Rediscovering 14 years of OGAE voting results: We analyse and reminisce

This is an updated version of an article published in April 2019

Every year, many Eurovision fans eagerly await the results of the annual OGAE poll. OGAE is made up of over 40 fan clubs from around the world. For the poll, they cast votes in Eurovision’s classic 12 to 1 points system. With the OGAE voting historically taking place across April, it is one of the first opportunities for fans to discover how a significant number of real people are reacting to this year’s entries.

OGAE voting hand-in-hand with betting odds?

Therefore, this can also have a knock-on effect in shaping the rankings at various betting agencies. Last month, we re-analysed how accurate betting odds from a month before the last 14 contests were in predicting the eventual finishing positions. There will be various references to this throughout the article below so it may be worth giving that a read first!

As in the betting odds analysis article, we have taken statistics from all 14 OGAE polls that have taken place thus far. The poll was introduced in 2007 and has taken place every year since. Let’s have a look exactly how good an indicator the OGAE poll is for predicting the eventual results!

Helsinki 2007

Between 2007 and 2010, the only figures we have been able to find is the top 5 placings via Wikipedia which we presume to be reliable as they cite OGAE International as their source. Therefore, you can see this below.

RankPointsCountryEntryEurovision Placing
1184 SerbiaMarija Šerifović – Molitva1st
2159 BelarusKoldun – Work Your Magic6th
3155 SwitzerlandDJ Bobo – Vampires Are AliveSF (20th)
4142 CyprusEvridiki – Comme ci, Comme çaSF (15th)
5107 GreeceSarbel – Yassou Maria7th

Analysis

2007 was a strong start for the OGAE poll! OGAE members agreed with Eurovision televoters that Marija Šerifović from Serbia strongest entry in the contest. Notably, the eventual runner-up, Verka Serduchka from Ukraine, did not appear in the top 5 of the OGAE poll. This is just the first example of a couple where novelty acts are often underscored by OGAE members in comparison to Eurovision voters.

It is also worth noting that BelarusSerbia and Switzerland were all in the top 5 of the betting odds prior to the contest. Similarly to the underscoring of novelty acts, this is just the first example of several where OGAE rankings and betting odds rankings are strikingly similar.

Belgrade 2008

Next, here are the top five finishers from the 2008 OGAE poll.

RankPointsCountryEntryEurovision Placing
1308 SwedenCharlotte Perrelli – Hero18th
2216 SwitzerlandPaolo Meneguzzi – Era StupendoSF (13th)
3178 SerbiaJelena Tomašević feat. Bora Dugić – Oro6th
4145 IcelandEuroband – This Is My Life14th
5145 NorwayMaria – Hold On Be Strong5th

Analysis

In complete contrast to the previous year, the OGAE results and betting odds showed little resemblance in 2008. While Serbia was the only country to appear in the top 5 of the OGAE poll and the betting odds, only Norway appeared in the top 5 of the OGAE poll and the Eurovision final results.

Russia‘s Dima Bilan was nowhere to be seen amongst the top of the OGAE poll. More surprisingly in hindsight was the absence of Ukraine‘s Ani Lorak, Greece‘s Kalomira and Armenia‘s Sirusho. These three female ethnic dance-pop entries are often looked back on fondly by Eurovision fans of today.

Moscow 2009

Up next is the 2009 OGAE poll! The top five finishers were as follows.

RankPointsCountryEntryEurovision Placing
1304 NorwayAlexander Rybak – Fairytale1st
2176 FrancePatricia Kaas – Et S’il Fallait Le Faire8th
3159 SwedenMalena Ernman – La Voix21st
4142 Bosnia & HerzegovinaRegina – Bistra Voda9th
5123 SpainSoraya – La Noche Es Para Mí (The Night Is For Me)24th

Analysis

2009 was all about Norway. Alexander topped the OGAE poll, the betting odds and the Eurovision final scoreboard. Nothing else quite matched up though. The pre-contest betting odds were much more on the ball, predicting 60% of the top 5 correctly. Nevertheless, neither the betting odds or OGAE saw Iceland coming. Yohanna was nowhere to be seen in the OGAE poll and barely scraped into the top 15 of the betting odds.

Once again we see OGAE resist voting for popular ethno-pop tracks. Neither AySel and Arash from Azerbaijan or Hadise from Turkey were as popular with OGAE as they were with Eurovision voters.

Our journey down memory lane continues on the next page…

Oslo 2010

Now it’s time for the last of our top 5s! The top 5 from the 2010 OGAE poll were as follows.

RankPointsCountryEntryEurovision Placing
1220 DenmarkChanée & N’evergreen – In A Moment Like This4th
2177 IsraelHarel Skaat – Milim14th
3172 GermanyLena – Satellite1st
4146 NorwayDidrik Solli-Tangen – My Heart Is Yours20th
5130 IcelandHera Björk – Je Ne Sais Quoi19th

Analysis

After two anomalous years, OGAE were back in sync with the betting odds to a significant degree here. GermanyDenmark and Israel were found in the top 5 of both rankings and Norway weren’t a million miles away in the odds either. Interestingly, Denmark took the OGAE victory here whereas the more modern and contemporary Lena was cast aside.

As was the case in the betting odds, the OGAE found limited appeal in Romania and Turkey who completed the top 3 in Oslo. Nevertheless, OGAE did go against the grain by not voting in droves for Azerbaijan. Indeed, Safura was joint-favourite to win the contest as the OGAE poll was being carried out.

Düsseldorf 2011

In 2011, 33 fan clubs voted for their favourite entries of that year. The top 15 finishers were as follows.

RankPointsCountryEntryEurovision Placing
1277 HungaryKati Wolf – What About My Dreams?22nd
2270 FranceAmaury Vassili – Sognu15th
3253 United KingdomBlue – I Can11th
4238 SwedenEric Saade – Popular3rd
5183 EstoniaGetter Jaani – Rockefeller Street24th
6119 Bosnia & HerzegovinaDino Merlin – Love In Rewind6th
7117 AzerbaijanEll & Nikki – Running Scared1st
856 DenmarkA Friend In London – New Tomorrow5th
950 GermanyLena – Taken By A Stranger10th
1043 NorwayStella Mwangi – Haba HabaSF (17th)
1134 PolandMagdalena Tul – JestemSF (19th)
1228 ItalyRaphael Gualazzi – Madness Of Love2nd
1327 RomaniaHotel FM – Change17th
1427 IsraelDana International – Ding DongSF (15th)
1526 AustriaNadine Beiler – The Secret Is Love18th

Analysis

2011 is considered one of the most unpredictable contests in recent years with only Sweden managing to live up to expectations amongst the front-runners. Eventual winners Azerbaijan placed 7th in the OGAE poll proving that this seemingly unpopular winner did have a number of fans amongst the Eurovision community. Interestingly enough, Azerbaijan was also placed 7th in the betting odds prior to the contest which is just the start of a more striking similarity than ever before.

Remarkably, 13 of the top 15 countries in the betting odds were also in the top 15 in the OGAE poll. The only disagreements were that OGAE placed Austria and Israel inside their top 15 while the odds favoured Ireland and Russia. Indeed, the top 7 countries in the OGAE poll were the exact same 7 found at the top of the betting odds, in a slightly shuffled order. For such an unpredictable contest it is strange to find such harmony between two different variables.

Baku 2012

The OGAE poll continued to increase in popularity as 35 fan clubs voted for their favourite entries ahead of the 2012 contest. Here are the top 15!

RankPointsCountryEntryEurovision Placing
1375 SwedenLoreen – Euphoria1st
2212 ItalyNina Zilli – L’amore è femmina (Out Of Love)9th
3211 IcelandGreta Salóme and Jónsi – Never Forget20th
4199 SerbiaŽeljko Joksimović – Nije Ljubav Stvar3rd
5164 NorwayTooji – Stay26th
6150 SpainPastora Soler – Quédate Conmigo (Stay With Me)10th
7104 CyprusIvi Adamou – La La Love16th
881 EstoniaOtt Lepland – Kuula6th
978 GermanyRoman Lob – Standing Still8th
1062 FranceAnggun – Echo (You And I)22nd
1152 RomaniaMandinga – Zaleilah12th
1243 The NetherlandsJoan Franka – You And MeSF (15th)
1342 RussiaBuranovskiye Babushki – Party For Everybody2nd
1441 United KingdomEngelbert Humperdinck – Love Will Set You Free25th
1533 GreeceEleftheria Eleftheriou – Aphrodisiac17th

Analysis

In a repeat of 2009, Sweden‘s Loreen was the dominant force in the Eurovision results, OGAE poll and betting odds alike. Serbia was also found in the top 5 of each variable. Nevertheless, as we saw with Verka Serduchka in 2007, OGAE voters tend to underscore high profile novelty acts in comparison to their ultimate Eurovision success. While 3rd in the betting odds and 2nd in the contest, Buranovskiye Babushki only just scraped into the OGAE top 15.

