“And the United Kingdom gets zero points”. When Jan Smit announced the first televote results of Eurovision 2021, a cry of dismay sounded from the audience in Rotterdam’s Ahoy arena. With nothing to add to the UK’s zero points from the jury vote, James Newman finished the evening with the dreaded nil points.

This is the United Kingdom’s second set of nil points in the competition, after previously receiving the result in 2003. Though the country is still two short of Norway and Austria, who hold the record for the most sets of nil points, with four each.

After the voting system at Eurovision changed in 2016 so that the jury and televote scores are presented separately, many thought the likelihood of a country ending up with a grand total of zero would be severely reduced. Unfortunately, the probability is still not 0%, as the UK found out at this year’s contest.

Although it’s easy to take a nil points result at face value and declare that ‘everyone in Europe hates the United Kingdom’, delving deeper into the full voting breakdown can offer a slightly different story – and perhaps even a few glimmers of hope.

Analysing the United Kingdom’s nil points

18 jury members put the United Kingdom in their top 10

Scouring through the results reveals that 18 individual jury members did actually put the United Kingdom in their personal top ten – i.e. they wanted to award James Newman some points.

Interestingly, Germany had the exact same amount of jury members who ranked Jendrik in their top ten (see Table 1 below). So why did Germany receive some jury points but the United Kingdom didn’t?

Unfortunately for the UK, these individual jury members were relatively spread out between all 38 countries voting in the grand final. A lot of them were also effectively ‘cancelled out’ by other jury members who ranked James Newman and “Embers” much lower. For example, while two members of Serbia’s jury placed the United Kingdom sixth (and another one just outside the top ten at eleventh), one of their fellow jurors put James all the way down in 23rd. Despite the jury formula that gives more weighting to countries ranked higher up a juror’s list, this still managed to drag Serbia’s overall jury placement of the UK down to 14th and outside of the points window.

Similar situations did occur for Germany as well. However, Jendrik managed to convince three of the Austrian jury members to put him in their top ten. And although another juror ranked the German act 26th (dead last), this support from three individual jurors was just enough to squeeze “I Don’t Feel Hate” into ninth place overall with the Austrian jury and award Jendrik two points.

It is naturally encouraging to see that there were at least some jury members who enjoyed James Newman’s performance of “Embers”. It proves that there is no continent-wide conspiracy to always mark the United Kingdom down. Jurors across Europe (and Australia) are in fact willing to vote for the UK if they feel the country deserves points.

But 18 jurors still only constitutes 9% of the 190 total that reviewed James during the grand final. In order to be in with a stronger chance of picking up points, acts need to be able to win over a lot more jurors, and at least three, four or all five of them from specific countries.

Table 1: Individual jury member rankings for the bottom five countries in the Eurovision 2021 grand final

Country Number (Percentage) Of Individual Jury Member Placements
Top 10 Bottom 5 Last
United Kingdom 18 (9%) 89 (47%) 24 (13%)
Germany 18 (9%) 109 (57%) 32 (17%)
Spain 22 (12%) 64 (34%) 11 (6%)
Netherlands 43 (23%) 44 (23%) 7 (4%)
San Marino 44 (23%) 49 (26%) 7 (4%)

Percentages calculated out of 190 jurors (the total that ranked each country in the grand final) and rounded to zero decimal places

Germany received more last place jury finishes than the UK

Eurovision is rightfully a contest that rewards countries for being a favourite among voters/jurors, rather than demeriting those who rank near the bottom.

However, it is still interesting to note that eight more individual jury members thought that Germany should have finished last instead of the United Kingdom. When this is widened to bottom five placements, there were 20 more jurors who believed Germany should have been down at the depths of the scoreboard compared with the UK.

This translates through to overall jury rankings (see Table 2 below). Out of the 38 countries voting for each entry, six juries put Germany in last place and three had the UK last. For bottom five placements, this rises to 21 and 19 respectively. When calculating each country’s average jury rank, Germany sits at 20.6, while the United Kingdom was slightly better at 20.2.

If you were really clutching for silver linings in amongst the UK’s poor showing at Eurovision 2021, then you could argue that, overall, the juries would have wanted the United Kingdom to finish just above Germany.

This silver lining is not necessarily something to be particularly proud of. No country should go into Eurovision with their main aim being to “just not finish last”. But, it does indicate that there was a feeling among jurors that the United Kingdom should have ended the show with slightly more than nil points.

Table 2: Overall and average jury rankings for the bottom five countries in the Eurovision 2021 grand final

Country Number (Percentage) Of Overall Jury Placements Average Jury Rank
Top 10 Bottom 5 Last
United Kingdom 0 (0%) 19 (50%) 3 (8%) 20.2
Germany 2 (5%) 21 (55%) 6 (16%) 20.6
Spain 2 (5%) 14 (37%) 4 (11%) 18.9
Netherlands 5 (13%) 11 (29%) 2 (5%) 16.6
San Marino 7 (18%) 10 (26%) 2 (5%) 16.8

Percentages calculated out of 38 juries (the total that ranked each country in the grand final) and rounded to zero decimal places

UK destined to be last in the Eurovision 2021 televote

The same analysis of the televote tells a vastly different story (see Table 3 below). Here, the United Kingdom received by far the most number of last places, with 14 countries believing “Embers” should have finished 26th on the scoreboard.

In contrast, Germany was much more well received by the public at home. No country ranked Jendrik last and only four put him in their bottom five of the night. “I Don’t Feel Hate” had proven to be divisive amongst Eurovision fans earlier in the season. But there were clearly a reasonable amount of people on the positive side of the split who thought the entry stood out enough to vote for it (sadly, just not enough for it to climb into the televote top ten of any particular country). Germany achieved the best average televote rank of the eventual bottom five, 17.2.

When looking at bottom five placements in the televote, both Spain and the Netherlands did actually receive slightly more than the United Kingdom. But it was still an exceptional amount for all three – 33 (87%) for Spain and 34 (89%) for the Netherlands, compared with 31 (82%) for the UK.

