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Editorial: Different ways to improve the Eurovision voting system

In almost five months time, the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest will be upon us. And as good as the event already is, there are still some slight changes we could make to the competition, writes the Australian journalist Joshua Mayne. 

Mayne has written an editorial in December for ESC Daily, about potential candidates for Australia. He now follows up with another editorial in which he proposes different ways to improve the voting system. “Maintain the light-hearted segment, don’t announce the countries with low point tallies and introduce an awkward delay timer.”

Maintain light-hearted voting segment

There’s nothing more quintessentially Eurovision than the voting system. We love seeing who each country votes for and we also appreciate those awkward silences during live crosses to each country’s voting representative. Last year, it was probably better than ever before. The new system kept the suspense until the very end, and on top of that, host Petra Mede added something to the grand total.

There’s no hiding from the fact that the long voting process can become boring (even with the new system). Last year, Petra Mede changed this single-handedly. Her cheeky, sarcastic remarks gave the voting another dimension. You never knew what she was going to say next, or how she was going to react. Her engaging personality actually made you want to listen to every second of the voting. Sure, she won’t be hosting the competition in Ukraine this year, but the new hosts could certainly learn a thing or two.

Don’t announce countries with low point tallies

In 2016, we experienced arguably the best voting system yet. By splitting jury votes and fan votes, it provided more interest, suspense, and it didn’t take any longer than usual! However, there was one flaw in the system.

When the fan’s voting points were announced from highest to lowest, some countries were left embarrassed. Most noticeably was the Czech Republic, receiving 0 points from the televotes. Other nations received miniscule amounts of points, which certainly wouldn’t have made them feel good about themselves.

This year, it would be best for countries with a fan vote points total of less than 60 (for example) to be immediately added to the points board. From there, the same system that we saw last year can be used. You can’t entirely hide the fact that a country didn’t earn many of the fan’s votes, but we could at least prevent some public embarrassment. Eurovision is about celebrating positive achievements, and not sharing poor results.

Introduce an awkward delay timer

This idea sounds silly, and in all fairness, it is, but when did Eurovision become a serious occasion? There are rules and regulations surrounding the competition, but Eurovision’s main purpose is to be enjoyable. For anyone who watches the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time, one of the most memorable quirks (of which there are many) is the uncomfortable delay between the hosts and country representatives during the voting.

The delays are so incredibly awkward, that it’s a funny tradition. We should be accentuating this by introducing a timer, visible live on screen and in the arena. There’s no point hiding a long delay when there’s a better opportunity to embrace it. This isn’t a change that will affect the voting system forever – it’s just a bit of fun. Why wouldn’t you want to have fun while watching Eurovision?

2 Responses to “Editorial: Different ways to improve the Eurovision voting system”

  1. Oliver Rau says:

    I wholeheartly oppose this idea. Fun and lighthearted as the ESC may seem, it’s still a competition and should be treated as one. If a country does recieve Nul Points from the public voting, I want to know. Even if it is my own. And no, I’m not from the Czech Republic, but from Germany, and we had our fair share of (sometimes deserved, sometimes undeserved) zeroes in the past. It’s a part of the game, and if you can’t face the public humiliation with grace and dignity, you shouldn’t participate in the first place. I’m absolutely against sugar-coating or hiding a low result.

    Introducing a timer for the delays, I personally don’t see the fun in it, but maybe there is. So I’d be open to give this one a try.

  2. Johny says:

    Televoting system can be different. The first place song, should be awarded with 26 points and the final point song with 1 point. This way, diaspora and neighbor voting will be eliminated, songs that take the 11th place will not receive the same votes with the song that will take the 26th place. And finally, no country will leave the contest with 0 points.

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