Denmark finished 23rd in Saturday’s Eurovision Song Contest final, its worst performance since failing to make the final in 2007. And to make matters worse, its arch-rivals Sweden won the 26-country final, notching up the second highest points total in history.
And it could have been worse. At the half-way point in the voting, Denmark, along with Norway, the eventual winner of the wooden spoon, had yet to win a point.
Heading into the contest, Denmark’s Soluna Samay had every reason to be confident that her performance of ‘Should’ve Known Better’ had done well in the semi-finals. The bookies’ odds, which tend to reflect the public’s interest in the song on Google during the semi, had held firm, ranking her the tenth most likely song to win – suggesting she had, at the very least, finished in the top five in the semi.
Only she hadn’t – she’d finished ninth, making it to the final with just 18 points to spare. Meanwhile, Sweden’s entry, ‘Euphoria’ by Loreen, had entered the final as an even-money favourite after romping home in the second semi.
Loreen had courted controversy ahead of her victory by being the only entrant to meet local human rights’ activists. Protests inspired by the Arab Spring are ongoing in the country. Furthermore, the Azerbaijani government reportedly carried out forced evictions to clear part of the city for the construction of the venue, and
Human Rights Watch reported a “violent crackdown on protesters” ahead of the contest.
“Human rights are violated in Azerbaijan every day,” Loreen told the media before the final. “One should not be silent about such things.”
But besides standing up for human rights, there is little Denmark’s entry could have done to improve her final points total, particularly given that two countries who gave her high scores in the semi (Switzerland, ten; Latvia, eight) gave her nul point in the final.
It wasn’t a night of rabid regionally-biased voting, though. Greece and Cyprus gave each other 12 points, of course, as did Turkey and Azerbaijan, and Romania and Moldova – but they were the only reciprocal maximums. Beyond that, it was all Sweden, who took 12 points from 18 countries in all.
In the end Denmark did have one fan who felt they had been hard done by. “My next highlight is Denmark’s song Should’ve Known Better by Soluna Samay, which only got 21 points and finished 23rd,” the ATV Today showbiz reporter and reviewer, Queenie Le Trout, noted – and her name suggests she (or he) knows her onions.
“This song deserved to do so much better darlings – it was the best bloody one in the competition. It certainly deserved to do better than those Russian grannies or the scary lady with rope from Albania!”
Ominously for Denmark, it hasn’t won since 2000 … the last time Eurovision was held in Sweden.
Factfile | Sweden's Eurovision win
Sweden’s winning points total of 372 points (from 41 nations, out of a maximum possible of 492) was the second highest in history, just 15 points behind Norway’s winning total of 387 (also from 41 nations) in 2009.
Last triumphant in 1999, Sweden’s the only country to have won it twice since 1996.
Sweden joins a group of nations (France, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom) that have won Eurovision five times – the second highest number behind Ireland, which has won it seven times.