Eurovision 2013: How will ‘Birds’ fly for the Netherlands?

In the year that Bonnie Tyler is representing the UK, punters are clearly ‘Holding Out For A Hero’ in the Eurovision ante-post market. The latest great white hope is Anouk from the Netherlands, after her song ‘Birds’ was revealed on Dutch radio today. You can listen to it here.

She’s been backed into a general 10-1 to reverse nearly 40 years of hurt for the Dutch – their last Eurovision victory was in 1975. This price looks even more remarkable when you consider how heartily the Dutch would celebrate mere qualification to the final, a feat which they haven’t managed since 2004. Failure to get there this time would be a great disappointment given Anouk is one of their biggest names.

This is the first preview article written since the Eurovision community woke up to a significant rule change for this year. In the past,  the awarding of each country’s points was decided by combining that country’s televote 12-10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 with the national jury’s 12-10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 to determine the finishing order of the combined top ten. This year, the jurors will be asked to rank all of the songs, from first to last, and those rankings will be combined with the televote first-to-last ranking to determine the finishing order. Viewers at home won’t notice any difference, but it creates a huge headache for punters.

‘Birds’ is a good example of why.

Let’s start with an opinion on the song, which is a melancholic ballad featuring an atmospheric combination of Anouk’s smokey vocals and some lovely instrumentation. Having said that, I think the verses tend to drag and are not melodic enough, though the refrain in the chorus lifts it.

It’s a shame the child choir that provides a suitable backing in the final third can’t be replicated exactly as it is in Malmo (no pre-recorded vocals are allowed and the minimum age for Eurovision is 16) but other vocalists can at least step in.

In the Sofabet comments, Tim B sums up what is the feeling of many about how the song will fare: “Anouk has a charming and haunting quality to her voice that I’m sure the juries will go for. Unfortunately, I think televoters will largely ignore it.”

I don’t disagree with that. ‘Jury bait’ was the phrase that came to mind when I first heard it. I don’t think it’s televote-friendly enough to win in May.

Tim is even unsure of its qualification hopes. One disadvantage in the semi is that Anouk is up against a plethora of other slowish numbers, many of them featuring female soloists. There are rather a lot of them in the first half of the first heat in which the Netherlands has been drawn, including Austria, Estonia, Russia and Ukraine. Slovenia is the only truly uptempo number among these first eight entries.

In the Netherlands’ favour, this semi is slightly more ‘western’ in feel and includes Belgium. I would hope that a song of the quality of ‘Birds’ would get one of the top ten places in a weak field of 16. At this stage, I don’t think the entries from Ireland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Estonia and Austria are particularly strong. We are yet to hear the final version of Belgium or the Moldovan and Montenegrin entries. None of these countries have a big, guaranteed televote to rely on either.

In these circumstances, I would normally have said that a very high jury score for Anouk should be enough in itself to get it to the final, and then to get at least a respectable number of points on the board on Saturday night. But this year’s rule change makes it much harder to be confident about any of this.

The beauty of the old system was that you had to guess only the top ten of televoters and jurors in each country. Allies and diaspora helped fill in some of the televote jigsaw, whilst we have got used to working out the more earnest and/or vocally superior songs that juries tended to put in their top ten.

What we haven’t had to do is worry about who comes eleventh onwards with either constituency. Now we do. Imagine a song in the final that comes eleventh with a particular country’s jurors and eleventh with its televoters. That gives it a ranking of (11 + 11 =) 22. Under the old system, it would have got no points. Under the new system, it would finish above a song that comes first with jurors but 25th with televoters, giving a combined ranking of (1 + 25 =) 26.

In the past, if punters considered that a song like ‘Birds’ was unlikely to make the top ten in a country’s televote, they simply didn’t have to think any more about it. It didn’t matter whether it was likely to finish 11th, 20th or 25th. Now, it’s imperative for us to figure out if we’re likely to be looking at mid-table mediocrity or bottom of the pile.

I should point out that this is relatively less important in a semi of 15 rivals than a final of 25 rivals. The difference between an 11th finish and a 15th finish is obviously less stark than the difference between an 11th finish and a 25th finish. That’s another reason to be hopeful of Anouk’s qualification chances.

