The Curse of Last Year’s Hosts at the Eurovision Song Contest

Adrian Kavanagh, 9th May 2016

One trend that seems to be fairly consistent across Eurovision Song Contests relates to the often poor performances by countries that have won the contest two years beforehand and thus hosted it the year before, in what many people refer to as the curse of last year’s hosts. The reason for this trend is unknown, but it may be down to a simple averaging out process in that countries that achieve significant success in the contest are, on the law of averages, due a poor result soon after this! It may also reflect a (subconscious) desire amongst the Eurovision voters not to award another victory to a country so soon after they have won the contest – a desire that may have become especially pronounced following Ireland’s run of four victories between 1992 and 1996! It may also be down to the level of effort put in by the country themselves – in what we might term the My Lovely Horse scenario, this country consciously/subconsciously makes an effort to avoid picking a song that could win the contest for them, which hence could involve them hosting the contest (and having to take on the financial costs associated with this) so soon after having just hosted it the year before. Furthermore, while a country may put a big effort into selecting a strong entrant in the year that country is hosting the contest, they may (consciously or unconsciously) relax these efforts in the following year, with a poor result in the contest ensuing as a result.

The incidence of the curse of last year’s host has increased in recent years, mainly due to the increased numbers of competitors in the contest allowing for the increased prospect of a very poor result for these former hosts. For instance, four of the previous years’ hosts failed to make it out of a Eurovision semi-final in the year after they hosted the contest (namely Latvia in 2004, Serbia in 2009, Norway in 2011 and Denmark in 2015). The ramping up of the competitiveness levels within the contest over the past decade, or so, has to be another factor here.

It is also worth noting that determining whether a country’s result amounts to these being “cursed” depends on what that country’s results in the contests would normally, as well as the period in which these contests are taking place. Given Russia’s string of very strong results in the 2000s, their 11th place in the 2010 Final amounts to a poor result for that country, although a similar placing would probably be deemed as a very good result by most other Eurovision countries, including a number of recent winners such as Germany, Finland and Latvia. There’s also a temporal dimension here. The United Kingdom’s 12th place in the 1999 Final would have been deemed as a poor result for that country at that period of time, given the country’s run of strong results in the decades prior to the 1999 contest. However, a similar result for the United Kingdom in 2000s would be viewed as a more than acceptable one given that country’s poor run of form during the present century. The same thing could be said about The Duskeys 11th place result for Ireland in the 1982 Final – a result that was disappointing given Ireland’s consistent run of strong results during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. However a 11th place result in a Eurovision Final would have be viewed as a very good result for Ireland during the 2000s.

Country Hosted Result in following year Verdict
Sweden 1975 Did not take part in contest Cursed!!!
The Netherlands 1976 12th place in Final Cursed
United Kingdom 1977 11th place in Final Cursed
France 1978 3rd place in Final Not cursed
Israel 1979 Did not take part in contest Cursed!!!
The Netherlands 1980 9th place in Final Not cursed
Ireland 1981 11th place in Final – withdrew (for a year) in 1982 Cursed!!!
United Kingdom 1982 6th place in Final Not cursed
Germany 1983 13th place in Final Cursed
Luxembourg 1984 13th place in Final Cursed
Sweden 1985 5th place in Final Not cursed
Norway 1986 9th place in Final Not cursed
Belgium 1987 18th place in Final Cursed!
Ireland 1988 18th place in Final Cursed!!!
Switzerland 1989 11th place in Final Cursed?
Yugoslavia 1990 21st place (second last) in Final Cursed!!!
Italy 1991 4th place in Final Not cursed
Sweden 1992 7th place in Final Not cursed
Ireland 1993 Won the contest Not cursed!
Ireland 1994 14th place in Final Cursed
Ireland 1995 Won the contest Not cursed!
Norway 1996 Last place (24th) in Final with nils points!!! Cursed!!!!!
Ireland 1997 9th place in Final Not cursed
United Kingdom 1998 12th place in Final Cursed
Israel 1999 22nd place in Final Cursed!
Sweden 2000 5th place in Final Not cursed
Denmark 2001 Last place (24th) in Final with just 3 points Cursed!!!
Estonia 2002 21st place in Final Cursed!
Latvia 2003 17th place in Semi Final – did not qualify Cursed!
Turkey 2004 13th place in Final Cursed
Ukraine 2005 7th place in Final Not cursed
Greece 2006 7th place in Final Not cursed
Finland 2007 22nd place in Final Cursed!
Serbia 2008 10th in Semi Final 2 – did not qualify for Final Cursed!
Russia 2009 11th place in Final (one of weaker results in 2000s) Cursed
Norway 2010 17th place (out of 19) in Semi Final 1 – did not qualify for Final Cursed!!!
Germany 2011 8th place in Final Not cursed
Azerbaijan 2012 2nd place in Final Not cursed
Sweden 2013 3rd place in Final Not cursed
Denmark 2014 13th place (out of 16) in Semi Final 1 – did not qualify for Final Cursed!!!

Finally, it must be noted that one country seems to have especially suffered from the curse of last year’s hosts more than any other country during this period and that country is Norway, in keeping with that country’s oscillating fortunes at the contest, with a series of very poor results for two Norwegian acts in the years after Norway has hosted the contest. This included one nils points last placed finish in 1997, as well as failure to qualify from the semi-final 2011. That said, Denmark’s record is not much better. Having finished last in the 2001 Final after hosting the contest in 2000, Denmark exited the contest in 2015 at the semi-final stage after having hosted the contest last year in Copenhagen. So, the curse lives on. Personally, I hope the same rule does not apply in 2016, as I really like Austria’s entry this year, but only time will tell whether Zoë Straub can avoid the curse of last year’s hosts or not.

Advertisements

Tags:

One Response to “The Curse of Last Year’s Hosts at the Eurovision Song Contest”

  1. Eurovison Song Contest 2016: Semi Final 1 Review | Adrian Kavanagh's Blog Says:

    […] and this is not not a great position in the running order either. And then there’s the “curse of last year’s hosts” to also factor in!  I really hope this makes the Final, […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: