As is the tradition, the first Monday of rehearsals means the release of the names of the jurors for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. In line with recent years, the list features a broad mix of artists, music or media industry professionals and ‘others’.
2018 Jury membership criteria
According to this year’s rules each delegation’s jury must:
- Have five members, including a chairperson
- Be citizens of the participating broadcaster’s country
- Juries cannot include employees of a participating broadcaster as members
- Members cannot have been jurors in 2016 or 2017
- Jurors are supposed to be music industry professionals, specifically “radio DJ, artist, composer, author of lyrics or music producer.”
- Feature some balance based on age, gender, and background
The last requirement is particularly vexing, since there is an odd number of jury members and only five members in total.
A scan of the list of jurors shows there are a fair number who don’t seem to line up with #5. “Artist manager” is one example of this, as are “journalist”, “stylist”, and “Deputy Head of Professional Arts Department of the Ministry of Kulture”.
Unlike in some recent years, all delegations have provided a complete list of jurors before rehearsals began.
There are a number of Eurovision alumni on this year’s list, including two former winners. Niamh Kavanagh gave Ireland its fifth victory in 1993 with ‘In Your Eyes’. In 2010 she brought Ireland back to the Grand Final, finishing 23rd with ‘It’s For You’. Emmelie de Forest brought Denmark its third victory in 2013 with ‘Only Teardrops’. She also composed the 2017 UK entry ‘Never Give Up On You’, which finished 15th.
Artists who have previously competed in the Eurovision:
- Nathan Trent (Austria 2017)
- Laura Tesoro (Belgium 2016)
- Tom Dice (Belgium 2010)
- Mary Roos (Germany 1972, 1984)
- Aminata (Latvia 2015)
- Amber Bondin (Malta 2015)
- Cristina Scarlat (Moldova, 2014)
- Nina Zizic (Montenegro 2013)
- Michał Szpak (Poland 2016)
- Bojana Stamenov (Serbia 2015)
- Tijana Milosevic (Serbia 2017)
- Guri Schanke (Norway 2007)
There are also a few artists who’ve sought to represent their country at various national selections. Sweden’s Mariette Hansson participated in the 2015, 2017 and 2018 editions of Melodifestivalen. Bryan Rice competed in the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2010. K-One is on the Swedish jury. He co-wrote Sanna Nielsen’s ‘Undo’, which finished third in Copenhagen 2014.
We aren’t provided data with respect to the ‘background’ of jurors. We do know, however, their dates of birth and (ostensive) genders. Broadly speaking, the gender split is even.
Our youngest juror at 16 years is Karl Killing who competed in Eesti Laul 2018. The most seasoned juror is Zdenka Kovacicek from Croatia, who is 74 years young. Azeri jury chairperson Mubariz Tagiyev is 70 years old, only a few months older than his fellow Azeri juror Tunzala Qahraman. In fact, with Nurlana Cafarova (their youngest juror) aged 30, the age range for the Azeri jury is 42 years.
What happens next
Juries do not vote during the live broadcasts. The second dress rehearsal for each show–called the Jury Rehearsal, cunningly–is live streamed to a sequestered jury room in each broadcaster’s studios. They complete and submit their votes that same evening.
That means half the scores for each stage of the competition are determined before the public shows. Sometimes differences between the broadcasts matter–a lot. In 2011, the UK entry (‘I Can’, Blue) featured a wobbly jury vocal and a much better one on Saturday night. The juries ranked Blue 22nd (57 points): the public had them 5th (166 points). The following year Loreen choked on her prop snow during the jury final. ‘Euphoria’ nonetheless topped both the jury (296 points) and public (343 points).
During this year’s Grand Final broadcast, the participating broadcaster is required to read out the names of the jurors live. Once we know the 2018 winner, the detailed jury votes for the semi-finals and Grand Final are routinely published on eurovision.tv.