The EBU is currently consulting with delegations about whether it should make changes to the Eurovision voting system. That’s according to Toñi Prieto, the Entertainment Director of Spain’s RTVE.
In an interview with vertele!, Prieto said the EBU is doing its research and reaching out to stakeholders for their take — a reality that has us on the edge of our seats.
She said: “The EBU is considering a change to the voting. They are thinking and talking with the delegations to understand how we see it — if you must have a jury, or only a jury, or only a public vote.”
The jury-televote split, whereby each half accounts for half of the score, has been under increased scrutiny in recent years over disagreements in the their respective rankings. In 2015, Il Volo famously won the televote, only to come sixth with the jury. Sweden’s Mans Zelmerlow — a distant third with the public — won the jury vote in a landslide. In 2019, televote winners KEiiNO finished just 15th with the jury.
Music is made for the people, not necessarily the professionals, and the jury drag isn’t lost on artists. Piero from Il Volo told Wiwibloggs that he thought the jury vote should only count for 20% of the overall score. Tom Hugo of KEiiNO has said he’s not a fan of the current system either, 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”.
Of course, there are plenty examples of the drag happening in the other direction. This year North Macedonia won the jury vote, only to be pulled down the leader board by a poor televote.
In reality there is no perfect system. The juries are thought to provide a balance to bloc voting and to be able to see past regional alliances. On the other hand, they’re also more easily corruptible. And then there’s the reality that their name goes beside their vote — they have to worry about how people (at home, in their local music industry, at work) will perceive their votes after-the-fact. They may vote ‘safe’ rather than voting with their heart as so many televoters do. As ever there is also one very thorny question: Should five people on a jury have the same power as millions of televoters?
Let’s face it: Recent jury blunders haven’t helped their reputation. In 2016, after the first major results presentation change since 1975, a Danish juror admitted that she submitted her votes in reverse order. Fast forward three years, the results presentation changes again, and the same thing happens again. And again. And to add insult to injury, the Belarusian jury points were completely upside down, which caused plenty of mayhem.
"The televote are the people who buy the album, the televote are the people who come to the shows." In 2016, a year after the juries cost @ilvolo the #Eurovision win, @piero_barone told us the televote should count for 80% of the result https://t.co/q3JSO4PEuI
— wiwibloggs (@wiwibloggs) October 22, 2019
Our readers appear to be split on the matter. Some definitely want the jury to remain. On Twitter @newsreader_360 writes: “It usually was the televote that made ‘circus acts’ win eurovision, Coutries with a large diaspora always ending top 5. Neighbour voting is worse in televote. The only reason Norway won the televote this year is because the got 12 points from neigbours in north-west europe.”
On Insta, we saw several comments where people said they want to keep the juries, but to lessen their power.
On Instagram ricknazarian writes: “Either 60 percent publicly and 40 jury or increase juries to 10 people. Not fair that 5 people have the same influence as a country.”
josipajopaercegovac said: “90 % televote 10% jury …we wait entire year for Eurovision and we even pay for our votes that’s why I think our votes should matter more.”
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Spain’s TV boss Toñi Prieto says the EBU is asking delegations for their thoughts about potentially changing the voting system at #Eurovision. Televote only? Jury only? Keep it as it is? Increase to ten jurors per country? What words do you have for them? #esc2020 #eurovision2020 #eurovisionsongcontest #rotterdam2020?? #ebu
What changes would you like to see in the jury-televote system? Let us know down below.