ESC Insight

ESC Insight

Eurovision Insight Podcast: By Royal Appointment

Eurovision Insight Podcast: By Royal Appointment

With a bit of The Voice Kids and Britain’s Got Talent, a Russian National Final, and an opportunity to enjoy the process, the ESC Insight podcast rounds up where we stand for Eurovision 2018 and Junior Eurovision 2017.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: By Royal Appointment

The latest news on Junior Eurovision 2017 and Eurovision 2018, along with an MBE and music from Sandra Reemer. Hosted by Ewan Spence.

Keep listening to the ESC Insight podcast over the summer for more Eurovision news, fun, and chat. You’ll find the show in iTunes, and a direct RSS feed is also available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.

Categories: ESC Insight


When Eurovision’s Televoters Ignore Your National Final Winner

When Eurovision’s Televoters Ignore Your National Final Winner

There was a slightly bizarre turn of events buried in the Eurovision Song Contest 2107 Semi Final results. During their National Final the Maltese public was given total power to choose its own entry for the first time since 2008, but Claudia Faniello’s entry laid a goose egg of nul points in the televoting.

With no apparent appeal to the wider public of Europe, what happens next?

A Change To Malta Eurovision Song Contest

As early as October 2016 reports were already surfacing that PBS, Malta’s national broadcaster, was planning to change several things in the country’s selection format for the Song Contest– most notably, that the jury voting would be scrapped and 100 percent of the decision would be given to the televoters. In recent years the public voting had counted as an effective sixth jury member, while from 2005-2008 the public picked the song exclusively. 2009 saw a one-off format where a jury selected three songs for a ‘Super Final’ and the public made the final decision.

On the surface a complete return to televoting didn’t seem like a bad idea; the previous year’s song by Ira Losco, which was somewhat controversially changed after the National Final, polled in the top four with Eurovision juries but a disappointing 21st with Europe’s public – not altogether surprising when no Maltese televoters actually chose ‘Walk On Water‘.

That change of song resulted in a public backlash, knocking what appeared to be much larger political stories off the front pages in Malta. Moving to a 100 percent televote meant a more transparent process for PBS in the selection.

Who Sings Wins

But Malta is different to almost every other country in the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s one of the smallest counties in the competition to use a public selection to pick its entry, with a population of just over 445,000, and has no music industry of its own. Taking part in Malta’s National Final is one of the biggest musical gigs of the year. While there’s no hard and fast rule about needing a certain population to win the Song Contest, such a small starting base of presents PBS with some very unique problems:

  • You have a smaller talent pool to pick from.
  • Everyone is ‘known’ to the public.

While the former seems to be no disadvantage for Malta, given that they appear to have a conveyer belt of talented vocalists and have won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest twice in recent years, the latter is.

With such a narrow talent pool to choose from, and similarly a very small voting audience, the public already know around 95 percent of the acts taking part before a single song is sung. That means Malta treads a very thin line between a ‘song contest’, and a ‘popularity contest’. While it can never be scientifically proved, I have no doubt that Claudia Faniello’s story (ten previous entries in the National Final without a win) coupled with her in the country helped her over the line to win the ticket to Kyiv 2017, rather than the strength of ‘Breathlessly’.

And therein lies the problem now facing Malta. By giving the public 100 percent of the vote, you allow for the artists’ stories and popularity, neither of which translate across 42 other countries, to outweigh finding the best song.

The record of giving the population total control in Malta isn’t great either. In three of the four ‘pure televoting’ years, the country has came twenty-third on Saturday night and had two failed qualifications. Save Ira Losco, who by being the country’s biggest star would win with any song in any year, the last two public choices have also failed to make it out of the semifinals – Claudia this year, and Amber in 2014.

Where Does Malta Go From Here?

This year’s televoting zero in the Semi Final was counter-balanced by the juries placing Claudia’s song eighth. With a combined total of 55 points it finished in 16th place out of 18 – unfortunately the country’s worst Semi Final position in 10 years. Probably not the result expected when the format change was announced.

PBS has already confirmed that the public will have a 100 percent say in next year’s National Final as well, which means the options for change are pretty limited. There are however some things they could do to try and mitigate the ‘popularity over song’ risk:

Offer A 200 Percent Televote

Yes, that’s right, a double role for the public. Adapt the winning format the country has used for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest where the singer is chosen in a one-off show performing any song they like. Let the public choose a winner in a glorified talent show. Then go away for six weeks, and come back with five songs that the public’s chosen singer has to perform in a live show. Let the public pick the winning song.

