetin Alp (TURKEY/1983)
Luc Spencer-Gardner - How confusing are songs which never mention (1944 - 2016 Ukraine), or only mumble (Siren - Estonia 2010), their titles to the audience? With Cetin Alp and the Short Waves with Opera, there is no denying the title… with 26 mentions in this operatic pop-disco number. Add to this, the incredible retro stylishness of the performer, retro even for its time with the 1970’s TV variety show host hairdo, gigantic tinted glasses and harry-high pants to accentuate his ‘fitness’. The Short Waves are so retro-chic that they teleported from the dark ages to the 1800's (as well as the imaginations of famous opera creationists) to provide solid backing vocals to a delightful cross-pop song. Who doesn’t love a tempo change in a song of only 3 minutes…? Opera has a total of 4! Of course, the underlying big-band sound adds to the frivolity and fun of this tragically underrated song! With all of this, their total score was ZERO?! If this was sung by Luxembourg, it would have been top 3!
Sevket Yigit - Those were the years when Israeli ethnic sounds were an exotic novelty and Turkey was a weird outsider who was expected to come to stage with a flying carpet and be a joke material. Having tried ethnic sounds in the past with no significant success (Ajda Pekkan,Pet’r Oil,1980), Turkey decided to change the strategy and conquer Europe with their own weapon. That brought “Opera” to ESC stage. Not being able to compete in English because of the language rule, Turkey decided to use a universal language which at the end turned out to be three minute Opera 101 didactics. But forget about the crazy tactics and analyze this secret gem with me. The song’s intro is a bomb with a slow but steady build up to an upbeat dance rhythm. Who else in the competition that year gave that amazing powerful high note at the end. Outrageous costumes were full of Eurovision spirit. The performer Cetin Alp –his soul RIP- was a pioneer for other Eurostars like Alenka Gotar, Amaury and Il Volo. I was a devastated 16 year old teenager that year with this song’s outcome. Maybe today you all will give the points that it deserved years ago.
Song 25 - “Quien Maneja Mi Barca” Remedios Amaya (SPAIN/1983)
Enrique López de Vallejo - In 1983, Spain was represented by the Sevillian singer and dancer Remedios Amaya, who was only 21 years old. Despite his youth, she had already two albums released: ‘Remedios Amaya’ (1978) and ‘Luna Nueva’ (1983), the last one more oriented towards flamenco-rock.The lyrics are focused on the emotions of love, passion and jealousy, while the music mixed traditional elements of flamenco with electronic instruments such as synthesizers and guitars. When she represented Spain in Eurovision, flamenco had not yet achieved popularity internationally, and it was considered wrong to send this proposal. Spanish broadcaster selected ‘¿Quién maneja mi barca?’ internally and, along with the Turkish song, received a lot of praise from press, considering it as an ethnic song and emphasizing the essence of the composition based on the musical roots of Spain, something that had not done the rest of candidates. The fact is that, curiously, Spain and Turkey were the only countries that did not receive a single point. The performance was plagued by setbacks. The artist wanted to wear a black dress, but the Munich stage had the same color and she was forced to wear the dress of the video clip. After the initial displeasure she also opted for acting barefoot. In spite of this, she managed to perform with strengh and determination. With daily struggle she became one of the most important singers and flamenco dancers of Spain, giving concerts not only in Spain but in countries like Japan, China, United Kingdom, United States or Argentina.
Rodrigo Romero Hidalgo - As fans we always state that we want more authentic entries and national languages. Now, granted, at the time all entries were in the national language, but this flamenco entry is as southern Spanish as they come, without getting into the stereotypical summery number that a lot of Europeans associate with Spain. This is a deeper, rougher flamenco number and, while I wouldn't say it deserved a remarkably high mark, its authenticity should have rewarded it with, at least, some points.
