ESC Insight

ESC Insight
28
May
2017

Comparing The Eurovision 2017 Semi Final Scores And Rankings

Comparing The Eurovision 2017 Semi Final Scores And Rankings

The dust has settled. The crew have packed up and left. And 41 delegations have gone home; some elated, others deflated. The bulk of the competitors in this year’s Grand Final had to earn their slot through a semi-final. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting outcomes.

There were 18 songs competing in each semi-final and half of the prequalified countries’ juries and public also voted on who should qualify. Therefore, when crunching numbers from the semi-finals, the maximum component score for each delegation is 240 points: 20 delegations (you cannot vote for yourself) times 12 points. Or a maximum of 480 points when combining both score components.

Semi-Final One

Portugal clearly won the first semi-final and topped both score components. Their televote total was 197 points, receiving points from every country and 82 per cent of the televote points on offer. Average televote score of 9.85 points. Nine countries awarded their televote douze points to Portugal. Salvador’s Sobral jury support was not quite as strong as his televote support: 173 points, 72 per cent of the maximum jury score available. Seven juries awarded Amar Pelos Dois the maximum douze points. Every jury gave points to Portugal.

Aside from Portugal, however, there was little agreement between the public and juries: only five other entries (Moldova, Sweden, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Greece) were in both top 10 lists. And the ordinal rankings were mostly rather different too:

PlaceTelevotingJuryCombined
1 Portugal Portugal Portugal
2 Moldova Australia Moldova
3 Belgium Sweden Sweden
4 Sweden Moldova Belgium
5 Cyprus Azerbaijan Cyprus
6 Poland Armenia Australia
7 Armenia Czechia Armenia
8 Azerbaijan Georgia Azerbaijan
9 Greece Greece Poland
10 Finland Cyprus Greece
11 Montenegro Poland Georgia
12 Albania Finland Finland
13 Georgia Belgium Czechia
14 Iceland Albania Albania
15 Australia Iceland Iceland
16 Slovenia Montenegro Montenegro
17 Latvia Slovenia Slovenia
18 Czechia Latvia Latvia

Source: Wikipedia.

Moldova was 2nd with the public and 4th with the juries and 2nd overall. Sweden was 4th with the public and 3rd with the juries and 3rd overall).  Armenia was 7th with the public and 6th with juries and 7th overall. After that it gets a bit messy. Azerbaijan was 8th with the public and 5th with juries and 8th overall: Greece was 9th with both the public and juries and finished 10th overall. And there was the heartbreak of Finland: 10th with televoters and 12th with juries, but their combined scores were only 12th highest. Remember: it is the scores that matters, not the rankings of each score component.

(Source: YouTube/Eurovision)

We also required two tie-breaks for this semi-final. (Un)Friendly neighbours Azerbaijan and Armenia had the same juries score, 87 points. Both also received a single douze points; however, Azerbaijan is ranked ahead of Armenia because Skeletons earned points from 15 countries. Fly With Me earned points from 14 countries. Cyprus and Sweden both earned 103 televote points, but Sweden’s two douze points trumped Cyprus’s one.

Semi-Final Two

Bulgaria’s victory was wholly unambiguous. Beautiful Mess rocked the televote for 208 points, receiving points from every country and 87 per cent of the televote points on offer, for an average televote score of 10.4 points! Kristian Kostov received douze points from nine countries. Bulgaria’s jury support was nearly identical: 199 points with no jury awarding Beautiful Mess less than 6 points. Nine juries gave Bulgaria their douze points. It’s a remarkably high and consistent result.

Aside from Bulgaria, however, there was little agreement between the public and juries: only five other entries (Belarus, Hungary, Israel, Norway and the Netherlands) were in both top 10 lists:

PlaceTelevotingJuryCombined
1 Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria
2 Hungary Netherlands Hungary
3 Romania Norway Israel
4 Israel Austria Netherlands
5 Croatia Denmark Norway
6 Estonia Israel Romania
7 Belarus Hungary Austria
8 Norway Malta Croatia
9 Netherlands Belarus Belarus
10  Switzerland Serbia Denmark
11 Serbia  Switzerland Serbia
12 Ireland Ireland  Switzerland
13 Macedonia Croatia Ireland
14 Austria Macedonia Estonia
15 Lithuania Romania Macedonia
16 Denmark Lithuania Malta
17 San Marino Estonia Lithuania
18 Malta San Marino San Marino

Source: Wikipedia.

