Someone has to finish last at Eurovision — and frequently it’s been the artists singing for a microstate. These smallest of countries — Andorra, San Marino and Monaco — have virtually no diaspora vote. And as a result of their tiny music scenes, they have at times had to borrow singers from other countries (see Turkey’s Serhat, for instance).
Please note: Luxembourg, which finished last in 1958, 1960 and 1970, is small but it is not considered a microstate. Andorra, the largest microstate, has a population of around 86,000, while Luxembourg has around 580,000 inhabitants (making it more populous than both Iceland and Malta). For a full discussion of the definition of a microstate, you can consult this paper on microstate sovereignty, statehood and significance.
In any case, we’ve dusted off our history books and compiled the 5 worst last-place finishes (based on position) for microstates since the competition began in ye olde times, 1956.
5. Monaco 1959 | Last Place: 11th – 1 point
Kicking things off is Monaco — a microstate that hasn’t competed since 2006. In 1959 Jacques Pills had the honour of singing “Mon ami Pierrot”, Monaco’s first-ever entry. Despite his playful gestures, sweet performance and Serge Gainsbourg sound, he came last with just one point. Nice background, though?
4. Monaco 1966 | Last Place: 17th – 0 points
Another Monegasque entry occupies fourth place — “Bien Plus Fort” performed by Téréza. Typical of entries during this era, the short and sweet performance lasted just 1 minute and 59 seconds. Clearly that wasn’t long enough to connect with voters. Despite Téréza’s spirited performance and undeniably strong vocals, the hook is hard to remember. Téréza earned ‘nil points’, marking Monaco’s only other last place finish at Eurovision.
3. San Marino 2017 | Last Place: 18th (semi) – 1 point
San Marino’s latest attempt at Eurovision, “Spirit of the Night” brought together Eurovision fan favourite Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson — an American singer who once portrayed Barack Obama in a musical production. The pair could sing and they seemed to have fun. But not even their energy, technicolour staging and a myriad of key changes could elevate a sub-par song. San Marino finished last with just one point, which has discouraged its broadcaster as it ponders future participation.
2. San Marino 2008 | Last Place: 19th (semi) – 5 points
San Marino’s first-ever entry at Eurovision is arguably one of its most under-rated. Miodio’s “Complice” was a genuine effort at respectable rock — it had a memorable chorus and was delivered by a competent singer. Despite being joined on stage by an entire band and a somewhat drunk dancer floating around in a bed sheet, Miodio received only 5 points…and a big fat last place finish.
1. Andorra 2006 | Last Place: 23rd (semi) – 8 points
Topping the list — or, rather, coming bottom — is Jennifer from Andorra. Despite oozing sultriness and sass, Jenny failed to stir Athens with “Sense Tu” — her made-for-diva ditty. A dodgy backing vocalist, a lack of colour and an uninspiring key change didn’t help. Nor did her lingerie-wearing, burlesque backing dancers. They earned her last place — and 10 Hail Marys!
What do you think of the entries on the list? Did any of these songs actually deserve last place? Should the microstates of Europe continue to enter Eurovision? Or is it time for San Marino, the last microstate standing, to bow out with grace? Let us know in the comments section below.