EDITORIAL – There was a question raised today by the Typologies, according to which the juries behaviour is not examined adequately by the European Broadcasting Union. The issue risen last year when the morning after the Grand Final most of us were stunned learning that Sweden won the 2015 Eurovision Song Contes due to the juries and not due to televoting, were Sweden was 3rd!
Let’s see what went wrong and caused gossips around Europe about how juries function in the Eurovision Song Contest. First of all there was this big disappointment that Sweden won due to the juries while Italy won the televoting. Second, FYR Macedonia and Montenegro saw their jury votes annulled without any explanation besides this:
“The jury results of F.Y.R. Macedonia and Montenegro for the Grand Final have been excluded after consultation of PwC, the contest’s independent voting observer, and upon the decision of the Executive Supervisor and the Chairman of the Reference Group. In both countries, televoting applied for 100%. The exclusion of two juries will be further discussed in the next Reference Group meeting in June.”
Isn’t it weird (according to the publication, in which we totally agree) that the jury of votes of FYROM and Montenegro were excluded but the jury votes in the bellow countries weren’t :
- In Denmark, where the Italian song had an average of 7th place from the 4 jury members and was 5th at the televoting, but one jury member, Søren Poppe, voted the Italian song at only 21st place, influencing the overall outcome of the Danish vote.
- In Finland, where the Italian song was 3rd in televoting, the jury members ranked it 19th with one jury member giving the entry the 23rd place (!!) In the same country the Russian entry was 4th in televoting and was ranked 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th from the jury members. One jury member ranked the song at the 19th place which also negatively influenced the result.
- In Georgia, the situation was even worse. The Italian entry was 4th in the televoting and was ranked 2nd, 4th, 5th and 5th from jury members but one jury member decided to rank the song 25th!! The Russian song was 2nd in the televoting but one jury member, Zaza Shengelia, decided to rank it last (26th place)!!!
- In Germany and Hungary the Italian song won the televoting but jury members ranked the song 18th and 20th (!!!) contradicting the outcome of thousands of televoters!!!
- In Iceland, the Italian song won the televoting and had a top 5 position with 3 out of the 5 jury members, but two jury members ranked the song 20th and 25th which also had a negative influence on the overall result.
- In Latvia, the Russian entry won the televoting, had an average of 4th place from 4 jury members but one jury member, Ralfs Eilands, ranked the song last (!!!) at 26th place.
- In Lithuania, televoters ranked the Russian entry 3rd but jury members ranked the song 20th. As a result Russia didn’t receive any points from Lithuania.
- We would also add to the arguments the case of the Australian jury member who clearly breached the rules last year: Shortly after Måns Zelmerlöw’s victory, juror Jake Stone appeared on Australia’s Today program and revealed that he is good friends with Katrina Noorbergen, one of the songwriters of “A Million Voices”. “We have an Australian writer on that song, and she’s actually friend of mine, Katrina Noorbergen,” he said. “She sang [backing vocals] as well, so we should be really proud.”
We have to admit that the basic criteria submitted to each national broadcaster in written are very fair . Each jury member has to vote fairly having only 4 criteria in mind:Vocal capacity, The performance of stage, The composition and originality of the song, The overall impression by the act. Our question strikes automatically on this: why was Sweden voted high under the criteria of originality, when musicians are the first that should notice the inspiration of the song by “Lovers On The Sun”?
Till 2012 jury members could rank the songs from the first till the 10th place, so it was much more difficult for a jury member to manipulate the outcome of the whole jury but unfortunately with the new system, this happens all the time as it is proven above. And it is really a question why the votes of these jury members where not excluded, since in some cases it was obvious that they were political as well.
It is true that with the new voting system, a jury member will be able to manipulate only the 50% of the outcome since televoting will be given separately so this is definitely better. What I cannot still ,understand, and definitely will create more gossips and shadows is what will happen when a jury or public vote, for no matter what reason, annulled: EBU says a pre-decided group of countries’ vote will be assumed as the annulled vote. For example: if EBU decides to exclude the votes of the jury of country A, preselected countries B,C,D,E,F will instead give their votes for country A.
I would like to also point out that in international sport events where juries are used, the obvious maximum and minimum votes are deleted and only the average voting is accumulated for the result. Why something like that isn’t it used in the Eurovision juries?
What’s the benefit and what’s the moral status for Country A to say they deliver these votes? The only country protesting openly (at least to the media, as EBU says they received no official letter by them) is San Marino. A country which never holds tele voting but this year pre-selected countries will give tele voting on behalf of San Marino. The big question is: will we all be proud to see the San Marino tele voting on May 14th, when no one in the country was actually able to vote? if your answer is yes, then indeed there is problem of democracy in this contest no matter how much you shout back at me for writing this!