The OGAE poll once again showed a remarkable similarity to the betting odds, with 12 countries appearing in the top 15 of both sets of rankings. However, both of them completely overlooked Azerbaijan and Albania who sailed into the top 5. Nevertheless, OGAE members can pat themselves on the back for recognising the quality of Estonia‘s entry which betting agencies hadn’t seen coming at all.

Our journey down memory lane continues on the next page…

Malmö 2013

39 fan clubs cast their votes for their favourite entries of 2013. In this instance, the top 15 finishers were as follows.

RankPointsCountryEntryEurovision Placing
1374 DenmarkEmmelie de Forest – Only Teardrops1st
2282 San MarinoValentina Monetta – Crisalide (Vola)SF (11th)
3269 NorwayMargaret Berger – I Feed You My Love4th
4195 GermanyCascada – Glorious21st
5177 ItalyMarco Mengoni – L’Essenziale7th
6147 The NetherlandsAnouk – Birds9th
7119 UkraineZlata Ognevich – Gravity3rd
8119 United KingdomBonnie Tyler – Believe In Me19th
9103 SwedenRobin Stjernberg – You14th
1083 RussiaDina Garipova – What If5th
1161 AzerbaijanFarid Mammadov – Hold Me2nd
1241 IcelandEythor Ingi – Ég Á Líf17th
1337 GeorgiaNodi Tatishvili & Sophie Gelovani – Waterfall15th
1432 IsraelMoran Mazor – Rak BishviloSF (14th)
1530 SwitzerlandTakasa – You And MeSF (13th)

Analysis

It was a repeat of 2012 in 2013 with Denmark easily winning the OGAE poll, the betting odds and the Eurovision final. Once again the OGAE poll and betting odds proved similar with 12 of their top 15s consisting of the same countries. OGAE voters didn’t find the same appeal in Azerbaijan‘s entry as Eurovision voters did, perhaps proving the success of Hold Me was as much down to the fantastic staging as it was the song.

Notably, OGAE ranked Valentina Monetta’s second attempt for San Marino as the second best song in the contest. While Crisalide (Vola) became the country’s best result at the contest, it still failed to make the grand final. Germany and the United Kingdom were two entries that appealed to OGAE much more than Eurovision voters. Perhaps the well-known names of Cascada and Bonnie Tyler created extra attention for those songs. The betting odds similarly overrated them.

Copenhagen 2014

The OGAE poll continues to get bigger as 40 fan clubs decided who would win the 2014 edition of the vote. The top 15 were as follows.

RankPointsCountryEntryEurovision Placing
1354 SwedenSanna Nielsen – Undo3rd
2262 HungaryAndrás Kállay-Saunders – Running5th
3233 IsraelMei Finegold – Same HeartSF (14th)
4221 AustriaConchita Wurst – Rise Like A Phoenix1st
5162 United KingdomMolly – Children Of The Universe17th
6157 ArmeniaAram MP3 – Not Alone4th
7132 NorwayCarl Espen – Silent Storm8th
8111 SpainRuth Lorenzo – Dancing In The Rain10th
9104 GreeceFreaky Fortune feat. RiskyKidd – Rise Up20th
1079 MontenegroSergej Ćetković – Moj Svijet19th
1176 ItalyEmma Marrone – La Mia Città21st
1273 DenmarkBasim – Cliché Love Song9th
1335 FranceTWIN TWIN – Moustache26th
1433 IrelandCan-Linn feat. Kasey Smith – HeartbeatSF (12th)
1531 The NetherlandsThe Common Linnets – Calm After The Storm2nd

Analysis

Oh 2014, the year no-one could’ve predicted. Or could they? Well not quite, but the OGAE poll placed both of the year’s big surprise packages in its top 15. In contrast, neither Austria‘s Conchita Wurst or The Common Linnets from The Netherlands were considered amongst the top 15 favourite to win at the betting agencies. Both entries were praised for lifting the bar of staging at Eurovision. However, OGAE members wouldn’t have known what was to appear on the Copenhagen stage so all credit to them for spotting the quality ahead of time!