In the end, the people have chosen their favourite singer, and the best song for them to sing . It also allows composers to write songs best suited to that vocalist.

Do A Hungary

In Hungary’s A Dal National Final selection, the people pick the Eurovision entry but only after they’ve been carefully guided for four weeks by a jury selecting 80 percent of the qualifiers per show, and then deciding on a ‘Top 4’ that the public gets to choose from. The country has qualified every year since they started this format in 2013 (in 2012, the public picked a top 4 for the jury to choose from), so they’re doing something right.

Rebrand The National Selection

Successful examples in Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, and to a lesser extent Finland, have shown that something as simple as rebranding your National Final format can help find success.

In all cases, the shows were renamed to put the focus on choosing a song for the country not for the Song Contest (Estonia’s Song, Supernova, The Song, etc.). This is something Malta needs to do to counter the audience voting for their favourite singers. Call it something along the lines of ‘Our Song’; tell the audience countless times during the show that they are choosing “the best song for Malta”; or better yet ,drop all references to Eurovision until the last minute like they do in Hungary and Sweden!

Pair Up Fabrizio And Claudia For 2018

The two Faniello siblings have a somewhat unwanted record of both now having been ranked last, with nul points, by Europe’s televoters. Ok, so this isn’t the most serious of suggestions, but if you want to play up a story that pan-European voters could understand, this would be one of them!

For the record, Fabrizio’s one point in 2006 came from an Albanian backup jury.

Change Your Mind

Probably the most unlikely scenario, but worth putting out there. There’s no rule about how to select a song for the Contest, but the statistics from the 2017 Grand Final are quite telling – of the seven songs in this year’s Top 10 that had some form of selection show to choose them, six had jury involvement in their show. Only Romania is the exception, but TVR used a jury in its Semi Finals to pick the 10 finalists. Romania was also the only qualifier from the semis that had a pure televote in its final selection show where the singer and song were chosen as one package.

Or Stay Where You Are

The alternative of course is to just do nothing and go with exactly the same format. Given the fanfare with which the public having 100 percent of the vote was announced, this also seems the most likely option. I don’t think for a minute that this format will score nul points on televoting every year, but the inherent risk is that to do well at the Eurovision Song Contest you need the good songs to come from the more popular artists, which isn’t always the case because they have more votes ‘in the bag’. There will be the occasional ‘Gianluca moment’, but as with the 100 percent televoting era in Eurovision itself you can probably call half of the Malta’s Top 5 by looking at the names on a list.

After Portugal’s win, Malta now has the longest record between first entry and time waiting to win the Contest. While I’m sure their ‘Lordi/Salvador moment’ will eventually come, I’m less convinced they’ll do it with the current format.

Categories: ESC Insight


Grab The Moment and Change That Rule

Grab The Moment and Change That Rule

One of the most fundamental rules of the Eurovision Song Contest is that all vocals must be performed live. This means that we know songs like ‘Suus‘, ‘1944‘, ‘The Voice‘ and even ‘My Friend’ are achievements of sheer performance and vocal capacity before we even begin to examine the songwriting and artistry of the staging. We know that they’re doing it live, with no back-up tapes and no safety net, which is part of the reason that the Song Contest remains an unmissable piece of thrilling event television, and not just a popularity contest based on YouTube views.

However, one song in the 2017 contest gives us an opportunity to grab the moment and clear up the rules on vocals and vocal imitations. Norway selected a song by producer JOWST and singer Aleksander Walmann that skated very close to the edge of the live vocals rule, which I’ve reproduced in full below.

“Artists shall perform live on stage, accompanied by a recorded backing-track which contains no vocals of any kind or any vocal imitations aiming at replacing or assisting the live/original voice of the Contestant(s). The Host Broadcaster shall verify respect for this rule.”

The rule would appear to forbid the backing track from containing any identifiable vocal sounds that aim to replace a live vocal. Thanks to JOWST, the original stems from ‘Grab The Moment’ are available on Soundcloud. I’ll let you listen to them and you can work out whether they are vocals or vocal imitations, and whether they are aimed at replacing or assisting a live vocal. The track with these sounds on it is called VOICE CHOP, by the way.

Listening For Clarity

During the run up to the Song Contest,  NRK sought clarification as to exactly how JOWST were going to be allowed to reproduce their track on stage. From looking at how JOWST performed live during the preview party season, we theorised that the manipulated vocals could potentially be produced by live sampling of Aleksander’s performance which JOWST was playing from the Launchpad synth controller in his DJ booth.

