SVT — the Eurovision 2016 host broadcaster — hates that feeling when we already know the Eurovision winner before the voting segment is over. Just think back to Eurovision 2012 in Baku when Loreen had already stormed past the finish line and to Eurovision 2013 when it became clear Emmelie de Forest had won before the final countries presented their points. Well, that is set to change this year in Stockholm, as SVT will introduce a new voting presentation system whereby we won’t know who the winner is until the very last minute.

The decision was unanimously approved by the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group. The EBU are dubbing the dramatic points update the “biggest change to Eurovision Song Contest voting since 1975”, when the douze points voting system was first introduced.

The actual voting remains the same — 50% jury and 50% televote. What’s different is the presentation of the points during the show that gets an overhaul. This year spokespeople from each country will first present the jury points. After all the countries have presented the jury scores, the hosts will present the overall televote score.

And for those wanting detailed information on the jury and televotes for each country, this will be made available on Eurovision.tv after the broadcast.

Here’s how Eurovision.tv explained it:

After viewers have cast their votes by telephone, SMS or using the official app, each national spokesperson from the 43 participating countries will be called in to present the points of their professional jury. After the presentation of the scores from the juries, the televoting points from all participating countries will be combined, providing one score for each song. These televoting results will then be announced by the host, starting with the country receiving the fewest points from the public and ending with the country that received the highest number of points, building towards a guaranteed climax.

Melodifestivalen fans will recognise this system from Sweden’s national selection. Who among us can forget the drama when Ace Wilder lost out to Sanna Nielsen at the very last second, or Robin Stjernberg’s unexpected win when he overcame YOHIO’s televote charge.

Will this make the broadcast longer? In SVT’s video, Christer Björkman explains that the the votes from 1 to 10 are displayed on screen, with the spokesperson only delivering the 12 points. This means there’s still room for those Eastern European comedy routines that fans just love.

The new system will also keep the tension running right until the end. There’ll be no “We’ve done the math…” announcements, and no more awkward moments where spokespeople are forced to deliver their 12 points to countries who can’t possibly win anymore.

The semi-finals will use the same voting process, but as per usual, only the top 10 will be revealed on the night, in random order.

How it works

“All competitions are enhanced by creating a dramatic finish,” Eurovision Song Contest Producer, Christer Björkman, told Eurovision.tv. “This was a unanimous decision taken by the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group. It’s about creating TV magic.”

His colleague Martin Österdahl, Executive Producer for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, agrees whole-heartedly: “In previous years the winner has been known for up to 20 minutes before the end of voting and that’s not good TV. This format change will inject a new level of excitement into the finish of the Eurovision Song Contest.”

SVT explains the new voting presentation

We’ve crunched the numbers to test whether this new system would make the ending of the show more dramatic. Read about it here.

What do you think of the new system? Will it improve the show? Or should the EBU stick with the old ways? Share your thoughts below.

Follow all our Eurovision 2016 news here

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jabgw
jabgw
4 years ago

Awful. Just Awful. Why change it like this anyway?

@EugeneESCUK
4 years ago

Mark W :- The ESC is not using the Melfest voting system, it would not work in the ESC because of Diaspora, they are just using the way Melfest present their votes, that’s all.

Aaron GR
Aaron GR
4 years ago

In USA news, the voting rule change was reported in the New York Times this morning (Friday). They got some of the details wrong, but it was cool to see it in the biggest American newspaper.

mawnck
mawnck
4 years ago

I’m trying to imagine if Il Volo had won, and we’d have everyone on here howling about how they were trying to turn the Contest into another San Remo.

Mark W
Mark W
4 years ago

I get very annoyed at people saying that SVT is trying to turn it into Melodiefestivalen. The voting system in Melfest is far fairer and much more exciting. I personally think this is an improvement on the old system and can’t wait for May 12th!!!

