A growing conflict between jury- and televoting

Three months before the 60th Eurovision Song Contest takes place and while we are in the middle of the period of national finals, the continued conflicting results of expert juries and televotes in national finals is being heavily discussed by fans. Can a jury consisting of specialists continue to exist, when it upsets the public so much?

The whole issue started last November at the 2014 Junior Eurovision Song Contest when for the first time in the history of EBU’s competitions the winner in televoting was not the overall winner, because she was only fifth with in the jury’s results. Italy won the competition thanks to the votes from the jury, and was only third with the televotes. Public’s favourite was Bulgaria which, despite the fact that it had 43 televoting points more than Italy, didn’t managed to get the win after the juries ranked them fifth in their votes.

Public’s choice had not been respected by the jury in the national final of Belarus held a few days later either. A seven-member jury and a public televote selected the song “Time” performed by Uzari & Maimuna as the winner. Time was only third in televoting, but first with a landslide victory in jury’s aspect. Winner of the televoting with double calls was a song named “Only Dance” performed by Mozzart, unfortunately for him Mozzart was 10th out of 15 songs competing in the national final of Belarus, so with that result in the jury he couldn’t win the ticket to Vienna.

The same and worse happened in Cyprus. Cyprus decided to return to the contest after one year of absence due to the economic crisis and hold a long term national final. After a long series of auditions and semifinals, a special jury selected 6 songs to compete in the national final. CyBC gave the opportunity to the people for 9 days to vote their favourite song. In all that period it was obvious from all the polls in the internet, the comments of fans and the views of the songs on YouTube that Without Your Love by Panagiotis Koufogiannis was by far the favorite of the public. In the end, Without Your Love won the first place in Cypriot’s televoting, but when the jury results were announced it was obvious that Panagiotis couldn’t win due to only ranking 5th out of 6 songs. It is worth noting that CyBC hasn’t revealed until now the details of how each judge voted!

Next victim of this disharmony in this year’s Eurovision results among the televoting and the jury’s votes was Anne Gadegaard in the national final of Denmark. Anna, with her song Suitcase, was a clear favourite right after the songs were made available. Indeed she won the public’s votes but again this wasn’t enough for her to represent Denmark in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest, as the jury had put The Way You Are heigh enough on their lists to hand Anti Social Media the overall victory.

The same thing would have happened in two more occasions if the voting system they have in their national finals were different. María Ólafsdóttir, who won the Icelandic national final with her song Unbroken, was saved by the fact that in the second and final round of voting only the public voted for their favourite to represent their country in the Eurovision Song Contest. Maria was 4th in the jury’s results in the final but managed to quallify to the superfinal against Friðrik Dór thanks to televoting.I f juries had voted and in the superfinal, then she would most likely wouldn’t have won.

Italy, currently the big favourite to win this year’s final of Eurovision, was very close to sending. Il Volo won last week in Sanremo’s final with 39% against Nek who garnered 35% of the votes. Il Volo needed the extremely high 56% in the televoting to secure their victory as they were just third in the special jury, and second in the demographical jury. As you see it was really close for Nek to take the victory and the ticket to Vienna along that.

Of course, the list of examples is likely to grow until the mid of March when all countries will have chosen their songs for 60th Eurovision song contest in Vienna. And the discussions among the fans will continue, with the main question the doubt if five or six people can decide against the will of an entire population, especially when public pays to vote! And who knows, maybe it will be senior’s Eurovision turn to have a winner from the juries and not from the public.. maybe then EBU will start to think it over again and limit juries role in the results.

To me, the obvious solution would be to lower the influence of the jurys in the final results, to for example 30%. This means that with a smaller participation in the voting, juries would only change the final results when a small difference between the songs existis in televoting. And this is really good because when we have almost a tie in voting a more expert panel can give a solution, but when the people clearly say their opinion then this should be respected and let whoever they select represent them.

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