Live sampling and looping is a technique that many musicians use to great effect in a in a live context – see KT Tunstall performing Black Horse and The Cherry Tree for a really clear, classic example.

However, the released stems and the stand-in rehearsals show that Aleksander’s manipulated vocals are present on the backing track and that there’s no synth in the DJ booth for triggering any loops or effects patches.

We asked the EBU for comment on the specific exception that was made for JOWST and Aleksander’s performance. A representative from the EBU said:

“The sounds in question are not vocal samples but made using a synthesizer and cannot be made by a human voice. These sounds are not there to support or replace the real voices of the vocalist or the backing vocalists, but added as an effect. This song, therefore, does not break the rules of the competition.”

The Question Of Imitation

The post-chorus “kill…kill…kill” section in ‘Grab The Moment‘ is clearly intended to be interpreted as vocals.

There are audible lyrics in the section, and it is synced up with an on-screen graphic of a low-poly rendering of Aleksander mouthing the words. The graphic overlay is likely to be a deliberate decision which means that we don’t have the real Aleksander lip-syncing along to these sounds even though it’s  impossible for him to be producing them. However, the fact that we have cyber-Aleksander’s mouth opening and cyber-vocals coming out does put us in a new area for which the original rules aren’t enough any more.

The existing rules allow main vocals to be supported by hidden backing singers, which can be seen to be much more dishonest to the audience than using vocal-like artistically sounds to produce a new instrument. With incredible vocal capacity and these new sounds beyond human capability, we might hear something truly extraordinary.

The live vocals rule, combined with the ‘six on stage’ rule does somewhat limit the sonic palette available to artists at the Eurovision Song Contest. Any kind of vocal backing group is limited to five voices, which means that songs which aim for gospel or polyphonic choral sounds often sound very thin. We haven’t been able to have songs which include treated vocal samples. A famous example is the dance break in Robyn’s ‘Call Your Girlfriend‘, where the last powerful note of her chorus vocal is sampled and becomes the instrument that plays the melody.

Finding The Moment

The exception given to ‘Grab The Moment‘ means there is a need to change or clarify the rules. How did we end up at this point?

Firstly, we have to look towards NRK. You would maybe expect that a competing broadcaster would ensure that all the songs competing in a national selection were reproducible in conditions similar to the final contest. However, Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix does not follow Eurovision conditions – the artists can have as many people on stage as budgets allow, which saw Elin & The Woods supported by a beautiful Sami choir, and Ammunition supported by a troupe of scantily-dressed lady demolitions experts.

They also allowed JOWST and Aleksander to submit a performance which included lengthy sections of synthetically manipulated vocals, which audibly contain words and are therefore definitely either vocals or vocal imitations. The inclusion of this musical element definitely enhanced the song, and it was definitely artistically justified – the reactions of the professional juries at Melodi Grand Prix and at Eurovision itself confirm that the song definitely sounded modern and technically interesting. However, the post-chorus synthesised vocals seem not be in the spirit of the rule forbidding the use of vocal imitations.

Moving Forwards

We have allowed musical innovations to result in rule changes throughout the history of the Eurovision Song Contest.

If we accept that extreme vocal-like synth sounds are just part of modern popular music – and lets be clear, they are – then we have to make specific provision for them within the rules of the Song Contest in order to clarify the rules for future composers and these provisions need to be explained in public.

With the combination of extraordinary singers, innovative songwriters and modern electronic musical techniques there’s the potential for incredible art to be made, but we must find a way to prevent any relaxation of the live vocals rule reducing the vocal skill level required to win the contest.

As we head to Portugal in 2018, where innovation and authenticity are likely to be strong themes, the updating of this rule cannot come soon enough.

Categories: ESC Insight


Diversity, Disillusionment and Dancing In Maidan Square

Diversity, Disillusionment and Dancing In Maidan Square

I’d been to the Eurovision Song Contest before, but 2017 felt different. At Malmö 2013 or Vienna 2015, the Song Contest felt like it could have been in Anywheresville, Europeland. Kyiv felt like it could have been any European city…at first. Then you started to notice that among the commuters getting on and off the Metro, some of those tapping away on their iPhones were wearing military fatigues. There were National Guard recruitment posters on the Metro, alongside the usual ads for laser clinics and apartments. Channel-hop on the TV, and you’ll spot what looks like propaganda between the music and news channels.

