Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Split Jury Results Are Out!

The last couple of weeks have seen a definite slow down in stories coming through about however today the most important piece of news to come from EBU in the form of a split jury/televoting break down. Here we discuss what happened in the final.

Unsurprisingly Sweden topped the televote. The surprising thing was that Russia came second on the televote but by only 9 points. This means that, for the second year running if combined voting was not used there would have been a far more interesting finish. It will surprise many people how well Russia did. Serbia came third, Turkey came fourth and Azerbaijan came fifth. Estonia only came 12th despite coming 6th overall. Germany came 6th in the vote. Romania, surprisingly

On the other end of the list France came last with 0 points, which many will find quite shocking, especially considering the level of promotion that she did. UK would also have finished a more respectable 21st place. This will have implications at the BBC as their entire strategy was based on a good jury vote. But for the second year running the jury final performance was not up to standard.

Generally the public split over Russia and Sweden. However the top 5 managed to soak up a huge propotion of the votes, and the top 10 soaked a massive 71% of the televote points, meaning that the rest had very little points between them.

Juries once again proved surprising, but fair, even if their year on year voting seems inconsistent. Sweden won the jury vote by a massive 123 points. Unlike the televote the juries were extremely spread in the songs that they voted for. Though the number of points given by the juries to the top 10 was similar to the public vote (63%) the spread of the votes between places 9 and 22 was only 54 points, which is very small.

Somewhat surprisingly the Hump came last here, followed by Jedward. Albania and Italy tied for third, Spain came fifth and Estonia came 6th. Unlike the televote the jury top 5 would have been radically different for the actually one. France and Ukraine were the big surprises in the jury votes, coming 7th and 13th respectively.

The combining of the two votes worked very well. If you add up jury and public televoting points the order of the top 10 remains the same, in fact other than some rearranging at the bottom, the scoreboard is very similar. Many people brush this aside but I think that it is important that this occurs for me to have confidence in the voting.

That concludes the first piece of analysis. Tomorrow [All going to plan] I'll do a piece of the semi-final breakdown.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Where In Sweden?: Another Hypothesis

There has been quite a lot of speculation about where in Sweden Eurovision might be going to. It's pretty likely that it will be in Stockholm, however some people also suspect that Malmo and Gothenberg could also be contenders but the biggest problem this would bring would be the difficulties in getting the semi 2 qualifiers from Malmo or Gothenburg to rehearsals in Stockholm on Friday afternoon.

It did occur to me that it is possible that Stockholm could host both semis by putting one semi-final in Globen and one in Svedbank or the friends arena. This would roughly halve the amount of rehearsal time needed.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Most Accurate Country?

We all have a short list of Eurovision pundits, bloggers and webmasters who in our own minds are pretty accurate about predicting the contest. There are also some polls that we might pay close attention to, all of which is an understandable aspect of human nature, but are there countries that are just more accurate when it comes to Eurovision. Countries who just seem to have their fingers on the pulse of Europe? Or is everyone just guessing. Well looking at the points in this years contest they're might just be....

So how can you figure this one out? Well, I decided to calculate this as follows: Take the points given to the top 10. The amount of points given to the winning song is multiplied by 12. The amount of points given to the second placed song is multiplied by 10. Third place is multiplied 8, 4th is multiplied by 7 and so on until we reach 10th place. The maximum number of points that can be given is 448. So with out further ado the most accurate countries were:
1. Germany
2. Bulgaria
3. Lithuania 
4. Belgium
5. Austria
6. Hungary
7. France 
8. Norway
9. Netherlands
10. Finland

That's a rather interesting mix of countries. Interestingly voting in line with Europe at the contest has little to do with how successful the country's entry was Austria came 5th here despite coming last in their semi-final. Norway came last in the final and finished 8th here.

But what about the crazy inaccurate countries who throw points all across Europe? Who are they?

1. Albania - Just weird votes 
2. Serbia - Giving high points to neighbours doesn't make you accurate.
3. Sweden - Not being able to vote for yourself never helps, but seriously 12 to Cyprus?
3. Romania - Tied with Sweden
5. Azerbaijan - More strange votes

I intend to look at this in more depth as the summer goes on.

