Eurovision 2011 – Ireland’s Circle of Friends!

Adrian Kavanagh, 17 May 2011

Ireland finished 8th in both the Final and the second Semi Final of Eurovision 2011, winning 119 points from 42 other voting countries (average of 2.8 points) in the Final and 68 points from 21 other voting countries in the semi final (average of 3.2 points) – the slightly higher average vote in the semi final can be explained by the fact that Ireland was competing with 18 other countries for votes in the semi final with the number of countries competing with Ireland for points in the final increasing by 33.3% to 24.  Ireland earned points from 17 different countries (and no points from 25 countries) in the Final, while Ireland earned points from 13 different countries (and no points from 8 countries) in the semi-final.  So who were the countries that were most generous in terms of awarding points to Ireland in this year’s contest?

  Semi Final Final  
DENMARK 10 12 22
SWEDEN 10 12 22
LATVIA 10 10 20
GERMANY 8 8 16
BELGIUM 5 7 12
UK   12 12
FINLAND   10 10
MALTA   8 8
SPAIN   7 7
BOSNIA 3 2 5
POLAND   1 1
ITALY 0 0 0
FRANCE 0 0 0
CYPRUS 0 0 0
ISRAEL 0 0 0
SWITZ   0 0
TURKEY   0 0
GREECE   0 0
NORWAY   0 0
RUSSIA   0 0
SERBIA   0 0
TOTAL 68 119  

Table 1: Points won by Ireland from different Eurovision countries in 2011 Eurovision semi finals and final – blank spaces in semi final column means that country was not voting in the second semi final.

As Table 1 shows, Sweden and Denmark were our most generous benefactors in this year’s Eurovision, with both countries awarding us 12 points in the Final and 10 points in the semi final. The other countries to award 12 points to us in the Final was the UK (who couldn’t vote for us in the semi final). We also scored high with the Latvian (10 points from Latvia in both the semi final and final) and German (10 points from Latvia in both the semi final and final) televoters/jury voters. Other key sources of Eurovision points for us in this contest were Belgium, as well as Finland, Malta, Spain and Portugal (with none of these four countries having been able to award us points in the semi final). Ireland also earned a number of points from both Bulgaria and Slovakia in the semi final and final, with the points from Bulgaria falling for the final but with our points from Slovakia increasing singificantly from 2 to 8 points between the semi final and final.

It is interesting to note that seven countries failed to award us any points in both the semi final and final. Some of these countries, not surprisingly, were based in the eastern part of the Eurovision region, including Belarus (a country who has still yet to award us any Eurovision points after 8 opportunities to do so), FYR Macedonia (a country, admittedly, that we still yet have to award any Eurovision points to), Israel (possibly returning to the vote patterns of the pre-televote era when Israel was the Old Eurovision country that Ireland attained its lowest average Eurovision vote from), Moldova (a country we ironically awarded 8 points to in the final, and 4 points in the semi final) and Cyrprus (rather disappointing as Cyprus was a country we might have expected to win points from based on the past televoting trends). But two Western European countries also failed to award us any points, with both of these being “Big 5” countries who were drawn to vote in our semi-final along with Germany (and instead of Spain and the United Kingdom) – France and Italy. The French vote was not surprising given that Ireland has won very few votes from France during the televoting era, but Italy’s no-show was perhaps more disappointing given that this country was returning Eurovision after a long break and suggesting that Italy’s return may make it harder for Ireland to qualify from semi-finals/do well in finals if this voting trends continues across future contests. The stark comparison in the votes earned from Germany and the United Kingdom (and also Spain, to a lesser extent) and the French and Italian votes highlights the importance of the semi-final draw and also the importance of which Big 5 countries get drawn to vote in our semi-finals – the right/wrong combination of Big 5 countries could account for a difference of 15-25 points to the points hauls won by Irish semi-finalists and ultimately determine whether Ireland qualifies, or not, from a semi-final (as happend in 2010 when the UK vote helped Niamh Kavanagh qualify from her “group of death” semi final).

  Semi Final Final
Average 3.2 2.8
Yugoslav 1.3 0.4
Nordic 8.3 6.7
Iberian   6.5
Western Europe – Diaspora 2.8 4.0
Former Soviet – Orthodox 1.6 0.9
Old Eurovision 3.4 4.8
New Eurovision 3.1 1.1

Table 2: Average points won by Ireland across different Eurovision voting blocs in 2011 Eurovision semi finals and final

One interesting trend to note is that, by and large, the average amount of points Ireland won from countries in Western Europe increased between the semi final and final (althoughthe average number of points won within the Nordic bloc dropped), with our average points levels from the voting blocs based in Eastern Europe heading in the opposite direction between these contests. For instance, Ireland won points from Romania (6 points), Estonia, The Ukraine and Slovenia in the semi final but failed to win any points from these states in the final, while our number of points from Bulgaria also fell. As such, Slovakia and Lativa were the only Eastern European/New Eurovision countries to award a significant number of points to Ireland in the final.