However, the OGAE favourite to fall at the first hurdle in Copenhagen was Israel. Mei Finegold’s uptempo dance-pop entry with a key change satisfied all the traditional Eurovision tick boxes and its appeal to long-term fans of the contest was obvious. Nevertheless, the appeal wasn’t there for the casual Eurovision voters as it finished next to last in its semi-final.

Vienna 2015

Ahead of the 2015 contest in Vienna, 41 fan clubs chose their favourite entries. The results were as follows.

RankPointsCountryEntryEurovision Placing
1367 ItalyIl Volo – Grande Amore3rd
2338 SwedenMåns Zelmerlöw – Heroes1st
3274 EstoniaElina Born & Stig Rästa – Goodbye To Yesterday7th
4243 NorwayMørland & Debrah Scarlett – A Monster Like Me8th
5228 SloveniaMaraaya – Here For You14th
6174 AustraliaGuy Sebastian – Tonight Again5th
7150 IsraelNadav Guedj – Golden Boy9th
8136 SpainEdurne – Amanecer21st
997 AzerbaijanElnur Huseynov – Hour Of The Wolf12th
1077 BelgiumLoïc Nottet – Rhythm Inside4th
1174 RussiaPolina Gagarina – A Million Voices2nd
1237 AlbaniaElhaida Dani – I’m Alive17th
1327 FranceLisa Angell – N’oubliez Pas25th
1426 MontenegroKnez – Adio13th
1520 United KingdomElectro Velvet – Still In Love With You24th

Analysis

The OGAE poll did a pretty good job of predicting the qualifiers in Vienna. All of the top 15 qualified, the first and only time they have done so. Perhaps the biggest surprise here was the absence of Latviainside the OGAE top 15. Aminata wasn’t inside the top 15 of the odds either, although considering Latvia’s track record at the contest and the alternative vibe to the entry it was understandable. However, looking back Aminata is considered a fan favourite from the contest. Therefore it is remarkable that Latvia didn’t only fail to make the top 15 of the poll, but actually scored nil points!

Nevertheless, OGAE voters did match the tastes of Eurovision voters regarding Finland. While betting agencies ranked them inside the top 5 to win, perhaps due to the media attention Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät were receiving, the OGAE poll showed that the appeal to the public may not translate. While it is worth noting that Finland would’ve qualified in 10th place if televoting alone was in place, the Finnish band were never in contention for victory.

Our journey down memory lane continues on the next page…

Stockholm 2016

Ahead of the 2016 contest, 43 fan clubs submitted their top 10s in order to find out the winner of the 2016 OGAE poll. The top 15 finishers are listed below.

RankPointsCountryEntryEurovision Placing
1425 FranceAmir – J’ai cherché6th
2392 RussiaSergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One3rd
3280 AustraliaDami Im – Sound Of Silence2nd
4175 BulgariaPoli Genova – If Love Was A Crime4th
5170 ItalyFrancesca Michielin – No Degree Of Separation16th
6155 SpainBarei – Say Yay!22nd
7128 AustriaZOË – Loin d’ici13th
8110 LatviaJusts – Heartbeat15th
988 UkraineJamala – 19441st
1080 HungaryFreddie – Pioneer19th
1179 SwedenFrans – If I Were Sorry5th
1263 CroatiaNina Kraljić – Lighthouse23rd
1359 CyprusMinus One – Alter Ego21st
1444 IcelandGreta Salóme – Hear Them CallingSF (14th)
1542 SerbiaSanja Vučić ZAA – Goodbye (Shelter)18th

Analysis

2016 was perhaps the most impressive display from OGAE voters in matching their taste with the ultimate Eurovision voter favourites. 3 of the top 5 at Eurovision were in the top 5 of the OGAE poll and France was one place away from making it a record-breaking four. Amongst the highest finishers in Stockholm, Armenia is an entry completely overlooked by OGAE voters. LoveWave is a very alternative entry that many fans agree didn’t reach its potential until the live performance at the contest. Therefore, Iveta Mukuchyan’s poor showing in the OGAE poll perhaps isn’t unexpected.