A Nation is Made Of People

Given the fairly blatant way Ukraine used nationalist themes to secure their win last year, I was curious to hear what Ukrainians thought of the Song Contest. So, as part of my Eurovision experience, I decided to eschew the fan areas and headed out to an English language conversation group, where locals meet in a bar to practice their English skills.

The language group were perfectly hospitable, seeming to view the influx of foreign visitors as amusing curiosities in a country where the tourist infrastructure isn’t particularly well-developed. That said, they were utterly indifferent about the Contest in their city. One young man commented, “Our politicians are corrupt, we’ve got a war in the East. Eurovision doesn’t change our lives. Anyway, I can’t afford the tickets.”

If Jamala’s win was supposed to spark off a wave of national pride, it certainly hadn’t had that effect on him.

Even going to the bar reflected his general sense of resignation about the state of his country. “Can you recommend me a good Ukrainian beer?” I asked him. “Oh, there’s no good Ukrainian beers,” he replied. “Our beers are bad.” Despite his warning I ordered a pint of the local brew, which turned out to be as cheap and as good as you’d expect.

They asked me about Brexit. “Ukraine wants to become part of the EU! Why would you want to leave?” I replied that, in my opinion, there weren’t really any good reasons, other than idiotic nationalism taking us down a foolish path. They assured me that as Ukrainians they understood this problem.

I ordered some more beer, and we exchanged more cultural insights. One guy told me that he had worked as an interpreter for British journalists in Ukraine. When I asked which news agencies, he mentioned the BBC and the Morning Star. They seemed very amused that Britain had a communist newspaper. “Oh yes,” I said, “You see it in all the shops. I never see anyone buy it though. I have no idea how they manage to stay in business. They can’t be making any money from it.”

A woman wondered out loud if the paper was a front for money laundering. Maybe this isn’t the first thing a Brit would assume, but Ukraine is unfortunately something of a hub for financial scams. To a Ukrainian this would be a natural conclusion to draw about any business that seems to stay afloat despite not seeming to turn a profit. “In Ukraine,” she told me, “We are specialists in money laundering.”

The English language group seemed appreciative that we’d taken the time to come along, even if they were a bit bemused at the idea that anyone would choose to come to Ukraine for a holiday. We wished them goodnight and headed back home to sleep off the beer.

Kyiv Celebrates Diversity

Eurovision week coincided with VE Day, which meant that on the Monday and Tuesday the Eurovision logo in the Maidan was crowded out by memorial poppies and billboards of World War Two heroes. A few yards away, the Independence Statue was plastered with photos of Ukrainian soldiers killed in the ongoing conflict. Across the street was a burnt-out building from the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution. The ruins of the building were covered with a giant awning proclaiming, “Freedom is our religion”.

Further up the road was a reminder of more recent struggles. The People’s Friendship Arch had been covered in the colours of the LGBT rainbow for Eurovision week, but the covers were noticeably incomplete. Work had begun but then halted due to protests from the far-right, leaving the arch only partially re-coloured – inadvertently perfectly symbolising the incomplete nature of social progress in Ukraine.

Kyiv's Rainbow Arch during Eurovision 2017 (Phil Dore)

Kyiv’s Rainbow Arch during Eurovision 2017 (Phil Dore)

On Thursday, I bumped into a familiar face as we queued to enter the arena for the second Semi Final. It was one of the guys from the English language group on Monday night.

“I thought you weren’t interested in the contest?” I asked.

“They dropped the prices,” he replied, “So I decided to check it out.” He still seemed rather non-committal about the event, but said he liked the fact that NAVIband were singing in Belarusian. He wandered off in the direction of the fan zone. From the cheers in the crowd later that afternoon, it seemed clear that he wasn’t the only Ukrainian in the crowd who appreciated their neighbour’s decision to sing in their own language.

Later that day I caught up with him again, and asked him what he thought of the show. He replied, “I liked…the stage..I liked….the lighting…” I guess he hadn’t been totally converted, but at least we’d made a start?

On the Saturday night we watched the Grand Final on a big screen at the Eurovision Village, just a few hundred yards from those burnt-out buildings on the Maidan. Behind us, a group of Ukrainian teenagers whooped and cheered. The guy from the bar on Monday may not have been totally won over to Eurovision, but these kids were clearly having the time of their lives.

