Last year we noted some very questionable voting by Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Montenegro during the grand final of Eurovision 2014. So we weren’t that surprised when Montenegro’s jury was disqualified this year.
Looking at the results for 2015, we see a dramatic decrease in the number of suspicious incidents. That’s great, but some results still make us raise our eyebrows. If we probe the votes of Azerbaijan’s jury, for instance, we see remarkable consistency across the five “independent” jurors.
What we do in the following charts is rather simple. We look at the range of votes by the five jurors from a single country. Australia demonstrates what appears to be a fair and varied result.
The five colored dots represent the five individual jurors from the country. The left hand-column shows where they ranked the song (1 to 27) and the row at the bottom represents each competing country.
You will tend to see a grouping for the most and least popular acts. So, as you can see, the jurors all ranked Sweden in their Top 5 (you only see three dots because multiple jurors ranked it in the same spot). You see a wider spread on the rest of the songs, such as Austria, which has a high of fifth place and a low in the 20s. Beyond the top acts (Sweden and Russia) and the low acts (UK and Armenia) you see a very good spread between jurors.
Now let’s take a look at the jury in Azerbaijan.
This shows, at a minimum, a group mindset. Across 26 songs they rarely differ by a ranking of more than 3 and never by more than 6. This is not five independent votes. This suggests they do not understand the concept of a free and fair election.
Now let’s take a look at Belarus. This shows that a country can switch to an independent jury, despite questionable voting in the past.
Let Me Finish…
A bunch of monkeys randomly typing on a voting machine will deliver a properly spread out series of jury votes. That doesn’t mean they’re a good measure of the quality of the song.
Clearly independent votes individually determined by each juror are a necessary but not sufficient condition for a quality jury vote. In short, we still have a problem with the jury.