However, one entry that OGAE voters did see the appeal of was Austria. ZOË was never fancied by the betting agencies to finish highly. Nevertheless, the OGAE poll signified that Loin d’ici did have an appeal and that appeal translated to the casual Eurovision viewer, perhaps unexpectedly for some (including me, although it was a very pleasing surprise!).

Kyiv 2017

In 2017, a record-breaking 44 fan clubs voted for their favourite 2017 Eurovision entry. The top 15 finishers are listed below.

RankPointsCountryEntryEurovision Placing
1497 ItalyFrancesco Gabbani – Occidentali’s Karma6th
2335 BelgiumBlanche – City Lights4th
3308 SwedenRobin Bengtsson – I Can’t Go On5th
4277 FranceAlma – Requiem12th
5242 EstoniaKoit Toome & Laura – VeronaSF (14th)
6122 PortugalSalvador Sobral – Amar Pelos Dois1st
7120 BulgariaKristian Kostov – Beautiful Mess2nd
8107 F.Y.R. MacedoniaJana Burčeska – Dance AloneSF (15th)
9102 IsraelIMRI – I Feel Alive23rd
1064 FinlandNorma John – BlackbirdSF (12th)
1143 DenmarkAnja – Where I Am20th
1241 SwitzerlandTimebelle – ApolloSF (12th)
1340 HungaryJoci Pápai – Origo8th
1436 AustraliaIsaiah – Don’t Come Easy9th
1534 AzerbaijanDihaj – Skeletons14th

Analysis

2017 was very hit or miss for our OGAE voters with a record-breaking four of the OGAE top 15 failing to qualify for the final. The betting odds didn’t fall into the same trap, with only Estonia of the four sneaking in of the top 15 of the pre-rehearsal odds. Nevertheless, the OGAE voters and betting odds largely agreed once again with only Israel, as well as 3 of the 4 non-qualifers, being favoured by the OGAE voters.

Italy was strongly favoured by both with eventual winners Portugal in contention, but never really considered obvious challengers by both variables. One top 10 finisher that was inside the top 15 of the odds, but not inside the top 15 of the OGAE poll was Romania‘s Yodel It!. Once again, this is further evidence that hardcore Eurovision fans tend to undermark entries with a novelty aspect in comparison to Eurovision votes on the night.

Lisbon 2018

In 2018, 44 fan clubs once again voted for their favourite 2018 Eurovision entry. The top 15 finishers are listed below.

RankPointsCountryEntryEurovision Placing
1456 IsraelNetta – TOY1st
2352 FranceMadame Monsieur – Mercy13th
3226 FinlandSaara Aalto – Monsters25th
4202 AustraliaJessica Mauboy – We Got Love20th
5181 Czech RepublicMikolas Josef – Lie To Me6th
6178 BulgariaEQUINOX – Bones14th
7143 BelgiumSennek – A Matter Of TimeSF (12th)
8119 GreeceYianna Terzi – Oniro MouSF (14th)
9106 CyprusEleni Foureira – Fuego2nd
1099 DenmarkRasmussen – Higher Ground9th
1191 SwedenBenjamin Ingrosso – Dance You Off7th
1288 EstoniaElina Nechayeva – La Forza8th
1375 ItalyErmal Meta & Fabrizio Moro – Non Mi Avete Fatto Niente5th
1470 AustriaCesár Sampson – Nobody But You3rd
1534 GermanyMichael Schulte – You Let Me Walk Alone4th

Analysis

The OGAE poll must certainly be applauded for its accuracy ahead of the 2018 contest, at least relative to the bookmakers. Unlike the bookmakers, the OGAE voters at least managed to place eventual top five finishers Cyprus and Germany inside their top 15. In fact, only the exclusion of Moldova prevented the OGAE poll getting all of the top ten finishers inside their top fifteen!

Noticeably, the OGAE poll were much bigger fans of Australia and Finland than the Eurovision voters were. Whilst the bookmakers also believed in Australia strongly, Finland wasn’t as high. Both Jessica Mauboy and Saara Aalto were names well-known amongst the Eurovision community, with Jessica’s appearance in the 2014 semi-final and Saara’s two-time failure to win the Finnish selection before going on to finish runner-up in the high profile X Factor UK competition. Therefore, we should be careful when using OGAE polls to judge the popularity of high profile artists.

