Tag Archives: Voting

Is There Any Such Thing as a Eurovision Song?

Thank heavens there are some of the British public who have their heads screwed on and can recognise a half-decent song. I only watched about ten minutes of the main show, and the results show of this weekends annual effort to pick the British entry to Eurovision, and that was enough.

At one point, John Barrowman came out with the comment that ballads didn’t do very well in Eurovision – you only need to listen to what won for Ireland over a number of years – all big ballads… Based on their voting it is pretty clear what the judges thought would be good – cheesy, gimmicky songs – possibly true, you only need look back a couple of years to Lordi to confirm that, but what it also needs is a half decent song to go along with the gimmick. The gimmick to some extent is there to make your act stand out from the other forty odd in the competition – but once you’ve got that reminder it needs to be a decent song. To my mind there is a common misconception of what is a “Eurovision Song”, but when you look at the reality, that’s not correct. For example following on from Lordi there was a noticeable increase in rock numbers the next year – not that they did overly well. Cheesy europop has won at times, but other years it’s totally the opposite. The trick is producing a song that is memorable for the right reasons, and of course one that can rise above the political voting.

On Saturday, and from the pre-publicity, it was pretty clear who everybody was pushing as our act. However Michelle Gayle’s seemed to be all gimmick and no song – they tried that last year, and look what happened…

True, I don’t think this Andy Abraham’s effort is stand out enough get through the political voting, but at least the public voted for a decent song…

Five Years on the Show – And Still Doesn’t Understand How the Public Vote

Digital Spy this morning picked up on a Craig Revel Horwood interview in the News of the World where he lets rip over a number of the contestants in Strictly Come Dancing. It’s not until you’ve seen the recorded results show that is now held over from Saturday to Sunday night that you realise quite why he is so annoyed.

This year the rules were changed to give the judges the final decision over who is going to leave, apparently as a result of a number of the shock exits last year where the struggling couple scraped through at the expense of much better competition. The problem is that it has backfired, and is just not working like that. Tonight in particular all the struggling couples were lifted well out of the bottom two by the voting public leaving the couples placed fourth and sixth by the judges to dance it out.

This resulted in much head scratching from most people in the audience, all sorts of discussion on the fan forums, and some decidedly frustrated judges. But the dynamics of the way the public votes haven’t changed, and as always the judges, and Craig especially just don’t seem to get it. Craig seems to think that the public are out to humiliate Kate Garraway but it’s nothing of the sort. Essentially the judges will mark on aptitude (although there is always a bit of favouritism too) and the public tend to vote on effort, however they’ll also tend to vote to protect contestants who have had an unfairly hard time from the judges. Essentially all the judges have to do is deliver a low mark, or in particular come out with a pithy one-liner or rude comparison at the expense of a contestant, and they’re pretty well guaranteeing they’ll go into the next round. It was clear right from the start of the first series with Christopher Parker being carried through all the way to the final for exactly that reason. Usually it’s someone who finishes mid-table who ends up being voted off as the public vote for people they think have been given a hard time, and it was much the same tonight.

Kate and Anton’s performance gets called a Samba nightmare, and she gets called a dancing quail – that’s ensured they’re through. Kenny and Ola’s performance is described as a dance disaster, and he gets told he has the grace of a vacuum cleaner and again they’re through. John and Nicole get heavily marked down by Craig, and again they go through, until it gets to the middle table where people had hiccups so missed out on the top spot, but didn’t get a hard time from the judges that the public feel like they need help so they don’t get votes and end up in the dance off.

All the judges have been doing the show for five years, and they just don’t seem to get it! Although the forum fans are calling it a farce, what makes it fascinating to watch is the interplay between the dance, the comments from the judges, and the public appeal, as such it has, and still is incredibly difficult to predict. After last night I knew it probably wouldn’t be any of the bottom three or four, just a question of how far up the table it would go…

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…

Multiple Voting

So it seems that we didn’t need to vote quite so many times for Sezer as we did… As anybody who saw tonight’s Big Brother, we weren’t alone in wanting him out, in fact a record-breaking proportion of the audience – 91.6% – wanted him out too… But then Beth was really determined. The combination of the regular chauvinist comments, and all round cockiness in thinking all the women would want to keep him in (I bet he hadn’t even packed his case), annoyed Beth to the point that for the first time she actually wanted to vote in an eviction!