Eurovision 2024: Switzerland Defies the Odds to Win With Nemo’s ‘The Code’

Defying the odds, Switzerland won the 68th Eurovision Song Contest with “The Code” by Nemo on Saturday (May 11) at the Malmö Arena in Sweden. It’s the perfect bookend as Switzerland won the very first competition in 1956 with “Refrain” by Lys Assia. This is the European nation’s third win and the first since Celine Dion claimed victory with “Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi” in 1988.

Croatia was tipped to take the 2024 crown, and in the end, it did come down to the two countries vying for first place. Switzerland took a commanding lead with the jury vote, which is always announced first. Adding in the audience votes at the end usually provides for a dramatic ending, and it could have gone either way, but Switzerland collected enough points from the public to maintain its lead. It would have been Croatia’s first win out of 29 tries; it is the country’s best result to date, after three top five finishes — in 1996, 1998 and 1999.

Nemo, who identifies as non-binary, received the microphone-shaped glass trophy from the hands of Loreen, who won Eurovision in 2023 for Sweden with “Tattoo.” Nemo has been releasing music in Switzerland since 2015. They competed on Switzerland’s version of The Masked Singer in 2021-22 and was unveiled as the Panda in fifth place.

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It was a Eurovision Song Contest with more drama than in recent memory. Joost Klein from the Netherlands was disqualified after the semi-finals because of an alleged backstage incident. Alanna Mele, designated to be the spokesperson to give Norway’s jury points on air, withdrew the day of the final with a statement that ended with “Free Palestine.” Slimane from France unexpectedly stopped his performance during Saturday afternoon’s (May 11) dress rehearsal for a message of love and peace. Bambie Thug from Ireland protested to the European Broadcasting Union about remarks from the Israeli commentator and missed one of her rehearsals.

One of the biggest questions of the night was whether would ABBA appear, 50 years after giving Sweden its first Eurovision victory with “Waterloo.” While the four members did not appear in person in Malmö, they were represented by their avatars in London, where the virtual show Voyage has been playing for two years. While most of their dialog about their Eurovision win was directly from the show, they did add comments wishing everyone well in Malmö.

Nemo’s win means that Switzerland will host Eurovision in 2025. Cities in that nation can vie to host. Switzerland previously hosted Eurovision in Lugano and Lausanne.

The top 10 countries for Eurovision 2024 and their combined points from the jury and public votes are:

  • Switzerland, 591
  • Croatia, 547
  • Ukraine, 453
  • France, 445
  • Israel, 375
  • Ireland, 278
  • Italy, 268
  • Armenia, 183
  • Sweden, 174
  • Portugal, 152

Norway finished last with 16 points. The U.K. entry “Dizzy” by Ollie Alexander, did not fare well with the juries, receiving 46 points, but completely failed with the public, being the only nation to receive zero points from viewers voting by telephone, website, SMS and the Eurovision app.