As preparations are already underway for Sweden’s hosting of Eurovision 2024, the EBU announced reforms are being investigated in regards to jury voting. This comes following wide backlash in the wake of Loreen’s victory in Liverpool.
Several parties calling for jury voting reform
The reform for the juries comes from a variety of people across the general public and participating broadcasters. Their concerns come from the results of Eurovision 2023, where winner Loreen earned almost double the number of points from her nearest competitor, Israel.
Following her win, the Contest was inundated with complaints at the result. As well as this, allegations of corruption and collusion had been considered. Overall, fans called for reform or the total abolishment of the system.
Now, in an interview, Norway’s public broadcaster NRK has said the EBU is negotiating for a potential change in how the juries’ points are allocated. Speaking to commercial broadcaster TV2, NRK’s project manager for Eurovision, Thea Flinder said:
The commitment shows that this may be a good time for the EBU to make a proper assessment of the jury system. We are in dialogue with the EBU and have been told that it will be assessed and finally decided in January.Thea Flinder, Project Manager for Melodi Grand Prix and Eurovision for NRK
Flinder added that discussions between broadcasters and the EBU are increasing regarding the future of the jury votes. She ended by saying that the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group will make the final decision.
Trying to strike a balance
Prior to the introduction of the televote in 1998, juries served as the only way to give out points. As a result, the public could watch the results unfold knowing that they played no part in the outcome.
However, after televoting was successfully trialled in Birmingham, televoting overtook juries as the primary method of votes, downgrading the juries to be used in case of an emergency. This happened occasionally, such as when the Netherlands used a jury vote in 2000 due to the Enschede fireworks disaster. Notwithstanding, televoting resulted in a rise in bombastic performers, culminating in 2008 with a vast number of novelty acts participating. Therefore, to maintain the quality of songs participating, jury voting was re-introduced in 2009, accounting for 50% of the vote.
The impact of the jury was reduced in Eurovision 2023, having the public exclusively decide the results of the semi-finals. However, this in itself was controversial, following hesitancy in the wake of previous Contests using a 100% televoting system.
EBU: Jury voting upholds song quality
TV2 received a statement pointing to why jury voting is important in the results:
Using national juries of musical experts in the grand final, who rank all the songs in order of priority, each song can be assessed individually. It ensures the best qualitative ranking of all participants in the Grand Final and that a winner is decided on the broadest criteria.
By using a jury vote for the Grand Final, we can also continue a long-standing tradition of uniting all participating countries on air with spokespeople providing votes from their nation.
With all participating countries voting in the grand final, including the points awarded by professional juries, it also helps to mitigate diaspora and cultural voting which is reduced by 50% in the semi-finals by assigning countries with similar voting records to perform and vote in separate shows .
Finally, to maintain the suspense of the voting sequence in the grand finale, with the final winner only known at the very end of the show, two sets of separate votes are still required.EBU statement
The story of Eurovision 2023
Although Ukraine won the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, due to the ongoing Russian invasion they are unable to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. Instead, the United Kingdom stepped in, as 2022’s runner-up; Liverpool will host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest on the 9th, 11th, and 13th of May 2023. The contest took place at the M&S Arena, with 37 countries taking part. The full production team behind the 2023 contest is listed here. The contest was a co-production between host broadcaster the BBC and last year’s winning broadcaster, Suspilne.
What do you think of the prospect of reform in the jury voting? What would you do if you were a part of the Reference Group? As always, let us know what you think by commenting below. Also, be sure to follow “That Eurovision Site” on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tiktok as we look ahead to Eurovision 2024!
News Source: TV2
Photo Credit: Sarah Louise Bennett / EBU