At Least we Didn’t Come Last…

Another Eurovision, and another block vote spectacular!

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For a long while it looked as though the UK was heading for a repeat of their ‘nul points’ performance by Jemini in the 2003 contest. In the end a grand total of two out of the forty-two voting countries actually gave us points – the two countries that most often give us points, 7 points from Ireland, and top marks, a 12 from Malta. Ironically it was the Irish vote that relegated their own entry to last place.

Ironically, considering the mess when our song was selected, when Scooch ultimately won, the second placed song was a big ballad, and that is what won – a big ballad from Serbia. Having said that, whatever we would have put forward, I would have been surprised if we had come that much higher. Most of the western European countries were knocked out in the semi-final, and those that remained, including the big four who automatically qualify – the UK, Germany, France and Spain – were all in the bottom six.

There was a real eclectic mix of styles this time around, with glam rock from Sweeden, a German swing number, and traditional Irish folk (that came last with only Albania giving them any points at all). There was a definite Lordi effect though, with a noticeable increase in the more hard rock numbers.

However what I suspect will garner most complaints this year as in a number of recent years will be the block voting. Whilst in the past, it used to be quite amusing that Greece and Cyprus would always vote for each other for example, it didn’t seem to have that much of an effect. With the break up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, large parts of the voting appeared to be being affected by these block votes tonight – indeed even the UK votes were from our traditional block with Ireland and Malta. However it was noticeable that on several occasions the audience in Finland booed 12 point votes that appeared to be blatantly political. Short of changing the voting system though, there is not really anything that can be done. Perhaps the only way we in the UK can increase our chances is to enter as four separate countries – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – rather than the United Kingdom – then at least we can all vote for each other to increase our votes…

Update: A couple of related news items. Firstly, Malta have all but accused some of the other countries of cheating in the phone vote, plus parts of the German media are unhappy and demanding that Germany withdraw from the competition, and secondly, British MP’s are demanding changes to the voting system, or that the BBC withdraw from subsequent contests. Certainly it will be interesting to see quite what will happen if two of the big four broadcasters who bankroll the competition pull out…

2 thoughts on “At Least we Didn’t Come Last…”

  1. About the booing, it was aimed at russia.
    It was clear that nobody really liked their song, it was almost as dull as the British entry 🙂 Besides, russia is Unbelieveable unpopular in the neightbouring countries at the moment, due their recent attacks on Estonia (and before that, Poland, Ukraine, Georgia… divide and conqure).

    So, the audience wanted to protest that the russian minorities in the ex-soviet states voted their phones hot after watching russian television, whose commentaries are so chauvinistic that the French look amateurs on that field! Sick and tired of that! Some of the neighbouring voting can be understood culturally (Serbia and “friends”, but not all).

    Ukraine, on the otherhand, fished some votes with the line “Russia Goodbye”, which were correctly interpreted by all east-european –> cultural voting. I don’t think westeners realised how funny that was 🙂

  2. After Beth visited a Latvian school a few years ago we were aware of the large Russian minorities in many former Soviet countries – and certainly understand the effect that can have on the voting.

    The British have a somewhat weird relationship with Eurovision. Thanks in part to Terry Wogan who has provided our commentary for many years it doesn’t tend to be taken particularly seriously, however based on the press reaction yesterday we do seem to get mightly annoyed if our song does badly.

    As to our entry, I certainly didn’t think that we selected the best one, but equally I don’t think it was anything like the worst song there. As this BBC comment article highlights it is anything but a song competition!

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