Eurovision Song Contest 2014 – Details on the voting juries

Adrian Kavanagh, 2nd May 2014

This year, in a break from the pattern of the past four contests (in which no details were provided on the split televotes and jury votes of the different participating countries), the European Broadcasting Union is allowing for a greater detail of voting information to be released after this year’s final, in part as a reaction to various vote-rigging allegations after last year’s contest. In a bid to promote further transparency, on May 1st the European Broadcasting Union also released the names (and gender/age/profession details) of the 185 different jurors who will form the professional juries for this year’s 37 participating countries. After the Final on May 10th, it has also been suggested that the individual votes/rankings of these 185 different jurors may also be released (each country’s televote and overall jury vote ranking will be released soon after the final), allowing for some potentially fascinating research as to whether jury voting patterns differ according to age, gender or role in the music industry, if this turned out to be the case.

In any course, based on the details provided yesterday, we can get an overview of the 185 people who will be forming the profession voting juries for this year’s contest. Membership of juries should be open to all citizens of the different participating states who are working in the music industry, but with a specification that juries be balanced in terms of age and gender, as well as positions/roles within the music industry. Jury members should not have served on a jury in 2012 or 2013 and will not be allowed to serve on a jury again over the following two years, while they also (quite obviously) should have no personal links to any of the entries or acts participating in this year’s contest. The general expectation is that jury voting should offer a balance to the tendency for diaspora/neighbourly based bloc voting associated with the public vote/televote, as has been described in The Eurovision Handbook 2014 and indeed earlier posts on this website.

This is my overview of the 37 different voting juries:

Age: There is a wide range of ages encompassed across the different juries and jury members. The average age of a jury member for this year’s contest is 39.8 years, but with a wide range in age between the oldest jury member (70-year old Dimitar Chemkov from FYR Macedonia) and the youngest jury member (17-year old Roi Klein from Israel). The country with the oldest jury (highest average age of the different jury members) is Albania, with an average age of 49.4 years for its five jury members, while San Marino (with an average age of 25.8 years) has the youngest of the voting juries. The average age of the Irish jury (45.8 years) comes out somewhat above the overall average across all juries/jurors, while the average age of the United Kingdom jury (36.8 years) comes in well below the overall contest average.

Gender: Despite the stipulation that juries should be balanced in terms of gender, there are overall more male jury members than female jury members – 106 (57.3%) jury members are male and 79 (42.7%) jury members are female. This bias is down to the fact that most of the participating countries have interpreted the gender balance stipulation as having three male jury members and two female jury members – furthermore two countries (Montenegro and FYR Macedonia, although the chair of the Macedonian jury is female) have four male jury members and only one female jury member. Only six of the participating countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Georgia and Portugal – have more (three) female jury members than male. There is a similarly biased gender breakdown when it comes to the position of chairs of the different voting juries, in which females account for twelve of the thirty seven voting jury chairpersons.

Position in the Music Industry: Countries were asked to identify the roles/positions held by their jury members in the music industry to justify their inclusion as members of those countries’ professional voting juries. Looking at the details provided (and noting that certain jury members can fit into two, or more, of these groups), it can be seen that singers account for the largest grouping across this year’s jury members, with 78 (42.2%) of the jury members being identified as such. The next largest grouping would be musicians (55 or 29.7%), followed by producers (41 or 22.2%) and songwriters/lyricists (36 or 19.5%). People working as TV Hosts or DJs account for 24 (13.0%) jury members, while managers/record company CEOs account for 21 (11.4%) and music journalists account for 14 (7.6%)11 (5.9%) jury members are identified as being vocal coaches and/or music teachers/professors, while 5 (2.7%) are performance coaches or choreographers. Only two jury members (1.1%) are identified as being rappers, however.

While there is no stipulation that jury members should have had a past experience of the Eurovision Song Contest, quite a number of jury members across the different countries have a good degree of Eurovision pedigree. In the case of Ireland, Charlie McGettigan (along with Paul Harrington) won the contest for Ireland in 1993, while Liam Reilly finished second at the 1990 contest. Leanne Moore has taken part in the last three years of Eurovision Song Contests as a backing singer for Jedward (in 2011 and 2012) and Ryan Dolan (in 2013). (The other two Irish jury members, Patrick Hughes and Jenny Hughes, do not seem to have any (obvious) links to the contest, by contrast.) Azerbaijan jury member, Nigar (Nikki) Jamal, is another part contest winner (2011), while Iceland’s Johanna Jonsdottir (better known as Yohanna) finished in second place in 20098. Other jury members that have taken part in Eurovision include Inga and Anush Arshkyan (Armenia), Ruth Jacott (Netherlands), Stella Jones (Austria), Laura van den Bruel (Iris) (Belgium), Carrie Grant (as a member of Sweet Dreams) (United Kingdom), Magdalena Tull (Poland) and Ivan Broggini (as a member of Sinplus) (Switzerland). Other jury members have been involved in the contest in other capacities – Madeline Juno (Germany) took part in this year’s German selection, while Olga Ryzhikova (Belarus) was the host for this year’s Belarus national selection show.

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