GOOGLE – 42 candidates, each representing one European country, took part in the Eurovision Song Contest this year. But only 26 made it to the final on May 13th in Kiev, Ukraine. Getting through to the big final was decided during two semi-finals before the event, with a professional jury and the public voting. We wondered if searches would reflect each country’s voting patterns. If they did, the map would look like the one below. It shows the 20 countries that would have past the semi-finals in search and the 16 eliminated participants.6 countries, host Ukraine and the ‘Big Five’, are automatically qualified for the final.
Votes based on search activity ‘predicted’ 15 out of 20 qualified semi-finalists correctly. Use the switch to toggle the colors between the predicted and the real qualified countries. After the singing, every participating country awards a set of 1 to 8 points to 8 other countries. The two countries they liked the most receive 10 and 12 points. The country that earned the biggest amount of points after all voting is done, wins it. We focus on the vote by the viewers here. Another set of points is awarded by a professional jury from each country.
Portugal was the winner in both search and the real competition. The wide gap in searches with the number 2 on the ranking was reflected in the viewers votes (see the maps in the next section). Australia is the exception in the top 5. Australia was heavily searched for but received almost no votes from viewers (they did receive a lot of points from the professional juries). People searching for Australia were probably just wondering why a country so far away from Europe is participating in Eurovision. A similar explanation could explain the much higher place for Israel in the search ranking then in the competition ranking. The one country in the top 5 not picked up by the searches is Moldova. Neighbouring Romania landed the seventh spot in the competition although it was last in search.
The search activity data for every candidate was collected on May 12 (1 day before the final) and spans the seven days prior to this date. The data gathered were searches made for every country’s participating act together with the topic Eurovision (for example for Belgium: “Blanche Eurovision”). Whenever possible, we used topics rather than exact search strings to ensure different spellings were included. In San Marino there was too little search activity to award all points.