Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Balkan Problem

I meant to publish this last night but was so tired I could not judge my writing. The idea here is purely hypothetical but has been on my mind since the semi-final draw.

Since the running order draw many fans have pointed out that the toughest semi-final by far this year is semi-final 2. This is largely caused by the presence of FYR Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia all being together in the one semi-final. This has lead fans to believe that anything up to all five of these countries could make it through to the final.

But is that a true assumption? Let's just think about it and cast the critical eye over the Balkans so far in 2012. Serbia has successfully managed to convince Zeljko Joksimovic to go to Eurovision for them. Looking at the block of countries this will be one to beat, it's sure to be strong and will take a good chunk of the Balkan 12 points. So let's say that they take 46 of 48 points [i.e. 3 12's; 1 10]. This leaves them with in easy reach of the 62 points which is about what is needed to get you into the final. It is also very likely that Serbia will soak up a huge amount of Jury votes for Balkan songs.

But what about the next four songs. Well to start we have not heard B+H's song yet but I would bet we are dealing with a fairly normal Balkan ballad again sung by a female [Maya Saar]. The issue here is that far to many of these songs are being sung by females. The three picked so far are all sung by females. All of the are roughly of the same style and standard. This is where we hit the problems. This semi-final looks set to have a vast number of Balkan songs which is largely unprecedented in terms of the less than 20 songs semi-finals.

So within the Balkan block you will have some disagreement about which country to vote for. Serbia will soak up a huge amount of televotes. This in turn leaves very few to play with. There may not be very many people willing to back a balkan ballad. Which could lead to a disarray in the semi-final. So the result may not be very predictable. Combine this with jury votes which may further and scatter Balkan block votes [at least it cannot strengthen this] which could see countries not getting neighbourly votes.

So what if Balkan's don't win in the Balkan's? Well for the four other songs this is very likely. Assuming that Serbia soak up the amount described earlier and say one song picking up most of the higher places then we have another Balkan on 40 [a 12, two 10's and an 8] this leaves only about 62 points swirling around for the remaining three. On a Europe wide basis it is difficult though not impossible for to believe that with few points they could make it in. The trouble once again is that they will only have some jury and public voters who will vote for Balkan music. These votes will be split that it will be difficult for these rather difficult songs to make it through to ESC final. If the public and jury do not agree then the problems faced do not get smaller. The jury has considerable power to reduce the impact of neighbourly voting. So with two components it is likely that the number of points may fall. And if less points stay within the Balkans then we could be about to see a very interesting semi-final.

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