We have to ask ourselves, how would this rule change have played out in previous years? There are recent examples of songs that were jury bait in the same way that Anouk’s promises to be: Patricia Kaas for France in 2009 springs to mind. Plenty of jurors clearly put her in their top five. Ordinary viewers largely failed to put her in each televote top ten. The question we cannot answer but would like to know is: to what extent were televoters ignoring it?

If this example – well performed, but not ideal for a Saturday-night Eurovision audience – was finishing just below the top ten in general televotes, then combining that with a high jury ranking would see it pick up plenty of points under the new system. But if it was regularly down in the televote bottom five, it would score badly with the rule change.

My own guess at answering the new and vexed question of 11th-to-last in the televote is that blandness is the kiss of death – you’ve got more chance of getting a smattering of votes if you’re attention-grabbingly awful than if you’re completely forgettable. Belgium’s derisory televote score in last year’s semi is an illustration. It was a nice enough song with a nice enough performance, on which basis I incorrectly thought it would qualify. But in hindsight, televoters clearly found the whole package as bland as Iris’s white dress.

What makes this new system such a conundrum for punters is that the exact reverse applies when it comes to juries – it seems likely that the attention-grabbingly awful songs are going to be marked right down at the bottom of jurors’ scoresheets, while the bland and forgettable songs are going to fill the middle of the jurors’ table.

Back to ‘Birds’, and how low it finishes in national televotes may come down to where it lies on a spectrum of blandness against its rivals. And it has to be said there’s a lot of beige in this year’s contest. In order to distinguish oneself in these circumstances, much will depend on presentation and the stage presence of the artist in question. The rehearsal period will obviously tell us more about this, though staging has not been a strong point for the Netherlands in the past.

A kind draw in the final would also help a great deal. Patricia Kaas was not lucky in this respect. There is an argument that if Anouk is in the final, she could be very well treated by the Swedish producers who decide the running order. She’s a big name in her country, which just so happens to be one of the bigger contributors to the EBU. The Netherlands has been staunchly loyal to the contest despite a run of bad results. If politics enter it at all, even sub-consciously, that could mean a last-ballad-in-the-final penultimate slot.

In the circumstances, whilst I think ‘Birds’ is far too short in the win market, I’m not looking to lay it in the top ten market despite being sceptical of its televote appeal.

What do you think of ‘Birds’ and its chances in Malmo, and how is the rule change affecting your strategy now that you’ve had a few days to digest it? Do let us know below.

35 comments to Eurovision 2013: How will ‘Birds’ fly for the Netherlands?

  • Great for Juries. Dodgy for viewers.

    The hosts look good so far, based on this new system.

    I still can’t get my head around exactly how things could pan out – but I agree “a little better than average” can score very well here.

  • fiveleaves

    Screams winner to me, in a weak year.
    Then again I like a good dirge and this is a very good dirge.
    There’s no reason why a subtle slow song can’t stand out and pick up a decent public vote. Think Tim Dice in the 1st semi in 2010.
    This is a far better song in a far weaker year.
    Anouk is also well known in Western Europe so should get a boost in her vote just due to that.

    Her early polling is excellent and it looks like she could lead the fan polls.
    Youtube views are also extremely encuraging.
    116K views and over 1000 likes in 12 hours.
    It’s taken the main Danish video a month to get a 1000 likes.

    OK polls and youtube views aren’t everything but I’d rather have them on my side than against.

    • Daniel

      Hi fiveleaves, great to hear from you. I appreciate the way you stick your neck out and prompt debate.

      I will point out that Tom Dice’s song went from televote third in an exceedingly poor semi (still behind the likes of Iceland’s weak schlager ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’) to televote 14th in the final. I agree that Anouk has a “better” song but it might be easier to admire than like compared to the inoffensive easy listening of ‘Me and My Guitar’.

      You know my thoughts on YouTube hits and polls. All we know so far is that fans and the Dutch, who have been waiting expectantly for the full song for months now, watched it in their droves yesterday. That doesn’t necessarily translate into anything meaningful on the scoreboard in May.

      I do recognise this is a song of quality, but plenty of those fail to fly at Eurovision. Having said which, if everything goes well with its presentation and it gets that plum draw I enjoy speculating about, I wouldn’t rule out a decent finish.

  • Chewy Wesker

    3rd in the betting!!! A low televote, me thinks. AVOID!!!
    But draw will decide who’s gonna win this year more than ever. Is there anyone trying to put together a little running order for the producers of SVT?
    I wonder…….

  • Henry VIII

    She has said she wants to perform it simply, no “feathers in her hair” and “just her” on stage.

    Could do well imo in a year when the favourite is a tedious Loreen copy (at least a copy in barefoot, sitting, floaty dress, expressions).

    Dan you say they could give it the penultimate slot. Why not the ultimate slot if they’re going to favour it, which I agree with you that they might?

    • Daniel

      Good question, Henry. We know from Melodifestivalen what SVT consider a good climax (you see it in UK shows of the same ilk) and that’s an uptempo number to finish on a high. It’s just more satisfying for the audience.

      That could mean building up to it by putting something completely contrasting on second-last. A slow-burning intense number like ‘Birds’. Just a pie-in-the-sky theory of mine for now.

  • Hey Daniel,

    Gert Waterink here from http://www.esfmagazine.nl. Like last year, we would like to feature this article in our editorial section. If it’s okay for you :-).

    My opinion about ‘Birds’. Personally it’s the music I love to listen at home. It has a very Goldfrapp-like, Lana del Rey-like quality to it. In a way I am comparing it to Patricia Kaas’ nicely scored 8th place in 2009 and Lena’s 10th place in 2011….something a Dutch fan would die for. Both songs were quite alternative in its own way, but were very dependent on staging, camerawork, etc. to bring them into the TOP 10 of the final.

    Will we win? No. I think that’s an almost given fact. TOP 5 Grand Final? Nah, I think that’s not going to happen either.

    Qualification from semi-final to final? I’m pretty confident about that actually. Anouk is, compared to Joan Franka, a way more experienced stage performer. She wants to keep it simple, but I’m quite certain we won’t see a Circus-tent decorated with feathers from her.

    From a Dutch point of view…..I think I am very happy. Quality-wise I do think we have the best Eurovision entry in our hands since Edsilia’s ‘Hemel En Aarde’ from 1998. But scoring-wise it’ll be a bit harder for me to judge. I do believe that, now there won’t be a draw, the EBU will give Netherlands a rather nice starting grid to stand out.

  • Boki

    Rg. new system, to point out the difference every one rightfully takes the extreme values when comparing the new vs old. Since 1st on televote and last on jury doesn’t really occur, I was wandering what would be the real life result and would it introduce significant changes.
    So I did a quick and dirty simulation based on tele/jury split of last 2 years. I took that ranking and imagined it was an single tele/jury outcome, based on that calculated the combined ranking according to old and new system.

    Looking at the top half of the results, an entry with bigger tele-jury absolute difference has more chance to sink down in the new system just as expected.
    But what is the threshold? Based on these 2 samples, it looks like it’s around 9. So the entries with single digit tele/jury ranking difference don’t show significant drop in ranking. Smaller the difference the better are chances for a rize of course. Lower half of the table shows a lot of irregularities since the amount of points is low in this simulation.

    So to conclude: dislike between televoters and juries needs to be big enough for the new system to kick. It happened in the last 2 years on several entries (8 entries in 2012 and 7 in 2011 had a ranking difference >= 10).

  • fiveleaves

    Hi Daniel
    Fair point about Tim, though he did get a nightmare draw in the final. Early up and following the one similar song in Cyprus.
    I’d have still had him doing better though.

    As for the Netherlands, as others have mentioned it has that melanchonic retro Lana del rey feel about it. A style that has made Lana hugely poplar all over Europe.
    Unlike Lana there is also very little worry about Anouk live 😉
    I don’t see why this sound won’t be just as popular with many Eurovision viewers.

    It seems like they are keeping the staging very simple, which could add to the magic of the song.
    Especially in the sea of mediocrity that we have this year.

    As for polling and youtbe hits, ofc many who have done well in both have failed miserably.

    All the recent winners have polled well though and often done exceptionally well on youtube.
    Songs with a life beyond Eurovision tend to win these days.
    Netherlands ticks all of those boxes.

    Like others I believe TPTB will give it as much help as they can. In a very weak year, a good slot, the best song, good staging and a contemporary popular sound could well be enough.

