It’s been said countless times already, but Eurovision 2016 marks the first time that the winner won neither the televote, nor the jury vote. Fans of Russia’s Sergey Lazarev — the televote winner — want to throw out the jury. Retroactively. Fans of Australia’s Dami Im — the jury winner — want an all jury vote. Naturally fans of Ukraine’s Jamala think the present balance is just right.

The juries were introduced to reduce the effect of bloc voting, raise the quality of songs, and help Eurovision produce potential radio hits. To some extent they’ve done that. At the same time, I’ll be the first to agree that the jury vote is at times both corrupt and incompetent.

National juries consist of just five people. Do they really deserve the same power as millions of voters? Especially with problem after problem, that we’ve seen year after year. Do FIVE music professionals really deserve the same power as MILLIONS of televoters? Plenty of folks think not.

Of course, the televote has its own flaws. It can easily be manipulated, particularly in smaller countries. And yes the voting can political. Incredibly political at times.

Despite all those complaints, we have to remember there is no perfect system. 

In my mind the fundamental problem is that Eurovision has a large number of incredibly good acts. In most years there is no act that is unambiguously better than all the others. There is no system to correctly select the “best” act because there is no best act. You can complain that your personal favourite did not win. But it’s not reasonable to complain that the winner is not deserving of winning. Any of the top acts — that manage to strike a chord with televoters and jurors across borders and age and other demographics — are deserving of winning.

There is no perfect result.

It’s a rare event to quote Winston Churchill on wiwibloggs, but let’s do this.

“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

The current system in my mind is the closest thing we’ve come to something fair and balanced. Perhaps the best Eurovision voting system is the one that sucks the least. And that it holds our attention to the last second of the contest. The new system clearly accomplished the latter. Big time! And because of how it played out this year, it will do so going forward.

As to being better than the alternatives, the jury, as much as I disagree with it at times (Italy should have won last year!), counterbalances the televote with a thoughtful, professional measure of the acts. Mostly.

Of course, the optimum solution is to just give me the singular vote. Because clearly Slovenia was the best act this year!

What do YOU think? Do you want to see jury or televoting reform? Let us know in the comments box below. You can watch our jury reaction video from last year’s contest below. 

111 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ciaran
Ciaran
4 years ago

Maybe make a COUPLE of changes but I like the system. I was on the edge of my seat because I and nobody else knew who had won but still some people like 2015? We all knew the winner of the old system half way through so how is it better? People need to accept change sometimes this is a good system.

karl
karl
4 years ago

ok the juries HAVE to stay there should be no question on that BUT it has to change (1) they should vote live on the night with us. (2) there should be either 100 jury members from each country or their power should go from 50% to 20% 5 people who have the same amount of power to millions of people is unfair. i am SO Happy Ukraine won. it was my fav ever since Jamala won her national final and I was in floods of tears on the night. it would have been boring if Australia had won. i’m… Read more »

Ola
Ola
4 years ago

Do NOT get rid of the juries, but change their impact to 25%.
In addition, change to at least 10-15 members of each jury. The current 5 is MUCH too low.

Max R
4 years ago

To add, the votes of the jury on the Russian song was just incredible! This chart should show you why this system can’t continue. http://imgur.com/K3V6LeY

The power should belong to the voters, not a select few who don’t know what the heck they’re doing. It’s just a big slap to the face to all who spent money on voting.

Max R
4 years ago

Juries have a way higher chance of being corrupt and political. Think about it 5 people to millions. Their influence is WAY too big at 50 %, I don’t mind them being removed completely but if they have to be there they should do max 10 %.

Julian
Julian
4 years ago

Juries should vote the same performance as the users. Only acceptable thing I can think why they judged so low Italy last year and Poland this year is that performance was radically changed in jury night versus the final.
And it could improve everyone’s performance having to officially sing one time less.

GermanQR
GermanQR
4 years ago

The solution is a randomly selected “Parliament” of voters from each country, in which nationals or other countries are barred from belonging to.

Impossible to corrupt 2,000 people at the same time, especially if individual votes are secret. Best compromise between popular and jury vote. Diaspora votes would be minimized.

Jack Picko
Jack Picko
4 years ago

OK. This may sound crazy but hear me out on this one. Juries should stay, that is for sure. However their impact on the result is far too big. Which is where my crazy voting system enters. So based on this year’s system. There will be two sets of points, the jury points and the televote points. The Jury points will be the standard 12-10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 However, the televote points are a brand new crazy system. To give the televote more of an impact, the televote gives 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 to their top 10 artists. It means that 63.5% of the vote comes… Read more »

Jumper
Jumper
4 years ago

By removing the jury, the winner will already known by its betting odds.

