After several months of inactivity on here (mainly owing to the combined powers of a PhD thesis and steadily worsening eyesight), submission of the former and surgery to remedy the latter means I suddenly find myself with considerable time of my hands. Fortunately, I have found the perfect excuse to get back into the blogging boat (that's a thing, right?): the Eurovision Song Contest.
It may not seem the most topical of subjects, with this year's competition a relatively distant memory (if you don't recall, try and remember when it wasn't raining), but the long-awaited split jury/televote results are finally here, allowing for one last bit of fun. In case you're unfamiliar, the points awarded by countries in the Eurovision Song Contest are determined by an equal weighting of votes from the public (the televote) and a jury of music 'experts' (the jury vote). Introduced in 2009, the idea was to try and water down the alleged 'political' voting that many (particularly on these shores) thought was spoiling the contest, with juries theoretically providing a much more objective assessment of the songs. Whether this works in practice is for another time, but for now we can at least have some fun seeing how various countries performed under each system. This year's highlights include:
- There can be no argument over Sweden's triumph, with Loreen finishing on top in both votes. This makes it three times out of four that the public have chosen the same winner as the juries, the only exception being Azerbaijan's win in 2011 where the jury placed them a lowly second (behind Italy). In terms of who actually wins, then, the jury vote has yet to make a difference.
- That said, Russia pushed Sweden extremely close in the televote, with the grannies' 332 points only just behind Loreen's 343. As many expected, Russia fared far worse with the juries, finishing in a fairly unremarkable 11th place. (How much of this was the 'mother Russia' vote, and how much was down to adorable grandmothers and a spinning pastry oven is, however, difficult to judge.)
- The biggest winner under the televote was Turkey, whose 4th place with the public was a whopping 18 places higher than their position according to the juries. (It seems transforming into a boat gets you votes, and quite rightly too.)
- Other big televote winners were Ireland (10th with the public, 25th with the juries) and Romania (7th with the public, 20th with the juries). Next year then, I would recommend Ireland teach Jedward how to sing and play the bagpipes, and victory could be theirs.
- At the other end of the scale four countries (Italy, Spain, France and Ukraine) all finished 13 places worse in the televote than with the juries. France in particular owe a lot to the jury voters: had it been purely down to the public they would have finished on the (in)famous nul points for the first time in their history. (Perhaps they would have fared better if they could have used their delightfully bizarre official video.)
- As for our very own Engelbert Humperdinck, who finished 25th out of 26 on the night, these results don't offer much comfort. Whilst many (as usual) blamed our poor placing on Eastern European bloc voting, these new data suggest that maybe it just wasn't a very good song. The Hump finished 21st with the public, but with the juries? Dead last.