When Martin Österdahl says SVT have some ideas up their sleeve to make the ‘voting more exciting’, you can’t help but wonder what on earth they’re going to do to make it more exciting. One thing is that it definitely needs to be quicker than it has been in the past years: It just takes too long. Österdahl, executive producer of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, did however say he needed to run the ideas by EBU first.
Still, his words are interesting. What do SVT want? What can they actually do? So that means we at escXtra.com had a little brainstorming session to come up with some ideas, but first, what has already been done in the past years to speed up the voting?
Attempts to speed up the voting
We used to see countries reading out all their points, from 1 up to 12. That was perfectly doable when we had 20-25 participants, but as numbers went over 30, the voting would just take ages to get through. So that’s when they decided to show the 1-7 points on screen already, as introduced by the spokesperson going ‘And here are our points from 1 to 7.’ The idea definitely works and it has proven itself over the years.
That, however, still took too long for our Danish hosts in 2014. The endless chats spokespersons would give on their one minute of fame had to be cut down and so DR attempted to make it shorter by showing points 1-7 on screen before even making the connection to the spokesperson. The result? The spokesperson would just take their time to chat even though they only had to give the top three. Highlights including the most random people singing the most random songs or the Spanish spokesperson in 2014 forgetting she had to give out her ‘oit points from Espain’, as you can see below…
So we speed up voting by not letting the spokespersons announce their 1-7 points. That works. The attempt to not even make the connection with the spokespersons until the first seven points were revealed however clearly failed. Below you can find the ideas that we come up with, some better than others…
Get rid of spokespersons altogether
What do we even need spokespersons for? Do we really need Dutch people asking for Sakis’s number or Alyosha to sing her entry again? No, we don’t. So let’s just get rid of those spokespersons.
We have hosts for a reason, so just let them reveal the points through envelopes or just on screen. We’re going to get the points anyway, so does it really matter who gives them?
Yes, it does. Many, if not all, Eurovision fans will agree that this would be a terrible idea. Spokespersons in broken English is part of the charm. Spokespersons are a part of the problem, but they’re the biggest part of the charm. You’ll need them to make the voting exciting, because no one is waiting for Måns or Petra to repeat the phrase ‘And the 12 points go to…’ 43 times. Not even the best host can make sure the voting is exciting when the same person is going through every single set of votes.
As I said in the previous option, the twelve points are the most exciting point. That’s what you’re waiting for, so you will have to keep those bits. So if you want to increase excitement, you’ll have to keep this bit. But if you also want to speed it up? The option would be to make the points announced on screen even shorter: Just let them do the twelve points. Announcing that will take about ten seconds, give them time to thank the hosts, waffle on about who they are, et cetera. That’ll cut down every voting down from a minute to 45 seconds. Saving 15 seconds per country will make you save about ten minutes near the end. Quite good.
But then again, we don’t need to pretend that all excitement lies within the douze points. If we stop kidding ourselves, we can easily say that the Cypriot ten points are more exciting than their twelve. Speed up the voting, make it more exciting – yes. Rushing it – a big no.
Scrap the non-qualifiers
An idea that we’ve heard over and over again in the past few years. Just present the results from the non-qualifiers in one big bunch, that’ll save you loads of time. They didn’t have a representative in the final, so why should they have a spokesperson representing them? Just go ‘And finally, the non-qualifiers give 141 points to San Marino!’ (just kidding) and that’ll settle it. Right?
Nope. These countries have paid an entrance fee and are just as much a participant as the 26 who did make the final. Interest will fade away if a country that never qualifies doesn’t even get that one minute of airtime during the show. They deserve that airtime, they deserve that one minute. There have to be other ways.
Free trip to Stockholm for the spokespersons!
One issue we often see in voting sequences is rubbish satellite connections. Connections that aren’t there, are delayed, drop out every five seconds – you know what it’s like. That just costs an incredible amount of time and it even harms the excitement. The excitement that was built up just collapses completely when a connection drops out and hosts have to intervene. So what do we do? We do what the Junior Eurovision Song Contest has done so well for the past few years. Just get the spokespersons to Stockholm and put them in a room with a green screen, so you can still have your Albanian fountain and your Irish crossroads. By doing that, you’ll secure the fact that the connection works, you have good control over the situation and you’ll keep the excitement going.
The idea seems easy to implement. The room will be available in Globen to make this change possible, all you need to figure out is who’s going to get the cash ready to bring 43 people extra to Stockholm. But that’s an issue that seems quite easy to overcome.
What do you think?
We’ve metioned four options that SVT could propose to EBU, but as you see, we’re only really enthusiastic about one of them. But now we want to know: Which of these options is your favourite? What do you think SVT can do to make the voting more exciting?
Let us know! We’re looking forward to your opinions!