As we say auf wiedersehen and danke to Vienna for hosting the 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, we should probably learn to say some other words in German — most especially drama and intrigue. From cries of “Bloc voting!” to accusations of buying jury votes, this year’s contest has had its fair share of controversies. And yet at the top of the scoreboard everything did go as predicted by the pundits and the bookies. Sweden was always the frontrunner, with Måns Zelmerlöw’s odds shrinking to Loreen-like lows. In fact, Zelmerlöw’s “Heroes” came just 7 points from beating Loreen’s score of 372 points back in 2012. While it was a decisive and dare we say a “landslide” victory, the full results published by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) reveal a different picture. From the jury-televote disagreement to the bloc-voting effect, let’s break it down…

Italy lost because Il Volo failed to win over the juries

Hours before the contest, the Eurovision Press Center was abuzz with commentators and insiders calling this a two-way race between Italy and Sweden. What went wrong? After hours of calculations, here are the split jury and televoting results:

Split Results

While juries placed Italy sixth, televoters placed it first with an overwhelming 366 points. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. We should have read more into Italy’s national selection — the Sanremo Music Festival  — where Il Volo’s “Grande Amore” lost the jury vote but overwhelmingly won the televote.

Sanremo Music Festival results

Regardless of Il Volo’s faultless live vocals, their song “Grande Amore” caters to the masses rather than the music elite who likely dubbed the song bland, stereotypical Italian popera. Sweden, Latvia, and Belgium’s strong jury showing indicates that jurors favored creative, original, and avant-garde songs this year.

Will the schism between juries and televoters compell the EBU to reconsider having juries a part of the contest? To be continued….

2. Armenia and Azerbaijan still dislike each other — a lot

Given the contentious history of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the EBU knows it won’t be building bridges between these two countries. Sadly the only common ground between these nations — whether you be a televoter or juror — is a strong dislike of the other.

Armenia-Azerbiajan

There was, however, some neighborly love for the other countries in the region. Both countries’ juries and televoters sent support to Georgia and “Mother Russia,” as voting spokesperson Dmitry Shepelev eerily and creepily put it.

3. The Baltic-Nordic Alliance transcends any voter bloc at the moment

You heard that right. The Baltics — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania — have broken ranks with their ex-Soviet counterparts and are voting with the Nordic states, giving rise to an immensely powerful voting bloc stronger than the ex-Yugoslav bloc and former Soviet bloc.

Baltic-Nordic Alliance-1

The Nordic states didn’t like Lithuania’s song “This Time,” but generally speaking the Baltics and Nordic states exchanged points. On average, a Baltic jury will rank a Nordic song 4.2 (which translates to 7 points), and a Baltic televoter will rank a Nordic song as sixth favourite (or 5 points). And on average, a Nordic jury will rank a Baltic song 8.3 (3 points), and a Nordic televoter will rank a Baltic song ninth (or 2 points). Sweden benefited the most from this alliance, catapulting from a few points behind Polina Gagarina to achieving a Loreen-esque landslide.

One interesting note is that Russia also benefited from this Alliance, while the remainder of the ex-USSR was decimated by the Alliance. The Baltics and Nordic juries and televoters put aside politics for Eurovision week and generously rewarded Russia’s saccharine song “A Million Voices”. They seem to pan songs like Azerbaijan’s “Hour of the Wolf” and Armenia’s “Face the Shadow,” both of which have a subtle yet noticeable political message. The key to winning the Alliance’s vote: do not submit political songs.

Baltic-Nordic Alliance-2

Implications for future contests

The return of Ukraine in 2016 will strengthen the ex-USSR voting bloc and will allow it to compete with the Baltic-Nordic Alliance. Turkey’s return will have profound implications throughout Europe. For two years, Eurovision pundits and press did not have to factor in the Turkish diaspora. Turkey and Ukraine’s returns mean a renewed fight from “New Europe” to bring the contest back East, i.e., the contests of the mid to late-2000s. If Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina return to the contest, they will revive the ex-Yugoslav bloc, and countries like Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina will become more competitive as a result.

Sweden’s sixth win means it is now second to Ireland for the most wins at seven. If I were Christer Björkman, I would use 2016, 2017, and 2018 to win as many times before the Eurovision pendulum potentially swings back to the East.

