Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Eurovision Song Contest Statistics 2019

Since The Netherlands achieved its fifth win this year, I've analysed the participating countries for the entire history of the Eurovision Song Contest. Some interesting statistics have emerged from this. You may click on one of the links below to jump to a particular section, or alternatively you may wish to read the whole document from start to finish.

Seven Years of Different Winners
Years Taken to First Win Eurovision Song Contest
Still Waiting For A First Win
Years Since Last Win
Years Between Wins
How Many Wins?

Seven Years of Different Winners
Firstly, it's interesting to see that since 2013, a different country has won each year.

2013 Denmark (3rd)
2014 Austria (2nd)
2015 Sweden (6th)
2016 Ukraine (2nd)
2017 Portugal (1st)
2018 Israel (4th)
2019 The Netherlands (5th)

Figures in brackets indicate the cumulative win for that country, e.g. in 2019 The Netherlands won for the fifth time.

This means that, from 2013 to 2019 inclusive, there has been a seven-year run of different winners. How much longer will this trend of a different winner each year continue?

The record for the longest run of a different winner each year currently stands at 16 years (1996 to 2011 inclusive), as shown in the list below. Notice also there was an eight-year run of first-time winners from 2001 to 2008 inclusive during that time.

1996 Ireland (7th)
1997 United Kingdom (5th)
1998 Israel (3rd)
1999 Sweden (4th)
2000 Denmark (2nd)
2001 Estonia (1st)
2002 Latvia (1st)
2003 Turkey (1st)
2004 Ukraine (1st)
2005 Greece (1st)
2006 Finland (1st)
2007 Serbia (1st)
2008 Russia (1st)
2009 Norway (3rd)
2010 Germany (2nd)
2011 Azerbaijan (1st)

It will now take 9 years of different winners not in the 2013 to 2019 run to bring the current run back to 16 years of different winners (2013 to 2028), plus another year (2029) to beat it. As you will see, in the next few sections, that could well happen.

Can the eight-year run of first-time winners be beaten? It can, although it will take until at least 2028 to happen. Further interesting trivia follows in the next few sections.

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Years Taken to First Win Eurovision Song Contest
Here are all the 27 countries that have won the Eurovision Song Contest at least once each. Notice the number of years from first ever entry to first win varies considerably. Portugal currently holds the record for longest wait for a first win: 53 years. That is, it first won in 2017, 53 years after its first ever song in 1964. Serbia currently holds the record for shortest wait for a first win (see footnote for more though).

Country
First Entry
First Win
Years After First Entry
Portugal
1964
2017
53
Finland
1961
2006
45
Greece
1974
2005
31
Belgium
1956
1986
30
Yugoslavia
1961
1989
28
Turkey
1975
2003
28
Germany
1956
1982
26
Norway
1960
1985
25
Sweden
1958
1974
16
Russia
1994
2008
14
Monaco
1959
1971
12
United Kingdom
1957
1967
10
Austria
1957
1966
9
Italy
1956
1964
8
Spain
1961
1968
7
Estonia
1994
2001
7
Denmark
1957
1963
6
Luxembourg
1956
1961
5
Ireland
1965
1970
5
Israel
1973
1978
5
Azerbaijan
2008
2011
3
France
1956
1958
2
Latvia
2000
2002
2
The Netherlands
1956
1957
1
Ukraine
2003
2004
1
Switzerland
1956
1956
0
Serbia
2007
2007
0

The debut Eurovision Song Contest in 1956 was the only year each country was able to enter two songs. Switzerland's second song of the night "Refrain" won the 1956 Contest, therefore its first ever song "Das Alte Karussell" did not win. Consequently, from 1956 to 2006, no country won with its first ever song. Serbia thus became the first country to win with its first ever song (as an independent nation), which is why it effectively had a shorter wait for its first win than Switzerland. It could be argued that Serbia previously participated as part of Serbia and Montenegro (2004), and part of Yugoslavia (1974, 1982, 1991, 1992). However, on those occasions, the songs represented the whole of Serbia and Montenegro / Yugoslavia, not just Serbia itself. 2007 was the first year that Serbia's song just represented Serbia.

