The EBU reference group have been meeting in Moscow to discuss various aspects of the 2009 contest. As well as confirming Moscow as the host city for 2009, changes have been made to the voting in the final.
In previous years, the voting has been based purely, with a couple of exceptions, on televotes from the public in all the participating countries, including those not in the final. In 2009, a mixture of televoting and juries will be used. The balance of the votes will be decided at a further meeting next year, but it is felt that the re-introduction of the juries will make the voting more interesting.
Svante Stockselius, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest said "Nothing is more democratic than the vote of the public. But a jury takes the opportunity to listen to the songs several times before they make up their minds. In Belgrade, we saw a difference in judgment of the public and the back-up juries, and we believe a combination will make the show more interesting."
It seems that the change is in response to growing unease at the televoting system, where it is widely believed that people vote for their neighbours. Chairman of the Reference Group, Ruurd Bierman, explained, "We strongly believe in televoting as a way of measuring the opinion of our millions of viewers across Europe. After the public debate about neighbour and diaspora voting, we decided to give the national juries a say in the outcome of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest."
This change will only affect the final. The two semi-finals will still be decided solely by a televote.