Discussions regarding the jury voting system in Eurovision took place at a meeting of the Broadcasting Council on 13 June, according to TV2. After years of fan complaints, changes are reportedly being considered.
Norwegian broadcaster NRK are among those in talks with Eurovision organizers concerning the jury system. The talks are taking place due to widespread unhappiness surrounding the split between jury and televote winners at the Eurovision Song Contest 2023. Audience members halted the 2023 grand final with chants of “Cha Cha Cha” for a total of three minutes in Liverpool during the jury and televote result sequences.
TV2 revealed that complaints made by the public that were considered at the Broadcasting Council meeting. “Now once again a song that is not the audience’s favorite wins because of THE DAMN JURIES OF HELL!!!!” read one complaint. “The jury should be abolished or given a much smaller role in the scoring,” read another.
Loreen of Sweden won the 2023 jury vote with 340 votes while Käärijä of Finland came fourth with 150 points from the professional juries. When it came to the ‘pay per vote’ televote, Loreen, the 2012 Eurovision winner, placed second scoring 243 points, as rapper Käärijä recieved 376 points from the public.
Winning the contest a rare second time, Loreen finished with a combined score of 583, only 57 points ahead of the 526 points Käärijä ended with in second place. Since the introduction of the 50/50 voting split in 2009 there has been increasing controversy surrounding who should choose the winner of Eurovision, escalating in 2011 when Ell and Nikki of Azerbaijan won after placing second in the televote behind Raphael Gualazzi of Italy and then first with the juries.
Beginning the almost constant trend of the winner not win both sets of votes, Mans Zelmerlow of Sweden received the most jury points in 2015 and overall third place finisher Il Volo of Italy recieved the highest televote points. In 2016, history was made when Ukranian winner Jamala placed second across the board and still took home the trophy over Dami Im of Australia and Sergey Lazarev of Russia, the jury and televote winners respectively. .
In the years 2018, 2021 and 2022 the winner topped the televote and not the jury vote, with 2019 victor Duncan Laurance of the Netherlands winning neither. Excluding 2017 when Salvador Sobral was victorious with a decisive 758 point win, every year since 2015 the winner has been the favorite of fans or professional juries or neither.
Between 1998 and 2009 juries were only used as backup votes in the special case a country couldn’t implement a televote system through the phone or if fraud was detected. After 14 years the voting system of 2009 was replicated at the 2023 contest, featuring semifinals using 100% televotes to choose the qualifiers.
Animosity amongst the public on who was the real winner of Eurovision each year continues to push away the peace and friendship intended when the contest was created in 1956, after World War II.
The EBU gave their reasoning for having the jury system:
“Using national juries of musical experts in the grand final, who rank all the songs in order of priority, each song can be assessed individually. It ensures the best qualitative ranking of all participants in the Grand Final and that a winner is decided on the broadest criteria.
By using a jury vote for the Grand Final, we can also continue a long-standing tradition of uniting all participating countries on air with spokespersons delivering votes from their nation.
With all participating countries voting in the grand final, including the points awarded by professional juries, it also helps mitigate diaspora and cultural voting which is reduced by 50% in the semi-finals by assigning countries with similar voting records to perform and vote in separate shows.
Finally, to maintain the suspense of the voting sequence in the grand finale, with the final winner only known at the very end of the show, two sets of separate votes are still required.”
TV2 said that there is a deadline to make the decision on what, if any, changes will be made to the current jury voting system, though the date was not revealed publicly. The final decision will be left to the Eurovision Reference Group.
A present but diminished set of professional juries could cause issues, as seen with the American Song Contest. The United States spin off of the Eurovision Song Contest, lead by Christer Björkman, saw a confusing set of qualifying rounds and semifinals and a final that featured a massively uneven point distribution between the national jury and public votes.
Washington R&B singer Allen Stone won the jury vote with 105 points while Oklahoma K-pop singer AleXa won the public vote with 654 points. AleXa won the contest with Riker Lynch of Colorado placing second overall. The contest was not renewed for a second season and put on hold indefinitely.
Watch the jury and televote results from the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 below and tell us what do you think should happen with the jury voting system in the upcoming 2024 contest.