A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Monday, May 20, 2013

ESC 2013: Dirty tricks during the voting?

The news are all over the place. According to Lithuanian online paper 15 min agents have paid people to vote for Azerbaijan in Lithuania as well as a number of other countries in order to improve their Eurovision result.

The proof is hard to verify and some people claim that the shows footage is staged and only made to slander the successful Azeri entries, but this excellent piece by 12points.tv show quite a few disturbing tendencies in the patterns of what countries vote extensively for Azerbaijan. Let's just say it doesn't look good.

There have also been equally unconfirmed rumours about other countries performing the same stunt - Russia has been named - in order to do well in the voting.

I see these allegations and get the same resigned feeling I had back in the years 1994-2002, another period with extensive trading of points - a standard that obviously upset the flow of points and most probably altered the final results considerably.

I remember sitting on the plane back home after the 2002 final in Tallinn, marking on the scoreboard every given point that seemed suspicious. After a while, having realised just how much trading had been going on, I just had to ask myself if there was any point to keep organising a contest as rigged as this one.

When Digame took over the supervision of televotes, things started to look better for several years but now the voting is beginning to leave a bad taste. Again.

I suggest the EBU investigates the situation properly and then sit down to have a hard think how to make the voting credible again. Eurovision - already tainted with rumours and allegations of being political and unfair - can not afford to have a voting that will upset the audiences.

The Eurovision Song Contest is just a light-hearted little game for the whole family. Strictly speaking the outcome is not important to the world as such.

But every light-hearted game - be it Trivial Pursuit, mini golf or Eurovision - has one thing in common. If some of the players start breaking the rules and cheat, then nobody will enjoy the game and nobody will want to play anymore.

Cheating kills the fun. So somebody better do something about this. At once.


  1. While I've often disagreed with you about the songs, I cannot agree more on the contest itself. It is a great show, entertaining and, really, good music. It is fun to hear and enjoy the songs from different countries and the expansion of the Eurovision world to the east has made it even more interesting.

    The new countries have taken the contest seriously. For some of them it means to do every effort to find the best artists and a great song from their own country. This has made countries like Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia or Estonia interesting, I'm always looking forward to hear what they are sending this year.

    For some of the countries it means to open your wallets to buy the best result either buy buying the song and the group behind it from abroad or by, as now some people suggest, buying the votes.

    The first one makes the song boring. Even if the song commissioned by a swede or a greek is good, the performance sounds and feels like what it is, a product that has nothing to do with the country it is representing. I've found Azerbaidjan the most boring new country taking part, because I know how their songs have been created. Unfortunately Georgia seems to be going to the same direction. Azerbaidjan or Georgia should have the same resources to create great entries of their own the same way as, say, Ukraine.

    If some countries go as far as buying the votes, there are hardly words to describe what I think about them. It is futile, ridiculous and does no good for the country doing it. What do you do with good results, if everyone knows it hasn't been received with right means.

    I try to have a happy, light and not too serious attitude to the Eurovision, the songs and the results. That is the way I enjoy it the most. Rumours like this and the angry negative response to them is bound to destroy the enjoyment.

    And I'm afraid that this time there's no smoke without the fire.

  2. I think you make a really interesting observation and substantive explanation of your suspicions. The whole evening I was star-struck wondering what the hell about Azerbaijan, and seeing context on this gives it a little bit of a possible explanation. I'm not saying it happened, but for me it would explain a lot.

    I think to be completely fair the best 12-point awarding was from Germany to Hungary. I think it has absolutely nothing to do with politics or buying of votes, but rather the fact that German folk actually liked the quirky and special hipster performance of a Hungarian song. There is hope, even if in one country!