back to article Eurovision Song Contest uncorks 1975 vote shocker: No 'Nul point'!

Voting for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest has undergone its biggest overhaul in nearly 40 years. The Eurovision Song Contest final in May will for the first time record the votes of viewers – sent via SMS, phone and app – and judges separately. Before, votes from each country were combined to produce a total score. Now …

  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson


    I do not think this will change my many decades long habit of ignoring the event

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Somehow

      Still a waste of Money for a complete farce. Even worse since Terry W stopped taking the piss out of it.

      No matter how much 'fiddling while it burns' we'll never win the damm thing again.

      time to pension it off any used the money for something else.

      1. Graham Triggs

        Re: Somehow

        Eurovision gets around 7 - 10million viewers in the UK (usually about half the TV audience for a Saturday), and 200 million viewers globally.

        Guess what, supreme being - every single penny spent on TV productions doesn't have to be done so to please you.

        1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects


          > Guess what, supreme being - every single penny spent on TV productions doesn't have to be done so to please you.

          I don't think they have done that for me since I outgrew the Lone Ranger. Watching John Wayne knocking the same white injuns out the same saddles every six months soon got old. he should have gone to war with the real men instead of marrying an unamerican.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Somehow

        @Steve Davies 3

        It's not a waste of money, I found a new love for Poland through Donatan & Cleo, take our jobs but bring us milk please.

        Disclaimer: For the avoidance of doubt the above comment contains heavy sarcasm, it's like normal sarcasm but it contains osmium.

        1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

          Re: Somehow

          > like normal sarcasm but it contains osmium

          Doner Osmium?

          Or is that in the wrong group?

          1. CrazyOldCatMan

            Re: Somehow

            > Doner Osmium?

            I suspect that's what the local kebab van uses..

      3. veti Silver badge

        Re: Somehow

        Look, the thing that people forget about "bread and circuses" is that at least we get bread and circuses, right? That's better than ... not having them, isn't it?

        I mean, I'm not saying we shouldn't sweat the big stuff, absolutely we should. But can't we also pick up the crumbs of entertainment while we do so? Everyone likes a good laugh, and surely there are few sights more risible than Eurovision.

    2. John Hughes

      Re: Somehow

      You ignore it so much that you are forced to make the first comment on any article that mentions it.

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Somehow

      It was only ever worth watching to see how badly the 1970s-tech scoring system and international phone links broke down. Once they got that all sorted it took the fun out if it.

      Modern technology, ruins everything...

      1. Vincent Ballard

        Re: Somehow

        Not true. It's worth watching to take the mick out of it. Just don't take it seriously.

        1. VinceH

          Re: Somehow

          "It's worth watching to take the mick out of it."


          I never used to bother with the contest - but a couple of years ago, I lined up some cans of cider and sat down to watch it, making silly comments on The Twitter as I went - and I had a jolly good laugh doing so.

          I did it again last year, and will continue to do so in future.

          Don't anyone suggest that it's because I'm a Billy No-Mates with nowhere to go on a Saturday night, because if you do I'll be forced to, er... nod my head.

          1. x 7

            Re: Somehow

            " I'm a Billy No-Mates"

            FFS condoms are cheap enough, go and buy some

            1. VinceH

              Re: Somehow

              "condoms are cheap enough, go and buy some"

              I have a packet here that I'm thinking of taking along to the Antiques Roadshow to get valued.

      2. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Somehow

        to see how badly things broke down

        As I understand it, that was one of the big drivers to set the competition up in the first place; it was very, very difficult to do technically and was a good opportunity for broadcast engineers from around Europe (and then the globe) to get together and design - and test in a live environment - interoperable systems. In a sense, the competition itself was a byproduct. They needed an "excuse" to do a massive multi-way-linked outside broadcast.

        Don't forget that it started a mere three years after the 1953 coronation, when doing an OB from around London to the UK and the commonwealth involved an extraordinary amount of technical innovation, and the commonwealth got their "OB" delivered by aircraft as soon as the film was developed.

