Data visualization uncovers worst Eurovision performers

By Eshan Wickrema and Lachlan James

Come on. Admit it. You too love a good ‘train wreck’ – something so embarrassing or despondent that you can’t look away. So which countries have the worst performance records at the Eurovision Song Contest? Let’s use Business Intelligence and data visualization to uncover the humiliation.

Most number of last place finishes at Eurovision by country (1956 – 2014)


Insights

  • Norway has had its fair share of poor performances at Eurovision, finishing outright last on nine occasions (more than any other country)
    • Norway also has the second highest number of bottom three placings (14)
  • Austria, the hosts of this years contest, has also suffered the equal second highest number of outright last place finishes (6)
  • While Belgium is tied with 2015 hosts, Austria, on six bottom-of-the-table performances, it holds the outright mantle for the most number of bottom three placings (15)
  • Portugal has finished in the bottom three worst performing countries the equal fifth most number of times (8), but has never finished outright last
  • Despite Luxembourg sitting equal second on the all-time Eurovision winners list, with five first place finishes (see our other Eurovision blog post, Data visualization shows most successful Eurovision nations), it has also finished amidst the bottom three seven times – three of which it finished dead last

Naming and shaming
The word is out – sorry Norway! The Norwegians own the dubious ‘honour’ of holding Eurovision’s most inauspicious title: Worst performer of all time. Ouch.

Norwegian artists have hollered, howled and wailed their way to nine outright last place rankings. Oh, and they’ve also finished amongst the bottom three Eurovision acts on 14 occasions – the second highest in the competitions’ history. Double ouch.

The most bottom-three-worthy performances goes to Belgium with 15, who also share second place on the all-time outright losers list with this year’s host, Austria.

Intriguingly, despite Luxembourg rocketing to equal second on the all-time Eurovision winners list, with five first place finishes from just 37 appearances (See our other Eurovision blog post, Data visualization shows Eurovision success rates by country), it’s also endured its share of significant embarrassment on the world stage. Luxembourg has finished amidst the bottom three seven times – three of which it finished dead last!

Of the countries represented on this unfavourable list, it seems – at first glance – as though Portugal has escaped relatively unscathed. After all, it’s managed to avoid finishing outright last, despite eight bottom three performances. But, whilst its lows may not have hit ‘rock bottom’, has it experienced its share of highs too?

Most Eurovision entries without a win by country (1956 – 2014)


Insights

  • Portugal has entered Eurovision the most number of times (48) without a win, having competed since 1964 without claiming a single victory
  • Cyprus has been represented the second most number of times without claiming a Eurovision victory, competing 32 luckless times since its debut in 1981
  • Iceland and Malta tie for third place, remaining winless after 28 Eurovision entries apiece

Portugal: Not so unscathed after all…
It seems that we spoke far too soon. By this measure, Portugal has the worst Eurovision record of the lot, competing in 48 out of a possible 59 Eurovision Song Contests, without a win. They haven’t even managed to claim the runners-up mantle – see our blog; Data visualization compares Eurovision winners & runners-up.

This earlier post also found that countries in the Western half of the European continent have experienced greater Eurovision success compared to other regions. And this got us thinking. Is there a relationship between GDP per capita and Eurovision success? After all, many of the countries included in the above ‘Most Eurovision entries without a win’ chart do have relatively low economic outputs. To find out more, check out our blog post, Data visualization probes Eurovision wins by populace & GDP.

Whatever the case, as an Australian-headquartered company, we’re hoping that provisional Eurovision debutant, Australia, avoids the bottom three at Eurovision 2015. And, if this buzzfeed.com breakdown of all 2015 entrants is anything to go by, we’re feeling pretty confident about Australia’s Guy Sebastian.

Where to next?

Whilst it’s enjoyable to analyse Eurovision successes and failings by country – to ‘play on’ nationalistic sentiments, it’s also interesting to consider the impact of language at the Eurovision Song Contest.

Stay tuned for our upcoming analysis of Eurovision performances by language.

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