Shortly after the grand final, the EBU revealed that it had voided Montenegro’s jury vote for the final after consulting with PwC, the contest’s independent voting oveserver. A number of fans applauded the EBU for taking action against potential wrongdoing, which would undermine the fairness of the vote. The EBU did not reveal Montenegro’s jury vote following the show or the specific reason it was thrown out. Naturally big questions linger: Was there actually any wrongdoing on the part of the Montenegrin jury and if so what?

To help answer those questions we have obtained copies of each Montenegrin juror’s Eurovision ballot — filled out, signed and notarized — from Montenegro’s Head of Delegation Sabrija Vulic.

Montenegro’s cancelled jury result

Looking at the results, I do not see a clear case of fraud. Instead it seems that the EBU and PwC are confusing unlikely with impossible. Results can be unlikely, but in statistics unlikely events do sometimes happen.

Let’s dive in. Below we have plotted the results of the individual Montenegrin jurors. Their jury was made up of Senad Dresevic (composer and producer), Renata Perazic (professor and singer), Ilija Dapcevic (composer and artist), Darko Nikcevic (director of an electro-acoustic lab and a guitar player), and Alexsandra Vojvodic (music professor). If you plot all of their results as we do below, you see a pretty good spread in opinion. The individual rankings do not generally cluster, showing a variety of opinions on songs.

MontenegroJuryVoteAnd now let’s compare this with the vote from Azerbaijan, which did not have its results thrown out. As you can see, the Azerbaijani votes tend to cluster. In fact, they rarely differ by a ranking of more than 3 and never by more than 6. It’s difficult to believe that is down to chance.

AzerbaijanJuryVotesIf the supposed crime is the jurors colluding, how on earth is Montenegro’s vote excluded while Azerbaijan’s is accepted? (More on the Azeri jury result here).

Now let’s look at the other issue with the Montenegro vote:

MontenegroJuryVote 2

In the case of Slovenia and Italy (two pre-contest favourites), each of the jurors ranked the country in the same spot. With Serbia and Greece they all ranked the contestant within one spot of each other. And with Albania they all ranked the contestant within two spots of each other.

So, again, let’s compare this with the jury result of Azerbaijan, which was not thrown out.

AzerbaijanJuryVotes 2

There is much greater consistency here. We see the jurors ranked two countries exactly the same (Armenia and Germany), three countries within two rankings of each other (Norway, Cyprus, Greece), and five countries within three rankings of each other (France, United Kingdom, Austria, Spain, and Albania).

Again, here we have Azerbaijan showing much stronger potential collusion than Montenegro.

There are seven cases outside of Montenegro where all five jurors ranked songs identically.

Matching Jury Votes

So should the EBU void the jury votes from Austria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Germany, Moldova, and Romania? If all five jurors agreeing is grounds for voiding a result, then why weren’t those six countries treated in the same way as Montenegro. (Of course, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Romania would have to be voided every year as these results are rather recurrant and predictable).

In addition, in every case above the identical vote was for first or last place (Azerbaijan’s 25th place for Germany could be “last place” because their 26th place vote for Armenia is a given). But in the case of Montenegro it’s a matter of fourth and fifth place. What is the logic in colluding over fourth and fifth place results?

Looking at this I don’t see how Montenegro’s vote is more egregious than other countries, most especially Azerbaijan. But even beyond the suspicious results from Baku, I’m not sure Montenegro is any more out there than Austria or Germany. In fact, I’d call Montenegro’s vote a more accurate measure of the acts than either of those countries. Five jurors giving Latvia first is a lot more suspicious than five jurors giving Italy fifth.

Read RTCG’s letter to the Eurovision Reference Group

Photo: Eurovision.tv (EBU)

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[…] von Wiwibloggs nach dem ESC 2015 die von der EBU für ungültig erklärte Wertung Montenegros mit statistischer Methode zwar widerlegt: „In fact, I’d call Montenegro’s vote a more accurate measure of the acts than […]

nigar
Guest
nigar

hey armenias all time Azerbaijan do not you have another works expect AZERBAIJAN why always bla bla bla
you must understand that your fail comments nothing for us you can be mad how you want envious people

nigar
Guest
nigar

Leon stupid stop write about my Azerbaijan because i’m disgusting for you

Aurelian Tamisan
Guest
Aurelian Tamisan

They should punish every juror from your enumerated countries. The jurors should explain their votes by making references to the quality of the songs, if everybody puts on the first place the country which was on 15th in the final table, then there certainly sth is very suspicious. When the juries are more political than the televoters, they have no sense to exist anymore.

Mauion
Guest
Mauion

Hello,

Can you publish the sheets the monetenegrin HoD gave to you or send them to me ?
I tried to re-built the voting by myself (on your scheme, we don’t see all the “jury’s points of colour”) and if I’m right with what I did (Ok, only if I’m right), there is a great problem with Montenegrin Jury Vote !!!!!

XXX

Eric
Guest
Eric

Montenegro’s vote looks normal to me.
What would happen if ranking only covered top 15 in the finals and all other countries were counted as 16th in jury voting. Seems like it would minimize the “punishment” factor of putting someone at 26th compulively.

Leon
Guest
Leon

@Alex – I see what you’re saying and I think you have a great point and in fact I think that’s exactly what happened with the EBU. But, then the dilemma that this brings out is that EBU wants little or no diversity in voting.

John Egqn
Guest

Interesting article…but it would be helpful if you included the actual scores/rankings of the jurors, rather than the figures above. They’re not particularly easy to analyse. Cheers!

