In the final part of our interview with Eurovision Event Superviser Sietse Bakker, we discuss whether the running order draw and voting system operate as intended. Apparently they do. The interesting question for all of you is whether you agree with the EBU’s goal.
You can listen to the complete audio of the interview by clicking here. We’ve summarized the highlights below.
The Impact of Running Order
Sietse agrees that there is a slight advantage to performing at the end of the show (I tend to think it’s more substantial).
He believes that the present system, where acts draw to perform in the first or second half of the show, and where producers actually order them, works well. It allows for fair positioning of the acts while also allowing producers to create a more compelling show.
I then asked about playing the recap of the acts in reverse order to mitigate the impact. Sietse says this is not under consideration. First, it’s a lot harder for the people creating the clips to put them together in reverse order (which strikes me as a minor problem). Second, they are worried that people might get confused as many watching the show are already struggling to remember the number of each act.
He brought up the fair point that the number of competing acts is small, which creates a large degree of uncertainty if you tried to run stats on the numbers. But that doesn’t make it impossible. I think the bottom line is that the EBU is comfortable with the impact of draw order as everything presently works. Sietse does not think this is that big of an issue, and that it does not matter to a country that much if they perform tenth instead of eighth. And that the act that wins will win regardless of its start position. He thinks it can matter if it is very close for first place, but that has not happened for some time.
It’s the Jury plus the Televote
There are many ways to structure the voting, and many ways to structure how you combine the jury and televote. I asked Sietse about the present system and if it might change. He replied that the present implementation is purposely designed so an act must get high votes from both the televote and jury vote. The present system definitely works that way. If you look at Cezar’s votes in Italy where that emphasis on scoring high with both votes took his first place televote and turned it into 1 point. Fundamentally this gives both the jury and the televote in each country a veto over any act doing well. I can see arguments both for and against this, but this result is by design and one the EBU wants to see.
What Would You Change
Ok, here’s your chance to tell EBU what you would do differently. Sietse ended the interview by asking “if you could propose one thing you could change one thing in the song contest to make it better, what would it be?” Here’s your chance – sound off in the comments below.