ESCaddict
ESCaddict
4 years ago

I love this new system. The juries can’t sink songs popular with the public while the juries get to award the “quality” songs. (Yes, I know we all have our own views on what is a quality song).
It will be exciting when the final song gets its lump public vote. Will it jump back to number one or will some other song win? We will only know right at the end.
Woo hoo, can’t wait.

AberSam
AberSam
4 years ago

@CT_Greece,

Because of the extra time taken to do the jury results, this will easily cover the time needed to count and verify the votes, of course they’ll ask the “are the votes valid” stuff, but this time he’ll say yes and we can just do it rather than have ANOTHER interval. If each jury takes a min to present votes, 43 is more than enough to verify all the votes from Europe, because the jury ones will have been verified on the day.

John Christian
John Christian
4 years ago

@Alex, it is more of a Swedish dictatorship rather than improving it. SVT and EBU wants to turn this year’s Eurovision Song Contest into a second Melodifestivalen. We want the old system and the new system is for Swedes only! Mr. Ola Sand and Mr. Osterdahl wanted it to keep excitement? No way, Jose! It turns into a musical competition overran by Swedes. This is the most undemocratic decision ever yet and they must withdraw!

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
4 years ago

Poland’s Slavic girls have had their revenge!

Alex
Alex
4 years ago

This really isn’t THAT big of a change, mathematically speaking. We are reverting to the system of 2008-2012 where only the countries from the top ten of the jury or the televote can possibly get points, except for the fact that songs which fell below the top ten of the averagr of the jury and televote would previously not get counted at all, and the averaging process would be slightly different due to rounding. On average, this is just about the same scoring system as 2008-2012. Divide the scores by 2, round to integers and subtract some small number of… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
4 years ago

I’m initially dismayed, but on mature reflection, I think this could be a good thing. My two qualms – I wish they’d let the jury spokespeople announce the 8s, 10s and 12s as usual – not just the 12s. The voting may seem rushed, and the spokespeople will get even less screentime than they already do – which yes, is probably a good thing in some circumstances, but may reduce the chances of a familiar face delivering the points if they’re only going to be onscreen for a flash. Also, and this is a minor point because it will likely… Read more »

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
4 years ago

Apparently SVT first made this proposal to the EBU in 2012, ahead of their hosting in Malmö, but the EBU rejected it then. I assume the proposal was strengthened/improved enough that the EBU was happy to approve it for 2016.

John Christian
John Christian
4 years ago

@Robyn, Eurovision Song Contest this year is turning into a carbon copy of Melodifestivalen. The voting change is the most ridiculous news Europe has ever heard. This is Swedish dictatorship as its finest.

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
4 years ago

Eugene: “Robyn :- You do make me laugh!! “It’s one of the few national finals that’s on a similar scale to ESC in many respects.” Shame the song quality is not?”

I know! If only ESC had an overall song quality as strong as Melfest! 😉

ct_greece
ct_greece
4 years ago

@AberSam

“because of the Jury vote, there is less time needed for the Interval, 43 Juries can cover the time needed easily”

So there will be no more Jan Olas Sand announcing “we have a valid result” before the presentation of the scores? They will start by giving the jury scores without having the final result validated yet? A lot of people believe that, but I doubt it.

Melissa J
Melissa J
4 years ago

I like that they changed how the juries vote, but I think this system is just too complicated to really catch on. Besides, half the fun is seeing who all jumps around the score board as more points are given. Yes, a lot of the time recently there has been a runaway winner, but 2011 and this past year it was still pretty close and pretty suspenseful. With this new system, if your favorite gets low points from televotes, they’re out right away with no hope to catch up! That doesn’t seem like a lot of fun to watch.

mawnck
mawnck
4 years ago

“the Eurovision Song CONTEST is no longer a contest, but a predetermined television entertainment”

I hate to break this to you, but it’s been primarily the latter since 1956.

Adam
Adam
4 years ago

“As a producer of a TV show…..”

Like it or not, I guess we have to realize that the Eurovision Song CONTEST is no longer a contest, but a predetermined television entertainment that takes out all the suspense and randomness of a true contest in favor of more viewers. It hasn’t been a true contest since at least 2013, when producers got influence of which favorited acts get to perform where, etc.

