Following Semi-Final 2 of Eurovision 2017, the bookies, fans and Eurovision pundits all had the grand final down as a three-horse race between Portugal’s Salvador Sobral, Bulgaria’s Kristian Kostov and Italy’s Francesco Gabbani. The running order, determined by producers, seemed to give that credence. Italy and Portugal, drawn into the first half, were put on late (ninth and eleventh) in their half, while Bulgaria, drawn into the second half, got to perform in 25th position — that’s next to last.
And it seems that the juries — supposedly independent and evaluating the songs without bias — were very much aware of the ongoing race.
Bulgaria’s jury gave Portugal and Italy zero points. And Portugal’s jury did the exact same, blanking Bulgaria and Italy.
Let’s break it down…
The Bulgarian jurors ranked eventual winner Portugal 23rd overall, awarding Salvador a total of 0 jury points.
The five individual jurors showed remarkable consistency in their ratings. Two jurors ranked “Amar pelos dois” 15th, two more 17th and one 23rd.
The jury’s tastes were out-of-line with televoters, as the Bulgarian public ranked Portugal fourth (resulting in 7 televoting points).
The Bulgarian jurors were kinder to Italy, ranking Francesco Gabbani 13th overall — but once again resulting in 0 jury points. The individual jurors rated him 9th, 14th, 15th, 15th, 16th.
The Bulgarian televoters also ranked Italy 13th.
Bulgaria’s jury gave their top marks to Austria’s Nathan Trent, rating him 5, 5, 5, 4, and 11. The public only ranked him 24th.
We see a similar pattern of blanking favourites with the Portuguese jury.
Its jurors ranked Italy 18th overall, resulting in a total of zero jury points. Their individual rankings for Italy were 8, 10, 15, 17 and 21, respectively.
The public, meanwhile, rated Italy seventh, resulting in four televoting points.
The Portuguese jurors had a much greater spread in scores when ranking Bulgaria’s Kristian Kostov.
The individual jurors ranked “Beautiful Mess” 3, 4, 16, 18 and 23, resulting in an overall jury ranking of 14th. That equated to zero jury points.
Once again the public gave what appears to be a fairer placing, ranking Bulgaria third overall. That led to eight televote points.
The Portuguese jury gave its top marks to Azerbaijan, with two jurors ranking DiHaj first and another second. The Portuguese public only ranked Azerbaijan 15th.
The Italian jury was more generous with Bulgaria and Portugal, suggesting it evaluated songs in a more even-handed fashion.
In fact, its jurors ranked Portugal sixth overall, resulting in 5 jury points. (Italy’s individual jurors ranked the song 1, 7, 8, 9 and 12).
There was remarkable consistency with the Italian public, as they also ranked the song sixth overall.
Italy’s jury also showed some love for Bulgaria, ranking it ninth overall, resulting in 2 jury points.
The public was more generous, ranking Kristian Kostov third (and therefore giving him 8 televote points).
Italy’s jury gave its top points to Azerbaijan, with two jurors ranking it first, another second, another third and another fourth. The public only rated it 20th.
What do you make of this? Do you think the Bulgarian and Portuguese juries simply had different tastes to juries elsewhere in Europe? Do you think some of the jurors were deliberately marking down rivals? Let us know in the comments box below.