Alex
Guest
Alex

@David: Here are some possible reasons that the jury vote was thrown out that you missed in your analysis. I’m not saying that the EBU was right to throw out Montenegro’s jury vote, but rather I’m trying to shed some light on the EBU’s decision. 1. The EBU’s algorithm for determining collusion probably cares more about whether the collusion happens for the songs ranked in the top 10. Why? Because the primary concern is about juries from several countries collaborating with each other to give each other points, or less generally, a country paying another country’s jury to give it… Read more »

Leon
Guest
Leon

@Danny – Yes, your Azerbaijan is a strong and rich country – that is if by Azerbaijan you mean Baku. Because, according to economic statistics, people outside of Baku live like nomadic people did in the 19th century. And if your definition of rich and strong only encompasses oil money and buying military supplies then yes, Azerbaijan is very rich, but by my definition, Azerbaijan is a very poor country – no stable infrastructure, no freedom of press or speech, poor healthcare, a police state – where anyone and everyone who speaks out against the government is arrested. Azerbaijan should… Read more »

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

Why can’t the EBU tell us exactly why the vote was annulled ?

Felix Prochain
Guest
Felix Prochain

@Danny strong and rich my as*, you stupid fakers.

B
Guest
B

“(Of course, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Romania would have to be voided every year as these results are rather recurrant and predictable).”

Sorry if I’m being ignorant, but why would Romania ranking Albania last be predictable? I know Armenia and Azerbaijan hate each other (at least, those with power do anyway) but I didn’t know there was tension between Romania and Albania?

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

This is appalling.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

Does anybody actually believe that Azerbaijan were the rightful winners back in 2011? It is absolutely incredible, that is to say unbelievable, that such a bland, non-descript, boring and less-than-mediocre song sung by two singers totally lacking in talent or star quality could romp to victory. They STOLE that victory, and should be punished accordingly. We will never know who should have won that year. Italy? Should Sweden be celebrating their record-tying seventh win this year? They are simply using the Eurovision to showcase their country, and will do so by any means necessary. As corrupt as FIFA and Qatar.… Read more »

Oostenrijk
Guest
Oostenrijk

@Jonas: Czech Republic gave 12 points to Azerbaijan in all three occassions. 2008, 2009 and 2014. I smell vote buying y’all.

Same goes with Malta and Bulgaria, also two notorious Azerbaijan voters – due to the small market for Eurovision

Oostenrijk
Guest
Oostenrijk

The EBU is bullying smaller countries like Armenia, Georgia and Albania, but is licking the butts of mighty Azerbaijan and Germany (!), which for me had the most suspicious jury votes over the last three years at least!

Mar
Guest
Mar

I had been waiting for these results to surface. It’s obvious that if Montenegro had actually attempted to cheat, they wouldn’t push the EBU for further investigation. They would have kept quiet like Macedonia did.
How much of their GDP do you guys think Azerbaijan wastes on Eurovision? I’d say about 30%, bribing all those people and buying all those votes can’t come cheap.

NoYesNoMaybe?
Guest
NoYesNoMaybe?

Wow, what a great article. The issue was closely and accurately looked, based on facts and figures. The graphs give a great visual approach. I know there are voting patterns even with the juries, but I find the Azeri votes a bit too suspicious. Even though I do not know any of the Montenegrian jurors, I see they are all musicians themselves, which according to me is what professional should mean. (From a background chech of the italian jurors I found out most of them were journalists or TV hosts.) To jump to the subjective part of my opinion, I… Read more »

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

The votes from Czech Republic were also suspicious – purely because they gave their 12 to notorious cheaters Azerbaijan, when nobody else did, and also because they’re relatively new to this Eurovision business, hence possibly more susceptible to corruption. Cheaterbaijan should be thrown out unceremoniously. Corrupt to the core.

zoharica
Guest
zoharica

I’ve already said it in one of the previous articles about Montenegro: you have to compare semi final rankings of some jurors with their rankings for the final (for example, for Norway and Azerbaijan). They are too low! That’s also the problem.

Danny
Guest
Danny

Azerbaijan is a strong and rich country! Get it.. Don’t compare it with Montenegro. Of course Ebu will not withdraw the Land of Fire. Ps. Stop this anti Azerbaijan propaganda

William Lee Adams
Admin
Stu
Guest
Stu

I suppose it’s always possible that the legitimate results of legitimate jurors were then somehow tampered with before being submitted, but that seems highly unlikely.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Taking it all a little too seriously…

europa
Guest
europa

could this article clarify what this would have changed: i.e. who the points would have been given to, and any final positions this would have changed?

It’s interesting since this one part of the vote couldn’t have changed the winner, but it did knock down potential points for two contest favourites.

I don’t understand why the show doesn’t actually say this onscreen, they spend so much time waffling, and jon ola sand just says the vote is good, but i don’t see why any disqualified votes can’t be mentioned.

Sam
Guest
Sam

Great analysis, David. There seems to be no reason for Montenegro to be excluded. It will be sad if the EBU doesn’t fix this (Montenegro is one of my recent favorites!)

Huh
Guest
Huh

And expect Azerbaijan to reach top 5, 3 or… win again in the future contests now that Sweden have won again after three years from their last victory.

Huh
Guest
Huh

Each jurors of a particular country should not sit together for next year and onwards.

Huh
Guest
Huh

Because Azerbaijan is paying EBU so well.

Britz26
Guest

The votes from Montenegro are normal I think

Antranig Shokayan
Editor

Honestly not a big issue with the Montenegrin vote. IDK why it was excluded.

Deniz@TurkNL
Guest

Good article! I hope Montenegro does not withdraw.