Our journey down memory lane continues on the next page…

Tel Aviv 2019

Ahead of the 2019 contest, another record-breaking 45 fan clubs voted for their favourite 2019 Eurovision entry. The top 15 finishers are listed below.

RankPointsCountryEntryEurovision Placing
1411 ItalyMahmood – Soldi2nd
2406 SwitzerlandLuca Hänni – She Got Me4th
3401 The NetherlandsDuncan Laurence – Arcade1st
4224 NorwayKEiiNO – Spirit In The Sky6th
5218 CyprusTamta – Replay13th
6191 SwedenJohn Lundvik – Too Late For Love5th
7123 AzerbaijanChingiz – Truth8th
8114 IcelandHatari – Hatrið mun sigra10th
9106 RussiaSergey Lazarev – Scream3rd
1089 GreeceKaterine Duska – Better Love21st
1169 SpainMiki – La Venda22nd
1264 MaltaMichela – Chameleon14th
1325 FranceBilal Hassani – Roi16th
1423 San MarinoSerhat – Say Na Na Na19th
1522 SloveniaZala Kralj & Gašper Šantl – Sebi15th

Analysis

In 2019, it was the bookmakers who were the most accurate, correctly predicting the entirety of the top 5 finishers. The OGAE voting matched three of the top five finishers, with Russia‘s Sergey Lazarev being the most undermarked by the OGAE fan clubs in comparison to the Eurovision viewers. Nevertheless, all fifteen of the entries most liked by the OGAE poll all qualified for the grand final which is an impressive feat in itself.

Like the bookmakers, the OGAE polls also failed to see the potential of both North Macedonia and Australia who finished 7th and 9th respectively in the grand final. As we alluded to in the aforementioned betting odds analysis, Australia’s innovative staging performance in Tel Aviv could not have been considered when ranking the entries prior to the contest as the OGAE voters had to do. In the case of North Macedonia, their success came largely as a result of professional jury love whereas the less successful public voting score is more in line with the low position in the 2019 OGAE poll.

Eurovision 2020

Last year, 43 fan clubs voted for their favourite 2020 Eurovision entry. These were revealed as part of the 2020 OGAE Eurovision Fan Contest which included public voting. The top 15 finishers in the OGAE Fan Club voting alone are listed below.

RankPointsCountryEntry
1430 LithuaniaThe Roop – On Fire
2304 IcelandDaði og Gagnamagnið – Think About Things
3297 SwitzerlandGjon’s Tears – Répondez-moi
4226 ItalyDiodato – Fai Rumore
5197 BulgariaVICTORIA – Tears Getting Sober
6182 GermanyBen Dolic – Violent Thing
7144 NorwayUlrikke – Attention
8142 SwedenThe Mamas – Move
9138 MaltaDestiny – All Of My Love
10134 RussiaLittle Big – Uno
11101 AzerbaijanEfendi – Cleopatra
1252 UkraineGo_A – Solovey
1321 IsraelEden Alene – Feker Libi
1419 LatviaSamanta Tīna – Still Breathing
1515 FranceTom Leeb – Mon Alliée (The Best In Me)

Analysis

Due to the cancellation of the 2020 contest, we cannot compare the OGAE poll results to the actual results of the Eurovision final. Nevertheless, the entire top 11 finishers in the 2020 OGAE poll were also fancied by the bookmakers by placing top 15 in their bettings odds prior to the contest’s cancellation in mid-March. Furthermore, three of the four countries that did appearing in the betting top 15 were ranked 13th, 14th and 15th which further shows the agreement between the two variables.

The outlier here was Romania‘s ROXEN whose top 10 placement amongst the bookies did not translate to success in the OGAE poll that followed. In addition, OGAE voters were slightly less convinced by Bulgaria‘s VICTORIA and Russia‘s Little Big who were the top 2 in the betting odds at the time of the contest’s cancellation, placing them 5th and 10th respectively.

Now without further ado, it’s time to analyse all of the statistics we’ve collected over the past fourteen years and find out just how accurate bookmakers are in predicting the results in May…

Our journey down memory lane continues on the next page…

Key findings

The mathematical stuff

As with the previous article about betting odds, it is nice just to reminisce and look back at past statistics… at least it is for me! Although once again I have attempted to make a couple of conclusions about what we’ve discovered. I’m not going to pretend to be a mathematical genius. Yet, I have plotted the percentages that were written under each contest’s leaderboard throughout this article into a little graph.