Friday, June 8, 2012

One Year Online

One year and 307 posts later I'm delighted to be celebrating one year online. What a year it's been. It seems like a long time ago since I first wrote my first post. To look back on the previous year I've compiled a list of different posts which were on the blog over the past year.

June was the strangest month ever to start a Eurovision blog, largely because no one wanted to read about Eurovision but in that time I did suggest 8 changes that the reference group could make to the contest. 6 still have to be implemented, one was continued and one is a little hazy, but hey, I made some impact(?). July and August were as dull as ever with some exceptions such as the end of a Schlager era. October eventually came around and Melodifestivalen kicked off and Netherlands became hosts of JESC 2012. December saw Georgia win JESC 2011 and the start of the Eurovision season with a National Final in Switzerland and Albania decided to send Rona Nishliu to Eurovision, but it wasn't just national finals. December saw me publish what is still my favourite post, a book review of Ewan Spence's It's Cold and There Are Children Singing.

2012 rolled in and national finals came with it. Denmark was my favourite national final in Janurary, having said that I was disappointed with the songs as I felt that the Denmark had a serious chance of winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2012. I also published a Running Order research paper, though it received a quite reception at the time it was very popular during Eurovision week, in contrast my piece on why Ireland needs Jedward for Eurovision 2012 seems just a little out of place at this point in time. Having said that it was one of the most popular pieces this year.

February 2012 saw the strongest Icelandic national final in years with a great result. Regardless of what may have happened at Eurovision "Never Forget" will always have a special place for me. Though Norway should have sent Bobby Bare and Petter Oien or maybe Plumbo their national final this year leaves me with a lot of really great memories. Jedward too were selected for Ireland. March 2012 saw Engelbert Humperdinck being selected for the UK. Melodifestivalen 2012 came and went and of course this meant that Loreen was choosen for Sweden. I published analysis of Melodifestivalen containing an important line where I did saw Sweden had this years contest.

Everything went quite for April until the contest sprung up in Baku in May. ESCToday was hacked and rehearsals began in earnest. Eurovision week came, semi-final 1 was as predictable as expected, semi-final had some surprises and of course Sweden won the final. A win for Sweden, Loreen, Melodifestivalen, Eurovision and most of all Eurovision fans.

After one year there's a couple of people who I owe thanks to, far to many to mention and if I left you out well, sorry, I can't remember everyone. Special thanks is due to Ewan Spence and the team over on ESCInsight, who were the first people to list the blog. I'd like to mention Samantha Ross and Tobias Larsson who have been great inspirations for Eurovision blogging, and whose blogs are remarkably interesting pieces of work. I'd also like to mention Anthony Granger who is a great inspiration for Eurovision bloggers everywhere, showing us all that no matter how young Eurovision fans can achieve great things. A huge thanks is also due to escXtra and All Kinds Of Everything whose coverage of Eurovision 2012 allowed me to form opinions on this year's contest with information I'd otherwise not have.

Special thanks is also due to you the readers, whose Tweets, Comments and Messages always let me know that people are still reading and interested, which is very important to me.

Sadly despite my best hopes it is highly unlikely that I will be at Eurovision 2013, as my exam timetable is most likely going to clash with Rehearsals week and Eurovision Week. But, I still am looking forward to a second great Eurovision year.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cultural Voting In This Years Contest

At last I was able to take the time to do some analysis of the results, of course while many sites are looking at the impact of the running order and where neighbourly and diaspora voting exists I'm going to do something just a little more controversial and look at Cultural voting or Block voting in this years contest. When I think of voting at Eurovision I prefer not to deny the existence of block voting. But I do differentiate it from neighbourly voting.

