They’re the Caucasian neighbours with a distinctly un-neighbourly attitude to scoring when it comes to Eurovision.
And this year was no different for Azerbaijan and Armenia, whose juries and televoters ranked each other’s entries bottom of the scoreboard.
That’s not particularly surprising given the enduring nature of their geopolitical spat.
But in a twist on this tale, Cyprus’s Hovig also appears to have fallen foul of politically motivated jury voting too.
Hovig, whose father is Armenian, carried out promotion for “Gravity” in Armenia and took part in Artsvik’s Armenian folk song challenge, covering “Yeraz im hayreni (My dream homeland”) in a clip uploaded through his official Facebook page.
That appeal to his paternal roots paid off in the voting: he placed top with Armenian televoters earning their 12 points and 7 points from the jury.
It would appear to have had a less beneficial impact with the Azerbaijani jury, who ranked Cyprus second-last, only ahead of Armenia.
EBU RESPONSE TO ARMENIA AND AZERBIAJAN’S JURY VOTING
In a reply to a question on the subject from Aftonbladet‘s Tobbe Ek, the EBU denied any wrongdoing on the part of Azerbaijan’s jury and suggested the presence of juries places the contest beyond politics.
“The winner of the Eurovision is decided by televoters and juries (comprised of music industry professionals), who each have a 50% stake in the outcome. Each juror signs a declaration, stating they will judge the songs independently, based on a number of criteria, such as the song, the lyrics, the performance and hit potential. They understand that their judging also excludes any staff views pro or against a human performers background. We expect them to, and are happy that they do, respect these rules in order to keep the contest clear from (geo) political influences.”
That might be the official line. But the reality of politically-motivated scoring is blindingly obvious after so many years of repeated low rankings.
Only last year controversy arose when Armenia’s contestant Iveta Mukuchyan waved a flag of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region in the green room, during the live broadcast of the first semi-final from Stockholm.
What do you think of the jury voting? Is politics at play? How would you resolve the issue? Let us know in the comments below!