One of the teenagers asked me, “Were you not afraid to come to Ukraine, because of the war?”

“No,” I replied truthfully. “Donetsk is a long way from Kyiv.”

“But Ukraine is a small country,” she said. I assured her that the UK is even smaller. Besides, if they weren’t afraid to come out and party, why should I be?

As with the language group from Monday, the teenagers seemed intrigued by our presence in our city. Between songs, they quizzed me on what I thought of the country. Had I tried the local food? Had I eaten salo? I replied that I hadn’t, though I’d enjoyed a big plate of varenyky.

They cheered loudly for Belarus and Moldova, apparently as much out of solidarity for their neighbouring countries as in appreciation of the songs. They were a little muted in their cheers for Ukraine, freely admitting they’d never heard of O.Torvald and would have preferred Monatik as the entry. As the show ended, I told them to send Onuka in 2018.

Ukraine is a country that has been through many difficult times, with recent years being no exception. The preparations for the Contest itself also went through a number of difficulties. Despite these, Ukraine put on a great show. Although many Ukrainians feel disillusioned about the state of their country, I hope they will feel proud of Eurovision 2017 and their music.

Categories: ESC Insight


Eurovision Insight Podcast: In-Depth With Junior Eurovision’s Sergi Gvarjaladze

Eurovision Insight Podcast: In-Depth With Junior Eurovision’s Sergi Gvarjaladze

This year, the Junior Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Tiblisi, Georgia. Sharleen Wright took the long way home from Kyiv to pop into the capital city and meet with GPB’s Executive Supervisor of Junior Eurovision 2017, Sergi Gvarjaladze, to find out what’s happening.

In this extended interview, Wright and Gvarjaladze talk about the venue, the logo and slogan, Georgia’s approach to the Song Contests in May and November, the Contest budget, selling Georgia, travel and accommodation, and how this year’s Junior Eurovision can be made a unique experience.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: In-Depth With Junior Eurovision’s Sergi Gvarjaladze

Sharleen Wright popped into Tiblisi on the way home from Kyiv to talk to Junior Euroivsion 2017’s Executive Supervisor for GPB, Sergi Gvarjaladze.

Kyiv may be over, but we have Tiblisi and Lisbon (probably) to look forward to. Keep listening to the ESC Insight podcast over the summer for more Eurovision news, fun, and chat. You’ll find the show in iTunes, and a direct RSS feed is also available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.

Categories: ESC Insight


Comparing The Eurovision 2017 Semi Final Scores And Rankings

Comparing The Eurovision 2017 Semi Final Scores And Rankings

The dust has settled. The crew have packed up and left. And 41 delegations have gone home; some elated, others deflated. The bulk of the competitors in this year’s Grand Final had to earn their slot through a semi-final. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting outcomes.

There were 18 songs competing in each semi-final and half of the prequalified countries’ juries and public also voted on who should qualify. Therefore, when crunching numbers from the semi-finals, the maximum component score for each delegation is 240 points: 20 delegations (you cannot vote for yourself) times 12 points. Or a maximum of 480 points when combining both score components.

Semi-Final One

Portugal clearly won the first semi-final and topped both score components. Their televote total was 197 points, receiving points from every country and 82 per cent of the televote points on offer. Average televote score of 9.85 points. Nine countries awarded their televote douze points to Portugal. Salvador’s Sobral jury support was not quite as strong as his televote support: 173 points, 72 per cent of the maximum jury score available. Seven juries awarded Amar Pelos Dois the maximum douze points. Every jury gave points to Portugal.

Aside from Portugal, however, there was little agreement between the public and juries: only five other entries (Moldova, Sweden, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Greece) were in both top 10 lists. And the ordinal rankings were mostly rather different too:

1 Portugal Portugal Portugal
2 Moldova Australia Moldova
3 Belgium Sweden Sweden
4 Sweden Moldova Belgium
5 Cyprus Azerbaijan Cyprus
6 Poland Armenia Australia
7 Armenia Czechia Armenia
8 Azerbaijan Georgia Azerbaijan
9 Greece Greece Poland
10 Finland Cyprus Greece
11 Montenegro Poland Georgia
12 Albania Finland Finland
13 Georgia Belgium Czechia
14 Iceland Albania Albania
15 Australia Iceland Iceland
16 Slovenia Montenegro Montenegro
17 Latvia Slovenia Slovenia
18 Czechia Latvia Latvia

Source: Wikipedia.