Bart
Bart
4 years ago

Yes, some don’t see it, but it’s an improvement to have this. Because now it doesn’t matter if your will vote for your own neighbors, because they will show the point all together. So the proud from each country to show the neighbors they vote for them is gone, i’m so happy about that.

They only have to change the Jury. The jury has too much influence, and they are mostly corrupt. They are not objective! I hope this will be changed, and jury vote only on quality, they should not even know which song is from which country!

Alison
Alison
4 years ago

Most important IMO is that it’s going back to the jury scoring only their top 10 which is the change I’d say pretty much every wanted after last year.
And I agree with a comment below that it’s not just about the winner, where you place on the scoreboard is also important – particularly coming from the UK… realistically we would just love to be back in the top 10 and this way of announcing results will make who places in the top ten much more exciting!
Let’s just wait and see, some overly dramatic comments on here.

Laila Inhakumilay
Laila Inhakumilay
4 years ago

Welcome back diaspora power i guess….. Ofcourse, good songs will allways qualify, but for average songs it will be more difficult to do well instead of songs from countries like Greece, Russia, Armenia etc. Hope im wrong though, but it doesnt feel good yet.

AberSam
AberSam
4 years ago

“CT_Greece This new process will shorten the process, as was discussed in the ESC Insight Article (for those of you that haven’t read it, it goes in depth to all the changes in a really good manner) because of the Jury vote, there is less time needed for the Interval, 43 Juries can cover the time needed easily. So having a short interval and then straight to the jury vote will make it possible to reduce the time down to 3hr 30min, a substantial improvement on the current times, SVT is also trying to make sure that all nations are… Read more »

ct_greece
ct_greece
4 years ago

As I see it there is two pluses and four minuses from the new system The + 1) It lessens the juries’ power (but not sufficiently when there are big discrepancies) 2) It highlights differences in the scores between juries and the public The – 1) It is way too convoluted to explain to the average viewer 2) Unlike the Melodifestivalen, there are 26 songs, not just 10 or 12 that will have to share the televoting scores. It makes it impossible for the average viewer at home to compute how many points or songs are left on the scoreboard… Read more »

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
4 years ago

ct_greece: Then it falls on the other countries (not in the reference group) to voice their disapproval the only way left: Withdrawing from the next contest. A country that has never come close to winning would be brushed aside; but a country that has won many, maybe even one of the Big 5–like, say, the U.K. (even though they haven’t come even close since 2009)–would certainly get their attention. A massive withdrawal (5 or more, including one past winner) would ring all kinds of alarms for Jon Ola Sand. Alas; if only the EBU had a board of trustees (maybe… Read more »

ct_greece
ct_greece
4 years ago

@ Cook Montza How can the host country intervene if they are not even in the reference group? Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany and Holland plus Slovenia basically rule the roost and rubber-stamp everything Sweden wants. Plus it will be extra difficult for any “non-approved” country to even become a host as we saw last year. Basically we are talking about the northern europeans plus their baltic chums being the only possible/acceptable winners. Let’s run a mental experiment here: Let’s say Ukraine sends Jamala with a political song that has many fans across Europe. We already know that the EBU would… Read more »

AberSam
AberSam
4 years ago

@ESCUK Whilst in pure number terms, yes, the record will be smashed, Rybak’s 2009 record will remain in place for the 1974-2015 System, it would be unfair to allow his record to compete against other countries. To compare voting from 1974-Present, you would need to use a certain algorithm whereas you take the score and divide it by the amount of possible people that could vote for them (41 for Rybak, 82 for this years winner) only then can you compare the results. For Rybak he gets 9.44 Votes Per Country, this fell just shy of Katrina and the Waves… Read more »

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
4 years ago

@Jake, Nikos: Then it’s up to the next host country to put pressure on the EBU, or introduce proposals, to either change the procedure back to what it was, or make changes that the people and the participants can agree on. If Sweden can get their proposals approved by the EBU, what’s stopping other countries from doing the same, or UNdoing whatever damage might come as a result of these changes?

