In the aftermath of Eurovision 2019, the EBU has had to deal with a series of voting blunders — from their wrongful accounting of the Belarusian jury vote to individual jurors not understanding the voting procedure and reverse-ranking acts.
After combing through the results of the Russian jury, we’ve noticed one rather large discrepancy that suggests another voting error for Semi-Final 2. And one that may have pushed Denmark into the final over Lithuania.
As you’ll recall, 18 countries competed in Semi-Final 2. Jurors cannot vote for their own country, leaving them to rank acts from 1 to 17.
Below you can see how each juror rated Azerbaijan and Denmark in Semi-Final 2. Pay special attention to Juror C Igor Gulyaev.
During Semi-Final 2, Gulyaev awarded the lowest ranking — 17th — to Azerbaijan. This put him out of line with the rest of the Russian jury, each of whom placed Chingiz Mustafayev seventh or higher.
He also ranked Denmark first — once again putting him distinctly out of line with the rest of the Russian jury, who ranked the song significantly lower — between eighth and 16th.
Fast-forward to the grand final of Eurovision 2019, where jurors must rank songs from #1 to #25. Suddenly Juror C ranks Azerbaijan first and Denmark last — a complete reversal from Semi-Final 2.
It’s safe to assume that Juror C wasn’t having a change of heart in the grand final. It’s far more likely that he mis-ordered his ranking during the semi-final — an error we have seen before.
As we previously reported, Lina Hedlund — a member of the Swedish jury — appears to have made the same mistake during Semi-Final 2. And in 2016, Danish juror Hilda Heick made the exact same mistake as well.
This incident is particularly worrisome for Lithuania’s artist Jurij Veklenko. He finished in 11th position behind Denmark — missing the grand final by just one point.
Juror C’s error significantly boosted Denmark with the Russian jury, culminating in Leonora receiving three points from them. Had Juror C ranked Denmark last — as he did in the grand final — Denmark would have received no points from the Russian jury, which would have put Lithuania through to the final.
The revelation of this potential error comes as Lithuania is seeking clarification from the EBU about potential errors in the Italian televote.
In the EBU’s published televote, Lithuania received zero televote points from Italy. But according to the Italian broadcaster’s tally, Lithuania was due to receive one point — which would have led to a tie with Denmark. And, as the rules state, ties are broken by the televote. Lithuania would have advanced on that account, as it received 77 overall televotes compared to Denmark’s 41.
After hearing about the discrepancy in results, Lithuania’s Head of Delegation at Eurovision, Audrius Giržadas, confirmed that the broadcaster would be formally applying to the EBU to ask for clarifications about the Italian televote result:
The situation is really interesting. We, as a broadcaster, have suffered moral and rating misconduct, and we may have enough to acknowledge the error.
Speaking to LRT.lt himself, Jurij remained unfazed by the situation and says his job is to focus on the music.
I did everything I could, but it happened as it happened. Those who were in the finals were worthy of it, and I don’t see the point of unnecessarily hitting or depriving them of their place in the table.
Should the jury’s way of voting change?
A high-ranking member of a national delegation, who shall remain nameless, has told wiwibloggs that the system of ranking artists from #1 to #25 confuses jurors. He tells us that for years jurors and voters have been used to awarding points — that is, giving 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1, respectively. Asking jurors to then do the opposite and list rank ordinals — so your fave gets 1, your second fave 2, etc. — is just too confusing.
He, and others, think that national final voting systems are much more understandable. Having sat on several juries for national finals, I can agree. I’ve always been instructed to award points to my favourites, so to assign 12 points, 10 points, 8 points, etc. It’s very straightforward and there’s little room for confusion.
What do you make of all this? Should the system be changed to prevent this type of confusion? Or should jury chairpersons just stress the rules and procedure more clearly to jurors? Let us know in the comments box below.