The orange line shows what percentage of the eventual top 5 at Eurovision placed inside the top 5 of the OGAE voting that year. The grey line shows what percentage of the eventual top 15 at Eurovision placed inside the top 15 of the OGAE voting that year. The blue line shows an overall trend over the past 14 years regarding how accurate the top 5 in the OGAE poll have been in predicting the top 5 finishers in any order. Finally, the yellow line shows the percentage of countries that were found in both the top 5 (2007-10) or top 15 (2011-20) of the OGAE poll and the betting odds.

OGAE polls are becoming increasingly accurate

Due to only having OGAE top 15s from 2011 onwards, we had to compare the top 5s from the past 14 years to create a worthwhile trend. Of course, such a small sample is prone to random fluctuations. Nevertheless, you can see a significant trend the graph. As the years have progressed, the OGAE top 5 has become increasingly similar to the eventual Eurovision top 5.

In the first five years we’ve analysed, only once did the OGAE poll have more than one country that finished in the Eurovision top 5 in its own top 5. In contrast, in the most recent 8 contests, the OGAE poll had more than one country that finished in the Eurovision top 5 in its own top 5 on every single occasion, with the exception of 2018. Therefore, in recent years the OGAE has become increasingly accurate at predicting the make-up of the Eurovision top 5.

Betting odds and OGAE polls: strikingly similar

Perhaps an even more noticeable trend from the graph is just how similar the countries that make up the OGAE top 15s and the betting odds top 15s are. Let’s take the statistics from 2011 onwards in which top 15s rather than top 5s were available. On every single occasion at least ten countries were found in both the top 15 of the OGAE poll and the betting odds. Furthermore, in the majority of cases (6 out of 10), at least twelve countries were found in both top 15s.

Is this a case of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Why are betting odds and the OGAE poll often so similar in regards to which countries rank the highest? Why are they more similar to each other than either of them are to the actual Eurovision results? Do the betting odds influence OGAE voters? Do OGAE voters influence betting odds? Perhaps it is a bit of both?

Who is copying who?

Betting odds don’t tend to change massively throughout the end of March and into April when the OGAE votes are taking place. Of course, OGAE members are hardcore Eurovision fans. They will have watched many national finals. They will have listened to entries many times. Also, they will have been paying close attention to which entries are the favourites. These are all things the casual Eurovision viewer and voter would not do.

Therefore, it is possibly understandable that OGAE voters are subconsciously influenced by betting odds. “So many people should like this song judging by its betting popularity so why don’t I? Let me listen to it a few more times”. Or on the other hand: “if this song has a chance of winning I need to let it grow on me so I’m not upset if it does win!”. Okay, that second statement may just be what I do when I’m watching endless national selections. Yet, you never know!

Other observations

There are also other themes that can be found throughout the analysis of each OGAE poll. Hardcore Eurovision fans tend to undermark novelty entries. Perhaps it’s a subconscious (or conscious!) protest against a song cheapening the contest’s reputation? In addition, there are occasions where a song that appeals to OGAE voters goes on to appeal to Eurovision voters. This is despite betting odds completely overlooking the entry. Key examples here include Ott Lepland from Estonia, Nadav Guedj from Israel, ZOË from Austria, Eleni Foureira from Cyprus and, of course, Conchita Wurst!

In conclusion, the OGAE poll is often just as good an indicator as betting odds are. This is shown by the striking similarity between the two for the majority of years. However, the OGAE poll is more susceptible to overrating certain fan favourites even more than betting odds do. For example, Mei Finegold’s Same Heart, Valentina Monetta’s Crisalide (Vola), Kati Wolf’s What About My Dreams?, Charlotte Perrelli’s Hero, Jana Burčeska’s Dance Alone and Saara Aalto’s Monsters. Many people would agree that these were obviously overrated fan favourites. Nevertheless, lying underneath the fan favourite bias is another worthwhile, yet imperfect indicator of results.

Stay tuned to for the final outcome of the 2021 OGAE poll, scheduled to conclude in early May. If you have any theories regarding any of the points mentioned throughout this article then don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section below or via our social media pages @ESCXTRA as I’m sure they will be just as valid if not more valid than my very own!

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