In the end, the only country of the eventual bottom five to receive points from the televote was San Marino. This is despite the fact that Senhit (and Flo Rida) had an average televote rank of 18.1 – even lower than Germany. But as we saw with the jury votes, the average doesn’t necessarily matter as long as you reach the top ten with some countries. This is what San Marino managed to do, finishing fourth with the public in Georgia, eighth in Italy and eighth in Azerbaijan.

The pure fact that the United Kingdom didn’t finish last in every single televote does of course indicate that people across Europe were still voting for James Newman if they enjoyed his performance, most notably in Malta where the UK ranked 14th in the televote. But with this being the UK’s only televote placement higher than 20th, there was clearly a lack of engagement with great swathes of the viewing public.

Regardless of what voting indicator you use, it seems likely that the United Kingdom was destined to be last in the televote at Eurovision 2021. The nil points itself is just a feature of the voting system, which only rewards the top ten favourites rather than spreading a set amount of points between all 26 entries. It in no way insinuates that absolutely no one picked up the phone to vote for the UK, just nowhere near enough.

Table 3: Overall and average televote rankings for the bottom five countries in the Eurovision 2021 grand final

Country Number (Percentage) Of Televote Placements Average Televote Rank
Top 10 Bottom 5 Last
United Kingdom 0 (0%) 31 (82%) 14 (37%) 23.4
Germany 0 (0%) 4 (11%) 0 (0%) 17.2
Spain 0 (0%) 33 (87%) 6 (16%) 22.9
Netherlands 0 (0%) 34 (89%) 8 (21%) 23.2
San Marino 3 (8%) 11 (29%) 0 (0%) 18.1

Percentages calculated out of 38 televoting nations (the total that ranked each country in the grand final) and rounded to zero decimal places

How does the United Kingdom rejuvenate after nil points?

Nil points is obviously an unfortunate result for the United Kingdom, and one that no participant ever deserves owing to the hard work each and every one of them puts into their performances.

But when a country does find themselves in this position, the only direction they can go from here is up. Exactly how far up the scoreboard is down to their willingness to change tack, learn from their mistakes and rejuvenate their approach.

The key lesson that can be learned from the above analysis is that it doesn’t matter if jurors and viewers think you’re not the worst. Instead, the next act to represent the United Kingdom at Eurovision needs to convince a strong proportion that they’re worthy of a spot in the top ten, as that’s where they’ll pick up points. This means the UK (and every country) should effectively go into each contest with the goal of reaching the top ten at a minimum.

To do this, an act must always find a way of standing out from the crowd, both musically and visually. A pleasant song with a decent stage performance may seem like a solid entry, but if there’s nothing that helps juries and viewers remember it in between the other 25 songs of the final, then it will sadly fade into the background. The top five of Eurovision 2021 were highly varied, but they all managed to pair something musically interesting with a visually arresting stage show that still stayed true to the performer’s own style.

The United Kingdom has a vast amount of musical diversity, and there’s a lot of potential for the country to bring something new and exciting to the contest that remains authentic to the UK. It could be soul, rock, drum and bass, hip-hop, indie-folk, grime, house, or even something sung in Welsh or Scots Gaelic. If the Eurovision winners of late prove one thing, it’s that there’s no singular style that does well at the contest. Take some risks and you never know what might pay off.

There are plenty of examples of other countries that have drastically turned their fortunes around at Eurovision in recent years:

  • Netherlands: After failing to qualify for the final eight years in a row (the longest non-qualification streak of any country), they had a resurgence in 2013 thanks to Anouk, who took them to the top ten. Six years later, this rejuvenation paved the way for Duncan Laurence’s victory.
  • France: A Big Five member, they found themselves in the bottom five consistently between 2012 and 2015. Then along came Amir, who achieved sixth place in 2016. France have never been down at the depths of the scoreboard since then, and Barbara Pravi’s second place at Eurovision 2021 is their best result since 1991.
  • Switzerland: Before 2019, they had only qualified from the semi-finals on four occasions out of 15 attempts (27% of the time). But the nation then revolutionised its selection process and Switzerland has now achieved top-four placings in the last two contests thanks to Luca Hänni and Gjon’s Tears.

The key link between each of these stories is that their was a real concerted effort from the artist or the broadcaster to enact change and aim for the top.

In 2013, Anouk was adamant that she should be internally selected instead of going through the Dutch national final that had failed the country in the years before. In 2016, France appointed new Head of Delegation Edoardo Grassi, who set the team on a new path. And in 2019, the Swiss delegation brought in a 100-member public panel and a 21-member international expert jury to help them decide on the best entry.

There’s no single correct way to rejuvenate the Eurovision selection process, but at the heart of it there must be a real desire to finish as high up the scoreboard as possible. Even if you don’t get a podium finish every year, you’ll still be in a much stronger position overall (and likely to avoid nil points).

We have seen this desire for success from the United Kingdom before. After a string of poor results during the 2000’s, acclaimed British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber was determined to show that the nation could perform well at Eurovision, so he decided to write the UK’s entry for the contest in 2009. Jade Ewen was selected to sing “It’s My Time” and there was considerable effort to promote the entry across Europe, with Jade performing in a number of countries ahead of the contest. The United Kingdom was rewarded for its effort and Jade finished in fifth place.

Unfortunately, this momentum was never maintained. There are embers of that desire still flickering away in some areas of the BBC, but it’s not grown into a full fuego as of yet.

All in all, a nil points result does not mean that the game is over for the United Kingdom at Eurovision. There are clear signs that jurors and viewers at home will vote for the UK when they want to. The nation just has to fuel it’s drive to succeed and bring together the complete package that can appeal to more than just a handful of the European (and Australian) population.

What were your feelings after the United Kingdom received nil points at Eurovision 2021? How do you think the UK can turn its fortunes around at the contest? Let us know all your thoughts in the comments down below!