So what countries did Ireland award points to over the semi-final and final?  The figures in Table 3 (below) show that the most popular act for the Irish jury/televoters this year was the Danish act, as Denmark earned the most points from Ireland in both semi-final and final contests.

  Semi Final Final  
Denmark 12 12 24
Estonia 10 7 17
Moldova 4 8 12
Sweden 8 4 12
Lithuania   10 10
Slovenia 6 2 8
Latvia 7   7
United Kingdom   6 6
Italy   5 5
Slovakia 5   5
Romania 3 1 4
Finland   3 3
Austria 2 0 2
Bulgaria 1   1
Bosnia & Herzegovina 0 0 0
Ukraine 0 0 0
Hungary   0 0
Greece   0 0
Russia   0 0
France   0 0
Germany   0 0
Azerbaijan   0 0
Iceland   0 0
Spain   0 0
Serbia   0 0
Georgia   0 0
The Netherlands 0   0
Belgium 0   0
Cyprus 0   0
F.Y.R. Macedonia 0   0
Israel 0   0
Belarus 0   0

Table 3: Points awarded  by Ireland to different Eurovision countries in 2011 Eurovision semi finals and final – blank spaces in semi final column means that country was not competing in the second semi final. (Note: Ireland was not able to vote for the nine losing semi-finalists in Semi Final 1 in this year’s contest.)

The next most popular country across the two contests was Estonia, with the Estonian act winning 10 points from Ireland in the semi final and 7 points in the final. Both Moldova and Sweden earned a combined total of 12 points from Ireland across the two contests, but Moldova earned 8 points in the final and 4 points in the semi-final, while the Swedish act earned 4 points in the final and 8 points in the semi-final. Slovenia earned 8 points across the two contests from Ireland with most of these being won in the semi-final (6 points).

Latvia (with 7 points from Ireland) and Slovakia (with 5 points) terms of the countries that Ireland could only vote for in the semi-finals, while Lithuania (10 points), the United Kingdom (6 points) and Italy (5 points) fared best in terms of the countries that Ireland could only vote for in the final. At the other extreme, Ireland did not award points in both the semi-final and final to The Ukraine and Bosnia-Herzegovina, even though these two countries subsequently went on to finish in 4th and 6th place, respectively, in the Final.

These trends reflect the impact of a diaspora vote, with the Irish vote (and especially the Irish televote) tending to reflect (but not fully mirror) the size of different national groups within Ireland. The Irish televoters in the 2000s tended to give its highest four votes on a regular basis to the countries associated with the four largest national groupings in the state, but the rank order of Eurovision points does not match with the rank order of nationality populations (based on 2006 census figures). UK nationals are the largest cohort of non-Irish nationals in the Republic of Ireland but the UK has lagged just behind Lithuania and Poland in terms of Eurovision points received from Ireland. By contrast, while Lithuanians account for only the third largest of non-Irish national groupings, Lithuania has dominated the Irish televote during the late 2000s and Lithuania generally received the douze points award from the Irish televoters. Latvians account for the fourth largest non-Irish national group (according to the 2006 Census) but, like Lithuania, the voting power of the Latvian diaspora has often dwarfed that of the larger UK (and sometimes Polish) national groupings, most notably in the 2008 Eurovision Finak when Latvia’s pirates got the douze points from Ireland ahead of Poland and the UK (Lithuania was not in that final). Other countries that have managed over recent years to won points thanks to significant diaspora populations in Ireland include Romania and Slovakia.

By contrast, despite the relatively small number of their nationals resident in this state, the Scandinavian countries have fared well in terms of the Irish Eurovision vote, even during the 100% televoting era. Since the introduction of a 50-50 televoting/jury voting system from the 2009 final onwards, the countries have come even more to the fore as the impact of diaspora-based televoting has been dissipated somewhat. Denmark has proven to be the country to have benefitted the most from this, with the Danes having taken the Irish douze points in the last two Eurovision finals (2010 and 2011) and in this year’s semi final.

Votes awarded by Ireland to other Eurovision countries during the televoting era


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