Other drama

This year had plenty of irregularities, too. You can read about discounted jury votes here and Australia’s questionable screening of jurors here. And these are just the things we noticed on Sunday! Watch this space…

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Nina
Guest
Nina

One german jury member (Johannes Strate from Revolverheld) sang a few years back a duet with Marta Jandova, the contestant from Czech Republic – at that time, there were rumors of them dating – is that fair?
P.S. He ranked the Czech Republlic at 5th place in the semi finals – quite high

Lindsey
Guest
Lindsey

@Lisa Despite what I’ve been saying, I actually don’t think the jury system should be removed. Comparing the entries from the mid-2000s with the entries now, I can see that there’s a lot more quality now. I credit the juries for keeping the quality in check and I blame 100% televoting on giving the contest a reputation as some trashy, campy music festival. Perhaps, we can do what Iceland did in 2012 when they came across the same problem as this year’s Eurovision. They implemented a rule where juries and people pick the top 2 entries, but they do another… Read more »

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

@ Aryana, @Lindsey, fair enough. Let’s say the juries will be removed. What measurement do you suggest then to stop diaspora voting, so no country gets a voting head start? Remember Turkey is reentering next year, (Turkey of course just being and example, there are more cases).

Aryanna
Guest
Aryanna

I think the reason why the Nordic countries and the Baltics voted for each other was because they all had strong entries. In my opinion the Nordic countries deliver the best songs each year so they naturally get good points from each other as well. The jury, however, should be removed. They all vote for their neighbours when they are supposed to forget the countries and judge the songs. But look at Azeris and Armenians, that’s clearly political. They should be punished because this happens every year. The jury can also help their favourite song to win by placing its… Read more »

Lindsey
Guest
Lindsey

@Lisa I agree that, as humans, there’s no perfect way to be completely objective when judging art. However, the fact that some jury members placed Italy extremely low is very troubling. When you’re a jury member, you’re there to give a somewhat objective professional critiques of the song. Even if Italy isn’t your personal top favorite, there’s no reason to place it last or near last because it definitely was not the worst entry by any stretch of imagination. At that point, people are dictated too much by their personal tastes and that’s not the spirit of being a jury… Read more »

Smartass
Guest
Smartass

Someone is simply looking for something that is not there……..I guess people want to hear some conspiracies. Sweden, Latvia, Estonia, Norway (and I think Lithuania as well) simply had ok-ish songs this year and so did Russia. How many Russians live around Europe? Have you noticed this year that Ireland gave 12 points to Latvia…….guess what there are about 50k migrants from Latvia, look back at years when Latvia is in finals there are allways points from Ireland, simply because there are many Latvians, and so can be said about latvians in Norway and Estonians in Finland. There are no… Read more »

Daga
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Daga

Lisa.

Jury members especially in Iceland, Lithuania, Finland, Poland, Hungary and Germany did this. Given the huge disparity between public and jury, unanimous rejection of Italy in certain countries’ juries, and the huge revenues Warner Music is going to make due to this Swedish victory, it makes me wonder, if some members of the juries had personal ties to that company or had even been bribed.

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

So I did a little analysis, checked out the detailed results. There were 13 countries with individual jury members that placed Italy below 18 in their ranking: Legenda: A: Voting country B: Number of Jury members that placed Italy below 18 C: Italy’s place in the televote of that country D: Top 2 of these particular jury members A B C D Belarus 2 4 Sweden / Belgium Denmark 1 5 Russia / Australia Estonia 1 3 Latvia & Belgium Finland 2 3 Sweden / Latvia France 2 1 Poland & Cyprus Poland 2 3 Sweden / Belgium Germany 4… Read more »

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

“You cannot think Italy was the worst out of 27 songs this year. That is simply impossible. Really think about it.”

Agree with that. Although I think Grande Amore is corny, it should be in the top 10, even in jury voting, for the amazing vocals. How many jury members did this, and where were they from? I looked up the detailed voting for just a few countries, and there I saw that all jury members placed Italy somewhere between 10 and 1, so an overall result of 6th seemed logical and just to me.

Daga
Guest
Daga

Lisa, individual members of the jury in many countries placed Italy last to sabotage – because that would generate a low score from the jury of that country.

Not all juries did this, that’s why Italy is in the top ten of the juries combined result. But too many individual members in the jury did placed them in the bottom for it to be just a mere coincidence.

You cannot think Italy was the worst out of 27 songs this year. That is simply impossible. Really think about it.