Hungary was second with the public and 7th with juries for second overall. Israel was fourth with the public and 6th with juries for third overall. The Netherlands with only 9th with the public but second with juries for fourth overall. Norway were 8th with the public and third with the juries for fifth overall. Finally, Belarus was seventh with the public and ninth with juries for 9th overall.

(Source: YouTube/Eurovision)

Then it gets a lot messier. Denmark only scored 5 televote points (16th place) but their 96 jury points (fifth place) snuck them in at 10th overall. Estonia  were sixth in the televote (69 points) but 17th with juries (16 points): they ended up 14th overall.

And we had double ouches too. Malta got zero in the televote: even 8th place with juries could not save ‘Breathlessly’. San Marino got nul in jury support and a sole televote point from Germany (the Ralph Siegel effect?).

The Take-Aways

Nine of the top 10 Grand Finalists were qualifiers: Italy (6th overall) was the only pre-qualified entry in the top 10. Four came from the first semi-final, five from the second. Australia was only 6th in the first semi-final, but managed 9th in the Grand Final—in both instances thanks to massive jury support. In the second semi-final Norway was 6th and Romania 7th: in the Grand Final Romania were 7th and Norway 10th—mostly because Romania racked up massive televote scores in both the semi-final (148 points compared to Norway’s 52) and Grand Final (224 for ‘Yodel It’ versus 29 for ‘Grab the Moment’).

(Source: YouTube/Orange Fresh)

Cyprus’s semi-final support level collapsed: from 168 points (103 public and 65 juries) to 68 points (32 public and  36 juries). It shows how much more competitive Grand Finals are compared to semi-finals. Similarly the Netherlands 200 semi-final points (51 public and 149 juries) dropped to 150 points (15 public and 135 juries). In other words, O’G3NE held on to more of their jury support: Hovig saw larger drops in both components.

When the jury and televote scored were synthesized to create a top 10 from each delegation, songs with skewed support either from juries or the public tended to get flattened scores—sometimes ending up with no points despite winning a televote. This current system treats both the public and jury score components equally. Some argue this rewards safe or unremarkable entries: I would argue that this precludes juror sniffiness to trump public appreciation.

Categories: ESC Insight

28
May
2017

Eurovision Semi-Finals 2017: Scores versus Rankings

The dust has settled. The crew have packed up and left. And 41 delegations have gone home; some elated, others deflated. The bulk of the competitors in this year’s Grand Final had to earn their slot through a semi-final. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting outcomes.

There were 18 songs competing in each semi-final and half of the prequalified countries’ juries and public also voted on who should qualify. Therefore, when crunching numbers from the semi-finals, the maximum component score for each delegation is 240 points: 20 delegations (you cannot vote for yourself) times 12 points. Or a maximum of 480 points when combining both score components.

Semi-Final One

Portugal clearly won the first semi-final and topped both score components. Their televote total was 197 points, receiving points from every country and 82 per cent of the televote points on offer. Average televote score of 9.85 points. Nine countries awarded their televote douze points to Portugal. Salvador’s Sobral jury support was not quite as strong as his televote support: 173 points, 72 per cent of the maximum jury score available. Seven juries awarded Amar Pelos Dois the maximum douze points. Every jury gave points to Portugal.

Aside from Portugal, however, there was little agreement between the public and juries: only five other entries (Moldova, Sweden, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Greece) were in both top 10 lists. And the ordinal rankings were mostly rather different too:

PlaceTelevotingJuryCombined
1 Portugal Portugal Portugal
2 Moldova Australia Moldova
3 Belgium Sweden Sweden
4 Sweden Moldova Belgium
5 Cyprus Azerbaijan Cyprus
6 Poland Armenia Australia
7 Armenia Czechia Armenia
8 Azerbaijan Georgia Azerbaijan
9 Greece Greece Poland
10 Finland Cyprus Greece
11 Montenegro Poland Georgia
12 Albania Finland Finland
13 Georgia Belgium Czechia
14 Iceland Albania Albania
15 Australia Iceland Iceland
16 Slovenia Montenegro Montenegro
17 Latvia Slovenia Slovenia
18 Czechia Latvia Latvia

Source: Wikipedia

Moldova was 2nd with the public and 4th with the juries and 2nd overall. Sweden was 4th with the public and 3rd with the juries and 3rd overall).  Armenia was 7th with the public and 6th with juries and 7th overall. After that it gets a bit messy. Azerbaijan was 8th with the public and 5th with juries and 8th overall: Greece was 9th with both the public and juries and finished 10th overall. And there was the heartbreak of Finland: 10th with televoters and 12th with juries, but their combined scores were only 12th highest. Remember: it is the scores that matters, not the rankings of each score component.