Read more United Kingdom Eurovision news here

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David Paul
David Paul
3 months ago

Hi everyone, I wrote sometime ago that I too have written a song for Eurovision. I think it is a winner, but I am bound too! I hope the BBC decide to run a ‘nation decides’ style prog again, just like used to, and receive loads of songs to sift through. There will be some good ones amongst them. Most of the rest of Europe arrange copious shows to choose a winning song and have proved it works. Maneskin appeared as one of many contestants in the San Remo annual show in Italy and won. Professional Juries and the public… Read more »

May
May
3 months ago

As a German living in the UK I’m getting to witness two sets of “Oh Europe hates us” tirades from the negative Nancys as well as two “We need to change the selection process” conversations from the more productive sides of the fandom right now. Personally I think whilst Embers and I Don’t Feel Hate were perfectly lovely songs, it’s striking how the top 5 of the televote took 54.5% of all possible points, whereas the bottom 9 (starting from Bulgaria down to the four nil pointers) only took 4.07%. That clearly shows this year we had a number of… Read more »

Stephen Keefe
3 months ago

The discussions should run and run now until someone in charge gets to grips with what we want going forward. If need be get Simon Cowell involved.

Stephen Keefe
3 months ago

We yet again come to the stage where the (UK)suffers another anilatation in the Eurovision. This will go on and on now unless we stop sending not the singers fault but always the song is not good enough.we need to go back to our routes and look at songs that matter and have feelings.I can say now I have got a song that would win the eurovision for the (uk) but its upto the national set up who choose to start asking around for idea’s of the public …(ollblueeyes)back

Charli Cheer Up
Charli Cheer Up
3 months ago

I just feel like the UK’s Eurovision team aren’t taking any risks with the stage direction. If you compare Embers’ live stage to the rest of the semi-finalists this year, its really subpar. There’s no element of surprise…two big trumpets and a bunch of back-up dancers that’s it? Even the staging idea for ‘One Last Breath’ which James described in an interview after ESC 2020’s cancellation was more exciting and innovative.

Charli Cheer Up
Charli Cheer Up
3 months ago

Good article by the way. Hope the BBC team in charge of selecting songs for Eurovision read it. Its easy to get lost in a sea of competitive entries now that times are changing. It makes me really mad when they finally get another credible artist like Molly and James but they screw them over with boring staging. Fingers crossed we don’t get another ‘Electro Velvet’-like entry after this year..

HarpyDarper
HarpyDarper
3 months ago

I thought the staging team were meant to be reliable and experianced? I was disappointed with the result. I always liked the song but the performance was flat and dull. Didn’t hold my interest for the three minutes. The big trumpets were pointless and I was hoping for something a bit more like the video (3 men with trumpets, 2 female dancers?)

mark dowd
mark dowd
3 months ago

excellent analysis!!

Tenten Rurapente
Tenten Rurapente
3 months ago

This is a *really* interesting article, thank you!

Dora
Dora
3 months ago

Quote Europe hates UK is such a BS. But let’s say in whole honesty that there is a possibility that not 1 European took it’s phone and voted for UK. However what happened to ALL the UK expats who live all over Europe? All those who bought a properties in Spain Italy or France? It is hard to believe that they didn’t vote? How’s then possible that during televoting there was no points given to James who actually wasn’t so bad compared to some entries…

Fatima
Fatima
3 months ago

Isn’t about time we started naming names? Lee Smithurst is the BBC’s Executive Producer for the Eurovision Song Contest. He was the one we saw embracing James Newman after he scored a double zero. He also produces ‘I Can See Your Voice’, which means it must have been him who thought it would be a good idea to have Amanda Holden read out the UK votes. All the time he’s still in charge, I fear there will be more moments like these.

Ruby
Ruby
3 months ago

UK or not, I think it’s safe to say there are juries who wouldn’t know quality even if it poked them in the eyes. Some of them even seem to rank the songs merely by how they like the songs themselves, instead of following the criteria they should judge them by.

Fatima
Fatima
3 months ago
Reply to  Ruby

I’ve long thought that only a minority of jury members are really going to bother to rank any 26 songs in order. They’re being asked to do too much.

Boozyfloozy69
Boozyfloozy69
3 months ago

BBC are disgusting they need to pull their fingers out their arses! Send Griff, Ella Henderson, Tom Grennan or Marina for example. These are all young current “artists” they also write their own songs. We all know the bbc will go quiet till February 2022 and announce another Bland piece of crap for our entry, they don’t care if they did they would be working hard right now to change things!

Azaad
Azaad
3 months ago
Reply to  Boozyfloozy69

Marina is my favourite singer ever but she wouldn’t work at ESC for the following reasons: She’s trying to make another stab at American success, having relocated to the USA. Eurovision wouldn’t align with that. Her best songs are well over three minutes long. The only way I can see her writing a song that’s under three minutes is if she returns to an Electra Heart sound, which she’s averse to personally and that would be off putting to jurors who wouldn’t get the satirical subtext behind an Electra Heart alike song. She’s quite left wing politically, and may not… Read more »

Alex
Alex
3 months ago

Another observation: i think the fact that they show the reactions of artists that get zero or low scores is really damaging. No big artist would dare to do Eurovision knowing the humiliation of being recorded during the announcement… they need to respect the artists…

I think this horrible result will make it even harder for UK to find a decent artist, i guess they will either go for a new and unknown artist, a has-been or the drag queens…

Azaad
Azaad
3 months ago
Reply to  Alex

I kind of love it because I’m messy like that. Sometimes I wish that in the semis, instead of the 10 qualifiers, they’d announce the non qualifiers instead, starting from who did worse! (I know I’m evil).

Fatima
Fatima
3 months ago
Reply to  Azaad

That’s a good idea Azaad. There’s no reason to keep the results of the non-qualifiers secret before the final.

Ethan1994
Ethan1994
3 months ago
Reply to  Fatima

If I remember correctly, they actually did that in 2004.