So What Is Block Voting? 
Block or Cultural voting is when groups of countries which are geographically fairly close vote the same way. This does not mean constantly exchange 12's though. The qualifications that I'd make with Cultural voting are:
  • It is usually only one way. 
  • It is common for a group of countries to vote for a country completely outside of the group. 
  • It is also common for the group to give a lot of points to other members of the group. 
  • Not all Eurovision countries are contained in one of these groups. Middle Europe (Hungary and Slovakia) are excluded as their votes can go anywhere.
  • These groups are not scientifically derived but arrived at after a good number of years spent looking at Eurovision voting.
Below I have listed what I feel are the five cultural groups and forces at Eurovision with some commentary on anything strange that happened within them. The results are shown of each of the top 10 in each country and the average points awarded by that block.

Group 1: South-Eastern Europe - Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Malta, Israel, Albania.
This group mainly consists of the countries in the south east of Europe who don't tend to always do the same thing. However overall I believe that they do tend to vote in a similar way. They top 10 here was:
1. Sweden - 7.9
2. Azerbaijan - 7.4
3. Greece - 6.6 
4. Russia - 4.9
5. Serbia - 4.8
6. Turkey - 4.1
7. Albania - 3.6
8. Cyprus - 3.3
9. Italy - 3.3
10. Spain - 3.1

Other than the high placing of Greece and Azerbaijan this vote was fairly unremarkable. A notable absence from the list is Germany, who only came 18th in this block.  Romania was the only member of this block not to feature in the block's top 10.

Group 2 - Ex-USSR - Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
This is a fairly logical block, consisting of mostly Russia's neighbours and Moldova. 

1. Azerbaijan - 10.2
2. Russia - 8.2
3. Sweden - 8
4. Ukraine - 6.2
5. Lithuania - 4.8
6. Malta - 3.6
7. Moldova - 3.3
8. Estonia - 3
9. Turkey - 2.9
10. Romania - 2.7

There's a couple of surprises here. Sweden only managed to get one set of 12 points from here so I suppose unsurprisingly didn't actually win the block. But Azerbaijan always does extremely in this part of the world. I suppose Ukraine is very high here for a song that came 15th. Malta also did remarkably well here, coming 6th when they came 21st overall.

Group 3 - Balkan - Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia and Slovenia.
We all know of this block, it is the various parts of what used to be Yugoslavia

1. Serbia - 11.2
2. FYR Macedonia - 9.2
3. Sweden - 8
4. Bosnia & Herzegovina - 7
5. Albania - 6.2
6. Russia - 5.3
7. Azerbaijan - 2.8
8. Italy - 2.3
9. Turkey - 2
10. Cyprus - 1.3

I'd say the low placing of Russia here and the fact Sweden only came third in the group is a bit odd. It is also noticeable that the three countries in the final in this block came in the top 4. Albania also came fifth, who can tend to be in or out of the block depending on the mood that they are in. Malta also did fairly well, they came 11th here. 

Group 4 - Old Europe - France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, San Marino and Italy.
This group is what I call a traditional part of Europe that is not the north. Cultural voting here is not extremely strong voting between internal countries it does tend to vote the same way.

1. Sweden - 8.5
2. Serbia - 7
3. Russia - 6.4
4. Albania - 6
5. Spain - 5
6. Germany - 4.2
7. Turkey - 3.9
8. Estonia - 3.4
9. Moldova - 2.8
10. Romania -2.6

This was clearly one of the stranger of the groups as the highest placed of the group here was Spain. This was generally a fairly logical vote, the only surprise was the exclusion of Azerbaijan, who managed to only get 4 points from this whole group of ten countries.

Group 5 - Northern and North West Europe - Norway, Sweden, Ireland, UK, Iceland, Denmark, Finland, Estonia and Latvia.
This grouping might surprise some people. Definitely Scandinavia tends to have cultural voting. However it is interesting to see how all these countries interact with each other. In the final Ireland has not given 12 points to outside of these countries since 2007. 

1. Sweden - 12
2. Russia - 7.2
3. Estonia - 6.9
4. Germany - 5.2
5. Ireland - 4
6. Lithuania - 3
7. Iceland - 3
8. Serbia - 2.8
9. Spain - 2.3
10.   Cyprus - 2.2

This was an interesting group as in almost every country in final that was in the group [except Sweden] received almost or more than half their points from these countries. In addition Germany did very well here, much like when they won in 2010. Iceland too gained points here. Also as we go further down the list France came 12th here, United Kingdom and Denmark came 13th.