If Liechtenstein enters in the future, and wins with its first ever song, it could be said to have had an even shorter wait for a first win having not previously entered as part of a larger country which no longer exists.

It's worth bearing in mind that the above table ignores the fact that some countries missed a few years in their history. For example, Portugal first won in 2017, 53 years after its first entry in 1964. However, it missed the Contests of 1970, 2000, 2002, 2013 and 2016. Finland first won in 2006, 45 years after its first entry in 1961. However, it missed the Contests of 1970, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2003.

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Still Waiting For A First Win
Now for the countries which have yet to achieve their first win. Malta is currently the country with the most years since its debut entry in 1971 (48 years) that hasn't won yet.

N.B. Each country's debut year is shown after its name. Estonia, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia entered the 1993 qualifying round Kvalifikacija za Millstreet in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 3 April 1993, but didn't qualify for the Eurovision Song Contest 1993, and thus their debut year is officially recognised as 1994. North Macedonia entered the audio qualifier for the Eurovision Song Contest 1996, but failed to qualify, and thus its debut year is officially recognised as 1998. However, since the advent of semi-finals in 2004, the debut year is the year a country first appeared in the semi-final, whether or not it qualified to the final.

Long Time Runners (pre-2000)

Country
First Entry
Years Since First Entry
Malta
1971
48
Morocco
1980
39
Cyprus
1981
38
Iceland
1986
33
Slovenia
1993
26
Bosnia & Herzegovina
1993
26
Croatia
1993
26
Romania
1994
25
Slovakia
1994
25
Lithuania
1994
25
Hungary
1994
25
Poland
1994
25
North Macedonia
1998
21

That's 13 countries altogether. One significant subset is the seven which debuted in 1994; of those Estonia won in 2001 and Russia won in 2008, therefore 5 of the 7 countries which first entered in 1994 have yet to achieve their first win. Another interesting group is the three ex-Yugoslav countries which debuted in 1993; 26 years on and none of those three have won yet. If one of each of the above countries wins every year, it will take 13 years for them all to win once (if Morocco ever makes a comeback).

It's worth noting that the above table ignores the fact that all the above countries missed one or more years in their history; in fact, some have had quite lengthy absences. For example, Malta's debut entry was in 1971 (48 years ago), but was absent in 1973 and 1974, and again from 1976 to 1990 inclusive; hence Malta has had 32 entries to-date. On the other hand, Cyprus debuted in 1981 (38 years ago), but has only missed three contests (1988, 2001, 2014) and thus it has had 36 entries to-date (more than Malta). Therefore, the country with the most entries to-date and no wins is currently Cyprus, not Malta.

Will Morocco ever return to the Eurovision Song Contest? It seems highly unlikely, but never say "never". If it enters, reaches the final and wins next year, it will have had the third longest wait for a first win: 40 years (1980 - 2020). However, it will also have the longest gap between entries: 40 years. Bizarrely though, it will have won on only its second attempt (just like Ukraine in 2004)!

21st Century Newcomers (2004 onwards)
Since the introduction of semi-finals in 2004, 14 new countries have entered the Eurovision Song Contest from 2004 onwards. The most recent newcomer, Australia, was originally intended to be a one-off guest participant for the 60th Contest in 2015, but was allowed to enter again in 2016, 2017 and 2018. In February 2019, it was announced that Australia's right to take part is guaranteed until 2023, but its participation after that is still uncertain. That aside, the most recent countries eligible for indefinite participation are Azerbaijan and San Marino, both of which first entered in 2008. Of the 14 which debuted since 2004, Serbia won in 2007 (the very first time it entered as Serbia) and Azerbaijan won in 2011 (3 years after first entering in 2008). The other 12 countries from this group are still waiting for their first win:

