Eurovision 2019 Fraught with Voting Irregularities!

In the wake of the Eurovision 2019 results, it seems that that there have been a number of issues with how the jury votes had been delivered. Most notably, and the only one that the EBU has accepted to date, is the results of the Belorussian jury. Other marked mistakes however have been made. This is particularly the case in regards to the Semi Final jury votes and some of the national jurors having voted back to front.

Let’s begin with the Belorussian jury votes. These were nullified due to some of the jury members sharing their scores with the media which is in contravention of the EBU rules. As a result, their votes were replaced with an aggregate score of jury votes, but the EBU awarded these back to front meaning the song that should have got 12-1 points from Belarus jury was awarded zero and ten countries that should have been awarded zero points received points 12-1. As a result the final result had to be overhauled and reissued. There was no change to the overall winner but it had a significant impact on some countries. First and foremost the new corrected results meant that it was North Macedonia who topped the jury vote, not Sweden. The combined new results saw Norway slip out of the top five, promoting Sweden’s John Lundvik to fifth. Azerbaijan and North Macedonia also swapped positions in seventh and eighth place, Cyprus and Malta gained two positions, while France and Slovenia were demoted two places.

But this wasn’t the only fuck up. A number of jurors appear to have voted backwards in the semi finals. This includes Czech juror Jitka Zelenková who ranked Portugal as her favourite entry, Slovenia as her least-favourite entry. This is both in direct opposition to the other Czech jurors votes and the results she dished out in the final for the same countries, Slovenia being one of her favourites.

Similarly Swedish juror Lina Hedlund appeared to have voted backwards in the second semi-final. Hedlund ranked the Netherlands and Switzerland as her favourite entries in the final, but ranked them as her two least-favourite entries in the semi-final. Neither Hedlund, the Swedish broadcaster Sveriges Television (SVT), nor the EBU have commented on the incident.

The second semi-final also seemed to have Russian juror Igor Gulyaev casting his votes in a reverse order. In the semi-final, Gulyaev ranked Denmark first and Azerbaijan last, although he reversed this placement in the final. Additionally, he ranked Albania as his second least-favourite entry in the semi-final, but as his second favourite in the final.

You may think that these incidents alone could not have impacted the results of the Contest, however given that one point separated 10th and 11th place in Semi Final 2 and two points separated 10th and 11th in Semi Final 1, these errors could have impacted which countries actually qualified for the final. In the case of the Russian juror, Denmark would have lost two points from Russia and it would have instead seen Lithuania qualify for the final instead.

Given that Jury votes account for 50% of the total votes awarded at Eurovision, the EBU should take more care with how these are collected. They need to instruct the jury more clearly and ensure they have voted correctly before the results are finally submitted. If results are deemed to be incorrect not only should these be corrected before publicly announced, but the individual juror should receive a personal fine or a ban from serving on juries in future for submitting incorrect votes!

Lithuania also have called into question the results of the Italian televote after the Italian broadcaster RAI published the results of their televote (Albania (12 points), Romania (10 points), Russia (8 points), Moldova (7 points), Norway (6 points), Switzerland (5 points), North Macedonia (4 points), Azerbaijan (3 points), Malta (2 points) and Lithuania (1 point)). This differs fairly significantly from the Italian results awarded by the EBU (Albania (12 points), Romania (10 points), Norway (8 points), Russia (7 points), Switzerland (6 points), Moldova (5 points), Azerbaijan (4 points), The Netherlands (3 points), Malta (2 points) and North Macedonia (1 point)). If these results were changed, Lithuania and Denmark would have tied for 10th place in Semi Final 2 and because Lithuania had a higher televote, Lithuania would have been awarded a place in the Grand Final over Denmark.

This is not the first time that national juries have voted incorrectly. In 2016 Danish juror Hilda Heick ranked her results backwards, resulting in Ukraine receiving 12 points from Denmark instead of Australia.

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