        Things progressed enormously quickly, but also relatively slowly (sorry). For example, when I worked in local radio in the mid 1990s, I remember the fuss we had trying to get "a line" to Spain for an important football match. It involved an awful lot of preparation and negotiation with various suppliers just to get 8kHz audio back from the stadium. I think in the end the news department decided that although it was a very important match, the cost and the risk of it all failing (or the OB kit being lost in transit) wasn't worth it, and they did the commentary over an ordinary telephone line. Literally six months later we installed ADSL and it was now possible to get 8kHz audio to and from almost anywhere in the world as simply and as reliably as a POTS call.

        You are absolutely right. These days technology has made it all too easy.


      3. Jedit

        " only ever worth watching to see how badly the scoring system broke down"

        That's not true, there are always the gaffes to look forward to. The year when Slovenia's hosts excitedly awarded their own country 12 points despite not qualifying for the finals was a highlight.

    4. Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

      Eurovision Songs

      It's what the opposite of music sounds like.

      1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

        Purilversion Songs

        > It's what the opposite of music sounds like.

        No that's Stravinsky.

        Purilvision is about music squared. Winners go on to Muzak cubed and Supermarketing CDed.

    5. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Somehow

      Some of you will know what a tolerant individual I am, but when Euro-la-la-land turned down our Bonnie Tyler, that was it.

      You're dead to me, Eurovision, dead I say.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Somehow

        It won't be the same without Wogan anyway. :(

  2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    no nurl pwunt?

    Not quite sure how public voting will guarantee neel zero pwunto.

    According to Eurotosh there are still about 194 countries in Europe (obviously including Australia and half of Asia) and not all the songs will be up tho their normal, brilliant standard and deserving of marks.

    Aha! just worked it out! There'll be internal 'select a candidate' country competitions then regional quarters/semis/finals then continental quarters/semis/finals then the full Euro-thing but only for the final ten teams to guarantee points ... The competition can be stretched out to about six months of abject pain, rake in loads of 'telephone voting by Mr and Mrs Gullible' dosh, and have so many "the winner is ... ... ... ..."

    "... ... ... ..."

    ffs ... get on with it!

    "... ... ... ..."

    trailers ...

    that everyone will be sick of the hype before it starts ...

    1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      See what I am missing

      Not having a TV license I only have to put up with threatening letters once a month. Is that what being married is like?

      OH fuck. I'm married to the BBC. OH fuck!! when did that happen?

      The fucking BBC rohipnolled me like Bill Cosby. Bastards! How do I stop them suing me?

  3. John Hughes

    Nul points.

    The UK has scored nul points once.

    Meanwhile Norway and Austria have racked up four, Germany, Switzerland Spain and Finland 3...

    Let's face it, the UK isn't even good at losing.


    Bring back convicted child molester J. King Esq. to run it.

    He'd give it a right sorting out and no mistake.

  5. Robert Ramsay

    Good idea!

    Just a shame they had to wait until after Terry Wogan died! He stopped presenting it because of the dodgy voting blocks...

  6. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

    It was a time when ...

    > ... the Euro elite really did have its hands on the knobs of power

    Added "knobs of power" to my dickshunary, thanks. Any Australian readers? VB ---->

  7. Jason Bloomberg


    I don't see how it's going fix any of the perceived problems unless I have misunderstood what the 'public vote' actually is. It looks to me like it's just another voting panel added on at the end.

    Runaway Winner: Will still happen when one act is so far ahead that no one else can catch up. The 12 points from the public jury won't change anything if the winner is already 13 points ahead.

    Nul points: Will still happen if no jury or public votes go to a country.

    Regional voting: Will still happen. The UK jury will vote for Ireland, Ireland's jury will vote for the UK, and it's not really that much of a problem seeing as how blocs are rather small and Eurovision delivers diverse results every year.