Håkan
Guest
Håkan

The jury placed Italy’s Il Volo on 6th Place because the song is old fashioned Il Divo popera. Il Divo and many other artists has done that kind of music before, so Il Volo adds nothing new to this genre. I think it’s the right choice of the jurors to vote for creative and original songs in the Eurovision.

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

Why is everybody talking about juries putting Italy on 26th place? The article above states 6th. Did I miss something? If juries vote tactical like that, deliberately placing an entry extremely lower that it should be based on it’s merit, just to outcancel televoting results, I agree it is an outrage. Placing Italy 6th is perfectly defendible though in my opinion.

Daga
Guest
Daga

It is obvious that many of the juries placed Italy in the bottom to sabotage for them.No one in their right mind can think that Italy was the worst out of all the contestants. Still many people of the jury placed Italy 26th. I mean, come on! 26th!!!!!!!!! Some of the juries also placed Russia in the bottom! The tactics worked. These members of the jury feared that Italy or Russia would win. That’s why they gave the highest score to their personal favourite (for example Sweden, in this case) and gave the lowest score possible to the most obvious… Read more »

Daga
Guest
Daga

It is obvious that many of the juries placed Italy in the bottom to sabotage for them. No one in their right mind can think that Italy was the worst out of all the contestants. Still many people of the jury placed Italy 26th. I mean, come on! 26th!!!!!!!!! It is so OBVIOUS that they did this because they realized Italy had a big chance of winning over their personal favourite. Some of the juries also placed Russia in the bottom. The tactics worked. These members of the jury feared that Italy or Russia would win. That’s why they gave… Read more »

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

@Bee, I don’t get what is so amazing about Italy’s composition. Amazing vocals, yes, (but that was the case for lots of entries this year). Apart from that the song and staging were melodramatic and corny as hell. Did you pay a closer look to the lyrics? I totally get why this didn’t take the jury’s top spot. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Sweden should have finished 1st with the juries either, because like you and Lindsey say, it is a quite generic eurodance litlle number. They fell for the presentation I guess, which I have to admit,… Read more »

Bee
Guest
Bee

“I thought juries were here to protect entries like Italy’s that had amazing vocals and composition over Sweden’s generic pop number. And yet, they completely destroyed Il Volo!” – Lindsey

This.

E
Guest
E

I believe that it is wrong to conclude that the problem with Azerbaijan and Armenia from a Nordic point of view would be politics. Rather I would assume that the dance of Azerbaijan and the weirdness of Armenia was the reason behind this. Last year Austria received 12 from many of these countries and that was political, remember

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

I meant that you have to count on if it was going well in the competition for a particular country

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

Sweden was not EBU favorits, so all the allegations that there was cheating was behind that Sweden won is not true. when you compare neighbors voting must be accepted even if it went well for the songs in the contest. example when Ukraine came in 19 place in Eurovision 2005, Russia give 2 points and Belarus give zero points to Ukraine. the reason why, for example, why Lithuania gave 10 points to Sweden was not because of that it was Sweden , it was because they liked his song. Lithuania gave Sweden zero points, for example in Eurovision 2011, when… Read more »

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

@ Nadors, totally agree, but my point is that judging a song or performance, even on technical factors, can never be fully objective. what makes vocals good, what makes a performance convincing / flashy, etc? In the end there’s always an element of taste. And the juries did’t rank Italy 26th, did they, they put them on 6th place. As said before, the systeem is not ideal but what else can be done to eliminate the effect of diaspora voting? Maybe limit the number of votes that can be cast on the same country from a single telephone number, but… Read more »

Nadors
Guest
Nadors

@Lisa But it’s wrong that they give votes based on their taste. They should evaluate technical factors, like the vocals, the performance, the song, the music, the difficulty etc etc I don’t like Heroes at all, but that’s my taste, If I were in the jury I should have acknowledged decent vocals, a flashy performance, a decent song and it would have ranked high. Now tell me what’s the point of ranking Italy 26th? There is no rigging, for god’s sake that is preposterous. But these people simply ranked the song last because they hate their genre, they consider it… Read more »

random.sage2.0
Guest
random.sage2.0

Kinda not surprised.

Same as each year but I will say that Sweden better enjoy being the next Ireland before more east bloc countries break apart and join eurovision.

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

Adding to that, I agree that this system is not ideal, since you give so much power to a few people, but diaspora voting is even less desirable. At least with this system, all countries have the same chances starting out, and the juries are theirs to convince.

