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Sunday, May 11, 2014

ESC 2014: The jurors and the votes they gave

I'm still fantastically pleased with the outcome of last night's Eurovision final. Why wouldn't I be? My prediction came out nicely - I nailed seven of the top ten countries - and the winner is a victory not only for Austria but for tolerance and for everyone's undeniable right to be who he or she wishes to be.

It was also a very fine voting that was far less predictable than it has been in years. Most countries dropped the exaggerated "dear neighbours"-approach and if there has been any cases of uncalled-for bias at least I haven't been able to detect them.

But perhaps since the voting in general looks clean and fair, some things stand out to hurt my eyes anyway. Maybe they stand out even worse because most countries behaved.

When looking at the detailed results and individual jury scores you realise some things do not look good in daylight. San Marino's jury have things to explain, for instance. At least one person changed his/her mind about Azerbaijan rather dramatically between the semi final and the final. I'd like to know how that happened.

Then there are the juries in Armenia and Azerbaijan. All Armenian judges put Azerbaijan in their last place, and the Azeri jurors did exactly the same. That has nothing to do with music, but is an act of politics. The very same jurors also obviously sabotaged the scores for Austria - surely as political a statement if not more.

The EBU said they would take strong measures against any kind of vote manipulation this year. If this is not vote manipulation, then what is?

Appointing a jury that clearly does not vote for musical preferences but in accordance with the political agenda of their country - is that what the EBU wishes for. A long hard talk with these broadcasters would be in place.

Also, the EBU should scrap the current voting system where every juror ranks all songs instead of just voting for their top ten. It makes it far too easy to sabotage the chances of one or several songs for the wrong reasons. Time to look over the system, admit it is not working and go back to something better.

20 comments:

  1. Brilliant. Completely agree.

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  2. Just had a look at the UK jury score where the jury seemingly deliberately sabotaged the televote winner - Poland - that subsequently didn't get a single point. Doesn't look good at all. The Russian jury handled their job better than these UK people.

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    1. The jury gives their scores before the televote so how can you say they deliberately sabotage the televote????

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    2. It was easy to foresee Polish success in the UK since so many Poles live there. Marking down Poland as violently and obviously as the UK jurors did was clearly a safety measure. It strikes me as odd that the only places where all jurors unanimously thought Poland was the worst were the countries where Poland was expected to score highly in the televote.

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    3. In that case, do you think the juries in Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Norway also deliberately gave Poland bad scores? Because in those countries Poland also scored high in the televote?

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    4. You seem to be a nice person. So I will only formulate my doubts whether the eurovision contest should be won because of and not in spite of being strange. Regardless I think that you should know that the same as british was the action of irish jury. The funny thing is the whole song was made as a humoresque but most of the jury did not get it and depicting it like a genuine a portray of slavic girls

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    5. I haven't checked every single country's voting in detail. The UK was pointed out to me. Of course the jurors have the right of liking or disliking songs. But when an entire jury suddenly unanimously places the song winning that country's televote it looks very suspicious. If at least one of them had had Poland in their 19th place instead. They were surely instructed or had discussed how to keep Poland down and that is against the rules.

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  3. Hi Tobias,
    Do you think that the victory of Austria was only because of the music and nothing to do with politics?

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    1. Nothing ever seems to be free from politics these days. But I believe that Austria won because of the song and performance mainly. Had there been more politics involved, Austria would have lost instead.

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    2. I do not necessarily disagree with you Tobias, but I did get the feeling that it was Conchita Wurst who got the votes, not "Rise like a phoenix", if you see what I mean.

      I base this "feeling" on the several comments made in the announcements referring on the artists name and appearance, and the absence of references to the lyrics or melody of the song as well as absence of "our friends the Austrians". Now, my "feeling" is not a fact, so I would look forward to your elaborated view on why Austria would have lost if there was more of politics.

      As to your main point, I completely agree that there is something to be done about the jury system. Perhaps not looked into, since that would be too nasty and might cause severe mental damage. Better to just scrap it and construct a new model. Any suggestions?

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    3. You could equally well say that Loreen's unusual stage presence won rather than "Euphoria", that Dima Bilan's stardom won rather than "Believe", that Lena's youthfulness was the winning key rather than "Satellite". Surely Lordi as a phenomenon was a more winning factor than "Hard Rock Hallelujah". I fail to see why that is a problem.

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    4. I can only speak for myself, but to me "Rise Like A Phoenix" was the best song in a strong lineup. It would have been my favourite regardless of performer, as long as the vocals had been as impressive as Conchita's. You can safely assume that the majority of people who voted for Austria did so because they appreciated the song and performance - they surely didn't vote just because there was a guy in a dress and a beard.

      The kind of politics that tend to want to interfere with the results in Eurovision and elsewhere are not the ones who speak of tolerance and freedom of speech. Simply because they think everyone should get to vote for whoever they want. The politics that tried to mess with the results (and successfully did so in countries like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus etc) is the one who wants people to conform, live in fear, not speak their minds, not be different. Had that influence been greater, then Austria would never have won.

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    5. Absolutely. Silent Storm is my favourite song this year, not just at Eurovision, but generally. Rise Like A Phoenix is a clear second though. It has the most interesting, literate lyric of all 37 this year, and should win for that alone. When you add a singer who can REALLY sing, and a beautiful, sweeping. orchestral backing, it thoroughly deserves to win a SONG contest. I listened to the BBC Radio 2 version of the final today, and Conchita would have won, even if the contest was only on the radio. She just sounded stunning.

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  4. Loved your articles this Eurovision season, they were great to read. You really are the voice of reason, well done!

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    1. Thank you so much, I really appreciate that!

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  5. I was sifting through the voting results and a few things stood out to me as odd. There were some jurors that were out in left field in comparison with the rest, and at other times the juries were completely out of sync with what the public wanted. I found as a result, some of the results were very fascinating.

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  6. On the Eurovision's official Facebook, they said that the points from the Georgian Jury didn't count. Do you know anything more about that?

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    1. In short, the rules state every juror should vote independently. Yet all Georgian jurors had an identical top eight - subsequently EBU deemed their votes to be manipulated and declared their vote invalid. Rightly so - hopefully Georgian tv will receive some sort of punishment because of this.

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  7. What do you think of the disappointing results of the Big five countries?
    Only Spain is in TOP 10. UK belonged to the favourites.

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    1. I reply to them in the same way as I respond to the disappointing results Finland usually gets (not this year): this is a competition. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

      If you can't stand losing you should perhaps not compete in the first place.

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