The two-word doom most feared by every Eurovision

The two-word doom most feared by every Eurovision hopeful flashing their molars to the back rows and carrying the weight of their country’s pride on their shimmying shoulders. But no points doesn’t have to mean no future, as our list of just a selection of zero-to-hero nul-points survivors shows (there have been many others).

Some went on to bigger and better things, some just to weirder things, but do you know what? They all went on. And that’s an uplifting message to match any in the power ballads you’ll hear at this year’s competition.

Jahn Teigen (Norway, 1978)

“It’s a strange thing,” said Jahn Teigen when interviewed in 1980 by Arena, above. “I got no points and since then I had a lot of success.”

In a stunning display of 70s brand management, Norway’s 1978 contestant managed to spin his abject failure with the inoffensively naff song Mil etter Mil (Mile by Mile) into a triumph. His loyal countrymen kept the song at the top of the Norwegian charts for four months, and Tiegen capitalised on the sympathy, calling his subsequent album This Year’s Loser. Teigen then returned to Eurovision in 1982 and 1983, reaching 12th and 9th place respectively.

A former member of Popol Vuh (not the Werner Herzog-collaborating krautrock legends from Germany, but a Norwegian band named after the same ancient Mayan mythical text), Teigen is also a comedian, specialising in spoof songs (including a parody version of Mil etter Mil in Russian) and has starred as an executioner in the 1992 London run of Norwegian rock-opera musical Which Witch, noted to be “the most heavily panned London stage musical in a generation” by the Telegraph.

Nora Nova (Germany, 1964)

Ahinora Kumanova’s father was an official to Tsar Boris III of Bulgaria, and after the country’s communist coup in 1944, her family became persona non grata, with some of her relatives put to death or sent to labour camps. In 1959, at the age of 31, Kumanova escaped Bulgaria by a marriage of convenience to a West German. Five years later, she represented Germany at Eurovision as Nora Nova, with the mischievous oompah-pop of Man Gewöhnt Sich So Schnell an Das Schöne (How Quickly We Get Used to Nice Things). It retains the title for longest, er, title at Eurovision, but that was all it won.

In 1989, the Iron Curtain fell, and Nora Nova returned to Bulgaria, opening up a fashion boutique in Sofia. A more bizarre turn was to come: in 2001 she helped to found the National Movement for Stability and Progress, a political party aimed at the restoration of the tsarist monarchy, in the form of Simeon Borisov Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, who ruled as a minor from 1943-46. The party has subsequently dropped out of Bulgarian politics.

Daniel (Iceland, 1989)

“Though the road seems clear there are things the eye can’t see,” went the lyrics of Það Sem Enginn Sér (What No One Sees), Iceland’s nul-points scoring entry in the 1989 contest. No truer words, and although you’d think that such a crushing defeat would be enough to put a 20-year-old off music for good, Daníel Ágúst went on to front internationally successful band GusGus, whom 90s indie kids may remember from such cuts as Polyesterday. They released their latest album, Mexico, in 2014.