While Måns Zelmerlöw was celebrating Sweden’s sixth victory on Saturday night, and Russia and Italy were also being congratulated on their high scores, something else was happening down at the other end of the points table: two countries had received nil points.

As scores were revealed it became apparent that neither host country Austria nor its neighbour Germany had received any points – not even from each other. While Måns was celebrating with his glass microphone, Ann Sophie and The Makemakes had to come to terms with their unfortunate scores. And this year’s nil points situation is the even rarer double nil points, previously only seen in 1983 and 1997.

The last time a nil points situation happened was in 2003 when UK act Jemini had their saucy pop song turn into a hot mess when singer Gemma started in the wrong key.

Jemini’s disaster has cemented the idea of nil points being the mark of a terrible song, but if we look back further, the songs that score nil points aren’t especially awful, just unlucky. Here’s Iceland’s nil-pointer, Daníel Ágúst with his quite good song “Það sem enginn sér” from 1989. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

https://youtu.be/O5AW_Gc9w1s

The positive vote

With the Eurovision voting system, viewers can only vote for a song, not against one. If there’s a song you don’t like, you can not vote for it or you can vote for other songs, but you can’t punish it somehow with a negative vote.

So more often than not, songs that score nil points are those that just haven’t inspired enough viewers to vote for them, not ones that have committed a heinous crime against music.

Both “Black Smoke” and “I Am Yours” aren’t terrible songs. They were good enough to win their respective national finals (though Ann Sophie took a more dramatic route to get there) and indeed the Wiwi Jury didn’t think they were all that bad either.

But there were warning signs. While bookies had Montenegro with the lowest chance to win, Austria and Germany’s chances were pretty low as well.

Both countries also performed directly in the grand final, skipping the extra level of quality control and experience that the semi-finals offer. It’s been speculated that since the semi-final system was introduced in 2004, this has essentially removed the weaker songs that would have previously ended up with nil points in the grand final. But direct qualifiers avoid this, leaving their untested songs at the mercy of juries and viewers.

Blessed or cursed?

Is nil points a curse? Norwegian singer Jahn Teigen, the first to score nil points under the modern voting system, embraced his Eurovision experience and returned to the competition twice more, eventually reaching ninth place in 1983. Fellow nil-point Norwegian Tor Endresen made it to the Gold Final of Melodi Grand Prix this year, duetting with former Eurovision winner Elisabeth Andreassen.

Norway – who are the unluckiest country with four nil-points – have also managed to win the competition three times, including Alexander Rybak’s monumental victory in with “Fairytale” in 2009.

It’s easy to speculate about what it was that cursed Germany and Austria. Was it The Makemakes’ barbecue piano? Did Ann Sophie’s single earring bother viewers?

While no one wants to end up with nil points, it’s not the end of the world. Both The Makemakes and Ann Sophie seem to be taking it with good humour, each making a fun parodies where they turned the chorus of “Heroes” into “We are the zeroes of our time”. Maybe they could team up with Ann Sophie and record a song to celebrate their rare achievement of double nil points.

Why do you think Ann Sophie and The Makemakes ending up with nil points? Was it fair? Is this the end of their music careers or just the beginning? Share your comments below.

 

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Eglaf
Guest
Eglaf

It can happen to every country, but for me it’s really unexpected for a host to score nil points. The German one wasn’t a bad song. The Austrian, well, it wasn’t bad also, but I didn’t like it very much.
Anyway, did you now that The Makemakes are special guests of OneRepublic on the concert in Skopje which will take place on 1st June? (BTW, the tickets cost around 20 Euros)

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

“While no one wants to end up with nil points, it’s not the end of the world.” It certainly was for Jemini in 2003. For the 5-time winning U.K. to go home with no points was considered such a huge disgrace, that their dressing room was vandalized, they were dropped by their record label and their album was never released. Were it to have happened to any country other than U.K., Ireland and what is now the rest of the Big 5,the contender might have been forgiven (consider Tor from Norway and Célia from Portugal in 1997). At least, I… Read more »

Sal
Guest
Sal

Yes, the televoters can’t vote against a song, but the juries certainly can!