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

@Lindse, No idea why they picked Sweden over Italy. That indeed is personal taste of the jury members, just like it is your personal opinion that Italy was better than Sweden. I don’t think they intentionally voted Italy down to prevent block voting for Italy. That is not how it works. Juries are supposed to objectively judge an entry on it’s artistic merits without taking geography or other “strategic” considerations into account, and hopefully this will result in less diaspora and block voting in the overall results, and filter the real campy entries out. Looking at the past few years,… Read more »

Lindsey
Guest
Lindsey

@Lisa Right, but I still don’t see a credible reason for why juries wouldn’t vote for Italy. While it has some loyal neighbors, it’s not a part of any big voting bloc that can influence its position, and so why vote it down? And if you’re saying that Sweden and Italy are the same in that they both did not have bad campy songs but they’re both generic, why did they pick Sweden over Italy? What was it about Sweden that was decisively far more superior? Or is it now up to personal tastes? I’ll have to disagree, though, in… Read more »

Vladimir
Guest
Vladimir

Why does Armenia hate Israel so much?

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

No @Lindsey, juries are primarily here to prevent unfair advantages for certain countries due to diaspora and block voting, and in second place to prevent “campy” low quality, but attention grabbing entries to win. Sweden’s entry might be generic, (totally agree on that), but in now way campy or low quality. And Italy’s song is just as generic in it’s genre (think 3 tenors, il Divo, etc), and the lyrics are extremely cheesy.

Nadors
Guest
Nadors

@ Lindsey
Your comments are just spot on!

Lindsey
Guest
Lindsey

I thought juries were here to protect entries like Italy’s that had amazing vocals and composition over Sweden’s generic pop number. And yet, they completely destroyed Il Volo!

Lindsey
Guest
Lindsey

“Juries didn’t like Italy because they preferred more creative songs” “Juries from Armenia and Azerbaijan hated each other” Do you know what this means? Could it be that juries are regular people with regular tastes who have their own favorites and may also be influenced by the political nature of their country just like anyone else? Then stop giving them so much power, EBU! I cannot articulate just how ridiculous it is to let such a small group of people have such a huge say, especially when EBU tends to look the other way when it comes to accusations of… Read more »

paul
Guest
paul

It’ll be quite interesting to watch Danish and Norwegian Melodi Grand Prix as well as Eesti Laul, UMK and Supernova next year. Probably, one of those fantastic Shows (or maybe even Melodifestivalen again) will bring us the winner of 2016.

Kotomi
Guest
Kotomi

@davve
Your joking right? Sweden was the most gimmicky song of the night! Europe voted for VOCALS not a cartoon!

Kotomi
Guest
Kotomi

With juries there will never be a big 5 or non-English winner ever again. Shame.

Oostenrijk
Guest
Oostenrijk

Oh look, isn’t this cute? The juries who were supposed to bring fairness to Eurovision brought us a new block. Amazing!!!

Camilla
Guest
Camilla

Dan: Norway got low points from Danish jury, the Danish televotes had Norway in the 5th place.
I wonder why Germany never get diaspora votes, there’s a large German minority in Denmark and also in Romania, Poland and Czech republic.

Vanilla
Guest
Vanilla

“Vote for Eurovision. Your vote is important. Every vote counts. Support these countries.”
– the hosts at the final.

OH YES?? Are you sure?
36milions people votes for Italy.
Result? Sweden wins and Italy is ranked 3rd, not even 2nd!

The right word here is “ROBBED” guys.
They robbed il Volo and they also robbed the people all over Europe who voted for them and payed to see them win.

This is my opinion (TIMO)
Guest
This is my opinion (TIMO)

davve

your discussion about Russia is ridiculous, this is eurovision, it doesn’t matter which country artist is coming from or which country artist is representing you cabn’t judge their song based on political situation of that country, you call russia entry fake and to be banned it goes to show how hateful you are when posting comment like that at least russia sends message of peace to eurovision and hit top 3 position 2, learn to respect people who voted for russia are more than you, unless you want to stay hateful and ignorant, sad

ct
Guest
ct

Please notice that the two countries that mainly benefited from Italy’s massacre (Sweden and Russia) did not display the same behaviour. The scores Italy got from voting and juries do not differ significantly.