Song 26 - “Sarkim Sevgi Ustune” Seyal Tanner (TURKEY/1987)
Nathan Mountford - You know this is going to be good when Terry Wogan says, "You've seen nothing yet"! Each singer shines with perfect vocals (12pts) whilst dancing at full intensity, spinning their way through a grapevine to a shimmy and cowboy loop, finishing with a disco point that's as sharp as the laser beam in the background! They're dressed to impress in pure white couture, 'cowgirl style', with flirty tassels elegantly topped off with flowing bespoke chiffon (more points). What about their big hair - who isn't jealous of a good old perm or mullet (business up front, party out back), hairspray overdose anyone? The band deserve points for being able to dance with their instruments whilst playing them. Let's talk staging - they move from one side to the other in a flurry of energy that would frighten most small children! There's no debate about a language rule, it could have been gibberish and still packed a knockout punch. What it doesn't have is made up for with the amount of enthusiasm. It's infectious - I was jiggling my shoulders and tapping my feet - I got addicted! C'mon guys this has bundles of everything, worthy of points, points and more points!
Alper Yurtseven - Seyyal Taner was already a star and an accomplished performer in Turkey before she was selected to participate in ESC in 1987. Her song with its upbeat tune and fast paced performance is at least 20 years ahead of its time, a precursor of many future songs, an inspiration to generations to come in ESC. The audience is glued to their seats, astonished to see a performance that is a far cry from the most other subdued entries of those years. This song would have been in the top 3 if it had entered 20 years later in 2007. Seyyal and Melis, the female lead singers, would have been press conference favorites with their ever smiling faces, happy-go-lucky and charismatic personalities, if only press conferences existed then. Essentially this is a campy Eurovision number with tutus, cowboy jackets, shoulder pads, upbeat dancing, ethnic undertones and the obligatory key change. A final note: According to a rumor, the conductor, Garo Mafyan, was so nervous that he was too fast and the song ended 14 seconds too early.
Song 27 - “Lisa, Mona Lisa” Wilfried (AUSTRIA/1988)
Andrew Scott - Should it have gotten top 10? No – but Austria 1988 should have gotten at least a little bit of love. The performance was quintessentially 80’s ballad – with outfits and hairdos to match. Stage usage was lacking, but they made up for it with the instruments on stage, which helped give more of a presence. This helped it translate onto TV better than even some acts today, with just a solo singer. Similarly, the use of the live on-stage band, while typical, was well arranged, and the instrumentation fit the song. Wilfried hit the major notes well, although there weren’t enough of them. He was in tune and on tempo with the band. Digging a bit deeper, the lyrics are quite insightful about the actual Mona Lisa painting and the mystery behind it. People fall in love with it, but are never quite sure what the reasoning is, or even what her emotions are. This is reflected in the lyrics, which describe an elusive woman whom the singer loves, but can’t quite understand, see, or capture. Would I give it 12 points? No, but I do think it should have received a few, particularly from Germany (given the language).
David Alejandro De La Cuadra Pérez - Zero points do not always mean a bad interpretation, such is the case of Austria 1988 with the song Mona Lisa by Wilfried. Wilfried, although he is a little nervous throughout his presentation, has a strong voice that makes this song take interest and sound good for the time of the late 80's, Unfortunately the presentation was after three ballads (Switzerland, Ireland and Germany), which could cause the loss of interest at the time of voting The staging was simple and well elaborated, it had no extravagances or anything that distracted the audience from the feeling the song wanted to convey. The added touch in this song was the accompaniment of the orchestra that enhanced the presentation. In conclusion the song was good and although the nerves betrayed Wilfried, he deserved better than a last place.
Song 28 - “Pad Sem Enginn Ser” Daniel (ICELAND/1989)
Wayne Ralph - o how do you defend a song from the ignominy of the dreaded “nul points”? Do you go after the competition or do you argue for it on its merits? How about something from column A, something from column B and whole lot from the “How about those pants!” column ;) Just why did Daníel Ágúst (Haraldsson)’s song for Iceland "Það sem enginn sér" (What No One Sees) deserve a better showing at the 1989 Eurovision Song Contest? Ok, so I think we can all agree that no one was NOT SEEING Daníel’s pants. They were spectacular. Enough said. The Competition – arguably the 1989 Contest in Lausanne stunk more than a Swiss Gruyere. It was a very average year full of very average songs. I’d argue there were worse songs amongst the likes of Ireland, Cyprus, Belgium and Luxembourg who all received more points than Iceland. Check them out. Kiev Connolly from the Irish entry was absolutely dreadful…but jury voting hey #eye roll# The Song – the start of this song feels familiar but I just can’t put my finger on it yet…maybe those commenting can jog my memory. The song itself has an obvious style/sound and surely is giving a nod to new wave? It’s a slow burner but I really think it had enough in it to attract some votes. I’ll admit those pants are acting like a giant anchor in that he doesn’t move much and maybe he’s not quite hitting those notes, but there’s definitely a reason this one keeps popping up on those “most undeserving of nul points” lists. Finally, surely anyone singing in Icelandic should automatically get some points, it’s way hard. Yfir til þín (Over to you).