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

Methinks Andreas saw the roster for this year’s contest, heard the songs, saw the videos, came to the conclusion that once again Germany had no chance of finishing in the top-half of the board because he figured his song was not good enough, and saw the possibility or another very low placing, let alone a nul-point score, and withdrew from participation and gave his spot to Ann Sophie to save himself the embarrassment and/or ridicule. But unfortunately, the chances are, he might still get blamed for it, anyway.

beccaboo1212
Guest

I’m here for two reasons:

1) For the second year in a row, another horrible song from Austria!

2) The “Heroes” parody was hilarious!!

Thales
Guest
Thales

I totally agree with Alex.
Btw, Germany got the 11th spot in Poland, Belgium and Denmark.

Aussie Dave
Guest
Aussie Dave

Was this Austria’s ‘My Lovely Horse’?

Zach
Guest
Zach

I just love both songs, I thought they were both fabulous on the night. I’ve always had a thing for “Black Smoke” though the stage presence could have been a little better, I thought it was great for the song. The night of the contest was the first time I really listened to The Makemakes song, I never gave it chance before then, but I instantly feel in love that’s why I was so shocked neither got any points at all even watching themselves not voting for each other. I still believe they are both talented artists and will have… Read more »

Alex
Guest
Alex

To me, this is in large part due to the change in the voting system back in 2013, when the juries started having to rank all the songs from first to last, with ALL the placements being averaged. It used to be that only the top 10 from each ranking would be averaged. This essentially necessitates all entries to have top 15 (or so) support from BOTH televote and juries for them to have any reasonable probability at getting points from a given country. And it leads to phenomena like Austria and Germany getting no points despite having some top-10… Read more »

Patrike
Guest
Patrike

Statistics wouldn’t agree that it is an advantage to be in a semi-final. This year, you would expect roughly 40% of the directly qualified (so, roughly 3 songs) to be at the very bottom. They are the songs that would have blended in with the 40% of semi-finalists that did not qualify. Also, with 5-6 directly qualified among 24-25 in total, you expect a winner roughly every 4th or 5th year. It takes a few decades before this can be tested, but with Germany a few years ago, we are not that far off. You can move on to more… Read more »

fikri
Guest
fikri

oh i love the austrian guys… they’re so chill!

Adam
Guest
Adam

I feel so bad for them 🙁 i hope they dont get discouraged from continuing to pursue their dreams of making music. Ann Sophie was actually in my top 10! I was so sad and surprised that they both scored nul points. The only songs that deserved nul points this year were Finland and Moldova, and they didn’t even make the Finals so even though I knew it’d be a tough race, I didn’t want it to end like this. I definitely think there should be a voting rule changed. Something just isn’t right when theoretically, say Azerbaijan has the… Read more »

Just being honest
Guest
Just being honest

They just didn’t stand out from the other competitors. We’ve heard these types of songs before. The MakeMakes’ song were a mash-up of popular songs such as those by Coldplay. Black Smoke was good but there were better songs. IMO the Big 5 systems should be removed.

MeandI
Guest
MeandI

Poland gave Germany an 11th place. 10th in televoting.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

The big battle at the top (Sweden 365, Russia 303, Italy 292, Belgium 217, Australia 196 and Latvia 186) completely cannibalized the scoring pie to the point where there was very little left for the rest. In a competition with this many contenders, one could count on the 10th-place contender to score 100 points or very close to that. This year, Bojana, in 10th, could only grab 53! Of the 2,320 points available in this contest, the top 6 took 1,559! That is 67.2%. Two-thirds of the points went to the top 6; the remaining 1/3 up for grabs by… Read more »

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

I can not imagine anybody had either of these songs at the bottom of their list but unfortunately, I do not think they were in many people’s top five so they would not receive any points as a result.
Sometimes it is better to be a really bad song and appeal to some people than be a good but not great song.

Graph
Guest
Graph

In the case of Germany, the provocative dancing nullified any musical merits of the song.

I actually liked Austria. It wasn’t one of my favorites, but it was better than Sweden and should have at least been in the middle of the scoreboard.

Alex
Guest
Alex

I did not like Ann showing her ass all the time, sexy performances do not work in ESC. BUT she deserved a better result, great modern song and she’s awesome.