    The biggest spoiling of the climax is that Eurovision themselves choose to announce a winner before all votes are in. It may be obvious that there is an inevitable winner but it puts a complete dampener on everything which follows once that is declared. It destroys the enjoyment of those happy to pretend the field is still wide open until the last vote is cast. It is after all only entertainment.

    1. Graham Triggs

      Re: Huh?

      re: Runaway winner - it sounds like they are intending to "hold back" the votes to be added at the end, so you don't know how it might swing it.

      An alternative might just be to hide the scores on the leaderboard until the end - have the positions updated according to the points as they are awarded, but don't show the totals to the public or commentators until the end.

      If someone wants to go through adding them all up themselves, they'll see a runaway winner, but for everyone else, you would just know who is leading, but not by how much until it was over. Then you would have the perception that it might change.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Nul points: Will still happen if no jury or public votes go to a country."

      I don't think you have read the article. Each country can award from 1 point up, so how can the total be zero?

      1. muddysteve

        Re: "Nul points: Will still happen if no jury or public votes go to a country."

        Countries vote for their top 10 and they cannot vote for themselves. I don't see how this eliminates nil points.

    3. David Webb

      Re: Huh?

      From what I gather. First the judges votes are given out, so the scoreboard lines up with all the countries and their points. They then start from the bottom and give the bottom country it's peoples vote, so the country that was last might suddenly find themselves in 10th place.

      Repeat until the very end so you may not know who the winner is until the very last vote comes in, with lots and lots of movement around the table. Of course, if there is an overwhelming winner (think Alexander Rybek) then there may be no catching him, although the top 4 places are worth a total of 48 points so even then it could be close until they get the final votes in.

    4. Jason Bloomberg

      Re: Huh?

      Eurovision's official announcement is here...

      And their short video sums it up...

      The public jury in each voting country award points (1 to 8, 10, 12) to the 10 songs they most like. Those points are all then added up; so if 40 countries are voting, all give 10 points to country X, 400 points will be added to country X.

      That would seem to make the winner less predictable until the very end, but not necessarily avoid the Nul Points problem nor will it prevent Bloc Voting though it will hide it better.

      The official "ESC" key -->

    5. Velv

      Re: Huh?

      43 Countries vote

      Each Country has a jury vote and a public vote

      The votes of each of the 43 juries will be announced as before - that's 43*12,10,8-1 points

      The public votes will then be announced (another 43*12,10,8-1), but this time they'll be announced in one allocation as a total across all 43. So if one song got all 43 public 12 points, they'd get 516 points in the public round.

      I can't believe I even bothered to read the article never mind comment

      1. Geoff May

        Re: Huh?

        I can't believe I even bothered to read the article never mind comment

        I am glad you did read the article and explain, it saves me having to do that.

        Have a thumbs up for your efforts.

  8. Zork-1

    Country with largest population wins?

    Not that I care much about this contest but wouldn't it favour countries with very large populations of people or bots?

    These kind of voting are always susceptible to manipulations.

    Now if only all these (automated) voters pay my a penny each time they vote instead of to the premium numbers.

    1. jaywin

      Re: Country with largest population wins?

      Each country will generate a top-ten from it's phone votes. Points are then allocated to those top ten and added to the points from the top ten's from the other countries. This means country size is irrelevant.

    2. Andrew Jones 2

      Re: Country with largest population wins?

      A country cannot vote for itself, so it wouldn't matter if the country made up 96% of the worlds population - they can't vote for themselves.

  9. JimmyPage

    If someone wants to go through adding them all up themselves

    I once shared a house with an Irish chap, whose brother spent all 1985s ESC with a pad, drawing a grid to "prove" the rest of Europe was out to "get the Irish".

    Well, I say all ESC, we went down the pub. But when we got back, he had filled it all out ....

    Only one icon for that memory ....

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: If someone wants to go through adding them all up themselves

      He was predicting the 2008- banking crisis.

      Years ahead of his time.

  10. Nya

    Will voting leave in the referendum get rid of this annual annoyance also? If so think the leave campaign is stronger than it looks!