Song 29 - “Venedig Im Regen” Thomas Forstner (AUSTRIA/1991)
Michael Wing Lun - Austria's 1991 entry to Eurovision, held in Rome, was Venedig im Regen (Venice in the Rain) was sung by Thomas Forstner. It's a pretty ballad that is romantically tuneful and the recorded version is lovely to listen to. Sung proudly in German, he has a good clear voice. However, on the night of the competition, Thomas was unfortunately shaky. His voice started really well for about 30 seconds, before falling off key and sadly not managing to get it back on track. His brilliant blue costume with atouch of a sparkling short matadors jacket was certainly the Eurovision quirk that stood out as did the thenfashionable mullet haircut. His four backup singers did nothelp the song stand out. The staging was also a let down. Thomas has a beautiful smile and is emotionally invested but there is nothing special to make it stand out, especially compared to the fantastic singing, dancing and staging of the Swedish act, Carola, who brilliantly won that year. Perhaps his mishap and 22nd, last placing, was even more heartbreaking for fans and Austrians as he had achieved the then highest rank of 5th for Austria in 1989.
Song 30 - “Lopisine Mylimaj” Ovidijus Vysniauskas (LITHUANIA/1994)
Kent Acott - This gentle ballad is a Eurovision record holder! Its “nul points” in 1994 meant it finished last of the 25 countries and, as a result, represents the worst ever Eurovision performance by a country in its first year in the competition. It also meant we didn’t see Lithuania back at Eurovision until 1999. But is the song that bad? No! Ovidijus Vyšniauskas is a perfectly fine vocalist, lacking on-stage charisma by today’s standards, but delivering a heart-felt and engaging performance. The song, which translates to “Lullaby for My Beloved” and was written by Vyšniauskas, is simple and inoffensive. But its lack of appeal at the time was probably due to it not being as musically and lyrically adventurous as many of the other entries. Quite simply, it probably got lost in the night’s program – bearing in mind the 1994 contest in Dublin was won by the laid-back Irish story-song Rock ‘N’ Roll Kids (with its distinctive country-and-western twang) and the interval act was the dance spectacular Riverdance, featuring Michael Flatley. Lopšinė mylimai is worth a listen and deserves your vote.
Jefford Ray Mamacus - Lithuania had quite a rough start in the Eurovision since, in 1994, the country's first entry to Eurovision - "Lopšinė mylimai" by Ovidijus Vyšniauskas, got zero points in the finals. Roughly translating to "Lullaby for my Beloved", the song describes his beloved through idyllic comparisons with wine, flowers, and rain. Despite being a simple ballad, it effectively conveys great emotion - the interweaving of passion and longing for the one you love. It also pays homage to classic love songs of the 80s through its hints of jazz and slow rock. One should also note that this is the first time that a song in the Lithuanian language was heard in the competition, which, despite not being widely known, is a lovely and romantic language on its own. As for the song, with how poetic the metaphors were, this clearly deserves more than nul points. Ovidijus' emotional performance was also something that should not be left unnoticed. His raspy voice and ardent crooning gave the song depth and greatly complements what the song is all about. Its heartfelt (and often sentimental) mood served as a breath of fresh air, standing out against most upbeat pop songs of that year.
Song 31 - “Antes De Adeus” Celia Lawson (PORTUGAL/1997)
William Fedor - No words can describe why a great song like “Antes do adeus” from Portugal would do so poorly. Celia Lawson’s performance was flawless in the final, her vocals were spot on and the uniqueness of singing in Portuguese is more thrilling than listening to another droll song in English. Nothing beats the native tongue. Celia also looked amazing and did her best to own the song and keep you intrigued and engaged with her eyes. Granted, there is nothing special about the back-up singers apart from their cool look, they also sung in key and kept within the style of the song but with all the usual moves that one might find that come with groovy ballads such as “Antes do adeus”. Just what were people thinking when they failed to vote for Portugal. There were many other uninspiring songs sung on the night. There was no bad choreography or anyone singing off key. Some may say that it’s a slow song, but many songs are designed to be like that and I’ve heard a lot worse. Portugal deserved better and were robbed on the night.