    It certainly appeals more than the favourite which only ticks one box. It’s polling well.

  • fiveleaves

    I guess the question I’d ask the naysayers is why would the people of Europe buy Lana Del Rey songs in their millions and yet not pick up their phones and vote for a song she could have released.

  • Shai

    Maybe I am an idiot,but there is something I don’t understand.

    How 1(from televote)+25(from jury)-ranked less than 11 from each constituency. 26 points is higher than 22. so should get more points,overall.The televote has an impact when you have draw in number of points. Than the one who gets more televote get higher points.That has always been the case.

    The rules say:”12 points shall be allocated to the song having obtained the best rank once the ranks from the
    televoting and from the National Jury have been combined”
    And the rules go on like this.
    In simple language-the higher the combined points are, the higher the points the song gets.

    I have a feeling that someone misread the rules or misinterpreted them.

    I would appreciate any clarification.

    • Boki

      I was calculating the points so in the above example:

      first on tele gets max points = 25 (assume field of 25)
      last on jury gets 1 point
      total = 26

      11th on tele gets 15 points
      11th on jury gets also 15 point
      total = 30 so better than above 26

      Daniel was using ranking which is basically the same:

      first on tele gets ranking 1
      last on jury gets ranking 25
      total ranking = 26

      11th on tele gets ranking 11
      11th on jury gets also ranking 11
      total ranking = 22 which is again better than above 26 in terms of ranking

      At the end everything gets translated to standard 12 10 etc. based on the order. I hope this helps (is at least how I see it).

      • Shai

        Boki, thanks.
        this makes much more sense.
        Got the point of how both both calculations work.
        I prefer your method,but can see the point in both calculations

  • Avitas

    Eh… If you win both jury and tele, you get a combined rank og 2. If you’re last with both you get a combined rank of 50. Translating this into eurovision points 12-10-8 etc – who do you think gets the higher score – rank 2 or 50…?

  • ron hillebrand

    Daniel,

    Thanks for your interesting analysis. I think there might be an extra factor that could play in Anouks favour. As an original high quality 3/4 Waltz, combined with Anouks voice, it definitely sticks out between all other songs of this year, wether they are up tempo or ballads. The song simply has no competition in its own league! The main question is how large this league should be to do well in the voting system?
    Some songs will indeed pick up many televotes because of show elements and/or the ‘neighbour factor’ (Greece and Cyprus and many other known combinations) and/or song quality. Just because of this I expect Birds would only have to be favoured by 3, 4 or 5 percent of the televoters to allready end up reasonably high in the televote and maybe 6 or 7 percent to reach top 5 of the combined vote easily.
    As a mathematical rule 100/26 gives a mean (average) of 3.84% for each song only. With 2 to 5 songs highly favoured by televoters, this number drops dramaticaly. Let me give an example: assume the three most favoured songs get 17%, 12% and 11% of the popular vote in a specific country. That leaves 60% / 23 = 2.6% average for the other 23 songs. If many of the other songs look and/or sound much alike on first hearing by the viewers (dance songs and ballads following the well known format) they might not differ that much in percentage of votes amongst themselves any more. If this is the case Anouk would only need 1 out of every 25 viewers (= 4%) favouring her small quality Waltz to allready end up in the top ten of the popular vote. Combined with an expected high jury vote, it would than certainly reach top ten and maybe even top five. With somewhat more admirers for this kind of ‘deviating’ song it might even give the night its biggest surprise (and 20 Waltzes next year, which explains why copying last years triumph is never a good idea …….).
    As I don’t have a database of last years ready, I cannot perform a statistical analysis. Maybe others do know what the spread (deviation) of the popular vote has been in recent years.

    • Boki

      Hi Ron,
      Jury/televote splits are available on wiki page for example, those numbers present what would the result be in case of 100% televote or 100% jury. The combining of the points happens on the country level but those data we don’t have.