QwertyUser
QwertyUser
4 years ago

75% audience, 25%- jury

Colin
Colin
4 years ago

Jury should stay (without them we would have Bosnia in the finals instead of Czech Republic), but they should vote on the SAME performance as we do, not the day before. Although virtually the same, they are not. What if someone did better or worse in two performances for various reasons? I think THAT might be the issue with Szpak as well, not only diaspora. He was clearly amazing in the finals. What if his voice snapped or something day earlier?

Same vote = same performance!

Amadi Humphrey
Amadi Humphrey
4 years ago

There’s no way you can control your breath after shouting like that even if you are super human, and public voteservice most times can be political, partial and unrealistic that’s why I love this current system. The winner song as much as the delivery Is almost perfect in all fronts, the song itself is very powerful and can sell not just now but for ages, and there’s nothing political about it, its just historic and how come people all of a sudden now have a problem with the song? Because she won yes, in any case people must hate. It’s… Read more »

Rebel555
Rebel555
4 years ago

The juries were said who they need to vote for in the finale. The judges from Georgia didn’t even watch the whole thing and they already knew whom they will give a 12 on Friday before the finals, it’s not already a secret. The juries voting was corrupted.
And the winning song is a trash. Since it’s a Song contest, this should be taken in consideration. The song’s really awful. You don’t want to listen it for the second time.

Mark
Mark
4 years ago

They should just let me decide who wins

EscAddict
EscAddict
4 years ago

@Charles Wrong again. Russia was not my personal favourite but I want the voting system changed. I was a strong supporter of juries because I did not want novelty acts winning (like some guy dressed as a monkey singing “Do the Monkey”). However the juries have screwed the public over again. The juries should stop bloc voting but are usually just as bad. They should support quality song but whether they have better taste than the public is questionable (eg: giving Heroes the prize even though it as not the public’s favourite) & who cares if radios stations will play… Read more »

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
4 years ago

The current system is fine.
Just investigate the ridiculous results and punish accordingly.

Lenor
Lenor
4 years ago

Although Jury sucks sometimes there should be 50/50 but add more members to juries. N im also bitterly disappointed with the winner – Eurovision means that a song which has the most potential to be a big radio hit should win not a song which is forgotten after 2-3 days n IMO SWEDEN could have been the perfect winner – u know what his song was nr1 itunes worldwide.

Anthony
Anthony
4 years ago

And I would add, that it’s not about the winner for me: it’s the performances, the thrill of the results announcement and various European cultures presented. My favorite songs rarely win anyway: in the recent years those were only remember Loreen and Jamala (which surprised me a lot!). Personally, I think the voting really matters as to where we go the next year, so I’d love a new country to win each year)

Anthony
Anthony
4 years ago

It’s a good system. But the quality of jury vote should be improved: rise the number to, let’s say, 10 people, make them vote separately and moke the process more transparent overall.

Paul
Paul
4 years ago

I would change the jury vote. It seems they jury composition in most of the countries is very homogenic. Do most of the juries have young composers or singers? Do most of the juries have music producers or show producers? I guess EBU should do some guidelines in order to make the jury more representative of the entertainment business.
In this contest I would say the jury vote was way more political than the televote, which I found this year representative of what you hear on the radio.

Alex
Alex
4 years ago

The voting system is fine.

Magpie
Magpie
4 years ago

How about this. Each country produces two top 10s by ranking each song from first to last, one for the jury and one for the televote. Each country in the top 10 in the jury and televote gets one point (for a maximum of two points) and the scores are combined to get the overall score.

This would mean Australia would have won but at least you don’t see where the contentious 12 points went to.

Aaron GR
Aaron GR
4 years ago

@Mikko has the right attitutude. Whether Russia won, or Australia won, or Ukraine won – it was a great show. That’s what I really care about.

There is no perfect winner (except Sweden 2012 – ha). This year there were 5-6 songs I could’ve seen winning. Any of them would’ve been a good winner. The current system balances problems that exist with jury vote and popular vote – it’s not perfect and no configuration ever will be. But we got a fantastic show, and a worthy winner.

We the audience always win.

davve
davve
4 years ago

And I hate that BS about Russia winning the televoting so they were the “true winners”.. they won one part of the process of finding a winner yes.. But to claim that Russia was the winners simply because they won the televoting is like saying a 100 meter runner should win gold just because he won his semifinal race. You have to win all the components of a competition to win……. Russia did not even ending third because they scored weaker with the jurys.

