Eurovision Song Contest 2015 – Details on the Voting Juries

Adrian Kavanagh, 19th May 2015

In 2015 (as in 2014), in a break from the pattern of the previous four contests (in which no details were provided on the split televotes and jury votes of the different participating countries), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is allowing for a greater detail of voting information to be released after the Eurovision final, in part as a reaction to various vote-rigging allegations after the 2013 contest. In a bid to promote further transparency, on May 1st 2015 the European Broadcasting Union also released the names (and gender/age/profession details) of the 200 different jurors (and 40 back-up jury members) who will form the professional juries for this year’s 40 participating countries.

At some stage after the Final on May 22nd, the individual votes/rankings of these 2000 different jurors will be released (each country’s televote and overall jury vote ranking will also be released soon after the final), as also happened in 2014, 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 by the EBU, we can get an overview of the 200 people who will be forming the professional 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 2013 or 2014 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 was described in The Eurovision Handbook 2014 and indeed earlier posts on this website. This does not necessarily always be the case however. Ironically, with greater levels of transparency, jury members are probably more likely to vote in a political manner, or in a manner that is in keeping with what amounts to political correctness in their specific region of Eurovision territory.

This is my overview of the 40 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 41.0 years (last year it was 39.8 years), but with a very wide range in age between the oldest jury member, 72-year old Vladimir Bár from the Czech Republic, and the youngest jury member, 17-year old Isa Tengblad/ISA from Sweden.

Isa Tengblad (Sweden), the youngest jury member in 2015

Isa Tengblad (Sweden), the youngest jury member in 2015

86-year old Dusan Hren is the back-up jury member for Slovenia, while 17-year old Shay Hambar is the back-up jury member for Israel. The country with the oldest jury (highest average age of the different jury members) is Romania, with an average age of 52.6 years for its five jury members (last year it was Albania with 49.4), while Latvia (with an average age of 32.2 years) has the youngest of the voting juries (last year it was San Marino with 25.8). The average age of the Irish jury (43.2 years – down from the 45.8 year average for last year) comes out somewhat above the overall average across all juries/jurors, as is also the case in terms of the average age of the United Kingdom jury (44.4 years – well up on the 36.8 year average for the 2014 jury). The average age of the voting juries for Semi Final 1 (including all the Semi Final 1 countries, as well as France, Spain, Austria and Australia) is 41.7 years. The average age of the voting juries for Semi Final 2 (including all the Semi Final 2 countries, as well as the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Australia) is 40.6 years.

Gender: Despite the stipulation that juries should be balanced in terms of gender, there are overall more male jury members than female jury members – 109 (54.5%) jury members are male and 91 (45.5%) jury members are female. This is a slight improvement on last year when it was a 57.3%/42.7% breakdown between male (106 male jury members) and female (79) jury members. 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 three countries (Germany, the Czech Republic and Malta, although the chair of the Czech jury is female) have four male jury members and only one female jury member. Thirteen of the participating countries (up from six in 2014) – Spain, Australia, FYR Macedonia, Moldova, Belarus, Denmark, Russia, Lithuania, Norway, San Marino, Azerbaijan, Iceland, Israel – have more female jury members than male. In most cases, this amounts to three female jury members, but the Azerbaijan voting jury includes four females. There is an even more biased gender breakdown when it comes to the position of chairs of the different voting juries, in which females account for only ten of the forty voting jury chairpersons, including Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Finland, Iceland, Israel, San Marino, Slovenia and The Netherlands.

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 88 (44.0%) of the jury members being identified as such. The next largest grouping would be songwriters/lyricists (68 or 34.0%), followed by people working as TV Hosts or DJs/journalists/actors (52 or 26.0%), producers (33 or 16.5%) and musicians (29 or 14.5%). Managers/record company CEOs account for 9 (4.5%) of jury members, while 16 (8.0%) jury members are identified as being vocal coaches and/or music teachers/professors, while 5 (2.5%) are performance coaches or choreographers. Only one jury member (0.5%) is identified as being a rapper, however – Ferris MC on the German voting jury.

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, Ryan Dolan performed for Ireland in the 2013 Final, while Anne Harrington was a backing singer for Dustin the Turkey (in 2008). (The other three Irish jury members, Raymond Smyth, Blathnaid Treacy and Ray Harman, do not seem to have any (obvious) links to the contest, by contrast.) There are a number of other jury members from amongst the other countries with a notable Eurovision pedigree also. Nevena Božović performed for Serbia (as part of Moje 3) at the 2013 contest, but also performed for Serbia at the 2007 Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Two of the Russian jury members fared very well at the contest – Alsou finished in second place at the 2000 Final, while Dina Garipova finished in 5th place at the 2013 Final. Aram MP3, a member of the Armenian jury, finished in 4th place at last year’s Final. Other jury members with past experiences of performing at Eurovision are noted on the relevant page at the official contest website. Other jury members have been involved in the contest in other capacities – for instance, Isa Tengblad (Sweden) was in the final of this year’s Swedish selection contest.

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One Response to “Eurovision Song Contest 2015 – Details on the Voting Juries”

  1. Nowoczesne ogrodzenia Says:

    Nowoczesne ogrodzenia

    Eurovision Song Contest 2015 – Details on the Voting Juries | Adrian Kavanagh’s Blog

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