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Eurovision’s place on the map of modern music

Eurovision’s place on the map of modern music

What is the archetypal Eurovision song? The answer, according to everynoise.com, is Hera Björk’s ‘Je ne sais quoi”. “How does that work?” I hear you ask… “Data alchemist” and engineer Glenn McDonald has produced a map of the sounds of the world’s modern music industry, plotting 1264 different genres of music available on Spotify. Among the broad spectrum that includes “slam death metal”, “hindustani classical” and “juggalo” sits a familiar word; “Eurovision” has been included as a genre in its own right. Whilst we know the event to include an eclectic compilation of music, what happens when algorithmic analysis is run on the Spotify releases by Eurovision artists as a whole? What characterises “Eurovision” music? The map’s makers say that genres placed towards the top of the map are generally more “mechanical and electric”, with more “organic” music towards the bottom. Eurovision sits only slightly towards the more mechanical end, and in a median position between the “dense and atmospheric” left, versus the “bouncy and spiky” right. So how does a piece of Icelandic pop appear as the representative song for the contest? Burrowing down into the “Eurovision” genre, we find Eurovision’s very own musical map, with Hera Björk at …
The Most Unlikely National Final Participants Ever

The Most Unlikely National Final Participants Ever

Throughout the years we’ve seen a number of artists that have made an attempt at Eurovision participation after varying degrees of prior fame, as well as some artists who have popped up in some less than expected locations….. Scooter Hamburg-based techno group Scooter were huge both at home and around Europe in the 90s and early 00s with hits such as The Logical Song, but found themselves wooed into participation by German broadcaster ARD in its attempt to revive the country’s fortunes at Eurovision in 2004, entering Germany 12 Points! with Jigga Jigga.  Nanne Grönvall  While she is a household name in her native Sweden, Nanne Grönvall (already known to a Eurovision audience as part of One More Time, who came third at Eurovision 1996 with the song Den Vilda) made a surprise appearance in the United Kingdom’s A Song For Europe in 2001, with the song Men, written by Kimberley Rew (one of Katrina’s Waves from 1997). She later went on to participate three times in Sweden’s Melodifestivalen but never quite made a win for herself. The Weather Girls In possibly one of the most bizarre candidates to make our list, The Weather Girls, best known for the disco …
Eurovision 2015? Helene Fischer please!

Eurovision 2015? Helene Fischer please!

I think it’s something we all do: discuss who we’d like to see in Eurovision some time. I’ve been a Helene Fischer-fan for quite some time, but it’s only since her latest album that I believe in the combination of Helene and Eurovision. Why? Oh, there are so many reasons! Helene Fischer. Germany’s schlager queen. And as we talk about that, we need to look at Helene’s career. She has been a huge name in Germany since 2005/2006, when she had her first TV performances. She kept the same, decent style until 2011/2012. She belonged to the group of German schlager singers. The group that doesn’t have much to do with what we know as the typical Melodifestivalen schlager. Her image was that of the sweet girl next door. She did everything right for her audience at the time. But that audience was not the young audience you would get for the Eurovision Song Contest. I never thought that the Helene Fischer from these years was a good candidate for Eurovision. Her singles were sweet, but it never made a big impact. The impact came when she released a best of album. Best of Helene Fischer was released on 4 June 2010. …
Sorry I’m not sorry

Sorry I’m not sorry

Earlier today I read a piece on the Guardian about the need to apologise for mainstream tastes. Within the article, Tom Shone quotes Carl Wilson’s book about his journey to learn to love Celine Dion, ‘Let’s Talk About Love’ Subversion today is sentimentality’s inverse: it is nearly always a term of approval. To show the subversiveness of a song, TV show or movie is tantamount to validating it, not just in pop criticism but academic scholarship It has become quite clear to me that this doesn’t escape the ambit of any (artistic) expression anymore and anything that has the misfortune as being labelled as mainstream risks the stigma that seems to be necessarily attached to it these days. Through the excruciatingly delicious experience of being a Eurovision fan I have found myself more often than not apologising for liking the contest. I have made all sorts of excuses and come up with the most fabulously intricate explanations as to why the show is not only good fun but as valid an artistic expression as any other. Depending on the audience I have discovered my arguments as to how the contest was used as a political tool against communism reinforced, that …
With the old 50-50 system, the results would be a lot different!

With the old 50-50 system, the results would be a lot different!

As everyone knows, Austria’s Conchita Wurst won the Eurovision Song Contest with her song “Rise Like A Phoenix”. Straight after the final, the EBU has released the full results of this year’s Contest, for the very first time! We have the rankings of each and every juror per country, and the full ranking of the televotes in every country separately, for both semi finals, and the final. Seeing how much I love statistics and numbers, I wanted to work out what would have changed if we still used the old system (last used two years ago in Baku), where the juries awarded points for the top 10 in their opinion, and when they didn’t have to rank the songs from first to last. Converting all the rankings we got this year into points (1 = 12, 2 = 10, … 10 = 1, 11-x = 0), and in a combination with the top 10 in televoting in each and every country, I saw that the results would be slightly different, and that we would have had a different final, than the one we had! The current point system gives an advantage to the songs finishing just out of the top …
An analysis of the Melodifestivalen 2014 results

An analysis of the Melodifestivalen 2014 results

In this editorial, I aim to decipher what the results, which were revealed this morning by SVT, of Melodifestivalen 2014 really mean. I’ve spent a couple of hours number crunching and have come up with some very interesting statistics that have become clear to me as I’ve analysed the figures released today. I will be assessing the average number of votes (per semifinal in total), making comparisons to previous years (in regard to small voting totals) and also displaying who was very close to qualifying from their semifinals as well as just how close one certain artist was to not being a finalist. Average scores Starting with deltävling1, all four qualifiers were above the average vote total of 51,557.25. YOHIO won with 117,219; Ellen Benediktson was second earning 99,444; Helena Paparizou was someway further back in third place with 70,438 followed by Linus gaining 60,732. Deltävling 2 also featured all four qualifiers being above the average vote total of 42,473.125. Sanna Nielsen was the runaway winner with almost a third of the entire vote, receiving 109,592 votes. The fight for second place was close with Martin Stenmarck only 5,504 votes behind Panetoz (they earned 51,897 and 57,401 respectively). Fourth placed …
The draw – does conventional wisdom hold up?

The draw – does conventional wisdom hold up?

With today’s semifinal allocation draw upon us, it seemed like a good time to go digging about in the semifinal numbers. To start with, let me say that I’ve only taken data from the semifinals between 2010 and 2013 inclusive. 2004-2007 were discounted because there was only one semifinal, and almost all countries voted in them; whilst 2008-2009 I left out because they were decided by pure televotes and a jury save. The data from 2010-2013 gives us four years’ worth of solid figures from a two semifinal, 50-50 system. So, what’s lurking in the numbers? Ultimately I set out to prove the logic that you’re better off being drawn in the second half of a semi than the first. Looking back over the past four years, 35 qualifiers came from the first half and 45 from the second – so that holds up. But what is interesting to look at is the average points a country scores in each half. Over three of the last four years, a country has averaged more points in the second half than they have in the first, as you can see on the graph below: It should be noted though that in 2013, …
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