Sam
Sam
3 months ago

I don’t think the rest of Europe hates the U.K. they simply don’t vote for us because we send the worst crap possible, this is the BBC’s fault as they simply don’t want the hassle of hosting it and therefore they will never win. Unfourtunatly, viewing figures year on year are dwindling in the U.K., so something will change soon whether that’s the bbc actually sending something decent to get people interested again or viewing figures dropping off so much that the bbc withdraws due to running costs, the fact is this is likely to happen sooner rather than later… Read more »

Fatima
Fatima
3 months ago
Reply to  Sam

I wish the BBC would withdraw from the contest, and I’m British. The coverage of the UK entry and the general disdain from the British public spoil things for me every year. That would also mean we’d have fewer songs in the final, which would be welcome.

Lazar
Lazar
3 months ago

Oh there’s definitely a place for both UK and Ireland in Eurovision but they have to be themselves. No more generic stuff if you want high results. Of the top of my head as suggestions go: while English rock will always be popular here I’d personaly like if either did something with a Celtic vibe no matter the genre. Can’t speak for other countries but Irish music is quite popular here in Serbia. Orthodox Celts is a domestic group which made their career on playing irish music. It baffles me how little UK (which isn’t only globalist London but 4… Read more »

Henry
Henry
3 months ago

Yes on the money when there aren’t enough people at the bbc wishing to reach a top 10 position, putting it in the hands of record labels like it is now is putting it the hands of very few mostly rich old white male privileged people within music, we need to diversify and select something truly special and unique, young and refreshing. The bbc and the general U.K. public need to get over that Eurovision is a cheesy pop-fest, it’s a serious game now, we want to be proud what we send to Europe.

Jennifer
Jennifer
3 months ago

Just paranoid madness to think countries don’t vote for us simply because of Brexit animosity. Look at Russia. We keep putting forward the most dreadful acts – dated, bland, forgettable with singers who look like they’ve just got up. We can do so much better than this. We have a great heritage of game changing rock and pop stars for heavens sake. But no. We put up some unknown who no-one thinks much of or cares about. Italy put up a well known rock band with huge social media presence. The antiquated euro juries may not have voted for them… Read more »

Dawid
Dawid
3 months ago

Do you know a single person who genuinely hates UK for brexit to the point they would’ve refused to vote them whatever their entry is? Because I don’t. British people, listen to me – we don’t give a shet, really. Same thing with Russia for example. It’s song contest.

Fred
Fred
3 months ago
Reply to  Dawid

They are dumb as hell for Brexit but it’s not why people not vote for them. If they leave their comfort zone they will be surprised how well they could do. Such a trashy chewed up pop song they send all the time and they being shook how they get nill.

Last edited 3 months ago by Fred
Azaad
Azaad
3 months ago
Reply to  Fred

People were duped into Brexit by a borderline criminal campaign and the fact that EU citizens couldn’t vote in the referendum.

Rob1
Rob1
3 months ago

The BBC lazily outsourced the Eurovision entry in 2020 to a music publishers BMG almost guaranteeing the smallest possible number of prospective entries- namely only artists managed by BMG. Unlike the Italian entry where it was agreed they would send whoever won the Sanremo Music competition (which mirrors Eurovision with a combination of judging panel and televoting). The BBC need to see Eurovision as an opportunity for the widest possible trawl of UK talent, including unsigned acts on UTube and Bandcamp to be considered.

Rob
Rob
3 months ago

“Discotheque”, one of my favourites this year, is the kind of song that the UK should send, and with the musical landscape of the UK, it shouldn’t be hard for the BBC to find a song like that. But they just don’t care.

Fred
Fred
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Exactly. They need to be creative and not send same song every year that 1 ear comes in the other comes out. Needs to be stuck in your head.

Melania
Melania
3 months ago

I believed this back in 2016-17 when everyone kept tlaking about the UK talking baby steps to getting better that it was complete bull, and well unfortunately I was right. I don’t think the UK will ever really improve. Brits loathe the contest and the BBC are incapable of putting together a good act and song. Plus everyone around Europe expects the UK to do bad. And we don’t also have the necessary strong voting bloc that “helps” countries do well (Yes I know not all the time). Tbh as I said in 2017, I’d prefer the UK withdrew from… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Melania
HarpyDarper
HarpyDarper
3 months ago
Reply to  Melania

It is disheartening for any British fan going through the same cycles, just so many of our recent songs have been bland and score poorly, leading the same misconceptions that ‘Europe hates us’ (especially after Brexit), and reinforces people’s biases and ignorance.

Does it seem like the BBC just do the bare minimum because they get decent ratings, and don’t want to risk winning it?

And would you same Ireland are in the same boat? I feel both countries coverage focuses way too much on nostaliga

Una
Una
3 months ago
Reply to  HarpyDarper

I cannot understand why winning Eurovision should be a problem. I see a victory as a matter of “pride” in the best sense of the word.

It looks like the BBC have the idea that winning would be the worst possible outcome for the country. Winning Eurovision can only lead to positive outcomes: dignity and joy for the British people; positive image of the country, a sense of belonging in the most wonderful thing that’s ever happened in Europe; possible growth in tourism and creative industries.

Like, what the effing heck? Why this attitude? WHY?????????

HarpyDarper
HarpyDarper
3 months ago
Reply to  Una

Obviously hosting Eurovision is expensive, but it’s such a big event that if handled right, can be a teriffic boon for any city. I know James suggested Leeds could host, for example. Imagine how delighted the people of Leeds would be to have their city selected to welcome all the tourists and delegations, coming to spend their money in hotels and establishing a positive reputation for big events. I can understand any country/broadcaster losing momentum and interest the following year (it seems we have since 1999!), and make less of an effort. But then, aim for the left hand side… Read more »

HarpyDarper
HarpyDarper
3 months ago
Reply to  Una

On an unrelated note, are you looking forward to the Commonwealth Games next year in Birmingham? I hope it can bring back the atmosphere and positivity the London Olympics had (which was promptly killed by Be*xit)

Sam
Sam
3 months ago
Reply to  HarpyDarper

Viewing figures this year in the U.K. were down to 4.7 million, yen years ago the viewing figures were 18.5 million at peak. This is a substantial reduction, the vast majority of people in the U.K. would not contemplate watching it now as what the bbc sends is a national embarressment

Ethan1994
Ethan1994
3 months ago
Reply to  Sam

Correction: The UK viewing figures for this year’s contest were 7.4 million, peaking at 8.4 million. In 2011, the UK viewing figures were 9.52 million, peaking at 12.7 million.