Max Courval - This song definitely did not deserve zero points in any way, shape or matter. The whole song is very charming and romantic. The opening of the song is gorgeous and smoothly transitions to Celia Lawson's equally gorgeous voice. While the chorus sounds a tad repetitive, that has never stopped other Eurovision entries from doing well, or even winning! Her voice has a beautiful vibrato throughout the song, especially in the verse after the choruses. This song was most definitely robbed at Eurovision. The instruments used are also quite interesting and give the song quite a nice combination of classical vs. synthesized sounds. The song beautifully represents some of the most enigmatic and charming characteristics of Portuguese music.
Song 32 - “San Francisco” Tor Endresen (NORWAY/1997)
Ronny Addamo - It was an absolute tragedy that San Francisco scored the dreaded nil points in the 1997 contest. Let’s look at it in more detail…From the moment that first beat kicks in we hear a familiar sound, yes, the sound of anything Scandinavian for the time (And actually remained relevant for the next 5 or so years). Tor and his merry backups, complete with their crushed velveteen rainbow coloured shirts, are very much going retro with this entry. The lyrics of the song are clever. They dance with the national language ruling, which was in at the time, with as many sneaky English words as they could muster into the song. Perhaps seeing that the English songs were winning year after year at this point it was a very calculated move! Interestingly the Italian song this year, used a similar blue print and that was a big favourite! The lyrics themselves were also quite good. The lyrics are nostalgic with many name-drops. John Lennon gets a mention, as do Mamas and Papas, Hendrix, even Woodstock! The vocal delivery was on point, the superior ‘leg kick’ dance move had the full effect, we even heard a heavenly key change. I also think that it’s quite the crime that nobody took pity on the naughty crane camera sneaking right in front of view through the song.
Dimitri Karagianides - The lyrics ask you to remember a carefree time back in the late 1960s, with references to Woodstock, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix and the refrain “oh yeah, no gun, no war, no disco.” (Why no disco?) Tor came to sell nostalgia and “California dreamin’” by the bushel, and why not? It’s very faithful to general Eurovision themes, and delivered with a tasty layer of cheese and hip shaking, all while singing in Norwegian. This song may have fallen victim to people not understanding the lyrics but you need only listen carefully: it’s all right there!
Song 33 - “Lass Ihn” Gunvor (SWITZERLAND/1998)
Juan Camilo Barrero - Null points doesn’t mean a bad song, at least, Gunvor showed it so. Lovely and beautiful young woman; confident, strong and soft voice makes this song can fit in any time since It is a ballad that could perfectly be performed in a current Eurovision and that could sound up-to-date. However, many people agree that it was one of those songs that surely deserved some more points. When listening to the lyrics, German language never sounded more beautifully and softy, the message makes us feel identified since it transmits the impotence, some have felt at least once in a lifetime, when we were emotionally downcast for someone who is indifferent to us. The violin and the song complement each other; it doesn’t change the sequence of the story, and it makes a pleasant-for-ears transition while they show the stage that guides us to the singer who, by the way, always tried to make eye-contact with the camera to carry passion or show that magnificent gown which I personally agree with one of the commentators who said that year: “that dress sort of promised more than a delivery”. In short, catchy song, definitely deserved more, and didn’t disappoint.
Paulaina Ferrão - My sweet, sweet Switzerland! Despite the fact that you were the first country to ever host the Eurovision song contest back in 1956, you've been underrated several times, to the point of being awarded the dreaded 0 points 4 times, with one of these 0 points going to Gunvor in 1998. Charming and gracious Gunvor was only 23 when she represented Switzerland in ESC with a song called Lass' ihn (from German Let him) co-written by Egon Egemann. Lass' ihn is a smooth and heartfelt ballad whose lyrics describe a relationship between a woman and man who has cheated and abused her repeatedly. The song was the fifth performance of the night. Despite some stiffness from the dancers (who were also her back vocals) and some minor vocal fails, the overall performance was captivating, expressive and deserved more than the degrading 0 points. Was it the running order, was it the dancers?... why Gunvor got nul points remains a mystery. All I can say is, I'm sorry sweetie, you deserved better!