Country
First Entry
Years Since First Entry
Belarus
2004
15
Andorra[1]
2004
15
Albania
2004
15
Serbia & Montenegro[2]
2004
15
Moldova
2005
14
Bulgaria
2005
14
Armenia
2006
13
Georgia
2007
12
Montenegro
2007
12
Czech Republic
2007
12
San Marino
2008
11
Australia[3]
2015
4

[1] never qualified to final
[2] nation no longer exists
[3] right to participate currently guaranteed until 2023

How long will it be before any of the countries in this group have their first win? Serbia & Montenegro no longer exists as a joint country, so that leaves 11 countries in this group, and thus it will take at least 11 years for them to win once each.

Taking the two groups together, that's 24 countries still waiting for their first ever win. So, it's quite possible for the eight-year run of first-time winners (2001 to 2008) to be beaten (2020 to 2028 and beyond). Furthermore, first time wins for each of these countries during forthcoming years will continue the trend of a different winner each year since 2013.

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Years Since Last Win

Distant Past Winners (pre-2004)
By this I mean countries which last won before the introduction of semi-finals in 2004 (which was also the year of Ukraine's first ever win). Altogether, I've found 13 countries that last won in 2003 or earlier. Note that one of them Yugoslavia no longer exists, so that leaves 12 countries in this group still waiting to win again.

Country
Last Win
Years Since Last Win
Spain
1969
50
Monaco
1971
48
France
1977
42
Luxembourg
1983
36
Belgium
1986
33
Switzerland
1988
31
Yugoslavia[4]
1989
30
Italy
1990
29
Ireland
1996
23
United Kingdom
1997
22
Estonia
2001
18
Latvia
2002
17
Turkey
2003
16

[4] nation no longer exists

Monaco was absent from Eurovision from 1980 to 2003 inclusive. 2004 to 2006 inclusive it entered but failed to qualify from the semi-finals. Since 2007 it has been absent again. Will it return in 2020, and if so, will it qualify to the final for the first time since the introduction of semi-finals in 2004? If it returns, reaches the final and wins, it will have had 49 years gap between wins (1971 to 2020).

Luxembourg last entered in 1993. Will it ever return? If it comes back, reaches the final and wins next year, it will have had 37 years gap between wins (1983 - 2020).

If Italy wins next year, it will have had 30 years gap between wins (1990 - 2020), thereby exceeding its previous 26-year gap between wins (1964 - 1990).

If any one of the above countries wins next year, it will extend the current run of a different country winning each year by one year, i.e. 2013 to 2020 inclusive.

Recent Winners (2004 onwards)
Now for the countries whose last win was in 2004 or later. Sweden has won twice since then (2012 and 2015), as has Ukraine (2004 and 2016), but only their most recent wins are shown here. Although I've described this group as "recent" winners, it's already quite a long time since some of them last won; 10 years plus in the case of Norway, Russia, Serbia, Finland and Greece.

Country
Last Win
Years Since Last Win
Greece
2005
14
Finland
2006
13
Serbia
2007
12
Russia
2008
11
Norway
2009
10
Germany
2010
9
Azerbaijan
2011
8
Denmark
2013
6
Austria
2014
5
Sweden
2015
4
Ukraine
2016
3
Portugal
2017
2
Israel
2018
1
The Netherlands
2019
0

If any country which won between 2005 and 2011 inclusive wins next year, it will extend the current run of a different country winning each year by one year, i.e. 2013 to 2020 inclusive. With 7 countries in the 2005 to 2011 year range, plus another 12 countries which haven't won for at least 16 years (2003 or earlier), plus 24 countries still waiting for their first ever win, the current trend of a different winner each year (since 2013) is likely to continue for several years to come.

If Denmark wins next year, the run of a different winning country each year will remain the same as now, 7 years (2014 to 2020).