Fatima
Fatima
3 months ago
Reply to  Melania

Couldn’t agree with you more Melania. We’ll have the same pattern in 2022. People will start by saying it’s our best entry in years. Even though the singer will be someone we didn’t know previously, and has little experience of live performance. We’ll see them miming on a CBBC show, then when it comes to rehearsal week the staging will be a let-down. Graham Norton will tell us they’re flawless come the Grand Final, but this won’t be reflected in the points. I really hope I’m proved wrong, but I remember predicting the same thing after Michael Rice.

Udi
Udi
3 months ago

UK simply sends poor songs and performers. I think Israel found the right path by sending the winner of star is born/x factor competition so it’s personality that has capabilities and charisma to win a lengthy competition of 12-14 weeks and comes with passion to build its career together with dedicated team to build memorable show in the given 3 minutes. The UK songs in last competitions were forgettable as if chosen by bored accountants. UK being the mother land of modern music needs to deal with higher expectations than any other. We don’t expect the Beatles or Oasis every… Read more »

Ethan1994
Ethan1994
3 months ago
Reply to  Udi

Sadly, the BBC would never plug that much money into a Eurovision selection show, would they? The only time they did something like that was in 2009, but even then it was just a 4-week show (not including the introduction episode). But it did produce a 5th place result at Eurovision.

Who am I?
Who am I?
4 months ago

Who expected San Marino to finish 22nd? Not the bookies lol. From this contest I have learned that malta and San Marino are two countries that will never win the contest. In terms of the UK. The UK was doomed because it performed before Greece and Switzerland which both countries made it in the top 10

Bonny
Bonny
4 months ago
Reply to  Who am I?

UK was doomed bc it was dreadful performance, nothing more nothing less

Fred
Fred
3 months ago
Reply to  Who am I?

If it’s a good song doesn’t matter if it was between Italy and France it would still do well. But If the song sucks nothing will save it

Alex
Alex
3 months ago
Reply to  Who am I?

Greece didn’t do much better either. Two random 12p from Georgia and France, plus the rigged points from Bulgaria and Moldova juries saved them from another tragedy. They flopped in the televoting of most countries.

Vlad19
Vlad19
4 months ago

Honestly, I don’t know if UK will or want to learn from its misfortunes. Since 2003, the country was on the bottom five times and didn’t have a top-10 placement for 10 years. It’s like if the country tries too hard to create ab “Eurovision miracle”‘ instead to, as evoked in the article, giving an unforgettable song and performance.

Giolo
Giolo
4 months ago

Off topic. Did someone calculate the average rankings for televoting and juries in the Grand Final and the Semi Finals? I am too lazy to calculate them myself but maybe I’ll do it in a near future if nobody posts it somewhere

Craig
Craig
4 months ago

This is a really good article. While a naff song, I think Germany doing better in the televote than the UK could be down to it at least having a message to it. If you’ve been bullied or similar – it might have resonated. And it was bright and colourful, so kids might have liked it. The UK though – what did it have going for it to encourage people at home to vote for it?

Ern
Ern
4 months ago

Back in 2007, only Eastern European countries got into the top 15, and the Western countries were complaining about block voting.

In reality, the Western European countries sent awful songs, and nobody liked them. By contrast, Eastern European countries sent really good songs by comparison.

Same applies today with the UK. The songs are awful!

Lucy Jones was good, but other than that we haven’t heard a good song from the UK since Andrew Lloyd Webber got involved.

Ospero
Ospero
4 months ago
Reply to  Ern

So in 2007 “Fight” and “Mojot svet” deserved to qualify and were “really good songs” while “Salvem el mon” wasn’t. That has to be the worst take I’ve read today. Congrats, I guess.

Denis
Denis
4 months ago
Reply to  Ospero

yes, Mojot Svet was a good song, the last good entry from North Macedonia until Kaliopi. It deserved.
Salvem El Mon however came off as somewhat juvenile, too much teen-punk. And the staging didn’t help..

Ashton Schier
Ashton Schier
4 months ago
Reply to  Ospero

in what world is fight not a good song, especially for 2007

Ern
Ern
4 months ago
Reply to  Ospero

“Mojot Svet” was awesome, and Karolina was gorgeous. YES, it deserved to go through.

“Fight” was an awesome stage performance, much better than Finland’s dull as dirt entry that everyone was comparing it to at the time.

“Salvem el Mon” sounded great on tape, but the live performance suffered. Frankly, I’d say Portugal’s entry that year was more deserving of a place in the Final.

Daniel
Daniel
3 months ago
Reply to  Ern

One reason may be that some western countries had low interest in Eurovision because they had had poor results earlier in Eurovision. Which was a result of them having placed poorly due to neighbor voting and immigrant voting that was going on in the competition

Efraim
Efraim
3 months ago
Reply to  Ern

I don’t think it’s really a matter of good or bad so much as a matter of memorable or unmemorable. Embers, as a song, wasn’t inherently bad to me, but it simply didn’t stand out in any way, shape or form: it sounded like pretty much any other dance-pop track that has charted in the UK in the past few years. And there’s the problem. You can’t hope to win Eurovision by just falling back on the ‘safety’ of tried-and-true formulae. In a music competition where the top-placers are usually the ones who stand out, playing it safe and generic… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Efraim
PP77
PP77
4 months ago

EBU change voting system. To be simillar like we had from 1971-1973 . Each country vote for all others countries in their semi final , than final.