Period.

davve
davve
4 years ago

The jury votes are needed to bring down some of the political voting from the televotes. The televote are needed to bring down some of the political voting from the jury votes. It is as simple as that.

Maru fr
Maru fr
4 years ago

The most of the Russian eurofans are even glad to this result. Lol
Now they stock up with popcorn and wait for continuation of this circus!

AM Casablancas
AM Casablancas
4 years ago

No, there is a way to make this more fair 1. Make 50% televote, 40-35% jury and 10-15% internet (that would mean to have a website capable of dealing with A HUGE influx). Internet votes MUST come outside Europe because having a different perspective on what people likes greatly helps to the development of a multicultural focus and less bias, and yet empowering people to cast their votes meaning more revenue for communication services. 2. Limit voting on telephone up to 10 times and no more than 5 times for the same song (this last thing might be difficult) 3.… Read more »

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
4 years ago

@GEF: When the 12-point system was introduced in 1975, the EBU also instructed each country to send 11 jurors, where at least 6 of them had to be 26 or older.

@Tom: I’ve been saying the same thing for 2 years. No more separate jury performance. They should vote on ONE performance; the same performance that we watch. What if someone has a lousy jury performance, but an outstanding live performance, or vice versa?

Marie Tielmann
Marie Tielmann
4 years ago

I can see the purpose of introducing the dury, but I think they have to be really careful with their choices…I would think the jury would be expected to strictly vote on a professional level and analyse the preformance, vocal ability, the way they communicate the song, perhaps even seeing how the crowd responds. I would think they would pick on specifics of the preformance, that comes with their experience in the music industry.. I guess things like breath control, holding the microphone, which I wouldn’t look into as I don’t know what would be the right way to do… Read more »

malfidus
malfidus
4 years ago

I agree that there’s no perfect system, but I do think that juries are needed to some extent. I have two main issues with the juries in their current form. One is that five people sitting in a room together are too easy to corrupt. Or at the very least, they’re bound to discuss the songs and influence each other. My second issue is that the rules on who can be in the juries are too lax. This year, I watched the German broadcaster’s pre-Eurovision discussion show, and one of the guests was a former jury member. She had absolutely… Read more »

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
4 years ago

@moco: That’s why I say they should leave the 50-50 split as it is. Israel would have had trouble qualifying without the jury or had the split been 75 tele/25 jury. Put 10 on the jury and position them in different parts of the arena so that no one juror can influence another from the same country.

Alexander
Alexander
4 years ago

By the way after analysing the jury votes this year, I’ve found out that jury results in Armenia, Germany and Ukraine has the highest correlation between different members. That means all the five juries in these countries have very similar results. Smaller correlation, but still consistent one, was among juries in Belarus, Bosnia&Herzegovina and Czech Republic. That only means that these juries has kind of “talk” to each other, so the results among them become very similar. It doesn’t mean that in other juries there were not any incompetence or unfairness. But at least other results are much less correlated… Read more »

karminowe.usta
karminowe.usta
4 years ago

I agree with Philipp Kirkorov. In my opinion jury should have 25% power because their voting can`t retrieve victory. In this year jury so much hurt Russia, Poland and Austria. Jury should stay because balance is necessary. Also 5 people in jury isn`t enough amount. In my opinion 15 persons is better solution.

Alexander
Alexander
4 years ago

@ESC84 It’s obvious that Google could have such problems, cause it’s currently impossible to write an algorithm that can work very good for every possible inquiry. There is some other search engines which concentrate on more specific topics and give much better results that Google. I’m pretty sure that neural networks is a best choice, but the problem is that it would take years to make it work properly. People should not be able to completely understand how that algorithms work. In other way everyone could clearly use it to completely “shift” your song at the highest points level. Neural… Read more »

Junire
Junire
4 years ago

@Cem Yildiz
I support those two propositions completely!

Vogzal Odessa
Vogzal Odessa
4 years ago

@ ct_greece: everything you wrote is so true!!! Great job! To me it seems that in recent years, everything about ESC is totally controlled and prearanged, including the voting. Suspense, if there has to be one, comes naturally. Nothing will ever beat the one created NATURALLY in 1988 when Céline Dion won by one point in the last round of voting, and back in the days, there was no televoting at all and countries simply voted in the same order as the songs were presented. I’s actually totally pathetic how the so called “reference group” is trying to manipulate and… Read more »

Dan
Dan
4 years ago

This is a good question. Apologies in advance for my lengthy reply. In any voting system there is always going to be some form of subjectivity, political motives and even strategic voting. Yes, it may happen with juries. But it also happens with televoting. It is a voting system after all. We all hope and trust that people will use their votes fairly, but at the end of the day, we all know that sometimes that doesn’t happen. That doesn’t make these votes illegal, unconscionable or any less valid. But can the current system be made fairer, and if so,… Read more »

Stan
Stan
4 years ago

Some countries are just very corrupt (like Russia eg)… Maybe they should get rid of the juries there? And keep them in place where they show the necessary integrity.