If Austria, Sweden, Ukraine, Portugal, Israel or The Netherlands win next year, the run of different winning countries each year will be reduced accordingly. For example, if Austria wins next year, one will need to start the new list at Sweden 2015 and finish with Austria 2020, i.e. a 6-year run of a different winning country each year.

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Years Between Wins
Now for a look at countries which have won more than once. The Netherlands won the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. That means a 44-year gap between its previous win in 1975 and its latest win in 2019. Although that is its longest gap between wins to-date, it's currently the second longest gap between wins in the history of the Contest. Furthermore, The Netherlands is the first country to have a 44-year gap between wins in the history of the Contest.

The following table shows the gaps between wins for every country that has won more than once. Where a country has won more than twice (and hence has more than one gap between wins), all gaps between wins for that country are shown. Ireland has won seven times to-date, and therefore has six entries in the table below.

The following table, and notes beneath it, ignore the fact that some countries missed one or more years between wins. Austria currently holds the record for longest gap between wins: 48 years (1966 - 2014). Between its wins in 1966 and 2014, it missed several years (1969, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1998, 2001, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010).

Country
Years Between Wins
From
To
Austria
48
1966
2014
The Netherlands
44
1975
2019
Denmark
37
1963
2000
Switzerland
32
1956
1988
Germany
28
1982
2010
Italy
26
1964
1990
Israel
20
1998
2018
Israel
19
1979
1998
United Kingdom
16
1981
1997
Norway
14
1995
2009
Sweden
13
1999
2012
Denmark
13
2000
2013
Ukraine
12
2004
2016
The Netherlands
10
1959
1969
Ireland
10
1970
1980
Luxembourg
10
1973
1983
Sweden
10
1974
1984
Norway
10
1985
1995
France
8
1969
1977
Sweden
8
1991
1999
France
7
1962
1969
Luxembourg
7
1965
1972
United Kingdom
7
1969
1976
Ireland
7
1980
1987
Sweden
7
1984
1991
The Netherlands
6
1969
1975
United Kingdom
5
1976
1981
Ireland
5
1987
1992
Luxembourg
4
1961
1965
Sweden
3
2012
2015
The Netherlands
2
1957
1959
France
2
1958
1960
France
2
1960
1962
United Kingdom
2
1967
1969
Ireland
2
1994
1996
Spain
1
1968
1969
Luxembourg
1
1972
1973
Israel
1
1978
1979
Ireland
1
1992
1993
Ireland
1
1993
1994

If either of the following two countries wins next year, it will take the record for longest gap between wins:
Spain 51 years (1969 - 2020)
Monaco 49 years (1971 - 2020) (that is, if Monaco returns next year)

If France wins next year, it will have a distinct third longest gap between wins: 43 years (1977 - 2020).

If Luxembourg returns and wins next year, it will equal the current third longest gap between wins: 37 years (1983 - 2020).

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How Many Wins?
Finally, here is a table showing how many times each country has ever won the Eurovision Song Contest from 1956 to 2019 inclusive.

Country
Number of Wins
Albania
0
Andorra
0
Armenia
0
Australia
0
Austria
2
Azerbaijan
1
Belarus
0
Belgium
1
Bosnia & Herzegovina
0
Bulgaria
0
Croatia
0
Cyprus
0
Czech Republic
0
Denmark
3
Estonia
1
Finland
1
France
5
Georgia
0
Germany
2
Greece
1
Hungary
0
Iceland
0
Ireland
7
Israel
4
Italy
2
Latvia
1
Lithuania
0
Luxembourg
5
Malta
0
Moldova
0
Monaco
1
Montenegro
0
Morocco
0
North Macedonia
0
Norway
3
Poland
0
Portugal
1
Romania
0
Russia
1
San Marino
0
Serbia
1
Serbia & Montenegro
0
Slovakia
0
Slovenia
0
Spain
2
Sweden
6
Switzerland
2
The Netherlands
5
Turkey
1
Ukraine
2
United Kingdom
5
Yugoslavia
1

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