Ospero
Ospero
4 months ago
Reply to  PP77

That’s what should happen, but it won’t. The 12 points are too ingrained in the system nowadays to change to 26 (or 30, or 40, or whatever).

ESC Stan
ESC Stan
4 months ago
Reply to  Ospero

What about, all countries vote for all semi, still using the 12 point system? That way the cross section of votes would be consistent.

Roo
Roo
3 months ago
Reply to  ESC Stan

The main reason for 2 semis was so that voting blocks could be broken up. For example Greece in one semi and Cyprus in the other.

GREIG WATTS
GREIG WATTS
4 months ago

We just need some bravery ! Be bold Uk be bold !

HarpyDarper
HarpyDarper
4 months ago

Who were the staging team behind Embers? I thought they were supposed to have a good repuation

Alex
Alex
3 months ago
Reply to  HarpyDarper

They said it was a team that worked with Dua Lipa…

Azaad
Azaad
3 months ago
Reply to  Alex

Was this before Future Nostalgia though

Fatima
Fatima
4 months ago

BBC, make a documentary where Graham Norton interviews jury members who ranked Newman so lowly. We all know who they are and there are enough of them to chose from. Then we (but particularly the BBC and Norton) who get a clearer picture of what went wrong.

ESC Stan
ESC Stan
4 months ago
Reply to  Fatima

The answer to that is that even if the jury liked the song, 10 others were better. It might have been someones 11th place but still no points. People vote for their top 10 an the rest of the 10-16 are essentially equal (doesnt matter where you place the act its still not points from that jury).

Erik
Erik
4 months ago

Made a playlist with all the nul points in honour of the UK. Thinking about making new recordings or covers of them. There is talent in these songs.

Not receiving any points is maybe just an indicator that your music is only relevant to your own country.

“Mil etter mil” was for example a hit in Norway while getting absolutely no points in Europe.

Can music be more than just a competition. Could you continue listen to them even if they never received points?

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6LFdpXliHJVBwZnnKW8l6k?si=zP0Ley4jSYWFw_4cqYh6lw

Last edited 4 months ago by Erik
Richard Isaac
Richard Isaac
4 months ago

Also Israel changed course in 2015 after a string of bad results, and won in 2018.

As for the UK, there’s so much big-name talent there, I think that if a big star or group agreed to do it, they’d do really well.

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
4 months ago
Reply to  Richard Isaac

no need for big names at all (all the eurovision winners in the end are local stars in their countries at best like måneskin, or even random unknown people with zero released singles prior to esc like duncan). all it takes is the correct full package, which the bbc doesn’t seem to be able to come up with.

Trina
Trina
4 months ago

My somewhat harsh three cents: Attitude adjustment by the BBC. I think Amanda Holden unintentionally embodied exactly the disconnect between BBC and modern Eurovision. Attitude adjustment by the public. Unfortunately, this is kind of echoed by a lot of the public (not everyone, I hasten to add!). If if there was a national final, would the public pick a good song, or something “properly Eurovisiony (circa 1995) that the continentals will like”? And also, the public is absolutely awful to whoever their representative is. (During my 2019 Eurovision party, we had a hypothetical discussion on, if you were a musician,… Read more »

Trina
Trina
4 months ago
Reply to  Trina

And for the record, I do think James was absolutely a step in the right direction, and I was really disappointed to see such poor results.

Zisk
Zisk
4 months ago
Reply to  Trina

The UK has had strong songs in national finals before, and never picks them. A public competition simply won’t work without an insane standard across the board because the public seems to have zero taste over there.

Trina
Trina
4 months ago
Reply to  Zisk

I actually think a lot of people in the UK have great taste – there’s just a little bit of a brain-scramble, though, once you add the word “Eurovision”. 🙂

Yorkster
Yorkster
3 months ago
Reply to  Trina

I think the problem with the UK national finals is… (1) They predominantly have one or two decent songs and the other four are dismal :/ (with the exception of 2019 where ALL 3 songs were below sub-par admissions). (2) If the viewing figures for this years are any indication, that shows the national final figures would be ridiculously lower, and therein lies the problem because most of the people voting would be the die-hard Eurovision fans that want to ‘recapture the hey-days’ of winning – something that is nowhere near fashionable in the 21st century!… I mean, no offence… Read more »

Samo
Samo
4 months ago
Reply to  Trina

Portugal ended 19th in the televoting, so I’m not sure whether they transformed anything.

Melania
Melania
3 months ago
Reply to  Samo

they were a non qualifier before rehearsal and finished better than us

Jake
Jake
3 months ago
Reply to  Samo

Ummmm….they were performed earlier in the evening and ended up with 153 points and left side of the board…..let me just do the quick math here…oh, yes, that’s 153 more points than the UK for what was suppose to be a sure non-qualifier

Badger
Badger
4 months ago
Reply to  Trina

Absolutely. The BBC is solely to blame here. They have been watching Eurovision for the last 20 years, right? I don’t understand how they can send two trumpets that look like something made for a school play and call that good staging. If Ukraine, Azerbaijan or Sweden sent something that looked like that, their whole delegation would be fired for that staging. They would never do that. And the UK is one of the richest countries. There is no excuse.

hhhhurricane
hhhhurricane
4 months ago

Just send a good song it’s not rocket science, play to win. if an average viewer can smell a potential winner from a mile away, so can everyone in bbc. country with such immense musical potential struggling to get a single point…. embarrassing.

Ospero
Ospero
4 months ago
Reply to  hhhhurricane

“A good song” alone doesn’t do it. The four televote nulpointers this year were radically different from one another, yet none of those four managed to strike a chord with audiences. Who judges “good song”, for a start? Do you let the public vote? Do you take fans? Foreign juries, and if so, from what countries?