So that is all five of the groups I see. Comments as always, are welcome. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

One Week Later....

This time last week I was, like I am now sitting at my desk. The main difference this time is that rather than being in total unsurprise at Sweden winning the contest the after effects of Post-Eurovision Depression [PED] has really started to kick in.

Anyhow, as I have alluded to in some postings this week, I have been inclined towards stepping back from blogging purely because after the whole two weeks that have gone by I'm glad to have some time to myself and not be as driven to blog.

This week I noticed that there was a lot more news than there was the week after last weeks contest, as well as some very interesting reading. So, in bullet points here's the last week in Eurovision:

  • Loreen returned home to Sweden after the contest and received a heroes welcome. Her winning song, Euphoria, has gone to number one in many Western European countries, a great achievement for both Loreen and the contest. Here in Ireland Eurovision has made an impressive impact on the charts. Full details of that here.
  • 'Tis the season of Opinion Pieces and over on ESCInsight the team have thrown up two really impressive pieces of discussion on accepting responsibly for your defeat and another on what (or indeed who) the UK needs to do to improve at Eurovision.  
  • Danny Saucedo [the guy who didn't represent Sweden in this year's Eurovision] has come under fire for his comments he made after Melodifestivalen 2012 about Loreen not being the best choice to send to the contest. He asked for people to give him a break and said that any song could have won for Sweden this year. I think this is in fact a huge insult to Loreen and the quality of her song. Anyway if any song could have won they should have sent Bjorn Ranelid and Sara Li. Give Europe something to stare at. 
  • As well as being the season of opinion pieces it is also the season of statistics and this year Eurovision Times are leading the charge. They have an excellent piece on where Sweden got it's points from. They have a far more interesting article on Azerbaijans scoring in the contest. Make of it what you will but I would be interested if the EBU makes any comment on the matter.
  • The Scissor Sisters have offered to entry for the UK next year. Personally I don't care who they send but I believe that the public should have a say on either the song or preferably both singer and song.
  • Before anyone asks me I don't know when the jury/public results will be released. From the last three years it should be out by the end of June but is liable to come up at any stage. Unlike last year though I don't expect that there will be as many differences of opinion. 
  • RTÉ will screen a documentary about Jedward's time in Baku on Thursday evening at 21:30 on RTÉ 2.
So those are the main stories in what has been a rather busy Eurovision week. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Soluna Samay Gets A Little Bitchy!

I just happened to come across Soluna Samay's YouTube channel and she has some really entertaining videos up there but one that I noticed was a cover of Taylor Swift's Mean (One of my favourite songs) but with a little message in the video. See how many seconds it takes to you work out what that message is!

Friday, June 1, 2012

What If?

Today I ask the simple question: What if the only the countries with songs in the each contest actually were the ones who could vote. Essentially this means that the six automatic qualifiers are excluded from the semi-finals.

Interestingly in the semi-finals this would not have changed the qualifiers.

Semi 1 
1. Russia - 135
2. Albania - 118
3. Greece - 98
4. Romania - 91
5. Ireland - 83
6. Moldova - 80
7. Cyprus - 75
8. Iceland - 67
9. Denmark - 57
10. Hungary - 50

As you can see the qualifiers don't change but the order of them does. Finland would also have come 11th with Pernilla getting 41 points. In semi-final 2 it was a similar situation.

1. Sweden - 155
2. Serbia -134
3. Lithuania - 89
4. Estonia - 76
5. Bosnia + Herzegovina - 67 
6. Turkey - 61
7. Ukraine - 60
8. Malta - 58
9. Macedonia - 53
10. Norway - 45

This might not seem to make a vast amount of sense but it does show which countries got through with the support of Eastern Europe rather than countries like Estonia who nearly got 1/4 of their points from Germany, Spain and the UK.

Stats from the final will be up shortly