Adrian Kavanagh, 26th May 2011
The EBU has just released jury vote and televote details for the recent Eurovision Song Contest final and two semi finals – almost a month earlier than the 2010 figures were released last year – which throw up some interesting findings as was the case for the 2010 figures.
These televote and jury vote figures may be viewed on the official Eurovision website, using this link.
The 50-50 televote and jury vote system was used for the third year in a row for the final this year and for the second time for the two semi-finals – in 2008 and 2009 the ten qualifiers from the two semi finals were allocated on the basis of which countries took the top nine places in the televote with a “jury wild card” (i.e. best of remaining countries based on the “back-up” jury votes) taking the tenth qualifying berth.
For the first time ever, the country that won the Eurovision Final, Azerbaijan, failed to win both the televote and the jury vote, with Italy marking their return to the contest for the first time since 1997 by winning the jury vote by a not-insignificant margin. In the televote, Azerbaijan managed to win this but only by a two-point margin ahead of Sweden.
As in 2009 and (to a lesser degree) 2010, some of the Eastern countries did obviously benefit from the televoting, but the geographical divide between East and West in terms of jury votes and televotes was not as obvious as in the 2009 final. As such this reflects the different song types preferred by Western and Eastern countries over the last three contests – in 2009 the strong showing of Western countries such as Iceland, the UK and France was explained by their choice of more jury-friendly ballads, but in this year’s contests a number of the main Western contenders, such as Sweden, the UK and Ireland, went with more uptempo pop entries, which tend to earn greater favour amongst televoters.
As with the 2010 results, a number of Western European countries did significantly better in the televote in 2011 than they did in the jury vote (albeit not to the same degree as in 2010), as opposed to the 2009 Final in which most of the Western countries (apart from Norway, Sweden and Spain) did better in the jury vote element of the voting. In the Final, Sweden, The United Kingdom, Germany and Spain all finished up winning more points in the televote than they won in the jury vote; by contrast Eastern European states such as Slovenia, Estonia and Serbia all ended up winning more votes in the jury vote than in the televote. In 2009 the United Kingdom’s entry, Jade, would have earned 223 points from the jury and only 105 points from the televote but the pattern was reversed this year for their more uptempo entry from Blue, polled well (166 points, placing 5th) in the televote but poorly (57 points, placing 22nd) in the jury vote. The main conclusion seems to be that differences between jury votes and televotes seem to have as much to do with the type of song rather than geography; ballads tended to poll stronger in the jury vote (although this did not apply in the case of Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Ukraine) while up-tempo entries were better favoured in the televote. This could also suggest that a greater degree of unpredicatability has become evident in Eurovision voting patterns this year, over and above the changes arising from the changed voting system; alternately it might suggest that the juries’ voting patterns could potentially have been even more geographical than those of the televoters in this year’s contest.
One interesting aspect is that some countries – mainly the countries that were winning the most points anyway, with the exception of Greece – tended to win more points in their combined, final, points than they would have won if their total number of televote and jury votes had been simply averaged out; e.g. Sweden won 185 points in the final, 22 more points than they would have won based on an average of the number of televtotes (221) and jury votes (106) that they won. Azerbaijan’s combined, final, points tally (221) was just slightly lower than the the number of televotes (223) won by them in the final but somewhat higher than the number of jury votes (182) won by them in the final. It seems as if the stronger countries in a competition are tending to get a “points bonus”, along the lines of the “seat bonus” won by political parties in different electoral systems, by the manner in which the televotes and jury votes of different countries are combined to produce the final votes awarded by those countries. The table below shows what each of the finalists’ points tallies (and positions) would have been , had their final combined points tallies been calculated as an average of their total number of televotes and jury votes, while also showing how the extent to which their actual points tally differed from this (positive figure suggests country getting a “points bonus”).
|Points in Final (avg of tele/jury votes)||Points||Difference|
|6||Bosnia & Herzegovina||125||5|
In the semi-finals, the countries that won these contests also proved to be the countries that won the televote for these contests; Greece in Semi Final 1 and Sweden in Semi Final 2. However, two other countries won the jury votes for these semi finals, with these both being countries that have experienced little in the way of fortune in their respective Eurovision histories.
Lithuania, who were the surprise qualifiers from Semi Final 1, won the jury vote for this semi final with 113 points from the juries (as against 52 points for Lithuania from the televoters), just ahead of Azerbaijan (109 points). This was a significant result for Lithuania, whose best placing in a Eurovision contest was a 6th placing in the 2006 Final. 7th place finishes in the 1995 and 2001 have proved to be Slovenia’s best Eurovision results to date, but this year saw Maja Keuc’s semi-final performance winning her the jury vote in Semi Final 2, with 146 points (17 points ahead of Denmark, the country earning the second highest ranking by the juries in this semi final) from the professional juries (as against a 68 point tally from the televoters.
Different countries would have qualified from the semi finals had these been based solely on the results of the televote (as in the years prior to 2010) or the jury vote. Had the results been solely based on televoting, Armenia, Norway and Turkey would have qualified for the Final from Semi Final 1 (instead of Lithuania, Switzerland and Serbia) while Belarus would have qualified from Semi Final 2 (taking the place of Estonia). Had the results been solely based on the jury vote, San Marino and Malta would have qualified for the Final from Semi Final 1 (in the place of Georgia and Russia) and Belgium and Slovakia would have qualified from Semi Final 2 (replacing Bosnia-Herzegovina and Moldova).
As in 2010, the EBU has only released the total number of jury votes and televotes won per country in the two semi-finals and the final – it is unclear as to whether individuals country’s televotes and jury votes will also be released (although details for individual countries were released in 2010 and this is also likely to be the case for 2011, with details for the Estonian televote having been released already last week). Hopefully, and to ensure greater transparency on behalf of the organsiers, these details will be released as opposed to the case for 2010. Such figures would be useful to assess the extent to which the changed voting system has been useful in offsetting the degree of geographical and diaspora based bloc-voting evident in voting patterns evident in televoting-only contests throughout the the 2000s, or whether the change in the rules is impacting on the voting patterns of some, but not all, countries and of certain, but not all, voting blocs.