With the exception of host nation Norway, who were exempted, all 29 countries wishing to participate in the 1996 contest had to go through an audio-only pre-qualifying round held on 20 March. The lowest-placed seven songs would be eliminated and would not appear in Oslo. "Chcę znać swój grzech" finished 15th with 42 points, qualifying Poland for the final.
On the night of the final Kowalska performed 20th in the running order, following Iceland and preceding Bosnia and Herzegovina. The song was a very intense, dramatic ballad with a downbeat, despairing tone, very different in style from the traditional Eurovision big ballad formula. It was predicted that this type of song would struggle to pick up a great many votes, particularly from Western European and Scandinavian juries, and this proved to be the case. At the close of voting "Chcę znać swój grzech" had received 31 points (7s from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece and Turkey, 4s from Austria and Cyprus and 2 from Slovakia), placing Poland 15th of the 23 entries. The Polish jury awarded its 12 points to contest winners Ireland.