(Source: YouTube/Eurovision)

We also required two tie-breaks for this semi-final. (Un)Friendly neighbours Azerbaijan and Armenia had the same juries score, 87 points. Both also received a single douze points; however, Azerbaijan is ranked ahead of Armenia because Skeletons earned points from 15 countries. Fly With Me earned points from 14 countries. Cyprus and Sweden both earned 103 televote points, but Sweden’s two douze points trumped Cyprus’s one.

Semi-Final Two

Bulgaria’s victory was wholly unambiguous. Beautiful Mess rocked the televote for 208 points, receiving points from every country and 87 per cent of the televote points on offer, for an average televote score of 10.4 points! Kristian Kostov received douze points from nine countries. Bulgaria’s jury support was nearly identical: 199 points with no jury awarding Beautiful Mess less than 6 points. Nine juries gave Bulgaria their douze points. It’s a remarkably high and consistent result.

Aside from Bulgaria, however, there was little agreement between the public and juries: only five other entries (Belarus, Hungary, Israel, Norway and the Netherlands) were in both top 10 lists:

PlaceTelevotingJuryCombined
1 Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria
2 Hungary Netherlands Hungary
3 Romania Norway Israel
4 Israel Austria Netherlands
5 Croatia Denmark Norway
6 Estonia Israel Romania
7 Belarus Hungary Austria
8 Norway Malta Croatia
9 Netherlands Belarus Belarus
10  Switzerland Serbia Denmark
11 Serbia  Switzerland Serbia
12 Ireland Ireland  Switzerland
13 Macedonia Croatia Ireland
14 Austria Macedonia Estonia
15 Lithuania Romania Macedonia
16 Denmark Lithuania Malta
17 San Marino Estonia Lithuania
18 Malta San Marino San Marino

Source: Wikipedia

Hungary was second with the public and 7th with juries for second overall. Israel was fourth with the public and 6th with juries for third overall. The Netherlands with only 9th with the public but second with juries for fourth overall. Norway were 8th with the public and third with the juries for fifth overall. Finally, Belarus was seventh with the public and ninth with juries for 9th overall.

(Source: YouTube/Eurovision)

Then it gets a lot messier. Denmark only scored 5 televote points (16th place) but their 96 jury points (fifth place) snuck them in at 10th overall. Estonia  were sixth in the televote (69 points) but 17th with juries (16 points): they ended up 14th overall.

And we had double ouches too. Malta got zero in the televote: even 8th place with juries could not save Breathlessly. San Marino got nul in jury support and a sole televote point from Germany (the Ralph Siegel effect?).

The Take-Aways

Nine of the top 10 Grand Finalists were qualifiers: Italy (6th overall) was the only pre-qualified entry in the top 10. Four came from the first semi-final, five from the second. Australia was only 6th in the first semi-final, but managed 9th in the Grand Final—in both instances thanks to massive jury support. In the second semi-final Norway was 6th and Romania 7th: in the Grand Final Romania were 7th and Norway 10thmostly because Romania racked up massive televote scores in both the semi-final (148 points compared to Norway’s 52) and Grand Final (224 for Yodel It versus 29 for Grab the Moment).

(Source: YouTube/Orange Fresh)

Cyprus’s semi-final support level collapsed: from 168 points (103 public and 65 juries) to 68 points (32 public and  36 juries). It shows how much more competitive Grand Finals are compared to semi-finals. Similarly the Netherlands 200 semi-final points (51 public and 149 juries) dropped to 150 points (15 public and 135 juries). In other words, O’G3NE held on to more of their jury support: Hovig saw larger drops in both components.

When the jury and televote scored were synthesized to create a top 10 from each delegation, songs with skewed support either from juries or the public tended to get flattened scores—sometimes ending up with no points despite winning a televote. This current system treats both the public and jury score components equally. Some argue this rewards safe or unremarkable entries: I would argue that this precludes juror sniffiness to trump public appreciation.

Categories: ESC Insight

25
May
2017

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Kyiv 2017’s Live Preshow

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Kyiv 2017’s Live Preshow
http://archive.org/download/escinsight_20170513_LivePreShow_LogFile/escinsight_20170524_LivePreShow_491.mp3

Before this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, there was a one-hour preview show from ESC Insight and Radio Six International broadcast on radio stations around the world. Naturally we recorded it so you could listen to it again.

