The Worst Performing Eurovision Countries


In this blog post I will explain how I have calculated which countries have performed worst in the Eurovision Song Contest. The statistics are the basis for my quiz Lowest Ranking Eurovision Countries. If you haven't read my earlier blog entry, The Best Performing Eurovision Countries, you might want to read that one first.

Counting from the Bottom Up

In The Best Performing Eurovision Countries I had calculated the average placement of each country in the contest, 2004-2021. So one might think that I should just take the bottom ones from that data set to make the Lowest Ranking Eurovision Countries quiz. But there is a problem with that.

The poorest performing countries should be the ones that have often come near the last position, but since there are always a different number of participants, one can't say how manyeth position the last one is. So one needs to start counting from the bottom. The following example is from the 2005 contest.

Best performing countries
Place Country Rank from top
1. Greece 1
2. Malta 2
3. Romania 3
4. Israel 4
5. Latvia 5
Worst performing countries
Place Country Rank from bottom
38. Lithuania 0
37. Monaco 1
36. Andorra 2
35. Belgium 3
34. Austria 4

In 2005 Lithuania ended last at 38th place. I have decided to rank the last place as number 0, because it is 0 positions away from the last place. The second last is number 1, because it is 1 position away from the last position, and so on.

If we had counted from the top down, as in the best performing countries' quiz, Lithuania would have gotten rank 38 in 2005, but 2010's loser, Switzerland, would have gotten rank 32. But when we count from the bottom up, Lithuania 2005 and Switzerland 2010 both get the same rank.

After compiling all my data it turned out that the way of counting did affect the results. When I compared the order of countries in the worst set to the ones in the best set, some countries had changed places.

Semifinals and Ties

2004-2007 the contest had one semi-final and a final. As number 0 I have ranked the country that came last in the semi-final, as number 1 the country that came second last, and so on, for all countries that did not qualify from the semi-final. The rest of the countries I have ranked according to in what place they finished in the final.

Partipating countries in 2008 (with semi-final 1 performers in blue, semi-final 2 performers in red, and directly qualified countries in light blue and orange).
From 2008 onward the show has consisted of two semi-finals and a final. I have decided to rank the last place in both semis as rank 0, the second last place in both semis as number 1, etc. So all the countries that did not qualify from their semi-final are tied with another country.

Well, almost all. In some years one semi had one more participant than the other. For example in Eurovision 2009 there were 18 countries in semi-final 1 and 19 countries in semi-final 2 (see tables below). That means eight non-qualifying countries in semi-final 1, that I have ranked 0 to 7, and nine non-qualifying countries in semi-final 2, that I have ranked 0 to 8. Then there are the finalists, which I have ranked 9 to 33.

Semi-final 1 rankings in 2009
Place Country Points in the semi Rank
1. Iceland 174
2. Turkey 172
3. Bosnia & Herzegovina 125
4. Sweden 105
5. Armenia 99
6. Malta 86
7. Israel 75
8. Portugal 70
9. Romania 67
10. North Macedonia 45 8
11. Montenegro 44 7
12. Finland* 42
13. Belarus 25 5
14. Switzerland 15 4
15. Andorra 8 3
16. Bulgaria 7 2
17. Belgium 1 1
18. Czechia 0 0
Semi-final 2 rankings in 2009
Place Country Points in the semi Rank
1. Norway 201
2. Azerbaijan 180
3. Estonia 115
4. Greece 110
5. Moldova 106
6. Ukraine 80
7. Albania 73
8. Denmark 69
9. Lithuania 66
10. Serbia 60 9
11. Ireland 52 8
12. Poland 43 7
13 Croatia* 33
14. Cyprus 32 5
15. Hungary 16 4
16. Slovenia 14 3
17. Netherlands 11 2
18. Slovakia 8 1
19. Latvia 7 0

*Finland and Croatia qualified for the final due to the back-up jury qualifier system that was in place in 2009. See The Best Performing Eurovision Countries blog. (This means I skipped rank 6 in both of these semis due to the "hole" left behind by Finland and Croatia.)


There are many more details pertaining to all of this, but since I have already mentioned them in my previous blog entry, I will not bore you with that.

I'm not sure how often I will update the Lowest and Best Performing Eurovision Countries quizzes. Adding more data every year would not be that much work really. Though maybe I'll skip updating the quizzes if there has been no change in which countries appear among the 15 best/worst.

O. Torvald performing Time in Kiev, 2017.
Level 54
Mar 30, 2022
I missed the first one, but the concept is actually nice, with many interesting statistics about an important cultural event. Great blog!
Level 43
Mar 30, 2022
I’m liking learning about Eurovision!