Adrian Kavanagh, 6th May 2016
Each year, usually after an Irish act fails to do as well as expected at a Eurovision Song Contest, we hear the usual rants about “political voting” or “Eastern European countries only voting for other Eastern European countries”. Most of these urban legends are, quite simply, ráiméis – they do match up with the actual facts, or the trends that can be observed from a study of recent Eurovision voting trends. “Give me facts” said that legend of English literature, Mr. Gradgrind, and that is what this website always sets out to do!
So what are the facts as regards the countries that Ireland is most likely, or least likely, to win points from at the Eurovision Song Contest? The trends that emerge show that some of Ireland’s very best “supporters” at the Eurovision Song Contest (since the introduction of televoting in 1998) do, admittedly, include a number of “Western” states – including Denmark, Malta, San Marino, Finland and Sweden, but particularly the United Kingdom – but Irish acts have also won higher levels of support from the Baltic States – particularly Latvia – and Hungary than they have won from the rest of the “Western” countries. Indeed, some of Ireland’s lowest scores during the period since televoting was introduced in 1998 have come from “Western” countries, such as Italy and France.
Figure 1: Average number of points, by country, awarded to Ireland at Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals/finals between 1998 and 2015
The map above (Figure 1) shows that there is a pretty defined geography in terms of where Ireland has won the most Eurovision points across most of the past two decades, but what seems to be most important here is probably “cultural proximity” rather than “geographical proximity”. (more…)