Song 34 - “Cry Baby” Jemini (UK/2003)
Andrew Bayley - When Chris Cromby and Gemma Abbey (as the group Jemini) performed Cry Baby in Latvia in 2003, they had the hopes and dreams of bringing the contest back to the United Kingdom after six years. Their historic 'nil points' result (a first for the United Kingdom) was, they say, unfair. Their off-key performance was a technical fault, they said. It was Europe's backlash against the United Kingdom's stance in the Iraq conflict, commentator Terry Wogan said. The tragedy didn't end there. After the show, the group's dressing room had been broken into and vandalised as they were fronting to media. Their record label dropped them, and Jemini was soon no more. Years later, Abbey was charged with social security fraud and given a suspended prison sentence for claiming a single mother's benefit after she was married. So you see, a nil points result isn't just for Eurovision, it's for life. So come on, people, the song and its performers have suffered enough shame. Give Cry Baby its time to shine and give it your points. It's a pop tune that delivers a strong Eurovision tempo. Just ignore the dancing, staging, Savers' wardrobe and bung notes technical faults... and enjoy!
Natalie Richards - Yes, the vocals are bloody awful and the outfits equally so but since when has perfection been a prerequisite for a good Eurovision entry? With Jemini you get the full, beautifully imperfect package - a catchy song, striking outfits (just checkout those fetching baggy jeans) and an on-stage chemistry money can't buy (Naviband 2007 eat your heart out. A winner it may not be but nil points? Don't make me cry cry laughing baby!
Song 35 - "Celebrate" Piero Esteriore & the MusicStars (SWITZERLAND/2004)
Aaron Paraiso - Celebrate by Piero and The Music Stars. I think that anyone would agree that it's not the most original, nor the greatest song ever sung. But zero points? That's going too far. First of all, the tune is very catchy. It manages to play in a loop in your head right after hearing it, whether you want it to or not. Yes, the melody is somewhat predictable and cliché, but in Eurovision, that's not always a bad thing. I can't help but giggle every time I hear the THUMP when the mic hits Piero's face at 00.40, that alone has gotta be worth at least a few points, right? Their stage performance was also full of energy and it seemed that the crowd felt it too. The various colours of their outfits also suit the upbeat feeling of the song. So did the coloured stars in the background. They wanted to create a happy atmosphere for everyone, full of bright colours and happy thoughts, and I feel that they at least succeeded in doing that. For them to not even score a single point in their semi, doesn't seem right.
Song 36 - “Black Smoke” Ann Sophie (GERMANY/2015)
Chris Hockman - Black Smoke was robbed in receiving zero points, and had more to do with a bizarre staging, than the quality of the song. The song is well written, and hits the Eurovision trope of being about love, and hitting the loss of love, Ann Sophie sings with passion, and you believe the pain she feels about the loss of love. In a year where a generic pop song dominated the voting, in Heroes, there was no reason for Black Smoke to not do well. Leading in to the contest, Black Smoke was reviewed favorably, because it is a good song, the chorus gets stuck in your head, which is largely the point of Eurovision songs, yet it didn’t hit with voters. It may perhaps have been too different, too much of a smooth track to appeal to voters, which is a shame as that was the big appeal of it. Why it got the dreaded nul points is perhaps due to two things, one Sophie was reportedly sick all week, making rehearsals hard, and meaning her voice wasn’t at its best. The other? The odd staging, it doesn’t matter how nice your backside is, the audience doesn’t want to look at it the whole song.