ESC84
ESC84
4 years ago

@EugeneESCUK Thank you for explanation, i am worrying my English would be hard for others to understand. It is not hard to use this method ( simple technology), and it allows people to think each time he/she placed a 12 /10 /8 points….. Audience=people in every participating country Computer=call center Audience dial a number: Computer: This is Eurovision voting system… You can vote for 10 countries at this phone line, if you want to know which number of the country belongs, press 8….. Auduence press 8 Computer: 01 for Austria, 02 for Albania, 03 for Armenia….( or the audience get… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
4 years ago

I agree with the main point of this editorial. The current system is the lesser of all evils. However, it should be improved with the expansion of juries to twelve people, and more emphasis placed on selecting music professionals with a proven record (if possible). In other words, don’t pick idiots. The current system seems to be “round up any five at hand, anybody will do!”.

Returning to the juries in 2009 was a great idea, but the decade’s break corrupted the (for lack of a better word) prestige or integrity.

ESC84
ESC84
4 years ago

@Alexander
I think using computer algorithm is not a good solution
Algorithm can be bias in decision making…
This article tells about how the Google algorithm affect humans’ s mind
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-36131495
Computer “can be” neutral, but if the algorithm is used in wrong way, it is harder for human to find out. (You won’ t question a machine)

joma
joma
4 years ago

My solution is as follows: 1. Juries. Unfortunately they can be corrupted since their names are made public very early. I would a) make their names public only just before the show; b) make a list of possible candidates for being jury members first, assigning each of them a number (a list of up to 20 candidates). Randomly just before the show, five of them are selected by doing a draw in the host city (eg, numbers 3, 5, 9, 13 and 16). In each jury those possible jury members are actually those that become jury. Those who are juries… Read more »

mawnck
mawnck
4 years ago

“Do they really deserve the same power as millions of voters?”

What the hell does deserving have to do with it? It’s a contest, and those are the rules!

@EugeneESCUK
4 years ago

vlad123 :- Wow the Schulze method…….not sure the 7 members of the reference group would understand it, hehe!! Need to look at that one. Eric C :- App OR online of course…………….however that will not bring in any revenue for the EBU. So I’m not sure they would like the suggestion, but it could be the perfect system. ct_greece :- Interesting point about non English songs and “radio hits”. Mainstream UK radio and TV very rarely air non English songs. As you say “radio hit” is not currently part of the criteria for the juries anyway. They should remove the… Read more »

mocosuburbian
mocosuburbian
4 years ago

if russia had won, would this article exist?
no

anka
anka
4 years ago

To illustrate the level of the corrupted set up at Eurovision this year, you just need to take a look at the results of voting by the same jurors in the semi-finals and in the final. If in the semi-final the jurors voted for Russia to be the best song this year, in the final the very same jurors gave the very same performer and the song zero points. Do you, people, have questions and answers regarding such an anomaly? All the results point out that there came an instruction from somewhere (we actually know from where) to vote down… Read more »

Sam
Sam
4 years ago

Perhaps instead of “music professionals” juries should be made up of Eurovision fans from each of the countries? That way it is unlikely that political voting will occur from juries as they will be die hard fans who love the show, perhaps members of OGAE? I’m sure this has a lot of flaws however as well…

John
John
4 years ago

In addition to this, the best voting system is the one with the least bias. If we have biased jury votes going to countries like Malta and biased televotes going to Poland and Lithuania, we want those to be cancelled out by the low televote/low jury vote respectively. The best system by far is the 2013-2015 one as it allowed juries to get rid of diaspora and televoters to get rid of biases in the jury (like in 2014 when juries downvoted Poland whilst televoters downvoted Malta).

anka
anka
4 years ago

It is really hard to believe that the EBU would listen to the public regarding the change in jury voting. The EBU have invented a perfect mechanism for manipulating the results of the vote in any direction they need the vote to be bent. So they are not likely to give up such a powerful tool. People here discuss the flaws of the system as if the juror are non-corrupt and absolutely competent individuals. It is not the case. Therefore, a discussion regarding changing the system of voting for the jurors is completely useless. The system is going to change,… Read more »

Someone
Someone
4 years ago

@vinia19 no Italy is the second highest… italy’s televote was 366…