      If I look on televote only, 2012 top15 looks like this:
      (1st column=points, 2nd=%)

      Sweden 343 14.1
      Russia 332 13.6
      Serbia 211 8.7
      Turkey 176 7.2
      Azerbaijan 151 6.2
      Germany 125 5.1
      Romania 117 4.8
      Albania 106 4.4
      Greece 89 3.7
      Ireland 89 3.7
      Macedonia 79 3.2
      Estonia 78 3.2
      Moldova 75 3.1
      Lithuania 68 2.8
      Cyprus 63 2.6

      And the same for 2011:

      Azerbaijan 223 9.2
      Sweden 221 9.1
      Greece 176 7.2
      Ukraine 168 6.9
      UK 166 6.8
      Bosnia 151 6.2
      Russia 138 5.7
      Georgia 138 5.7
      Germany 113 4.6
      Ireland 101 4.1
      Italy 99 4.1
      Moldova 98 4.0
      Serbia 89 3.7
      Romania 79 3.2
      France 76 3.1

      This year looks more like 2011 with no such runaway entries but 4% with big jury support should provide top10.

  • Jamie

    The main point about the new scoring system is that, as Daniel says, we haven’t previously had to worry about the songs which were outside the top 10 – but now we do.

    Unfortunately, the summary data based on the public versus jury split, as published by the EBU, won’t provide any useful insights here. By definition, these totals are calculated based on a series of 12, 10, 8 etc scores from each country. However, these country scores themselves give no weight to the songs which were outside their individual top 10s.

    Any useful analysis would require access to the detailed base data.

    By definition, the detailed jury data does not exist. Jurors have never been asked to rank all 26 songs so no-one knows the impact of the new system on jury scores.

    In contrast, the detailed televote data does exist but is rarely published. If we could access even a few examples of this data then we could do some useful analysis. Does anyone know of any examples where detailed televotes for specific countries, including voting percentages, have been published? The only example I have is Italy 2012.

    Analysis of the Italy 2012 televote reveals a few insights but they would take too long to explain here. One example though. It is foolish to assume that individual juries do not vote for novelty songs. Italy gave the Russian grannies 10 points in last year’s final. However, the public gave it only 6 points. Working back from the overall score and the televote numbers, the Italian jury must have given Russia either 7 or 8 points i.e. the jury ranked it higher than the public! As a result, the new scoring system would make little difference to the Italian score for the grannies.

    • Daniel

      Hi Jamie,

      I remembered that Sweden occasionally published its full televoting data. This is it from the 2009 final. The points total which is the first figure also takes into account the jury scores.

      POINTS COUNTRY SONG TELEVOTES
      12 NORWAY Fairytale 136 171
      10 ICELAND Is It True? 58 151
      5 BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA Bistra Voda 57 818
      4 FINLAND Lose Control 47 722
      8 AZERBAIJAN Always 39 145
      6 TURKEY Düm Tek Tek 33 709
      DENMARK Believe Again 26 635
      7 ESTONIA Rändajad 24 244
      1 ALBANIA Carry Me In Your Dreams 20 698
      3 ARMENIA Jan Jan 15 918
      2 GREECE This Is Our Night 14 450
      UNITED KINGDOM It’s My Time 12 854
      ISRAEL There Must Be Another Way 9 457
      MALTA What If We 8 535
      UKRAINE Be my Valentine! (Anti-crisis Girl) 8 229
      GERMANY Miss Kiss Kiss Bang 7 930
      PORTUGAL Todas As Ruas Do Amor 7 894
      ROMANIA The Balkan Girls 7 638
      LITHUANIA Love 7 446
      MOLDOVA Hora Din Moldova 6 131
      FRANCE Et S’il Fallait Le Faire 4 916
      RUSSIA Mamo 3 810
      CROATIA Lijepa Tena 3 752
      SPAIN La Noche Es Para Mí 3 672
      Total: 566 925

    • Boki

      Thanks Jamie for the analysis.
      It is true we don’t have the base data for the juries, but in order to analyse a difference between the old and new system we don’t really need them. What’s wrong with taking a list of 25 countries and place them in one order and then in another. So published jury/tele splita can be used as a possible real outcome of one contry in an imagined year.