    1. jaywin

      No, the EBU (organisers of the Eurovision Song Contest) are nothing to do with the EU. Hence countries like Russia, Azerbaijan and Norway are competitors.

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        And Israel. And formerly Morocco and Tunisia.

        Apparently China wanted to join last year, but - inexplicably - the EBU said "Nope."

        1. Ogi

          " inexplicably - the EBU said "Nope."

          Replace "inexplicably" with "didn't offer enough cash to the right people. I don't think it is a geographical constraint on who can join Eurovision, just depends on whether enough palms are greased, and whether the expense is worth it for the country that wants to partake.

          1. chris coreline

            EBU/EDF is a broadcast organisation - its an infrastructure; if you watch any european football you are probably watching it over something they own; 'Eurovision' is just the brand.

            In short, its as much 'palm greasing and paper envelopes' as renting a DVD is grand larceny and manslaughter.

  11. Deltics

    Anyone who thinks this will end bloc/political voting lives in a wonderful world.

    Which unfortunately exists only inside their own head.

  12. TeeCee Gold badge

    It was a time when the Euro elite really did have its hands on the knobs of power and really didn’t care about you, with your opinions.

    Wrong. Back then, they were only able to stitch up a meaningless song contest. These days however.......

  13. Dr. G. Freeman

    Can I vote to get some decent songs on it ?

    Been too long since Lordi.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Heh. It's convenient: me and SWMBO got wed the day they won, so I just have to check Wikipedia to find out an anniversary...

  14. Mephistro

    I wonder wether...

    ... we'll be able to sue the Eurovision contest at the EHCR. It violates the Geneva Convention, the Declaration of human rights, several animal rights covenants, and also good taste. And in the case of good taste, "violates" is too mild a word!

    A tip for the Merkin Government: If they find a way to rid us of this blight, we Europeans may be more inclined to accept TTIP!!!

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: I wonder wether...

      Ha. Eurovision is a forerunner of all modern reality shows, a prototype of the genre that has basically taken over most of American TV.

      If the Americans had any fault to find in it, they'd say it was over too quickly. What, a low-key national contest lasting a few weeks, then one lousy evening's viewing and it's all over? Ha, they could figure out a way string it out over six months, easily.

    2. ShadowDragon8685

      Re: I wonder wether...

      Nah, we love to have the Eurovision Song Contest running. For a little while, it distracts you Europeans so we can meddle in the rest of the world's affairs without having you nag us.

      I mean, except for that one time we meddled IN the ESC... It was a slow year, and we felt like trollin' a bit.

      Also, it's worth it for the inevitable post-Eurovision strip of Scandanavia and the World.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I wonder wether...

        Europe's Got Talent?

  15. OzBob

    Let's face it

    we could get the creative team from VIZ to run the Eurovision coverage and still get a classier event than we get right now.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    pushing the envelope>How To Get Maximum Points!

    How about we dig up Sir Tell, then get Roger de Coursey to stick his arm up ol'Tells dragons nostril, then get him to mime to his hit classic 'The Floral Dance'? Tasteless, YES, Outrageous, ABSOLUTELY, Illegal.....not so sure, but it would get everyones imagination fired up for the next Eurovision and bring Ventriloquism into the 20th Century!

  17. druck Silver badge

    It's dead, it's an ex-contest

    Look dear old Wogan has popped his clogs, just let Eurovision die with him, as even he got fed up with it in the end.

  18. Joe 37

    Feeling smug :)

    Last watched TV 25 years ago.

    Another in the long list of things I haven't missed.

  19. Jan 0 Silver badge

    'Nul Points' for ElReg

    Should a tech hack think that there was no Internet in the 1970s?

    Oh and it's "points" not "point", it's just normal counting just like in English: "zero points, one point, two points, three points,...., N points".

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: 'Nul Points' for ElReg

      Beat me to it, Jan 0. Have a pint of whatever on me :-)

  20. heyrick Silver badge

    Please tell me the semi finals won't be on BBC THREE any more

    As that'll make it unavailable to overseas ex pats, those with crappy internet, etc etc.