mawnck
mawnck
4 years ago

This analysis isn’t quite right. It’s not just a presentation thing – they’ve actually changed the way the points are awarded. For one thing, we’re back on something closer to the old “Top 10” system from a few years ago. Azerbaijan can’t wipe out Armenia by ranking them 26th anymore, because ranking them 26th is the same as ranking them 11th – they just don’t get any points. (Neither can the UK jury keep the Polish milkmaids from getting points from their first place televote finish.) I’m delighted about this, for the record. It was one of the two changes… Read more »

@EugeneESCUK
4 years ago

ct_greece :- Yes it is quite ridiculous that just 7 people make these decisions, they can pass whatever they like really. It also has to be passed by EBU Television Committee, but I’m guessing that will just be a formality.

ESCUK
ESCUK
4 years ago

So with this new voting system, Alexander Rybak’s 387 point record will be smashed…? Please correct me if I’m wrong!!

Aaron GR
Aaron GR
4 years ago

Now that I think more about it, there wouldn’t even need to be an interval act, logistically speaking. The televotes could be validated and totaled up while the spokespersons are announcing the jury scores.

Obviously the interval act is a beautiful sacred weirdness that should never go away, but now it can be shorter. It does usually goes on a bit too long, I’m sure most would agree.

And I’m totally with AberSam – it’s not just about the winner. It’s about all your favorites!

Nikos
Nikos
4 years ago

Wow I did not know about the 7 member panel making these decisions… I knew that the recent jury biases have been very helpful to the Northern countries and hurtful to the South, but it seems that this divide will keep growing as long as Sweden “controls” the EBU.

ct_greece
ct_greece
4 years ago

@ Eugene Thank you for your suggestion. Regarding a country’s non-valid jury or televote scores, they say they will use as a back-up the combined result of a pool of other countries with similar voting histories. Far from the perfect solution if you ask me – reinforcing neighbour voting tendencies rather than mitigating them. When it comes to the issue of nil points in the televoting, they clearly state that they will start that section with the country that has the least points. That means they will have to announce the zeros, if there are any. That will not go… Read more »

Jacques
Jacques
4 years ago

And now we’ll have points like 700 or something?

I never liked Melodifestivalen voting, neither the show itself. I always find it colder than Eurovision.

But anyway, it’s good for Turkey. Now will they return eventually?

AberSam
AberSam
4 years ago

You’re all just focussing on the winner… There is more to a Eurovision scoreboard than the top of it, the new system will have a lot of switching further down the rankings. I love Melodifestivalen and the voting in it, it’s designed for the greatest show experience, even when Måns won there was uncertainty till the third highest result was read out… Also for those of you comparing it to Alexander Rybaks score, he got 384(?) double that and it’s 768 points, hardly close to 1,000, also another way of looking at votes is to see the average score, which… Read more »

Ben Rafter
Ben Rafter
4 years ago

I love this!!!!! Well done SVT!

Aaron GR
Aaron GR
4 years ago

1. It’s easy to look back at previous years and say it wouldn’t have been a surprise THIS year, it would have been a surprise THAT year. Here’s the thing: . . . Every year is different, and you never know. It WILL be exciting and tense in 2016, because IT HASN’T HAPPENED YET. Using Melfest as an example: Everybody thought Yohio had it in the bag in 2013; everybody thought Ace had it in the bag in 2014. Until suddenly they didn’t. It was AWESOME. I still laugh my butt off watching Robin’s face. 2. It makes sense to… Read more »

@EugeneESCUK
4 years ago

Ct_greece :- If you go to the Eurovision.tv page, at the bottom they answer 9 questions.

However they don’t mention what happens to countries who have 0 televote points. I guess they will cross that bridge when it comes to it, but I guess they will just say x, y and z did not get any points in the televote. It will definitely highlight that fact though.