LET’S BE REAL. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE VOTING SYSTEM. IT IS SO UNFAIR.

Ann Sophie got a few points in televoting and jury voting but ended last with nul. This is a disgrace.

Poor hosts Austria didn’t score any points in televoting, which is really surprising. Why didn’t Switzerland vote for Austria and Germany and why Austria didn’t vote for Germany and vice versa?

Deniz@TurkNL
Guest

HMM Creative title.

Oostenrijk
Guest
Oostenrijk

I am Austrian and I am not shocked or saddened by the unfortunate outcome. Looking at televoting and jury results in detail, things look not terrible at all. For Latvia and Georgia we were even Top 3. The thing ORF and Germany did not consider is that a Eurovision song needs to stand out. Both songs were wonderfully performed but both songs lacked the punch, that Conchita had last year or that this year’s Top 10. This year’s Top 10 were incredibly strong. They basically steamrolled the other songs. Many countries have received a very low score, so coming last… Read more »

AudreySC
Guest
AudreySC

I VOTED FOR YOU ANN SOPHIE! xD
Ahh, my second favourite in the competition. This means nothing anyways, she’s a great performer and vocalist and her new album has great songs, so she has a bright future ahead am sure of that. 😉

mocosuburbian
Guest
mocosuburbian

I’m incredibly disappointed with Germany, because Ann Sophie was my favorite
There seems to have been an anti-Germanophone movement in voting patterns this year, where Switzerland got last in its semi and Germany/Austria were last in the final
and by the way Það sem enginn sér was a really great song

Scandal
Guest
Scandal

Lol! Why is everyone so suprised at the German result? She practically was showing her arse off during the half of her performance. It was ridiculous!

Calvin
Guest
Calvin

Even given nul points entries’ reputations as middle-of-the-road instead of heinous, I’d put both of them top 3 on the ranking of songs to have received nothing.

Marco
Guest
Marco

Again, I think that while both of them were good songs and had nice vocalists, they were just too forgettable. A last place or few points doesn’t mean “bad artist”, it just means that it didn’t reach the top 10 in any country. A similar thing happened to Switzerland in semi 2, where nobody thought that it was bad, but just nothing really to vote for, since usually, people vote maybe for their top 2 or 3, I guess. Technically, a country could be on 11th place in all votings and get no points, while another one comes last in… Read more »

poppipo
Guest
poppipo

Ann Sophie’s performance was amazing. She was so calmand cool. sHE sang perfectly. It didn’t deserved last palce and nill points. All my love to her. <3

Homer
Guest
Homer

I just don’t understand…how come two nice performances different than usual have this score? I loved Austria’s entry and i think it was even better than last year, he has such a nice voice but the biggest failure was Germany!! C’mon Europe, what happened? That is the most pathetic thing i’ve seen in years in Eurovision, i swear! Ok, maybe the performance doesn’t have much creativity but Ann is not only a great singer but a fantastic performer full of energy! Heck, it was my favorite for crying out loud! I just asked at least for a middle place but… Read more »

Lawrence Gibb
Guest
Lawrence Gibb

In general I agree that neither song was so poor that it deserved nothing at all. Austria especially, was a very well presented, decent song. Perhaps people were expecting something more after Conchita. Ann Sophie on other hand has a voice which is easy to dislike and the gyrating attempts at seductiveness were very off-putting.

cheesecake
Guest
cheesecake

Idk about other countries, but Austria came 11th in Switzerland so they just missed out 1 point…

Thales
Guest
Thales

I still don’t understand how that happened. Worst than that, is see that girl from Albania singing out of the tune all the time, and getting the 9th spot in the televoting!
Ann Sophie and the vocalist of The Makemakes were singing great, and the songs were really good too. Both deserved to be in the left side of the scoreboard, definetely. Well produced songs, good staging, anyway.
We saw a lot of awful songs (hello, Twin Twin!) getting at least 1 point.
Unbelievable.