Jake
Jake
4 months ago

Sarah Dawn Finer has gone on record that she would love to represent UK…easy 12 points from the Swedish televote and juries…UK would at least start from a base of 24 guaranteed…and her voice…and her exquisite songwriting skills…they would at least be left side of the board

Azaad
Azaad
4 months ago
Reply to  Jake

I don’t think the BBC would select her though.

Edward
Edward
4 months ago
Reply to  Azaad

That’s the issue

Fatima
Fatima
4 months ago
Reply to  Jake

Or … whoever is second in Melodfestivalen can represent the UK.

Last edited 4 months ago by Fatima
Zisk
Zisk
4 months ago
Reply to  Fatima

John Lundvik wrote Bigger Than Us. I don’t think getting help from Melodifestivalen works when you only get the bad song rejects…

Una
Una
3 months ago
Reply to  Jake

Starting off with 24 points because of the “Sweden” connection? REALLY?? That would be a very low low for the UK. Noooo.

Steven
Steven
4 months ago

To avoid 0 points eurovision should has a system which every country is giving from 1 to 25 points

Jake
Jake
4 months ago
Reply to  Steven

NO WAY!!!!!! that run of 4 consecutive SORRY ZERO POINTS was brilliant TV…it’s what everyone talked about…and the reaction in the press center and in homes across Europe makes for must-watch TV

Azaad
Azaad
4 months ago
Reply to  Jake

Also Armenia and Azerbaijan would throw a fit over having to reward the other at least one point.

Ern
Ern
4 months ago
Reply to  Steven

No, getting zero points is part of the “fun” in the competition. In the same way that only 10 songs can be in the “top 10” and only some songs get past the semi-finals, zero points is part of the competition.

Besides, we need to get away from this “participation trophy” mentality.

Last edited 4 months ago by Ern
ESC Stan
ESC Stan
4 months ago
Reply to  Steven

I think its a good idea, but then you run the risk of having acts having equal scores because it’s too big a cross section. This isn’t a bad thing unless it happens to the winning spot.

RavensHeart
RavensHeart
4 months ago

Why doesn’t the UK just put more effort and send a big name act, like Blue, Bonnie Tyler, or Flo Rida?

Oops

Colin
Colin
4 months ago
Reply to  RavensHeart

Flo Rida qualified, meaning that he beat seven other songs to get there. An AQ like the UK has no such benefit. Bonnie didn’t finish high, but she still managed to pull off a result above most newer British entries. Sad, but true. Besides, she seemed drunk on stage, and really didn’t give the greatest performance. As for Blue, they finished 11th, so *hardly* a flop. The televote would’ve given them a higher spot. So, yeah, without any sarcasm, any of these would and did do better that UK did in 2018-2021.

Paul
Paul
4 months ago
Reply to  RavensHeart

To be fair – Blue did pretty well (and the song was great)

Anna
Anna
4 months ago
Reply to  RavensHeart

They could do that but they just don’t give a rats ass about ESC, that is why they always place so bad. If they did care they would have won many more times since last time they won.

Last edited 4 months ago by Anna
Blackcat
Blackcat
4 months ago

Also, with all those fishing “wars” the UK gave France 12 points. It was very humiliating and revolting. Have some dignity.

RavensHeart
RavensHeart
4 months ago
Reply to  Blackcat

But that was the trecherous juries, not the UK public.

Blackcat
Blackcat
4 months ago
Reply to  RavensHeart

But still.

Ospero
Ospero
4 months ago
Reply to  RavensHeart

The UK public gave 5 to France and 10 to Iceland, so much for “fishing wars” being a factor…

Melania
Melania
3 months ago
Reply to  Blackcat

I thought it was a song contest and no political?

jack
jack
4 months ago

great anaylsis, i really REALLY hope the bbc takes into consideration that this contest means so much to many british fans, and we want and deserve higher placings. they need to revamp
everything they’ve done before. despite lucie jones doing well in you decide, the show was awful let’s be honest. bringing the public in might be a good idea, however give a better selection of songs that can ACTUALLY do well across europe (and australia). i would love to see more songs that are british, like hip-hop or grime, and not another boring ballad or mainly lackluster pop song.

WestMids
4 months ago
Reply to  jack

Why is there this myth that Lucie Jones did well? She got a pathetic 12 points from the public and finished hundreds of points behind the winner. The song was a painful dirge but pretentious and overacted which is why the juries scored it moderately well.

Azaad
Azaad
4 months ago
Reply to  WestMids

15th is a lot better than 24th or 26th

Melania
Melania
3 months ago
Reply to  Azaad

But it was still moaned and groaned about across British media

Una
Una
3 months ago
Reply to  Azaad

It was co-written by a former Eurovision winner so the jury points come as no surprise.

Jake
Jake
4 months ago

Let’s be real…James is a talented songwriter and a genuinely nice chap…but on the night…that voice…that performance…it just wasn’t up to par…he looked out of place and his voice was surprisingly thin at some points…the song really needed a much more higher energy performer and a stronger voice…I don’t actually mind the staging although I would’ve tweaked some, including brighter color palette, more dynamic LED graphics and given the dancers white instruments to pop out more and mirror the giant trumpets…but ultimately–that would be putting lipstick on a pig–the voice and performance just wasn’t there and he lacks star power… Read more »

Jack
Jack
4 months ago

I think the UK really need to try and bring some new, up and coming artists to Eurovision. I’d love for our song to reflect the music scene here more. We’ve got some great vocalists, but also an amazing Rap and R&B scene – we just need to send something that stands out and either way I think the points would start to come in. I’m tired of the BBC sending average songs year after year that try and fit a certain ‘Eurovision formula’. I hope next year we take a risk and send something different that surprises.

RavensHeart
RavensHeart
4 months ago
Reply to  Jack

See where Flo Rida finished, and then re-evaluate your comment :p

Jack
Jack
4 months ago
Reply to  RavensHeart

Flo Rida isn’t from the UK, and he’s definitely not up and coming. And also Flo Rida would have been great about 10 years ago. I’m talking about young and current artists with great talent. Go and listen to some of the UK artists first.