WeAreTheWinners
WeAreTheWinners
4 years ago

Disliked it at first, but re reading the article a couple of times has made me like it! I’m sure everyone will be on board in time for Stockholm. I bet that’s why SVT revelled it so early. I think it would be better if the spokesperson read the televoting, as the televotes are more exciting. The juries just go with the bookies. Anyway, we’ll see how it goes in May, and then if it fails we can revert to our old trusted system for 2017. Personally, I hope it’s a success! I’ve always been a fan of the Melfest… Read more »

cheesecake
cheesecake
4 years ago

Not sure about this. In a way I was a huge fan of the used system, but I agree it COULD be more/as exciting. Let’s see…
What I don’t like is the spokesperson announcing the scores from 5 people only – there’s like no connection to the country anymore, it’s just 5 random “experts” and not the whole population. If you know what I mean…
And I also wonder what they’d do if a country’s jury scores are invalid… Backup jury?

ct_greece
ct_greece
4 years ago

@ ?ugene So you;re basically saying that out of the 7 members of the Reference group, five belong to the northern bloc (plus “northern-friendly” Slovenia). Southern Europe is only represented from Italy (which doesn’t care a lot for the ESC). Eastern Europe and Europe’s two biggest music industries (the UK and France) are not represented at all? That definitely explains a lot. Thanks for the clarification! The new system only mitigates but doesn’t correct what happened last year (Italy would have finished 2nd instead of 3rd, but still no winner) But it would have made it more obvious to the… Read more »

Mark
Mark
4 years ago

So basically, I don’t need to watch anything until the last second. Now I can have an hour long toilet break.

Jairo
Jairo
4 years ago
Denis
Denis
4 years ago

Why all start to mix the systems? Or see how the old winners would compare to the new system?
The old system is the old system.What happened happened. Rybak will have a record forever and ever. The new system won’t change it. It’s still impressive feat that won’t be broken.
But it’s a new system now. Some will get less, some more. This new system shouldn’t be compared to the old one

Xeph
Xeph
4 years ago

This means it’ll be harder for juries to try to skew the result. Y’all complaining should probably wait and see how it turns out before you decide to hate it. It might turn out to be a good change, or it might turn out to be a bad change, we’ll just have to wait and see. 🙂

random.sage2.5
4 years ago

Meh. I like it and it will change up the contest but nul exciting. Most years, the winner had the jury vote but this’ll shorten the voting should there be a runaway landslide winner.

It’s an improvement. I nearly HATED my first Eurovision (2009) because the winner was too obvious and they KEPT GOING! Not exciting (was hoping those 4 arenas were hosting the whole show in one big 3-day Melfest style) but I accept it.

*kicks door, wipes a tear, leaves the room, shouts in the distance…*

CHINAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Jake
Jake
4 years ago

Basically SVT seems to have the right to turn Eurovision to resemble Melodifestivalen every time they host. What other broadcaster and producer had been given as much power as SVT and Christer. I’m sure the voting will be more interesting but we will lose how many countries actually give the true Douze points to each country.

No wonder Portugal always feels the need to pull out everytime SVT hosts. They are bullies with deep pockets who must always have it their way with everything.

Héctor
Héctor
4 years ago

@MTD Good point. What will happen with those countries that normally use only juries? Their televotes won’t be added to the all countries-televote?

I like the change, but I also dislike it. That large amount of votes that a country can received from the televote is a mess. I would like it to follow the traditional way, with Alexander Rybak’s record at 386 points, but now it will be an average result as, like some you say, a country could get near 1000 points.

MGR
MGR
4 years ago

You can make it also as so far, with 5 favored countries (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain) and hosts. Then each of this country will be one group. This causes the other countries will be thrown into the remaining 44 groups. It’s so obvious and clear.

Racal
Racal
4 years ago

@dutchie: That’s funny, Wiwibloggs just published an article saying the exact same things I say in my last comment: http://wiwibloggs.com/2016/02/18/eurovision-voting-system-change-when-would-it-have-made-things-more-exciting/126193/

: When can I join you guys? 😀