Eurovision: Voting change introduced for 2016

by Michalis Vranis 323 views

When it comes to running a TV show, the main aim is to maintain the viewer in front of their TV monitors and one way to achieve this is by building up the excitement. And the EBU officials know that well. Keeping that in mind, and the results of the last couple of years in the Eurovision Song Contest (when the winner was determined way before the last countries announce their votes), SVT and EBU have come up with an interesting idea.

On  Thursday 18 February 2016 the EBU announced the biggest voting change since 1975. According to this innovative change, there will be a split in the presentation of the votes each country receives. As of 2016, the professional juries’ votes will be presented separately from those of the public votes, adding a new level of excitement for hundreds of millions of viewers in Europe and beyond.

The Procedure

As it was explained by the EBU, the change actually focuses on the voting presentation rather than on the voting manipulation. The core change focuses on the fact that during the votes announcement, every country’s spokesperson will give out the jury votes 1-8,10,12 to the countries that have been awarded via the local jury. Once all the jury votes coming from the 43 countries conclude, another set of points achieved via the public televoting  will be presented. This will drastically build up the excitement; it will be the combined result of the televoting from all the 43 countries which will be announced by the host of the show. It will kick off with the country that has received the least votes and will conclude with the country that has received the highest number of votes, very much in Melodifestivalen style. The winner will be unveiled when the climax reaches its peak , when the host announces the results  of the last country (with the hightest number of votes).

In the following video presented by Eurovision’s official Youtube channel, you can get a clear picture of how this system will work:

SVT explain how the system will work.

What the FAQ?

In a set of 10 frequently asked questions, the EBU is giving answers to the most common questions that could arise from this change in the voting announcement procedure of the show. First of all let’s make it clear that this change applies only for the Final, and the main reason for this innovation is because of the lack of excitement during the announcement of the votes, when the final result can change in no way.

According to the EBU, this change will not affect the duration of the show. Also, the final breakdown of the votes for each show will become available right after the end of the Final. Digame, the Dutch company which works as the voting partner of Eurovision the last couple of years will facilitate the broadcasters with the possibility to show the national televoting results on-screen.

But here comes the most interesting part of this major change, the What If questions.

So, what if a country cannot deliver a valid televoting? This has happened many times in the past. But let’s top that question with the case of What if a country hasn’t reached the minimum televotes quota? The answer is simple (according to EBU) and frightening (according to the writer). If a country cannot deliver a valid televoting result, a substitute result is CALCULATED by the audience result of a pre-selected group of countries. These groups and their composition have been pre-approved by the EBU and the Reference Group. Hopefully those groups will be made public so that everybody will be aware of which other countries voted in the name of a country which didn’t manage to collect/deliver the public votes.

Respectively the same thing will happen in case of a failure in the jury vote, let’s call that a cancellation of a jury due to bribing or due to breach of rules. In that scenario, a substitute result is CALCULATED by the jury result of a pre-selected group of countries.

But the question emerging out of this decision is simple. Since the jury and public votes, share a percentage of 50% of weight on the final points each country gives, and adding the information that if there is a cancellation of either jury of public votes, the left over votes get the weight of 100%; shouldn’t this be also applied to the new system?

Practically that means that in the scenario of a tele-vote is not available for the country, e.g. San Marino, then the jury votes will have to be announced twice; once during the jury vote presentation and the second time they will be calculated inside the public vote pool.


What do you think about the changes in the voting system that have been presented by the EBU for 2016? Have your say!

ESCToday is growing and always looks for new members to join our team! Feel free to drop us a line if you're interested! Use the Contact Us page or send us an email at [email protected]!