Picture the scene. Kyiv… 2017… one hour before Te Duem starts playing… and as the excitement builds, Ewan and Lisa-Jayne preview the upcoming  show, invite some guests into the studio, and generally get all excited ahead of the Song Contest.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Kyiv 2017’s Live Preshow

Join Ewan Spence and Lisa-Jayne Lewis and a cavalcade of Eurovision guests including Måns Zelmerlöw, Jon Ola Sand, and Ken Bruce… but there are many more, enjoy the journey. First broadcast on Radio Six International and affiliate stations on Saturday 13th May 2017.

Kyiv may be over, but we have Tiblisi and Lisbon (probably) to look forward to. Keep listening to the ESC Insight podcast over the summer for more Eurovision news, fun, and chat. You’ll find the show in iTunes, and a direct RSS feed is also available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.

Categories: ESC Insight

22
May
2017

Newsletter: The Road to Portugal…

Newsletter: The Road to Portugal…

In our latest edition of the ESC Insight Newsletter, we look at the countries who have already expressed an interest in participating next year, the artists enjoying significant post-Contest chart success and round up the best of ESC Insight’s coverage of this year’s Contest.

But first, a quick look at what we might expect from our trip to Portugal next year…

Quality, Elegance and Simplicity…

The dust has finally settled on a historic Eurovision Song Contest 2017, with perennial underdogs Portugal landing their first win – and indeed their first ever top five placement – on their 49th appearance at the Contest.

For fans, the long wait until Eurovision 2018 now begins – or at least until the Junior Contest kicks off in November. However, while little or nothing is likely to be set in stone for a few months, preparations are already underway for next year’s festivities.

First of all, we’re almost certainly going to Lisbon. This was apparently confirmed by the national broadcaster RTP on 15th May, after the first post-contest meetings took place.

Subsequently, representatives from the Portuguese cities of Guimarães, Faro and Santa Maria da Feira have called for a formal bidding process, but it is unlikely that any of them would fit the criteria for hosting an event on this scale. Portugal’s second largest city, Porto, could potentially have given Lisbon a run for their money, but have already ruled themselves out of contention for the time being due to other commitments for their major venues.

Speaking of venues, the 20,000 capacity MEO Arena is shaping up as the most likely place to hold the contest. One of the largest indoor arenas in the European Union, MEO has already hosted many major sports and entertainment events, including the 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards and the 2003 World Men’s Handball Championship.

RTP’s Director General has promised that the 2018 Contest will be hosted “with a tone of quality, elegance and simplicity” and “without excess”. Portugal has only recently emerged from the grip of recession, so budget is likely to be a major discussion point over the coming months.

In any event, following Salvador Sobral’s “music is not fireworks” speech last Saturday night, a more restrained affair does seem appropriate to Portugal’s newly successful Eurovision brand. Spare a thought for poor 2014 fan favourite Suzy, who looks unlikely to be invited for a second chance to share her Pimba-inspired body shaking with Europe in light of this newly serious outlook.

Categories: ESC Insight

22
May
2017

ESC Insight’s Reader Survey For 2017

ESC Insight’s Reader Survey For 2017

It’s been just over a week since the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2017, and the ESC Insight team has caught up on enough sleep to look back at the year. Hopefully you have as well as we’d like your help with our annual Reader Survey. We like to use the summer months to improve ESC Insight, and we’d love you feedback.

To help us do that, we need to know what you – our readers and listeners – think of ESC Insight. In our time honoured tradition, we have some questions to ask you in our Annual Reader Survey. Tell us what you love, what you hate, what you would change, and what we should keep on doing.

We’ve got a small collection of prizes gathered during our time in Kyiv, the various National Finals, and the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. We’ll pick some of the responses out at random to send out some gifts as a thank you.

How To Take The Survey

You can open up the questions in your web browser by clicking on this link, or you can answer the same questions in the embedded form below.

We’d stress that the the answers from this survey will only be used by the ESC Insight team to improve the site and how we cover the Contest, and we’re not planning on selling them on.