  • Daniel

    I’m finding other examples online which I’ll post here too. This is Sweden’s full televote from 2007:

    Finland – Leave me alone 86.660
    Serbia Molitva 58.886
    Hungary Unsubstantial Blues 33.974
    Turkey Shake it up shekerim 28.650
    Bosnia & Herzegovina Rijeka bez imena 27.602
    Russia Song #1 24.945
    Greece Yassou Maria 22.747
    Ukraine Dancing lasha tumbai 22.209
    Moldova Fight 19.787
    germany Frauen regieren die Welt 18.397
    Belarus Work your magic 14.664
    Georgia Visionary dream 14.535
    Bulgaria Water 11.019
    Fyr Macedonia Mojo svet 10.046
    Latvia Questa notte 9.784
    Armenia Anytime you need 9.486
    France L”amour a la francaise 8.054
    Romania Liubi, liubi, I love you 6.821
    Spain I Love you mi vida 6.447
    Slovenia Cvet z juga 6.183
    UK Flying the flag (for you) 4.467
    Ireland They can”t stop the spring 4.160
    Lithuania Love Or leave 3.895

  • Daniel

    Turkey’s televote from 2010 is here.

    58.474 
    Azerbaijan
    12 points
    11.154 
    Armenia
    10 points
    10.787 
    Germany
    8 points
    6.393   
    Georgia
    7 points
    4.716   
    Greece
    6 points
    4.627   
    Bosnia & Herzegovina
    5 points
    4.225   
    France
    4 points
    3.882   
    Romania       
    3 points
    3.464   
    Ukraine
    2 points
    2.779   
    Albania
    1 points
    2.455   
    Ireland
     
    2.455   
    Moldova
     
    2.218   
    Russia
     
    2.122   
    Spain
     
    1.794   
    Belgium
     
    1.731   
    Denmark
     
    1.377   
    Iceland
     
    1.219   
    Serbia
     
    1.111   
    Israel
     
    900     
    Cyprus
     
    756     
    Belarus
     
    594       
    Norway
     
    521     
    United Kingdom
     
    266     
    Portugal
     

  • Daniel

    And Italy’s full televote from 2012:
    1 Romania 28.32%
    2 Albania 12.92%
    3 Moldova 11.22%
    4 Serbia 7.39%
    5 Russia 5.23%
    6 FYR Macedonia 3.66%
    7 Ukraine 3.13%
    8 Sweden 3.12%
    9 Turkey 2.79%
    10 Germany 2.43%
    11 Spain 2.38%
    12 Lithuania 2.36%
    13 Greece 2.28%
    14 Cyprus 1.86%
    15 Iceland 1.74%
    16 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1.43%
    17 Denmark 1.25%
    18 Malta 1.25%
    19 Ireland 1.13%
    20 Estonia 1.05%
    21 Azerbaijan 0.68%
    22 Hungary 0.66%
    23 France 0.65%
    24 Norway 0.61%
    25 United Kingdom 0.46%

  • Daniel

    Full Polish televote in 2009. I know they’re not competing this year, like the Turks but we can compare it with the Swedish televote for the same year above..

    Public votes (Televoting and SMS) for the final
    12 points to Norway – 20,836 votes
    10 points to Azerbaijan – 19,009 votes
    08 points to Estonia – 8,416 votes
    07 points to Ukraine – 7,140 votes
    06 points to Armenia – 5,678 votes
    05 points to Russia – 5,369 votes
    04 points to Albania – 5,178 votes
    03 points to Moldova – 3,559 votes
    02 points to Great Britain – 3,504 votes
    01 point to Iceland – 2,995 votes
    ——————————————
    11th – Lithuania – 2,898 votes
    12th – Greece – 2,842 votes
    13th – Turkey – 2,644 votes
    14th – France – 2,598 votes
    15th – Sweden – 2,528 votes
    16th – Denmark – 2,516 votes
    17th – Germany – 2,487 votes
    18th – Finland – 2,174 votes
    19th – Malta – 2,078 votes
    20th – Croatia – 1,502 votes
    21st – Bosnia & Herzegovina – 1,227 votes
    22nd – Israel – 1,152 votes
    23rd – Romania – 1,093 votes
    24th – Spain – 914 votes
    25th – Portugal – 683 votes

  • Jamie

    Thanks Daniel. I’ve plugged Sweden 2009 into my spreadsheet and the results are eerily consistent with Italy 2012.

