The EBU sheds more light on the new changes and voting system

by Sanjay (Sergio) Jiandani 1,225 views

The EBU has released a Q&A regarding the implementation of the new voting system at the Eurovision Song Contest thus answering the fans’ queries about the upcoming major voting changes in the competition.

The EBU has shed more light on the major changes it will be implementing at the Eurovision Song Contest’s voting system from 2023 onwards. The voting system has been revamped: the juries have been scrapped from the semi-finals and the qualifiers will be determined via a 100% viewer deliberation, viewers from non participating countries will be eligible to vote in the competition and cast their vote, the Grand Final results will be determined via a combined jury/viever voting deliberation.

The EBU has answered a number of questions regarding the new changes in the voting system thus clarifying many potential queries regarding the new voting system.

What key changes has the EBU introduced to the Eurovision voting system?

In 2023, the countries that qualify from each of the two Semi-Finals of the Eurovision Song Contest will be decided solely on the basis of votes cast by the general public.  

Juries, in each country taking part in the respective Semi-Final, will still cast their votes but they will only be used should a valid televote not be recorded or possible in an individual country.  

The Jury votes from each participating country will however be counted, as before, in the Grand Final. They will be combined with the result of the public vote to make up the total overall score.  

Why has the EBU introduced an additional Rest of World vote?

As a further step to strengthen the audience’s power in influencing the results of the Eurovision Song Contest, and in recognition of the global reach of the event, those watching the Eurovision Song Contest in non-participating countries will now be able to vote online.  

Votes from countries not participating will be combined to create a set of points with the same weight as one participating country in both of the Semi-Finals and the Grand Final.  

This will affect the 50/50 percentage balance between Jury points and public points marginally, giving the general public slightly more impact on the final result – approximately 50.6%. 

How will the EBU ensure the fairness Rest of the World vote?

Those wishing to vote from a country that is not participating in the Contest will only be able to do so via a secure online platform using a credit card from their country.  

Our Voting Partner will ensure that only audiences from countries allowed to vote online, as stipulated by the Reference Group, the Contest’s governing board, will be able to cast a vote and be charged respectively.  

The full list of eligible countries will be published near the time of the event. 

Will the EBU have a Jury representing the Rest of World as well as a public vote?

No. A Jury representing non-participating countries will not be used.

Why has the EBU decided to implement the changes now?

The Eurovision Song Contest, the world’s largest live music event, is now approaching its 70th anniversary. In order to keep the event relevant and exciting we regularly update the format to ensure it continues to thrive.  

Additionally, following the unprecedented nature of the voting irregularities seen at the 2022 Contest a working group of EBU Members was established to look at ways to protect the integrity of the event. Their recommendations are being implemented after approval by the Reference Group, the Contest’s governing board and the Executive Board of the EBU. 

Why allow Juries to vote in the Grand Final if their votes are no longer used in the Semi-Finals?

Using national juries of musical experts in the Grand Final, who rank all the songs in order of preference, allows each song to be considered individually. It ensures the best qualitative ranking of all participants in the Grand Final and that a winner is decided on the broadest criteria.

Maintaining the Jury vote for the Grand Final also allows us to continue a long-held tradition of uniting all the 37 participating countries on air with spokespeople delivering votes from their nation.  

With all participating countries voting in the Grand Final, including the points awarded by professional juries also helps to mitigate the diaspora and cultural voting that is reduced by 50% in the Semi-Finals by allocating countries with similar voting records to perform and vote in separate shows. 

Finally, in order to maintain the excitement of the voting sequence in the Grand Final, with the eventual winner only known at the very end of the show, two sets of separate votes are still required.  

Will this system now radically change which countries will qualify for the Grand Final?

Together with our Voting Partner we have determined which countries would have qualified from the Semi-Finals between 2017 and 2022 using only the result from the general public.  

We saw that, in nearly all cases, when removing the Jury results from the calculation, 9 of the 10 qualifying countries from each Semi-Final stayed the same.  

The song that qualified for the Grand Final under the previous system, which would have missed out if only public votes had been counted, in most cases, went on to finish at the lower end of the scoreboard in the Grand Final. 

What are the circumstances in which a Jury vote will be used in the Semi-Finals?

The Jury vote of a participating country will only be counted in the Semi-Finals should a valid televote not be recorded in that country. 

If the EBU discovers any irregular voting patterns, how will it tackle the issue?

If irregular patterns are seen in any country’s Jury vote in the Semi-Finals (even though the vote no longer counts towards the results of the Semi-Final) that Jury will be dismissed and will not vote in the Grand Final.  

In the Grand Final, should any national jury have been/be disqualified, the points awarded from the public vote in that country will be doubled and used as a substitute so that the same number of total points, 116 (58 x2), are awarded by each participating country. 

What will happen if there is neither a valid televote or jury vote from a participating country?

If there is not a valid televote or Jury vote in any participating country then a result based on the votes from countries with similar voting records will be used.

Will there still be a draw to determine which countries perform in which Semi-Final?

Yes. There will still be a draw at the end of January to decide in which Semi-Final 31 of the countries participating will perform in. This is to ensure all songs have the best possible chance to qualify for the Grand Final by reducing diaspora voting and separating countries with similar voting patterns. 

Source: EBU
Photo credit: EBU

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