Categories: ESC Insight

20
May
2017

Verona, Eurolaul, and Eesti Laul: Towards a Second Estonian Eurovision Crown

Verona, Eurolaul, and Eesti Laul: Towards a Second Estonian Eurovision Crown

Their first impression was almost entirely unremarkable. Among the seven débutant countries at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, Estonia scored a mere two points (courtesy of  the Greek jury): 25th of 26 entries. But in a year where two other new delegations managed top five placements—Poland’s Edyta Górniak finishing second with ‘To nie ja’ and Hungary’s Friderika Bayer with ‘Kinek mondjam el vétkeimet’ – Europe’s collective reaction was rather muted for ‘Nagu merelaine (Like a seawave)’. A one year relegation followed.

Competent and professional does not set jurors’ heart aflutter (Source: YouTube/esclivemusic1)

Silvi Vrait, Estonia’s 1994 representative, was a giant of the local music industry, whose legacy was both cultural and political. Different countries’ cultures, broadcasters and music industries have a range of practices and traditions. For the Estonians, music is both an integral way to preserve culture and a political act. This is, after all, where a singing revolution occurred. In their next attempt (in 1996), Estonia would rack up the first of several top ten placements.

Kaelakee hääl (Voice of the necklace) featured another veteran of the singing revolution, Ivo Linna. But for Oslo Linna was paired with ingénue Maarja-Liis Ilus.  Decidedly more contemporary than Nagu merelaine with its integration of a youthful face from the newly (re)born nation state, Kaelakee hääl had been selected by an international jury, rather than a wholly domestic one. Here’s the results for Estonia’s first ten competing entries at the Eurovision:

YearPlacing
199425th
19965th
19978th
199912th
19996th
20004th
2001Winner
20023rd
200321st
2004DNQ (11th in semi-final)

In an era where national juries determined the winner of the Eurovision, Estonia seemed to have cracked the puzzle rather quickly…but very soon after their triumph in Copenhagen, things seemed to awry – badly so: Estonia would not appear in a Eurovision Grand Final again until 2009.

What happened, how did they get things somewhat back on track, and how might they tweak things a bit to increase their chances of a second Eurovision crown?

Eurolaul and Eurovision Victory

Until 1997 the general public had no voice in selecting a Eurovision winner – unless a delegation chose to integrate some sort of public vote in its own selection. The BBC had done so for several decades, whether it was to choose a song or a song and artist combination (first by postcards sent to the studio for a results show one week later, later by telephone). Germany ran its first televote -voting by telephone – in 1989: their results in the 1990s were inconsistent and unremarkable. Sweden’s Melodifestivalen began toying with some sort of public vote in 1993, four years before the Eurovision itself trialed one. In other words, in 1996 going for a jury for Eurolaul (“Eurosong”), particularly an international one, was a smart move by ERR.

Beginning in 1997 with a limited televote (Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and the UK), the voting system rapidly moved towards a more popular—in the literal sense (popular being ”of the people”) – selection.. After her success the year before, Maarja-Liis Ilus returned to the Contest as a soloist (with the ink drying on a global Sony Music recording contract) and took ‘Keelatud maa’ (literally “Forbidden Land”, but in fact the song’s English version was Hold on to Love) to 8th place.

It worked at Eurolaul. 8th place in Dublin too (Source: Youtube/europeandreaming

Tellingly, Ilus earned 24 of a possible 60 points on offer from the televoting nations (Ireland topped the televote table with 47 out of a possible 60 ponts: UK [46 out of 48 potential points], and Turkey [35 of 60 points],  followed. In 2001 Tanel Padar, Dave Benton & 2XL earned Estonia its lone victory: only Poland blanked ‘Everybody’, which earned a total of 198 points. The following year in Tallinn Sahlene sang ‘Runaway’ into third place (111 points). Things were going so well for Estonia, even as a minority of countries retained a jury only voting system. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…

Except… ERR kept the international jury selection protocol in place until 2003. With a poor result the year after hosting, the decision to go 100 per cent public vote could have got things back on track. Instead Neikõsõ’s ‘Tii’ (sung in Voro rather than standard Estonian) missed out on qualifying from the 2004 Semi Final. If the pan-European public was primarily selecting each year’s Eurovision winner, what better mechanism to select their representative could the Estonian delegation use?

Eesti Laul: the Shake-Up

For the 2009 Eurovision season, ERR decided to start from scratch. The emphasis would be on finding great local, contemporary music to showcase for Europe. The concept was deceptively simple: rather than trying to send something ostensibly European, hoping it would do well in the Eurovision, ERR would focus on sending something reflective of the domestic music market. Songs would have to be composed by Estonians and performed by Estonians (eventually international collaborations were allowed, so long as at least fifty per cent of the song’s composer and lyricist team was Estonian. Implicit was that “Estonian” has meant ethnic Estonians and either Estonian or English lyrics.