    1. jaywin

      Re: Please tell me the semi finals won't be on BBC THREE any more

      It's quite likely it won't be on BBC Three, what with that no longer being a television channel...

      Semi's are on BBC Four, along with our national selection programme next Friday.

  21. Doctor Evil

    Could we have another rules amendment while we're at it, please?

    The winning country should have to keep the performer(s) appearing for them -- permanently. This would mean that Québécoise chanteuse Céline Dion now belongs to ... Switzerland!

    (No -- thank YOU, Helvetia. You're most welcome! And could we have Shania back now, please?)

  22. dan1980

    But the best thing about Eurovision (Polish milk-maids aside) is the word "Azerbaijan" being repeated ad-nauseum!

  23. Terry 6 Silver badge

    No No No

    All the fun in the Eurovisions was after the dreadful performances, which were best not actually watched, instead just watching the quick run through of the runners and riders that comes before the voting. You only need to watch a few seconds to see which ones are bonkers, awful, sort of OK etc.

    Then, the fun is in seeing the votes mount up and trying to guess if the UK would get any points/do better than the French, whether any of the Scandiwegians, Balkans or former USSR countries wouldn't vote for the usual neighbours. Who wins is of absolutely no interest to anyone other than the contestants and their f&fs. Oh and the countries who can't afford to host it next time so are desperate to lose.

  24. John Savard Silver badge

    There Used to Be

    There used to be some quite good songs coming out of Eurovision... not even necessarily just the winners:

    1958: Nel Blu Dipinto Del Blu/Volare

    1960: Tom Pilibi

    1961: Al di la, and also Valoa Ikkunassa

    1962: Tipi-tii

    1963: A Force du Prier

    1964: Non ho l'eta

    1965: Poupee de cire, poupee de son

    1966: A Man Without Love, and also Ce soir j'attendais

    1967: L'amour est bleu/Love is Blue, and also Puppet on a String

    1968: La la la, and also Ein Hoch der Liebe, and also La Source

    1970: All Kinds of Everything, and also Knock Knock Who's There

    1971: Jack in the Box

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: There Used to Be

      So, nothing at all in the last 45 years then?

      1. Steve Knox

        Re: There Used to Be

        And who could forget 1996's "My Lovely Horse"?

  25. Winkypop Silver badge

    It's a parody, a poe, no? ........NO?

    Oh, my bad.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Waddya mean 'When' ?

    It was a time when the Euro elite really did have its hands on the knobs of power and really didn’t care about you, with your opinions.

    Its always been like that.

  27. Likkie

    I don't think so...

    In the article it suggests that the new voting system will address the following 3 issues:

    1. "Runaway winners, where a winner has been clear for 20 minutes and final votes that are counted don’t matter because the acts cannot statistically close the gap."

    They already have a system which calculates the best order to announce votes so as to prolong revealing the result. The new voting system won't affect that.

    2. "Nul points: the unenviable position, enjoyed by Norway and Le Royaume-Uni, where one act gets, er, nothing."

    The new voting system doesn't address that at all. If no-one likes a song it still won't get any votes although the chance of that happening is reduced.

    3. "Regional voting: where voting blocks are formed based on regional loyalties or simmering regional resentments, producing decades of finals in just one place: Baku."

    I don't see how this issue is addressed either. Its quite likely that the general public of a country will hold the same loyalties/resentments as the jury.

    The only thing I can see it actually doing is removing the possibility that the Jury can override the outcome of the public vote which is fine by me :)

  28. Christian Berger

    I like it how the ESC brings people from all kinds of countries together...

    ... in order to complain about it.

    But on a more technical note. If you watch the early ones from the 1950s you can sense what a technical achievement this was. After all it originally was meant as a tech demo, showing that trans European programme exchange was possible, despite of countries having vastly different TV standards and no satellites or VTRs being available. Back then recording a TV show meant pointing a film camera to a monitor. Getting a video image from Germany (626 lines) to France (819? lines) meant pointing a video camera pointing at a monitor (and some trickery to get them synchronised).

