There are 8 rounds (including Round Zero), numbered 0 to 7. A round's criteria is announced, and participants submit their entry matching the criteria before the due date. The judges rank the entries, highest to lowest. A compilation of the judges' scores is made, and the bottom three contestants are eliminated. This repeats until we have a champion.
Scoring is a rank from highest to lowest. For example, if there are 10 entries, a judge would score the best 10 and the worst 1. Non-submitted entries (forfeits) are not ranked.
When all of the judges' scores are in, they are added up. The bottom participants are eliminated. How many are eliminated varies from year to year, but usually three. The Final Round (7) leaves only one contestant - our champion. If a contestant fails to submit a song by the round's deadline, they are automatically eliminated and counted in the elimination tally.
Each winner of round 1 to 3 becomes immune for the next round. This means that they do not have to submit an entry and automatically pass. They are neither eligible for winning that round nor being eliminated.
In Nur Ein I, immunity could be won through trivia; this practice has since been discontinued.
Round criteria are announced on Tuesday after judge scores are compiled. The deadline to submit an entry is Monday at 12:01AM Eastern Time (US) (in other words, Sunday night).
Round Zero was introduced in Nur Ein II as a way to get contestants adjusted to the rigorous Nur Ein schedule, and to trim the pool of contestants to a more manageable number, if necessary. Round Zero will typically have more or less eliminations than the middle rounds.
Judging is a personal matter for each judge. They must weight each song, not only on its musical merits, but also how it addresses the title and challenge.
The pool of judges is selected by Niveous. These can be champions or contestants from previous Nur Eins, Song Fight! regulars, or random hobos found on the street.
The concept of an "alternate judge" was introduced in Nur Ein VI. The idea is that the judge won't be counted unless one of the regular judges is too late with their results or a tie-breaker is needed.
If Round Zero is open, you may join the fray. Compose and record a song, convert it to MP3, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your song should have been composed and recorded specifically for the round of the contest. It is considered cheating to retitle or repurpose old songs or ideas.
The naming convention is identical to Song Fight!: bandname_titleacronym.mp3.
For example, if you are Manhattan Glutton submitting Heart Shaker, your file would be named manhattanglutton_hs.mp3. You don't have to get it perfect, but you'll save Niveous some time.
It would be nice if you got your ID3 tags correct as well. They are subject to modification.
By entering, you grant Nur Ein the right to post your song online. You also acknowledge that you have not stolen someone else's song and submitted it as your own.