She’s singing about a desert rather than the Arctic. Just ignore that (Source: YouTube/Eurovision)

The winner would be selected by a combined televote and juries, since both were components of the rapidly evolving Eurovision scoring system. Depending on the number of entries, the top two (2009 -2014) or three entries (2015 onwards) based on the combined public and jury scores would compete in a new, televote only “super-final”.

What has resulted is a national selection that surfaces the best of what is currently on offer – regardless of language. Of the nine winners there have been:

  • Three in Estonian
  • Five qualifiers  (including the three entries in Estonian)
  • Two top 10 results (both in Estonian)
  • Pop, rock, EDM, New Age tracks

This year Eesti Laul gave Estonia a strong entry. ‘Verona’ is a well crafted pop song performed by two experienced singers both of whom had already represented Estonia in 1998 (Koit Toome) or 2004 (Laura). Despite lukewarm jury support—the Eesti Laul jurors ranked ‘Verona’ 5th of 10 entries in its semi-final and only 6th in their grand final—they were the overwhelming public favourite in each stage of the selection. In the three song super-final ‘Verona’ netted 55 per cent of the public vote: jury favourite Kerli’s ‘Spirit Animal’ garnered 30 per cent.

Kyiv is Verona’s Waterloo

The Estonian public expected a strong result from Koit and Laura. When they failed to qualify for the Grand Final many in Estonia were shocked. Rather than help them, it was perhaps Koit and Laura’s experience doing badly at the Eurovision that sealed their fate: rather than learning from those experiences Koit and Laura looked panicked and sweaty in their Semi Final performance.

The irony of all of this is that some pundits assumed ‘Verona’ would need to lean heavily on jury support for any sort of decent result (despite this being absent in Eesti Laul). In fact, the televote had ‘Verona’ in 6th place – the juries had Estonia in 17th. Koit and Laura’s public support at home is what pushed them past tepid jury support in Eesti Laul, but there wasn’t enough of it in Kyiv.

The Problem

There is much to comment about Eesti Laul. It routinely attracts many established, popular, contemporary musicians. It offers a showcase for upcoming and sometimes highly innovative artists. For a small country to be able to consistently populate two semi-finals with interesting, well-presented music is an achievement. Counter-balancing this with a professional jury component helps insure against death by televote.

Tanja Mihailova’s ‘Amazing’ at Eesti Laul 2014 (Source: Youtube/ERR)

Death by televote is when an artists’ public profile drives up – and arguably inflates – their public support regardless of the quality of their song, singing or the overall production of the entry. In the era of numerous talent reality show franchises – and copious opportunities to perform in a local television market featuring no less than ten Estonian language (and one Russian language) channels—there are opportunities to build a following. The “death” occurs when such a selected entry competes in the Eurovision itself, without the currency and cultural capital held in the Estonian cultural sphere, failing to connect with the wider public.

Is it possible to see when this “death” has impacted on Estonia’s Semi Final results? Yes, achingly so. In years where the super final changed the results (2010, 2014, 2017) Estonia failed to qualify for that year’s Grand Final. In each instance the winner had either built up a following via reality television (2010; 2017) or regularly appeared on Estonian television (2014).

Conversely, years where Eesti Laul results did not change between the first round and super final have resulted in five qualifications (2009, 2012, 2013, 2015) and only one non-qualification (2016). Some of these have been won by artists with similar profiles to those above… but to be the entry with the highest combined score necessitated substantive support in both scoring components.

A Cure

Our friends in Estonian could fix this rather easily: simply go with the mixed system and forgo the super final entirely. There is no super final in the Eurovision Song Contest: integrating one into a national selection is undoes most of the benefit of a mixed public and jury scoring system.

There is no guarantee that Kerli’s ‘Spirit Animal’ would have done better than ‘Verona’. ‘Spirit Animal’ had its own challenges: Kerli losing the melody at times, some sloppy choreography, and the whole matter of cultural appropriation of First Nations culture (superficially).

Kerli – Spirit Animal (Source: YouTube/ERR)

But a delegation need not select a perfect entry: there is time to refine and develop what comes out of a national selection. It needs an entry that is likely to achieve some success under the current aggregate televote and jury scoring system. All the makings of an intriguing, visually striking entry were on offer. Only to be lost, in…

Categories: ESC Insight

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