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

Everything else still goes

By Gavin Clarke, 18 Feb 2016

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, however, public and judges can each award points to acts from one to eight and then 10 and 12 for the top acts.

Voting for Europe’s kitschiest act was last shaken up in 1975, the year the Netherlands won with Ding-a-Dong.

Back then, juries were allowed to award 12 points to their favorite song, 10 to second best, eight to third and so on.

Also, shockingly this was jury-only: yes, this was the 1970s, an almost pre-telephone era, never mind pre-internet, and certainly pre-social media.

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.

“The new voting format guarantees that the song which is most popular among the public will receive 12 points regardless of how the juries voted,” executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest Jon Ola Sand said in a statement of the new voting system.

Translated, he means more "exciting" TV. Translated, that means a hoped-for end to three all-too-familiar Eurovision scenarios:

  • 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.
  • Nul points: the unenviable position, enjoyed by Norway and Le Royaume-Uni, where one act gets, er, nothing.
  • Regional voting: where voting blocks are formed based on regional loyalties or simmering regional resentments, producing decades of finals in just one place: Baku.

The change is apparently been on the table since 2012. When Sweden's Loreen won, with Euphoria. In Baku.®

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