Zisk
Zisk
4 months ago
Reply to  RavensHeart

See where Blue finished in the televote despite having technical issues on the day stopping a 100% performance 😉

Blackcat
Blackcat
4 months ago

Unfortunately this song was very very boring. The voting showed that people didn’t like the song and even the British people didn’t like it themselves. Fingers crossed there will be a great song from the UK next year. UK have many talented musicians and they don’t have to be famous and long-established ones. It needs to be a song which wins your heart with brilliant music and vocals. Lyrics are also important but if the music is boring then that’s it.

Last edited 4 months ago by Blackcat
Azaad
Azaad
4 months ago

Possible paths for the UK to do well in the future with internally selected acts. a. Select a well established act who has done well in the UK but failed to impact in the USA and so is open to getting more European fans. People like Jess Glynne, Paloma Faith and Mabel come to mind – the bonus of the latter two is that being half Spanish and Swedish respectively is that it’s a possible source of easy televote points. They’re famous enough to give the UK an advantage without being well known enough to risk embarrassing themselves if they… Read more »

Colin
Colin
4 months ago

Good editorial, Jonathan. It echoes a lot of things I said about the UK the other day. They are continuously aiming to pass, not to win, and it backfires. Embers is a good example of that, as it is a perfectly passable entry in all departments, but above average in none of them. I would struggle to understand anyone who hates this song, but I perfectly understand why so few voted for it. I wish they stop playing it safe, and send something they think is an outstanding song, rather than a ”good ESC entry”. Could we see a day… Read more »

Pauline
Pauline
4 months ago

Thank you for the breakdown!

Samo
Samo
4 months ago

Judging by entries they send, I would argue that UK hates Europe rather than the other way around. But on a serious note, I think the biggest problem of the UK is that they are overthinking it. We could see that back when they held national selections – jurors would keep going on about whether that particular song is good for Eurovision and whether it would do well, while paying very little attention to whether it is good or not. They keep searching for a good Eurovision entry, not a good song – and even when judging whether an entry… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Samo
Samo
Samo
4 months ago
Reply to  Samo

Oh and they also need to fire whoever picked up that coat for James this year.

Jake
Jake
4 months ago
Reply to  Samo

That coat…that chain…a heavy long dark leather outfit when his dancers were in casual white athletic ware…who styled this performance?….he might actually not be bottom of the board in the Barbara Dex Award

Jonathan Brett-Warren
Jonathan Brett-Warren
4 months ago

So, when I heard that a ‘brilliant’ production team had been brought in for the UK this year, I was really excited. But what this translated took stage was really underwhelming. I wonder whether there was a limited budget? Does anyone know? This had been the same for the UK for many years. This is where we need to change

Jake
Jake
4 months ago

I doubt budget is the problem…producing and shipping those trumpets can’t be cheap

James
James
4 months ago

They should brought in the one who did Lucie’s brilliantly illuminating staging.

Whisker
Whisker
4 months ago

Better not grasp at straws! “Support” is the wrong word. Do people have to “support” bad entries? Or to they have to REWARD good entries? UK 2021 was deemed to be the worst performance in the competition and it deserved to come last in the GF.

Also, until the BBC reconsiders its attitude towards the contest, they are free to enjoy their sausage and oil balls. Nil points all around! #justiceforjames

Anhel
Anhel
4 months ago

If the UK had sent Zitti e buoni, I would’ve voted for them, and if Italy had sent Embers, they’d be bottom 5. It’s as simple as that for me. The country which sent the entry will almost never influence my opinion of the entry.

Liam Lindsay
4 months ago
Reply to  Anhel

I second that 1000%. Look at Israel, and how what they have been doing in the run up to the final, and still qualified and qualified comfortably placing 5th in Semi-Final 1 getting from the Jury Vote 2 sets of 12 from North Macedonia and Italy an a 12 from the Televote coming from Azerbaijan. Eden only missed out on a Top 13 placing by around 20 or so points. So any politcal voting or BS like that is out the window. I liked Israel’s performance when I saw it live and beforehand I had it down as a NQ… Read more »

Azaad
Azaad
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam Lindsay

In the final Israel’s bulk of points came from the jury so I’d argue some political factors were perhaps in play. I think if a voter has opinions on international affairs, they’d influence how they perceive certain entries to an extent – at least to the point of breaking ties.

Trina
Trina
4 months ago
Reply to  Azaad

In practice, the public tends to be FAR less reactive to politics than the juries. Additionally, this year Malta, Portugal, Bulgaria, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Belgium also saw massive televote loss between the semi and the final (and as far as I know (AZE excluded), none of these countries’ governments has done anything particularly upsetting in global politics lately) . Plus, Israel also went third in the final, which is seldom helpful.

Azaad
Azaad
4 months ago
Reply to  Trina

I think there are members of the public who are very political in their voting, but since there are so many more televoters than jurors it won’t make a huge impact admittedly.

Dida
Dida
4 months ago

EBU should disolve Big 5 issue, with these 5 participating in the semifinals, as well. Equal rights for all countries. Then we shall see UK, Spain and especially Germany will put a lot of an effort in sending the best package they got.

MrBrightside
MrBrightside
4 months ago
Reply to  Dida

Imagine the 5 biggest western nations DQ to the final. Who would watch this? Tiny Cyprus and even smaller Malta? The EBU will never scrap the idea of Big5 just because of viewing figures and money it generates.

Liam Lindsay
4 months ago
Reply to  Dida

You’ll find that most will quit if that happened, especially the UK(BBC)

RavensHeart
RavensHeart
4 months ago
Reply to  Dida

No, then you will see the countries that pay for the contest not participate and withdraw their funding, and the jokes about hosting in someones back garden will be jokes no more.

Colono
Colono
4 months ago
Reply to  RavensHeart

They are funding the contest just to get zero points and feel ridiculous in front of millions then.

I think elimination could be less harsh than what we all watched last week. They should compete in the semis, it’s win-win for everybody.