FAQ: What Tie-Break Rules Exist in Eurovision?

  FAQ – We frequently get questions concerning the Eurovision Song Contest. In this new category, we will answer the most frequently asked questions (FAQs). What happens if two countries get the same amount of points?

During Eurovision history, there were different procedures to handle this situation. This is especially important  if the countries that have the same amount of points are leading at the end of the voting. In 1969, after the last country had given its votes, four countries, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands and Spain had the same amount of points. As there were no tie-break rules in place at the time, all 4 were declared winners. Out of protest against this decision, many countries boycotted the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest.

In 1991, Sweden and France each scored 146 points. This time a tie-break rule was in place. The country having received more 12 points would be declared winner. As both Sweden and France had received top marks 4 times, the number of 10 points received was decisive. In this case, the winner was Sweden, which had received 10 points from 5 countries (France only from 2 countries).

Today the tie-break rule is slightly different. The first tie-breaker is that, in the event that two or more countries tie for first place and for other places the song that received points from the greater number of countries is the winner. Had this rule been in state in 1991, France would have won.

19 thoughts on “FAQ: What Tie-Break Rules Exist in Eurovision?

  1. “Had this rule been in state in 1991, France would have won.”

    A very big…sigh! to this.

    Why did you have to remind me one of the worst moments I had to live as a ESC fan? :P

  2. I feel the old tie-break-rule is more ‘right’ though I think I understand why they changed it. But is it more important for a country to climb from 11th to 10th in a national voting than from 4th to 3rd?! … na, shall never like this. They should retract it.

      • I understand the logic behind but the fact that mid-table differences count more than gaps between top placings feels wrong to me. Though it might be fairer on the majority of cases.

      • It makes a lot more sense. Look at Albania 2012 it was love and hate with that song. Thanks to a lot of love, it got 5th coz many people who love it voted for it. Since there are no “minus” votes in Eurovision, the fact some people hated it did not count. That’s fair, but IF there were to be TWO songs tied, one with love and hate and one with way more votes, even if they are slightly more “everyone liked this a lot” instead of “weLOVED it/we HATED it” which one should win? It’s more of an ethical decision but the idea is it’s better to have a song the more people liked win it, even if they’re a tad less passionate about it.

    • I think this is a very relevant point, my understanding is that countries with the the highest tellevote wins. No one has picked up on this. Effectively it means that the article is incorrect. Could someone please get back to me on this!!!!!

  3. I’ve never recovered from the French defeat in 1991. (i wasn’t born but that’s doesn’t count :D) When i saw the contest for the first time 15 years laters i was so upset with the final issue…

  4. The current tie break rule seems fair since it takes under consideration the european character of the event imo by counting the number of countries that voted for a certain entry. That said I am glad that the other rule was on in 1991 and the great Carla had the chance to get a deserved win back then :) Sweden 91 is an will remain one of my favourite winning entries.

  5. Does the current tie-break rule only apply to the winners or does it apply to all the placings in the scoreboard. For example, do countries sill finish “joint 12th” or is the tie-break rule used to determine who is 12th and who is 13?

    • It also came into use in the second semi final in 2012 when two countries tied for 10th place. As only ten songs qualify for the final, it had to be decided which of the two songs were to qualify.

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