Sit down, breathe slowly, have a glass of water and look beyond the headlines…
Change 1: No juries for the semifinal
This is probably the most “dramatic” of today’s announcements. If you were asking me to speculate I would say this has come about because of the jury fraud that occurred in 2022 between 5 countries, probably lead by Azerbaijan, but that cannot be proved – however what was proven was that dodgy dealings had gone on and something needed to be done about it. It should be noted that this is not the only piece of jury fraud in recent years but 2022’s is probably the most blatant and the widest spread.
The jury composition has been a bit off for a while so something needed to be done and by taking the juries out all together you take out the ability for that sort of corruption to happen. It doesn’t negate all corruption as we know that televote, sim cards and oversees ‘voting farms’ can be bought (and have been in the past) but it does knock out one line of potential voting fraud.
I do feel though that we are basically in a situation where some of the kids have ruined it for everyone and the teacher has taken the toys away!
What this means for the content of the show is now a matter of speculation. Many saying it will go back to the 00’s period when, let’s face it, the Contest to all intents and purposes was a bit crap. Yes there are some great songs in that era but there was also quite a bit of trashy pop filler which many think will surge over the contest again as broadcasters try to second guess the voting viewers of Europe (and beyond – we’ll come to that in a minute!) however if we look at the kind of songs that have been garnering viewer votes in recent years the schlager count is very low. Let’s remove 2022 and analyse the televote top 3’s 2015-2021 we see that there are really only 4-5 songs out of 18 that fit into that category, televote tastes have very much moved on since the 00’s, so this may be an unfounded concern.
It could have some effect on who scrapes through SFs to GF in 9th or 10th, and who misses out, but it is not going to determine that much higher up the table.
Basically the world is not ending, smart broadcasters will know how to play the game.
Change 2: Rest of the World Vote
Now this isn’t quite the HUGE change that a lot of people seem to think it is. It alters the balance ever so slightly to give the televote a little bit more power than the juries but realistically only by 12 points.
The speculation that viewers in Latin America will all vote on-mass for Spain (an example I have already seen quite a lot today) is pretty unfounded. Even if this were the case and there were very few votes from anywhere else in the world this would only add a total of 12 points to Spain’s overall televote score and when we combine that with points awarded from the jury (there will still be juries for the final) and pop it into the entire mix of televote points available it becomes almost insignificant.
Let’s look at the numbers; In a contest with 40 countries (‘cos that’s a round number and easier to do maths with!) the maximum score a country can receive under the old system would have been 936 (24×39) if they were to have received 12’s from every jury and every televote (this has never happened, even for Ukraine in 2022 who scored 631/936). Adding in a televote from ROW that brings the total max score up to 948, were this new system in place in 2022 and Ukraine had got 12 from the ROW vote it would have finished with 643/948 and even if 2nd placed televote Moldova got 10 from ROW it wouldn’t have made a single difference, nor would it if the UK had received the 10 points, all it would have done would be to reduce the points difference by 10 and see the UK finish in 2nd place with 476 instead of 466. I realise 2022 is an awkward year to do this kind of number crunching because of the obvious, but a quick look at the numbers over history shows the closest contest it would have had any bearing on is 2021 and Italy would still have won.
So before you panic and think that somehow America or China is going to start deciding the outcome of the Eurovision Song Contest from now on, that is not going to happen, the maths simply doesn’t allow it. If we do get to a situation where one extra set of points from the ROW televote does determine the winner then you can bet your bottom dollar that will have just watched one hell of a contest for it to be that close when all the points come in!!
Personally I think this is a good move. Eurovision has millions of viewers all around the world who love the show and will welcome being able to cast their vote even if the reality is that it makes very little difference. If it increases engagement in the show and the brand as a whole then it’s surely a welcome addition to Eurovision’s growing global audience outside of the participating countries.
So there is my nerdy take on today’s news. Stay calm people, stay calm, all is well!!
Love, peace, joiks, fuegos, spacemen and pink hats to you all!!
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Author: Lisa-Jayne Lewis
Categories: EBU, Editorial, Eurovision 2021, Eurovision 2023
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