Just a simple question

For anyone complaining that Eurovision is a ‘fix’ and blighted by ‘block voting/neighbour voting’: if it’s such a massive problem that occurs year after year, why is it that Serbia are the first Balkan country to win the contest since 1989?

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9 Comments to "Just a simple question"

  1. May 13, 2007 - 12:31 am | Permalink

    Because the Balkan block vote isn’t the only one at work – there are several, such as the eastern Med, the old Soviet Union and the Baltic states. The strongest nations are the ones that are one the fringes of more than one – geographically, politically or culturally – and attract votes from more than one, like recent strong performers Greece and Turkey (Med, Balkans) Romania, Ukraine and Serbia (Balkans, ex-Soviet), Russia (ex-Soviet, Baltic, some Balkans) and Latvia and Finland (Baltic, some ex-Soviet).

    There was some research a few years ago – I wrote about it / linked to it here: http://random-incident.journalspace.com/?entryid=364

  2. Doug's Gravatar Doug
    May 13, 2007 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    Another factor in the voting is that most countries now have phone voting. Back in the day’s of juries you didn’t have to worry about fans of one country (who cant of course vote for themselves) drive into the neighbouring country to vote and thus boost their own chances of winning.

    This is why the UK always struggles unless it puts in an amazing song… which isn’t going to happen until the Eurovision is taken seriously. Which by the way is fine by me… this is a media thing to get upset more than anything felt by the nation as a whole.

    The only solution with the current set up is to close all the borders across Europe for 1 week before the Eurovision to make sure that you don’t get transient voters. OR and I think this is a far better way to do it… scrap the voting on a nation by nation basis. Count the number of votes and allocate accordingly. No more “12 points” and more “12,500 voters” make the units 1pt = 100,000 voters….

    Why does this matter at all? Well I think it shows how difficult it is to have country by country voting in the EU and Euro-vision could be an easy and cheap way to trial other voting methods for Europe Wide issues.

  3. Neil's Gravatar Neil
    May 13, 2007 - 10:44 am | Permalink

    Clearly block voting influences the results but the actual winners still seem to be songs/performances that have something going for them.

    The Serbian entry was one of the best performances (whatever it was about) – as soon as it started I wondered whether Jim Steinman had written it – and there is no way the excellent Lordi would have won last year just because of block voting.

    And Israel would never have won it, ever!

  4. May 13, 2007 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

    There are several blocks.
    This time various eastern european blocks caused western countries to fail to get through to the finals (as well as western leaning countries like Estonia).

    Serbia’s entry was popular across the board, but it got most of its points from those geographically or politically related to it (there was a stage when it wasn’t getting any points – the voting nations then were not related to Serbia).

  5. May 13, 2007 - 1:09 pm | Permalink

    The fact is that for a song to win it needs lots of countries issuing it with 1-7 points AS WELL AS a number giving them 8, 10 or 12. Thus, notwithstanding the fact that there clearly is block voting, quality does tend to do well.

    I was going to do an experiment last night by weighting the votes by population size, but the numbers were so small on screen that it quickly became utterly futile. But even halfway through it became clear that weighting the vote in that way wouldn’t have made any difference. Ditto last year where Lordi would have won however you measure it.

    This is a case of ‘dooze pwan’ to the Da Borda system. If Eurovision used first past the post, territorial voting would count for much more.

  6. May 13, 2007 - 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Weren’t there more Balkan states in it this year than ever before?

  7. dsquared's Gravatar dsquared
    May 14, 2007 - 5:05 pm | Permalink

    There is block voting but it’s not necessarily political; it’s more the fact that these neighbouring countries speak a lot of the same languages and have a lot of history in common, so someone who is a star in Serbia is also likely to be a star in FYR Macedonia and Croatia. IIRC, the Estonians gave the game away two years ago when voting 12 points for Ruslana of Ukraine, the host said “and thank you for your fantastic concert in Talinn”.

  8. May 22, 2007 - 4:17 pm | Permalink

    I find it hard to belive that the support for Serbia was politically motivated, given what happened in that region in the past.

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