The announcement of the split results between the juries and televotes is an opportunity for endless analysis. Our readers have made an excellent start on it in reaction to yesterday’s initial quick post highlighting the publication of these results.
The bigger picture for me is that, in general, the jury vote continues to be far less predictable than the televote. Which is not to say there were no surprises in the televote. Most notably, Ukraine’s poor performance among the viewing public could have been very painful for the likes of Panos and myself, had the juries not come to its rescue.
Nonetheless, in the main it’s still easier to predict which songs will fly with the public than with the juries. Here are my reactions to the split results in greater detail.
1. The unusually skewed televote helped the big hitters… mostly
The enormous popularity of Sweden and Russia, leaving the rest in their wake, was the main feature of the televote. It meant that a mere 89 points was enough to see Greece and Ireland respectively take 9th and 10th spots in the public poll, which is comparatively lower than you would expect with 42 participants – only Lordi’s year comes close.
This largely played into the hands of other big hitters with their guaranteed points. Four of them – Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Azerbaijan – were in the televote top five. It was no surprise to see Romania, who also have their fair share of friends, score as high as 7th.
It was a surprise, however, that Greece only just sneaked into the televote top ten. On the day of the final, I’d expected Greece to get a split result much like the one Turkey ended up with: 176 points and fourth in the televote; 50 points and fifth from bottom with the juries.
However, while Eleftheria Eleftheriou did marginally better than Can Bonomo with the juries, the Greek diaspora refused to put its weight behind her. 89 points was a far cry from recent televote scores of, from 2011 backwards: 176, 152, 151, 218, 139 and so on.
You could wonder if this has something to do with the Greek diaspora patriotically wanting to spare their mother nation the expense of hosting 2013. But I think the simpler conclusion is the correct one: cheap Greek ethnopop has had its day… even with the Greeks.
2. So what was the fanwank?!
Fanwank is a term to describe the fan favourite before the contest that fails to connect with the wider voting pubic. Each year it happens, and 2012 was no exception. There were a few likely-looking contenders this year, with some suggesting beforehand that Sweden would win the undistinguished accolade.
I had suggested before the contest that it would be Cyprus. Ivi’s televote score was a point less than 2011’s fanwank ‘What About My Dreams?’ managed, admittedly with one less participant. Nonetheless it seems unfair to give her the accolade after she sailed through to the final, proving me wrong.
Other fan favourites performed much worse with the voting public. Spain needed its jury 5th to lift it from its televote 18th. Iceland, in the top five of pre-contest fan polls, scored 19th with both constituencies. But perhaps we need look no further than Norway, easily in the top ten of those fan polls but bottom of the pack on the night.
3. The juries still like well-sung ballads
And the Pope’s still giving Mass. The skewed televotes of 2012 allowed for an even more significant boost for the well-sung ballads we already knew the juries tend to favour. It was enough to get Estonia and Spain into the top ten – though, to be fair to Ott, he wasn’t far off it in the televote.
Albania’s victory with juries in the semi and strong performance on the final scoreboard (8th in the televote, 3rd in the jury vote) was another example, and we can reasonably add Italy’s mid-tempo number (17th and 4th).
Apart from Sweden the only upbeat numbers in the jury top ten were Ukraine and Moldova. Who would’ve guessed that? Which brings me to my next point.
4. Juries punish uptempo stuff… sometimes
It remains tricky to work out which upbeat numbers will find jury favour and which they will punish. Plenty did very well with this constituency in Baku. First and foremost, we have a Swedish dance track running away with the jury vote, though eurovicious has some wise words on their positive response to the way ‘Euphoria’ was presented.
Arguably more surprising was that other upbeat entries I had put in a file marked ‘not jury friendly’, such as Cyprus, France, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Malta, actually did rather better here than with televoters. (Actually, as Nick D reminds us, you should scratch Malta from that list.)
Emma usefully compares Ivi Adamou to Getter Jaani from 2011, and it’s worth reiterating that Ireland’s Jedward, like Estonia, out-performed in the jury vote last year too. But then, the twins’ failure with juries this year, and that of Norway’s Tooji as well as Turkey’s Can, shows that it’s more difficult to know which upbeat songs the juries will decide to tolerate.
This leads me on to a discussion of Russia’s respectable eleventh position with juries with the execrable song that was ‘Party for Everybody’. It seemed safe to assume that this would not get much love here, especially as last year seemed to indicate that juries among the Soviet bloc were happy to ignore the former motherland.
So how do we explain a respectable eleventh? I suggest that certain juries are not so different from televoters after all. They voted for what they saw as the most memorable act, just as plenty of juries are perfectly happy with something upbeat, disposable, contemporary and relatively well performed.
Predicting what they will think fits into the final category remains, however, a bit of a puzzle. I’m inclined to agree with one of several excellent points made by sonovox that Gaitana and Pasha were rewarded for elevating their songs beyond its bare bones with two really strong performances. However, having watched Anggun’s ropey performance in the relevant rehearsal, her 85 jury points are a complete mystery to me.
5. They can also punish middle-of-the-road entries
The heartland of MOR Eurovision entries, Denmark, surprisingly came sixth-last with juries this time around. Germany, with a song that was so middle-of-the-road it might as well have been representing Denmark, did better with televoters than juries. Iceland would not have been in the final at all had it been down to the juries alone. What was going on here?
Perhaps it’s best to take these on a case-by-case basis. It’s worth bearing in mind that Soluna Samay had been initially off-key for the semi jury rehearsal, and so jurors may have been less minded to be generous in the much stronger final (the same could be said of Turkey’s Can Bonomo).
Meanwhile, the telegenic Roman Lob was nicely drawn for televoters and still managed something respectable with the juries. Iceland’s ‘Never Forget’ never allowed the vocalists to shine: Jonsi’s switch to a lower key didn’t do much for harmonising with a nervous-looking Greta.
Nonetheless, one might reasonably have expected all three of these MOR entries to have been more jury-friendly than they proved to be. Just as with the upbeat numbers, it’s harder to extrapolate in more general terms what the juries are up to. Ultimately, every entry has to be considered on an individual basis, and even then you can never be sure.
This philosophy goes for a general conclusion as well. The results are predictable and shocking in equal measure, which is part of the challenge and charm of Eurovision – and gives us plenty to chew over in anticipation of 2013. Your further thoughts and theories? Please keep the debate going below.