Yesterday afternoon we published a story about suspect voting in Azerbaijan, Belarus and Montenegro. The voting pattern among each nation’s five “independent” jurors didn’t seem so independent on closer inspection. Today we’re turning our attention to Armenia, and specifically its jury votes for the other Top 5 finishers. It looks like the Armenian jury may have colluded to boost Aram Mp3’s chances against Conchita Wurst, Sanna Nielsen, Andras Kallay-Saunders, Mariya Yaremchuk, & Molly.
It’s perhaps not surprising that every single Armenian juror ranked Azerbaijan last in the grand final, or 25th out of the 25 countries it could rank. The ongoing political conflict between the two nations is longstanding and well-documented so we won’t recount it again. If you need to catch up, you can read a primer here.
What’s more interesting is looking at how the Armenian jury ranked the other countries that had a shot at winning. Keep in mind that 1 week before the contest the betting was the winner would be one of Armenia, Austria, Hungary, Sweden, Ukraine, or the United Kingdom. The Netherlands shot up in the odds only in the last week.
Here you can see the jury votes for the expected 6 (plus The Netherlands). The left side lists the country’s jury and the top is the country being ranked. So, as you can see, Armenia ranked Austria 24th, and Sweden ranked Austria first.
The other 6 countries that were contenders gave strong votes to the other contenders. Looking at the countries that placed in the top 5, Sweden and Austria ranked three of these four countries in the Top 4, The Netherlands did so for two of the four. These countries all ranked the other top contenders in the Top 10.
However, Armenia gave the worst possible rankings (aside from the required last place to Azerbaijan) to Austria, Hungary, Sweden, Ukraine, & The United Kingdom. They did give 7th place to The Netherlands, but that is probably due to The Netherlands not being mentioned as a contender until the week of the show.
Each of the countries listed above was listed in the Top 6 by the bookies on the eve of the final, so Armenian jurors could have been motivated to mark them down.
What’s really interesting about the Armenian votes is they have a good spread for most countries, which means at first glance they look valid. But the spread on most of the votes is a better way to hide where they did collude (note to Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Montenegro – pay attention).
And then there’s the uniform top votes to Belarus, Montenegro, and Malta. As you can see above, the dots for jurors A, B, C, D and E cluster around the same point for these three countries. The Montenegro and Malta juries reciprocated with a #1 ranking for Armenia (the only other #1 jury ranking for Armenia came from France). Belarus’s jury reciprocated by ranking Armenia #5.
- By what musical standard did they universally hate Austria, Hungary, Sweden, Ukraine, & United Kingdom? Maybe there’s some common cultural dislike for one of them – but all 5? So bad they go in the last places?
- It looks like they worked out which ones to trash before The Common Linnets shot up in the odds – which happened the week of the show.
- Did Armenia trade votes with Belarus, Montenegro, and Malta?
Statistically I don’t see how the above could occur without cooperative intent. Not across the board like this.
Two final notes:
- I don’t call out the unanimous 25th place assigned to Azerbaijan, nor the 25th place Azerbaijan assigns to Armenia because that’s something very different. The two countries are at war – that’s understandable and definitely doesn’t require collusion.
- Aram had an incredible song and could well have had no knowledge of this. The issue here is with the Armenian jury, not Aram Mp3.
Photo: screenshot of final broadcast from EBU YouTube channel.