Moldova was 2nd with the public and 4th with the juries and 2nd overall. Sweden was 4th with the public and 3rd with the juries and 3rd overall).  Armenia was 7th with the public and 6th with juries and 7th overall. After that it gets a bit messy. Azerbaijan was 8th with the public and 5th with juries and 8th overall: Greece was 9th with both the public and juries and finished 10th overall. And there was the heartbreak of Finland: 10th with televoters and 12th with juries, but their combined scores were only 12th highest. Remember: it is the scores that matters, not the rankings of each score component.

(Source: YouTube/Eurovision)

We also required two tie-breaks for this semi-final. (Un)Friendly neighbours Azerbaijan and Armenia had the same juries score, 87 points. Both also received a single douze points; however, Azerbaijan is ranked ahead of Armenia because Skeletons earned points from 15 countries. Fly With Me earned points from 14 countries. Cyprus and Sweden both earned 103 televote points, but Sweden’s two douze points trumped Cyprus’s one.

Semi-Final Two

Bulgaria’s victory was wholly unambiguous. Beautiful Mess rocked the televote for 208 points, receiving points from every country and 87 per cent of the televote points on offer, for an average televote score of 10.4 points! Kristian Kostov received douze points from nine countries. Bulgaria’s jury support was nearly identical: 199 points with no jury awarding Beautiful Mess less than 6 points. Nine juries gave Bulgaria their douze points. It’s a remarkably high and consistent result.

Aside from Bulgaria, however, there was little agreement between the public and juries: only five other entries (Belarus, Hungary, Israel, Norway and the Netherlands) were in both top 10 lists:

1 Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria
2 Hungary Netherlands Hungary
3 Romania Norway Israel
4 Israel Austria Netherlands
5 Croatia Denmark Norway
6 Estonia Israel Romania
7 Belarus Hungary Austria
8 Norway Malta Croatia
9 Netherlands Belarus Belarus
10  Switzerland Serbia Denmark
11 Serbia  Switzerland Serbia
12 Ireland Ireland  Switzerland
13 Macedonia Croatia Ireland
14 Austria Macedonia Estonia
15 Lithuania Romania Macedonia
16 Denmark Lithuania Malta
17 San Marino Estonia Lithuania
18 Malta San Marino San Marino

Source: Wikipedia.

Hungary was second with the public and 7th with juries for second overall. Israel was fourth with the public and 6th with juries for third overall. The Netherlands with only 9th with the public but second with juries for fourth overall. Norway were 8th with the public and third with the juries for fifth overall. Finally, Belarus was seventh with the public and ninth with juries for 9th overall.

(Source: YouTube/Eurovision)

Then it gets a lot messier. Denmark only scored 5 televote points (16th place) but their 96 jury points (fifth place) snuck them in at 10th overall. Estonia  were sixth in the televote (69 points) but 17th with juries (16 points): they ended up 14th overall.

And we had double ouches too. Malta got zero in the televote: even 8th place with juries could not save ‘Breathlessly’. San Marino got nul in jury support and a sole televote point from Germany (the Ralph Siegel effect?).

The Take-Aways

Nine of the top 10 Grand Finalists were qualifiers: Italy (6th overall) was the only pre-qualified entry in the top 10. Four came from the first semi-final, five from the second. Australia was only 6th in the first semi-final, but managed 9th in the Grand Final—in both instances thanks to massive jury support. In the second semi-final Norway was 6th and Romania 7th: in the Grand Final Romania were 7th and Norway 10th—mostly because Romania racked up massive televote scores in both the semi-final (148 points compared to Norway’s 52) and Grand Final (224 for ‘Yodel It’ versus 29 for ‘Grab the Moment’).

(Source: YouTube/Orange Fresh)

Cyprus’s semi-final support level collapsed: from 168 points (103 public and 65 juries) to 68 points (32 public and  36 juries). It shows how much more competitive Grand Finals are compared to semi-finals. Similarly the Netherlands 200 semi-final points (51 public and 149 juries) dropped to 150 points (15 public and 135 juries). In other words, O’G3NE held on to more of their jury support: Hovig saw larger drops in both components.

When the jury and televote scored were synthesized to create a top 10 from each delegation, songs with skewed support either from juries or the public tended to get flattened scores—sometimes ending up with no points despite winning a televote. This current system treats both the public and jury score components equally. Some argue this rewards safe or unremarkable entries: I would argue that this precludes juror sniffiness to trump public appreciation.

Categories: ESC Insight

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