Editorials & Opinion

The best of the Worst: Part 2 of the “nul points” countdown

1. Jahn Teigen – Mil Etter Mil (Norway 1978)

Here we have it, and really it couldn’t ever have been anything else. There may have been better songs to have scored nul points, but there can be very little doubt that this is the best nul points song. I have abandoned the format for this one because really, its good qualities and the reasons it failed are one and the same. It’s like from the moment Jahn started clowning around in the backstage footage and then came bounding onto the Paris stage, he knew that a big fat zero was coming, and went all out to make it happen.
The red trousers, the failed attempts at rockstar wailing, the manic eyes, the leap into the air, and of course the “oh whatever” moment in the last chorus – the brace-twanging – all contributed to assuring the performance has become an iconic Eurovision moment, and rightly so. It’s usually presented as a masterclass in getting nul points, but as we know, with the possible exception of ‘Opera’ moments like this don’t come along where everything and nothing fits into place at the same time. It’s an ultimate example of everything going so wrong, yet being so right.
The song itself is pretty catchy too, which helps, even though the cheesy orchestration butchered what was a tasteful country-rock ballad, something Jahn himself was none too happy with (perhaps explaining his performance choices). Still, as we know the result didn’t phase him, and he managed to capitalise on his result to become an incredibly successful Norwegian artist in spite of – or perhaps because of – that night in Paris. Another reason why Mil Etter Mil is the ultimate nul pointer.

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