Adrian Kavanagh, 18th June 2012
The European Broadcasting Union has today released jury vote and televote details for the recent Eurovision Song Contest final and two semi finals – someweeks later than the 2011 figures were released last year (although this year’s contest was of course held some weeks later than the 2011 contest) – and these figures 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 fourth year in a row for the final this year and for the third 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.
In 2011 the country that won the Eurovision Final, Azerbaijan, failed to win the jury vote, with Italy marking their return to the contest for the first time since 1997 by winning the jury vote in that year’s final by a not-insignificant margin. In the televote, Azerbaijan had 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 was the case in the 2009 final, when countries such as France and the United Kingdom were seen to especially benefit from the inclusion of jury voting. 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 United Kingdom 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 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, Spain, Italy, France, Denmark and Norway all finished up winning more points in the televote than they won in the jury vote; by contrast Eastern European states such as Albania, Estonia, Moldova, Lithuania and Ukraine 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 in 2011 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. A slightly similar trend was notices in this year’s contest, wherein the United Kingdom’s high profile contestant, Engelbert Humperdink, was ranked in last place in the televote (with just 11 points), but did somewhat better in the televte (36 points, placing 21st). The main conclusion, as with the 2011 analysis, 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 and Germany) while up-tempo entries were better favoured in the televote (although this did not apply in the case of Moldova and Norway). 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.
Looking solely at televotes in the Final, we can see that the top ranked country here is Sweden on 343 points, but with Loreeen just 11 points ahead of the Russian babushki, sitting in 2nd on the televote on 332 points. Had the contest been based solely on televoting, it would have been a very exciting one!!! Serbia, who finished in 3rd place overall also are ranked in 3rd place in the televote on 211 points. So placings in the televote mirrored those in the actual/combined results, but with Russia’s points tally in the televote being significantly higher than that in the actual/combined vote. The other two countries making up the Top 5 are Turkey (who finished in 7th place in the actual/combined vote) in 4th place and Azerbaijan (who finished in 4th place in the actual/combined vote). Albania is the only country that ranked in the Top 5 based on the actual/combined vote not to be ranked in the Top 5 based on televotes alone – the Albanian entry was ranked in 8th place by the televoters. At the other end, the French entry which finished in 23rd place (out of the 26 countries) with 21 points in the actual/combined vote, would have finished in last place with the dreaded nils points had the contest been solely decided on the basis of televoting as in the years between 1998 and 2008. The other countries making up the Bottom 5 in the televoting were Malta in 25th place (10 points), Norway in 24th place (16 points), Denmark in 23rd place (18 points) and Hungary in 22nd place (22 points).
Looking solely at jury votes in the Final, we can see that the actual winners, Sweden, are also the top ranked country here as with the televote, but with a smaller tally of points (297 points) than in the televote. The Russian babushki, sitting in 2nd place in the actual/combined vote and the televote, are only ranked in 11th place (0n 94 points) by the professional juries, with the juries ranking Serbia, who finished in 3rd place overall and in the televote, in 2nd place on 173 points. The remainder of Top 5 in the jury vote is somewhat different to the actual/combined vote and the televote. The juries ranked Albania in 3rd place (on 157 points), just ahead of 4th placed Italy (also on 157 points) and 5th placed Spain (on 154 points). While Albania did make the Top 5 in the actual/combined vote, Italy and Spain did not. Italy finished in 9th place in the actual/combined vote but only finished in 17th place (on 56 points) in the televote. Spain finished in 9th place in the actual/combined vote but only finished in 18th place (on 45 points) in the televote. At the other end, the United Kingdom entry which finished in 25th place (out of the 26 countries) with 12 points in the actual/combined vote, would have finished in last place with 11 points had the contest been solely decided on the basis of jury votes as in the years between 1956 and 1996/7. The other countries making up the Bottom 5 in the televoting were Ireland in 25th place (14 points), Norway in 24th place (24 points), Hungary in 23rd place (30 points) and Turkey in 22nd place (50 points). Given that Turkey finished in 4th place in the televote and given the differences in jury voting and televoting figures for countries such as Russia, Italy, Spain and Ireland, it is clear that signficant differences existed between televoting and jury voting figures for a number of countries in the final, as was also the case in the semi finals, as is illustrated by Figure 1 above.
One interesting aspect is that some countries (including all the countries that finished in the Top 6 in the Final) 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 372 points in the final, 52.5 more points than they would have won based on an average of the number of televtotes (343) and jury votes (296) that they won. 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, as was discussed in greater detail in the analysis of the 2011 televote and jury vote patterns.
Ireland’s varying fortunes in terms of televote and jury vote patterns were quite striking this year. In the Final Jedward achieved the same ranking from the televoters/the public as they had for the 2011 Final – in this year’s Final they were ranked in 10th place (with 89 points) by the televoters, whereas they were ranked in 10th place (albeit with a slightly higher number of point – 101 points) by the televoters in the 2011 Final. The big change in Jedward’s fortunes applied to the jury vote patterns across these two finals. In 2011, they were helped to an overall 8th position in terms of the actual/combined votes on the basis of a good vote from the Eurovision professional jury (ranked in 6th place by the juries with 119 points), but in this year’s final the juries fell out of love with Jedward, ranking them in 25th (second last) position with a meagre 14 points just ahead of Engelbert Humperdink, who was ranked in 26th place with just 11 points by the professional juries. This was the lowest ever ranking and vote awarded to both an Irish act and United Kingdom act by the juries in a Eurovision final; the worst Irish ranking amongst the Eurovision juries prior to this was Kiev Connolly and the Missing Passengers’ 18th place finish (with 21 points) in the 1989 final while the United Kingdom also had a last place finish in the jury vote in the 2010 Final but Josh’s 18 points tally from the juries in that contest was a bigger tally than Engelbert Humperdink’s.
In the first semi final, Jedward were ranked as 4th best act by the televoters (with 116 points) – an improvement on their ranking with the televoters in the 2011 semi final (6th place, with 78 points). As with last year’s semi final, Jedward were ranked as 10th best act by the professional juries in this year’s semi final with 72 points (as against a 66 point tally from the juries in last year’s semi final).
In the semi-finals, the countries that won these contests also proved to be the countries that won the televote for these contests; Russia in Semi Final 1 and Sweden in Semi Final 2. However, while Sweden also won the jury vore in Semi Final 2, the Russian act only finished in 8th place in the jury vote for Semi Final 1 and the jury vote in this semi final was instead won by Albania.
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, Switzerland would have qualified for the Final from Semi Final 1 (instead of Hungary) while Bulgaria and The Netherlands would have qualified from Semi Final 2 (taking the places of Malta and Ukraine). Ironically, the inclusion of televoting, which was designed to make the contest fairer and lessen the impact of bloc voting, in this year’s semi finals has acted to stop three countries with traditionally poor records in Eurovision from reaching the final and has acted to advantage countries that would have traditionally done better in the televoting.
Had the results been solely based on the jury vote, Israel would have qualified for the Final from Semi Final 1 (in the place of Iceland and Russia) and Croatia and Georgia would have qualified from Semi Final 2 (replacing Turkey and Norway).
As in 2010 and 2011, 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 appears doubful, based on the precedent of the past two years, as to whether individuals country’s televotes and jury votes will also be released (although 2012 jury voting details for some individual countries have already been released, as discussed in a previous post). To ensure greater transparency on behalf of the organsiers, these details should be released, especially as 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.