Eurovision: UK was being ‘cunning’ by giving Abba ‘nul points’, says Bjorn Ulvaeus

Roisin O'Connor
·2-min read

Abba songwriter Björn Ulvaeus has suggested that the UK might have given his group the indignity of “nul points” at Eurovision because they were viewed as the biggest threat.

The UK hosted the music competition in 1974, where Abba went on to dominate with their song “Waterloo”.

While the group went on to be celebrated by Brits after their win, achieving a string of chart hits, the UK judges were apparently less keen at the time of the contest.

The UK were competing with Olivia Newton-John, who at the time was viewed as one of the favourites to win with “Long Live Love”.

However, it was not to be, and Abba triumphed with what is now one of the most popular Eurovision entries of all time.

Reflecting on their win, Ulvaeus told BBC Breakfast that he wondered if the UK gave Abba zero points because they were being “cunning”.

“It certainly could have been,” he said. “Because the Brits were the first ones to embrace us after winning, so the jury could have been as cunning as that - [it’s] very likely actually.

“Because it’s kind of strange they would give us zero points. It sounds like they were trying to do something cunning.”

Asked if he had ever spoken to Newton-John about her defeat, he said that his bandmate Anni-Fri Lyndstad was good friends with the fellow singer, and that Newton-John said she “knew that we would win”.

“We certainly talked that night, but I don’t remember that, it was such chaos I hardly remember anything other than waking up the next day and finding myself and us being all over the globe suddenly,” he said.

“[We had] gone overnight from this obscure Swedish band to world fame... so unreal.”

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest final takes place on Saturday 22 May.

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