    In fact in the 2nd contest, the first entry had to be repeated as the Eurovision network broke down. And in the end, when the votes were phoned in, you could actually hear the distance on the telephone with some countries being barely readable.

    BTW there's some rather cool stuff given out by the EBU for free. For example they have a technical phasebook, listing the words for expressions like "disk access time" or "interlacing artefact" in several languages.

    1. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: I like it how the ESC brings people from all kinds of countries together...

      Yes, it was 819 lines in France for black and white television - and 405 lines in Britain. Everywhere else, it was the same 625 lines as is today used for color television in Europe.

      1. Christian Berger

        Re: I like it how the ESC brings people from all kinds of countries together...

        Well except for the US... who had 525 lines and switched from 60 Hz field frequency to 60000/1001 Hz when they went to colour.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who cares about voting, when that starts its time to turn it off - isn't the objective to do well but not to actually win it? A mistake made by Norway in 2009 I believe - the national TV company having to dump its World Cup coverage in 2010 so it could afford to broadcast that years Eurovision final.

    But for me the show offers 3 things: the amazing technology that is the stage set, some of the songs and performances are actually quite good (especially if you can appreciate singing that's not in your native language) and of course there is usually a fair amount of eye candy that isn't the stage set.

  30. jake Silver badge

    I first ran across ESC in 1974 ...

    ... as a Yank schoolboy in Yorkshire. I was appalled. It was hideous.

    Then in self-defense, I discovered John Peel and Radio Caroline.

    ESC has been a completely laughable institution since I was first exposed to it, over 40 years ago.

  31. Nattrash

    So EuroVision is becoming more like the Voice...

    ... or Idols ...

    ... or Brittain got talent...

    ... or The Apprentice...

    ... or Big Brother...

    ... or

    There isn't something on, is there? Really?

    Am I bothered? Ask me if I'm bothered. I'm off to the pub....

  32. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    I used to watch every year.

    Not the acts, they're rubbish. It was Terry Wogan's commentary during the voting that I liked. Norton is better than I thought he would be - but he's not a patch on Tel.

  33. x 7

    knobs of power?

    "the Euro elite really did have its hands on the knobs of power "

    So its true? The euro-elite really do pull the strings of the politicians?

  34. x 7

    Personally I think the show is discredited by all the flashy clothing worn by the competitors. Viewers and voters are distracted by the bling, and in many cases by the overt nationalism shown by some of the clothing on display.

    It would be better if the competitors displayed in the nude, and without their nationality being mentioned until the end. That way any unwanted "national" sentiment is removed, and any visual distraction afforded by the clothing is removed.

    Naked performances - much fairer for all

  35. LINCARD1000

    From a dirty foreigner's POV....

    I love it.

    Politics aside, it's just plain entertaining. Even the utterly horrible entries are entertaining if for nothing else but the train-wreck effect. And every now and then there are some truly great songs, although I wish more countries would sing in their native tongues even if the words are unintelligible; as someone else pointed out, you don't have to understand what they're saying if the way they're presenting it is beautiful.

    Even though they never get anywhere, it's also rather neat to see some of the comedy entries from countries who know damned well they're not going to win, but go out there and have a good time anyway.

    It's very easy for some to take it too seriously, get upset with the politics and the fact that it's several hours of Euro-fluff, but from my POV, it's just great entertainment.

    As an aside, I happened to be living in Norge when they won in 2009 (I think it was). The partying in the streets afterward was something to behold. Was at a EV party hosted by a work friend and everyone there went absolutely mental. Great times. So down vote away as I know I'm in the minority here based on most of the comments so far, but just understand that from the outside some people just accept and enjoy it for the outrageous, silly but fun spectacle that it is.

    1. x 7

      Re: From a dirty foreigner's POV....

      downvoted as requested, but also for being a bloody sadist

  36. LINCARD1000

    @x7 - I LIKE PAIN :-)

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