Thiefo
Guest

Well, let’s look at things from the bright side: technically, both are tied in 26th place, so technically, no country will have the unfortunate “Got 27th place in the Grand final” record 😛

koko
Guest
koko

that iceland song is pretty bad 😀

Mario My Vision of Gay Love
Guest
Mario My Vision of Gay Love

Well both Austria’s & Germany’s songs were from my my least liked ones..
I had Austria last 27th & Germany 24th..

MakeMakes look so creepy & unsympathetic act so they definitely lost much appeal only by this factor alone…Their song was not bad though…
The same 4 Ann Sophie’s song too..

Franco
Guest
Franco

In the message below: it’s not “hearned” but “earned”. Sorry.

Franco
Guest
Franco

When the “Crimes of Eurovision” book will be written, the zero points that Europe awarded Ann Sophie will be the biggest chapter.
Such a shame!

But, if we can learn something from Valentina’s and Sanna Nielsen’s stories, it’s that if you don’t succeed at first, you try again and again and again.
Ann Sophie is a gifted artist. She should apply again at the Unser Song Fur and represent Germany again.
Her first try wasn’t fruitless: she has hearned more fans that her result may suggest. She will get the recognition that she deserves, eventually.

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

The MakeMakes and Sophie-Ann should team up because the burning piano would give her all the black smoke she needs.

mad-professor
Guest
mad-professor

Maybe the British connection was Germany’s downfall, the song having been written by at least 1 Brit (Ella Eyre)?

Freyah
Guest
Freyah

Austria just wasn’t anything special, so nobody really voted for it. Germany however was fairly popular going into the competition, but because the majority of people in each country preferred other songs, they got them over Germany,

I hope Ann Sophie isn’t too dissapointed. Remember she wasn’t exactly selected to win usfö, so you can’t blame her.

Mario My Vision of Gay Love
Guest
Mario My Vision of Gay Love

Germany had finished again last back in the Vision of 2005 10 years ago…But at least had received 4 points..

Well its really unfortunate phenomenon that not bad songs have to finish last ones…
Like it happened with *Only Gay Love Survives* of Ryan Dolan in Malmo’s Vision..
And how many other examples of course..

If we do not change the current unfair system of voting that only 10 songs get points & 16-17 others get big fat zero we will continue seeing this happening in our Vision..

lollalo
Guest
lollalo

OMG Ann Sophie didnt win national final, she has so bad song, I was writing it still. Null points are absolutely OK. Many female singers with same songs, Europe hates it, they want diversity. Germany should send the winner or Laing and they would have perfect result. They sent shitty singer and have 0. And she deserves it. The Makemakes should be higher. Ann Sophie likes only wiwi readers, who dont have good taste. They would send 40 female singers with the same song. But only one was in TOP 5.

Chris
Guest
Chris

The problem this year was that there were so many good songs in the final. If I had to choose who should come last, I would have a problem. Maybe Lithuania and Israel. But they weren’t bad, I just dont like these songs. Maybe Albania, which had a bad vocal, but the song was very good. I don’t know.
And @ Robyn
How could you remind us of the UK from 2003 😉 I remember that very well – that was a disaster!

eurovisionfor europe
Guest
eurovisionfor europe

Here are the end results of all the 40 countries
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPBYXfhky74

Fishy
Guest
Fishy

Well nobody supports instrument abuse live on tv, just kidding.
I did predict Austria becoming last because I didn’t see people comment on their act and when I saw their snippet before the finals I knew it

Darren
Guest
Darren

Ah poor Austria and Germany, they definitely did not deserve to go with Nil Point, I actually thought their songs were really good, especially Germany, I could have totally imagined hearing it at some jazz bar in Berlin or something. It was also disappointing for Austria because they had won last year and were the host country. But to be fair, Austria was never the strongest country at Eurovision, and it was clear that Conchita was probably just going to be a one-off. I can see Germany getting Lena or Roman Lobb back for them next year after their disappointment… Read more »

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

Whoever wrote that headline: 12 points

Antranig Shokayan
Editor

I’m not really a fan of the Austrian song but his vocals were really good tbh, so it’s a shame. On the other hand, I am a very big fan of Ann Sophie (in hindsight my second favourite of the contest) and her performance was spectacular so I was really saddened by that. 🙁