    Note: Although the official new scoring system gives 1 point to the top country through to 25/26 points to the bottom country and then rewards the lowest score, this is logically the same as 25/26 points to the top country and 1 point to the bottom country and then rewarding the highest score. However, the latter option allows for a direct comparison between the old and new systems as it means that, in both systems, a high score = good and a low score = bad, so I have used the latter option. Also, I have assumed that the top score in the new system is equal to the number of countries in the contest, even though a competing country can’t vote for itself and has one less country to vote for.

    Here are some facts about the Sweden 2009 televote (with some of the equivalents about Italy 2012 in brackets).

    Runaway televote winner with more than twice as many votes as the second country. Norway 24.02% of vote (Romania 28.32% in Italy 2012).

    Top 4 countries account for over 50% of the vote (Top 3 countries account for over 50% of vote).

    Top 7 countries account for over 70% of the vote (Top 7 countries).

    Top 10 countries account for over 80% of the vote (Top 10 countries).

    This means that the non top 10 countries have less than 20% of the televote between them i.e. on average less than 1.5% each. Under the old system these very low numbers are ignored for scoring but under the new system they are important.

    The quality/boring (delete as applicable) ballad which “the public doesn’t vote for” was UK and was 12th in Sweden 2009 (Spain 11th in Italy 2012) so it is ignored in the old system but gets a fairly good score in the new system.

    Under the old system, Norway gains 12 points based on its 24.02% of the vote. This is 20.69% of the total points of the Swedish public. In contrast, Greece was the country in 11th place and gains 0 points for its 2.55% of the vote.

    Under the new system, Norway gains 25 points based on its 24.02% of the vote. This is 7.69% of the total points of the Swedish public. In contrast, Greece gains 15 points based on its 2.55% of the vote. This is 4.62% of the total Swedish points – over half the points of Norway for 10% of Norway’s public vote!

    You can see that both the old and new systems are “unfair” to Norway (or any other runaway televote winner such as Romania for Italy 2012). Both systems DEPRESS Norway’s points percentage compared to its televote percentage. However, the new system is more brutal in this respect.

    In contrast, the old system is brutal to Greece in giving it no points at all for its 11th place. The new system, however, BOOSTs Greece by giving it more points than it “deserves” based on its televote percentage.

    If you classify each country depending on whether its score is BOOSTed or DEPRESSed vis a vis its public score percentage then you see an interesting pattern.

    Here is the pattern for the old system using the televote ranks for Sweden 2009.

    1 DEPRESS (the runaway televote leader)
    2-8 BOOST
    9-10 DEPRESS
    11-24 DEPRESS (as they get no points under the old system)

    Here is the equivalent pattern for the new system.

    1-5 DEPRESS
    6-23 BOOST
    24 DEPRESS

    (Very similar, but not identical, patterns for Italy 2012).

    Remember that all of this has looked only at the televote. Jury points are not included. I suspect that most jurors will have 5-6 songs they really like and 5-6 songs they really dislike. They will then order the remaining 50% of “mediocre” songs almost randomly as they will see little difference in the relative merits of these songs. Finally, the combination of the public and jury points in order to allocate the overall 12,10, 8 etc will re-introduce the same type of abruptness as the old system in dealing with the songs around overall 10th position.

    You can draw your own conclusions on the likely impact on future contests. Personally, I think that the new system is laughable both in complexity and likely impact. It’s also easily open to manipulation as small increases in televotes at the lower end of the table can generate significant increases in points. This is particularly true for small countries. For example, what exactly is 1% of the San Marino televote? However, as a gambler, it’s important only to understand the system rather than agree with it.

    I’ll have a look at the other scores you have posted when I get time. However, I’ll only post again if I find significantly different patterns as it has taken me longer to write this post than to carry out the analysis. It’s much easier to see patterns in spreadsheets than to explain them in words.

  • Chewy Wesker

    I’ve been watching Zlata Ognevich offical music video on you tube. Less backing singers less disney, i think so much better. Zlata is so “Alpha Female” i love her. Any review coming?

    • Daniel

      Hi Chewy, review coming at some point. I was wondering whether to wait for Azerbaijan so we could see the lie of the land across the whole former Soviet bloc.

  • Nitro

    I don’t think she’s even guaranteed a high jury vote as neither juries nor televoters will bolster a boring act. Her past live and music video performances coupled with he Netherlands usual slack in the staging department tells me they are going to let the song sell itself.

