They were the undisputed people’s choice at Eurovision 2019. Yet despite scooping up 291 televote points — 30 more than the Netherlands in second — Norway’s KEiiNO didn’t even make the podium on Saturday night, having to make do with a fifth-place finish.
Many fans are rightly miffed at the discordance between the public and the music experts. And they’re not the only ones. Speaking to the Norwegian outlet VG, the trio’s male vocalist Tom Hugo questioned the need for juries at all.
Hugo says he’s not a fan, adding: “It is subjective what is good and bad, and then it is strange that a few people should sit and decide half of what a country should give as points”.
The “Spirit In The Sky” crooner goes on: “There have always been lots of rumours about jury members being bribed and such, and that is so stupid. So the scheme seems unnecessary. And I think maybe this will be a real debate on this now”.
“You were afraid that pure telephone votes could be manipulated. But now the technology has changed quite a lot”.
Lest people scream “sour grapes”, KEiiNO have already sent their congratulations to the Netherlands’ Duncan Laurence on Instagram: “CONGRATULATIONS! WOW, you were so amazing last night. We know how much you love music, and we are so happy that you won Eurovision Song Contest 2019! We really hope to see you again soon, and would love to visit The Netherlands next year!”
KEiiNO’s Jury Final Performance
One potential reason for the disparity in votes could be a technical issue which arose during Friday night’s jury final. The screen went black on two occasions and when the picture returned a cameraman was visible in the shot.
In the same VG interview, Tom says it is difficult to say whether the glitches made much of a difference.
“An email was sent to the jury with a note that they should not be influenced by the fact that the screen went black. But music is about creating a feeling, and when you don’t get continuity in the experience you can be unconsciously influenced”.
Norway’s Head of Delegation Stig Karlsen says the team are just focusing on the good result and the fact that KEiiNO topped the televote — “It’s amazing”.
Nonetheless, the TV exec was not best pleased by the EBU’s decision to reject both NRK’s initial request to perform again and the subsequent formal complaint. “We are disappointed with the decision, but the EBU must be able to make its assessments, and make the choices they believe are right”.
Jon Ola Sand responds to jury criticism
The EBU’s Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand tells VG that the current voting method works well and that there are no plans to change it. However, he is aware of the complaints from his fellow Norwegians.
In response, Sand reiterates that “those who sit on the jury are professional and competent and that all parties, including the broadcasters, are well pleased with the scheme”.
“What we have discussed is the weighting between audience voices and the jury. Now we have 50/50 and we think it works well”.
What do you think? Does the jury/televote split need to be reformed? Should the juries be axed completely? Let us know in the comments below.