Dennis Flores - Although Ann Sophie’s entry for Eurovision 2015 was the actual runner-up of the German National Final, a nul points finish was underserved for this song. Battling a cold, Ann Sophie still managed to give a performance that rivaled on a level of professionalism compared with other entries in the Grand Final that year. Opting for a simplistic approach in staging without pyrotechnics, faulty smoke machines, light-up neon light clothing, or even burning fake piano, Ann Sophie’s entry had each vocalist standing in front of a vintage-style spotlight paired with screens reminiscent of a James Bond film further contributing to the cool vibes of the song. Ann Sophie sang well for being under the weather during her time in Vienna, and she was still able to throw in some attitude with her sultry looks at the camera. Her song was unique, it was not the typical Eurovision song about love or world peace but about an on-going breakup, and its sound mixed contemporary and retro elements. With 3.1 million views on YouTube, 20,135 likes (with only 2,387 dislikes), it is an injustice that this song only managed to place 20th among the juries and 25th with the televoters.
Michele Acott - Andreas Kummert won Unser Song für Österreich but gave away his Eurovision spot to runner up Anne Sophie. I wonder if he regrets it…..I bet Germany does! In Germany's fifty-ninth Eurovision appearance in2015 "Black Smoke" finished in last place, making it the sixth time they had placed last in the history of the competition and the third time they had received nul points. I think the song needed second listen to be appreciated - perhaps it was hamstrung by going straight to the final. I saw her in rehearsal and she seemed like a real perfectionist. Anne Sophie gave a strong and sassy performance. She was styled well and looked confident in her cat-suit, high sleek hair bun and killer stilettos. She has a uniquely soulful and funky voice and the song is perfect for her voice and character. You could believe in what she was singing because she believed it too. She had the sexy moves and gave some booty wags to the camera. It’s good to see Anne Sophie be able to poke fun at herself in this clip “We Are The Zero’s of Our Time”
Song 37 - “I Am Yours” The Makemakes (AUSTRIA/2015)
Tony Peter - I was happy to be chosen for the song as Vienna is the only Eurovision Song Contest that I’ve ever attended and I have good memories of seeing The Makemakes perform this one live. Did it deserve 0 points? Of course not. The song is very easy to listen to. A sort of a stripped back rock ballad that just sits in the pocket. The lyrics are meaningful and the performance came across as genuine. Overall, it has a very familiar feel about it which should have resonated with some of the jury and public voters. Also, how burning a piano live of stage didn’t attract one measly vote I’ll never know. In further defence of this song, they came across as really nice guys. They turned up to support Guy Sebastian at his event for fans in Vienna at the Down Under Aussie Bar and also showed some humility with their “We are the zeros of our time” video. Probably some reasons why they lucked out on the score board are the running order wasn’t very friendly and there were some powerhouse countries with good songs that year who gobbled up a lot of the points on offer. But still, “I am Yours” should have scored at least some points anytime, any place!
Fred Medeiros - "I Am Yours" is a classic soft rock ballad in the style of many singer/songwriter types that was beautifully delivered and heartfeltly sung. The trio interpreted their feelings on a highly competitive Eurovision stage in their home country of Austria in 2015. So why did they finish with the dreaded nil points and also did they deserve to finish last in their host country? In a short answer, no. These lyrics could speak to any ill-fated relationship where one is still clearly in love with the other. Forever longing for the day to get another chance to prove their love. A truly touching song of promising that even though we have a past, if you decide to try again, "I Am Yours." Dodo, Markus and Florian were extremely laid-back and likable guys plus with a good wash were sexy as hell. Not taking themselves to seriously, even joked on the night after Måns had won that they were "the zeroes of our times." Three good looking lads pouring their hearts out with a black burning piano, the epitome of Eurovision staging, what more could you ask for? Don't worry guys, at least I will always utter "I Am Yours."
Kenneth Campos - I discovered Eurovision in 2015 and I fell in love with the contest. Every single song was amazing for me, even the songs that didn't classify to the Grand Final. I was thinking as a jury and for me was very difficult to give points only to 10 countries! (I was able to define the distribution points better in 2016 and 2017). Then, the last winner was Rise Like a Phoenix, a powerful ballad and I think everybody was expecting other kind of music from Austria and they showed another ballad. Was it a wrong decision? Unfortunately I think so. Now I am wondering… could this song obtain at least a place in the top 10 in another Eurovision Song Contest? Yes, I am pretty sure. What about the stage? Well… Very appropriate for this kind of song. Also the guys provided a lot of passion in their performance. And the piano´s flame was unexpected for everybody!! Finally, the lyrics makes me believe in true and pure feelings, and for me this is enough reason to give points! Don´t you?