Top critical review
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on 13 November 2006
Tim Moore was inspired to write this book through his friendship with Jane Alexander and her experience of coming 3rd in the UK national final to choose a song for the Eurovision Song Contest in 1989. He began to wonder what had become of the singers who came last in the Eurovision Song Contest, and this led him to look at the names of those who have suffered what he dubs »light entertainment's ultimate indignity«- a zero score in the Eurovision Song Contest.
The contest has given the English language the term »Nul Points«, despite the fact that, as Mr Moore rightly points out, the phrase has never been uttered on the Eurovision stage. He decided to limit his definition of »Nul-Pointers« to those who have failed to score under the current 12 points voting system (previous voting systems made it much easier to come away empty handed). This left him with a list of 14 acts to visit in their own counties, in chronological order, beginning with Norway 's Jahn Teigen and ending with the UK 's Jemini.
What had begun as a project based on the UK 's Woganesque derision of the ESC, fuelled by schadenfreude, quickly took on a life of its own as Tim Moore delved deeper into the lives and times of Eurovision and its »pointless« contestants. The book is meticulously researched and the author generously credits the Eurovision fan base as his best and most reliable source of material. From the 14 candidates, he finally visited 9. A meeting with Remediou Amaya [Spain 1983] could not be arranged and Çetin Alp had sadly passed away, drawing the final curtain on his 1983 debacle for Turkey (the book is dedicated to his memory). Wilfred ( Austria 1988), Thomas Förster ( Austria 1991) and Gunvor ( Switzerland 1998) all declined to talk about their Eurovision experiences. Nevertheless, all these artists get a sympathetic hearing in the book.
Of the close encounters of the Eurovision kind which do take place, the reports range from the amusing (Teigen and Sigyal Taner) to the distressing (Finn Kalvik and Celia Lawson). The book is packed full of trivia and pointed observations, making it a joy to read. Tim Moore's style owes something to that of fellow travel writer Bill Bryson, another author who combines facts with fun. The final chapter is dedicated to his visit to see the ESC live in Kyiv in 2005. Only here does he drop a factual clanger, wrongly crediting Gracia's ill-fated German entry to the pen of Ralf Siegel (a forgivable error). He was much relieved when the contest produced no additional »Nul Pointers«, even if 2005 was a year of near-misses.
One of the most amusing and original books even written on subject, this book is highly recommended to Eurovision fans and Eurovision foes alike.