  • I have heard/seen most of the entries now. It’s interesting to see how people are predicting. Usually they say something like “Very good, juries will love it, but televoters will bring them down”. Why can’t we say: “Hmmm televoters won’t help them, but bad luck for them, because juries are truly going to help Netherlands this year…..to a TOP 10 spot for sure”.

    Sounds a bit more positive if you ask me . I have a weakness for the juryvote. I shall be honest that ever since 2009 I have liked the 100% jury outcome much more than the 100% televoting outcome ánd even the 50/50 official result.

    But we need to stay objective no .

    Here’s already my first prediction of TOP 10 candidates for the grand final, in alfabetic order: Azerbaijan, Denmark (Enya), Finland (Lily Allen), Georgia, Israël, Netherlands (Goldfrapp), Norway (Robyn), Ukraine, Austria (Adele), Sweden (Coldplay).

    Outsiders for the TOP 10: Belarus (Hadise), Bulgaria (tacky fun), Germany (old dance), Greece (fun), Russia (again Ukraine better).

    Now I’m waiting for Italy. If their song is official I need to update my TOP 10 contenders again. So far I think it’s pretty certain to say Scandinavia will win Eurovision. Best chances, so far, I would say Norway or Sweden. Denmark….perhaps TOP 5. Azerbaijan is doing everything right again, staging-wise, except one thing: The song. In order to win, everything needs to be good. Netherlands impresses me, because after seeing the live studio recording of Anouk. Juries will bring this in the TOP 10 for sure. Finland then? Completely underestimated. So fun, tacky, but also extremely well performed.

    • Gert, I agree very much with most you have said and your top10 contenders, but I think it’s hard for 3 scandi’s to be in the top10, let alone 4.

    • Chewy Wesker

      Hi Gert, thanks for posting your top ten. I was wondering who would be the first to stick their neck out, i agree with your prediction on finland Krista Siegfrids- Marry me. I was impressed with her performance on the bigger stage, great value at 66/1 if she got a good draw who knows. Estonia too think could do well. As for Anouk i can’t see people picking up the phones for her, she’s a little Hammer House of Horror what with those promo photos of her splattered in blood. When i first heard her song sung down the telephone it was a little “we are the dead children” scary. Any goodluck with top ten bets, i’ll try not to have nightmares.

  • It’s always interested to see what happens. Three different kind of songs manage to end in the TOP 10 always:

    –> Songs that are loved by juries ánd loved by televoters. 1st place juries + 2nd place televoters, or 7th place juries + 5th place televoters. Like Estonia 2009 (6th) and Sweden 2012 (1st)
    –> Songs that are loved by televoters, but not so much by juries. 4th place televoters + 20th place juries, or 2nd place televoters + 12th place juries. Like Russia 2012 (2nd) and Greece 2009 (7th).
    –> Songs that are loved by juries, but not so much by televoters. 1st place juries + 11th place televoters, or 3rd place juries + 5th place juries + 18th place televoters. Like Italy 2011 (2nd) and Spain 2012 (10th).

    So it is necessary to judge the three variables in songs I have mentioned above. As you can see a mixed final result ending in a 2nd place can happen in many ways: Compare Italy 2011 with Russia 2012 and you know what I mean. These possible huge, or lower, discrepancies between juries and televoters needs to be taken into account.

    It is still very much possible that we will have a winner soon that is much clearer a jury favourite than a televote favourite. For example Italy ending 1st with huge margin with juries, but 9th with televoters with lower margins, still resulting in a much slimmer victory. The other thing, like Russia 2012, still can happen too, but then resulting in a victory, instead of a 2nd place.

    Eurovision is never boring :-P.

  • Hey Daniel? Goldfrapp vs. Anouk? A worthy comparison? What do you actually think of these live performances of Goldfrapp? And what advice would you give Anouk regarding staging?

    Here are some nice Goldfrapp performances, allthough I’m not sure if this could work on Eurovision….

    Goldfrapp with ‘Clowns’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_5kEuKbA2U

    Goldfrapp with ‘Eat Yourself’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TutvVq20tUo

    Goldfrapp with ‘Little Bird’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulYxgKXkLkI

  • One question for Daniel: Why are the betting odds for Netherlands so extremely short?

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