This way, nobody can accuse them of wrongdoing…

Leon
Guest
Leon

Ok to all the people complaining about Armenia and Azerbaijan not exchanging any points. Let’s look at the elephant in the room before we start looking for valdo. The truth is that even if Armenia and Azeri juries placed each other 1st, the entries would not gain any points because the public placed each other last as well. As for the question why they are placing each other last, I think Azerbaijan is to be blamed for bringing aggression into the contest. Fact: Armenia voted for Azerbaijan both in 2008 and 2009. It was after the 2009 incident that Armenians… Read more »

ct
Guest
ct

?taly should demand a formal investigation of all the so-called “expert” juries who massacred their song and subverted the will of their own countrymen who voted by telephone. They fall in three main camps: Italy’s neighbours (they were probably the worst), the nordics and the soviets. Italy’s neighbours and central Europe: France: 1st in the televote, 15th in the jury (!!!) Germany: 1st in the televote, 18th with the jury (!!!) Hungary: 1st in the televote, 20th with the jury (!!!) Poland: 1st in the televote, 10th in the jury (!!!) Austria: Italy 1st in the televote, 6th with the… Read more »

escfan
Guest
escfan

I will stop watching this political show if Denmark will win next year, I’m so sick of Sweden and Denmark kissing each other’s asses. Deserving or not! It’s revolting just by thinking of it.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Norway didn’t really benefit from the voting bloc. We got 2p from Latvia, 3p from Denmark, 4p from Estonia and Finland, 5p from Lithuania and 7p from Sweden. At least we got 10 from Iceland.

But seriously, we got more points from countries like Romania, San Marino and Portugal, which gave us 6 points each.

Eugene ESC UK
Guest

This is one of the worst pieces of Eurovision writing I have read this season. Just like the Wiwi guys, by the words you have chosen it is basically anti Italy and Russia and bigging up Sweden, Belgium and Latvia and no more. 1 Sweden won by just 62 points that is no “landslide” when the max a country can get is 480 points. Alexander Rybak won by 169 points, Loreen won by 113 points………….now that’s a landslide. Sweden got 12 x12 points, Italy got 9 x12 points. Russia did not get the love!! 2 Anyone who calls themselves an… Read more »

ESCaddict
Guest
ESCaddict

Sweden’s entry was creative, orginal & avant-garde. Ha, ha, ha, that is the funniest thing I’ve read on WiwiBlogs. The author was joking, wasn’t he?

What’s this about Hour of the Wolf being a subtle but noticable political song? That’s news to me. How so?

Maybe the author’s auto-correct has resulted in these whacky statements.

Jaymes
Guest
Jaymes

“Sweden’s strong jury showing indicates that jurors favored creative, original, and avant-garde songs this year.”

You must be an idiot with no knowledge to really believe this.

Erin
Guest
Erin

Great analysis. However, some things change…but most stay the same: -For the first time in 4 years, not only did Italy and Sweden exchange points, but Sweden even went above and beyond by giving Italy 12 points. Italy reciprocated with an ‘8’, but that’s a first one of its kind! -It’s not just Armenia and Azerbaijan which are actually both psychologically ‘partners in crime’ with their idee-fixe loathing for each other, but what about the same points going year after year from Armenia to neighboring Georgia (10), Georgia to Azerbaijan (10) or Serbia’s to Montenegro and vice versa 12’s, Moldova… Read more »

CHRISTOPHER
Guest
CHRISTOPHER

Like the song from GYPSY says,
ya gotta have a gimmick.
And Sweden had a heck of a great one. I tried to resist this song, but that video kept bringing me back. Those little marching characters are what won the contest. No shame about that. Would Michael Jackson have been as successful without his videos for “Billie Jean” and “Thriller?” No. Music today is a visual medium.
Were this not the case, Eurovision would need only to be a radio contest.
Well played, Sweden.

Annie
Guest
Annie

Lol what…. I would have thought that the televoters would put Sweden on 1, not the jury. Guessing that the public likes an easy to remember, primitive and simple song that sounds like so many other songs they love. You’d think that the jury, who is supposedly made up out of “specialists”, would go for something more unique. How is Italy’s song bland? It was sung in their own language (!!), it was grand and majestic and a perfect eurovision winner. Sure Sweden had a fun song and great staging but I’m already tired of it. Belgium and Italy are… Read more »

Bruno B.
Guest

Armenia and Azerbaijan continue to vote in a very odd way. If the contest wants to be “only about music”, they should be punished.

Vladimir
Guest
Vladimir

Everything changes, except for the eternity of universe and mutual hatred of Armenians and Azerbaijani. I wonder how long it will take them to understand that they will leave next to each other for quite a bit of time and that they will have to talk to each other sooner or later.