Every year, when the EBU announces the grand final running order, there’s one number to dread — two. It’s common Eurovision trivia that no song has ever won from the second spot. In recent years, songs that went second consistently finished on the right hand side of the scoreboard. Jonida Maliqi, Alfred and Amaia, Kasia Mos, Gabriela Gunčíková and so on.
However, there’s another number that us Eurofans don’t often discuss. As it turns out, in the 64 years of the Eurovision Song Contest, no one has ever won from spot #16 either.
Eurovision curse in spot #16?
Since 1961 — with the sole exception of ESC 1970 — there have always been 16 or more participants in every Eurovision grand final. Yet not one country that performed 16th has ever won. Just for comparison, seven songs have won from grand final spot #17 in just 53 editions where at least 17 countries competed.
Of course, success isn’t only about winning. Surely some songs that competed in the 16th spot have done OK? Well, not as many as you’d think. The last three songs that went 16th in the final were “Do It for Your Lover” (Spain 2017), “We Got Love” (Australia 2018) and “Bigger Than Us” (UK 2019). All three songs finished either last overall or at least last with the televote. Ouch.
In the last 15 years, not a single song that was 16th on the night of the final placed in the top third of the grand final.
Are #2 and #16 the only running order spots to have never won?
Almost. #25, #26 and #27 are the other three grand final spots to have never produced a winner. But in all fairness, these spots haven’t been around that long relative to #2 and #16. Also, Eleni Foureira almost brought home a win from spot #25 in 2018. Il Volo, who were the only #27 ever, won the televote.
Is the curse real?
The last #2 that finished in the top third was “Love in Rewind” in 2011. In recent years, the running order hasn’t been decided at random — producers have set the running order to create the most interesting show possible. Songs with little chance of winning (partly divined from the semi-final results, which are known to producers before the running order is decided) are frequently dropped into slot #2. Being so close to the beginning (which allows it to be forgotten) and directly after the opener (which is always exciting since, well, it’s the opener), might explain the second spot “curse”.
With the 16th spot, the constant lack of success seems harder to explain. While it would seem like a strategic spot, after the middle of the show and not too late, it constantly brings bad luck. Since 19 songs have won from neighbouring spots #14, #15, #17 and #18, could the curse be real? <Plays spooky music>.
What do you think? Is the curse real? Would you rather perform second or 16th? Tell us in the comments below!