Jury Jargon: Quick explanation of our Jury Rehearsal liveblog

Cesar Sampson Austria 2018

For every Eurovision liveshow, there is a Jury Rehearsal the night before. This show is just as important as the tv-show, because the professional juries determine 50% of the results based on this performance. ESCDaily follows the jury rehearsal and describes it to our readers in a very unique way.

Our blog about the Jury Rehearsal focuses on results, and results only. We do not look at postcards, interval acts or anything irrelevant to the Jury Voting of that night. We do, however, describe the live performances in-depth, giving a vocal assessment (juries tend to find vocals extremely important).

How we evaluate Eurovision jury show performances

ESCDaily has an impressive track record when it comes to predicting the Jury Results via our liveblog. Several professional Eurovision traders follow our blog as a source for their decisions. Here’s how we do it:

  • Vocals. As mentioned, juries look at vocals more than televoters do. We describe the entire performance for you and try to precisely locate the critical notes in each performance. Jury’s may not overanalyze every detail; however our research shows that they do feel a responsibility of listening to vocals carefully. Their situation, watching the show alone (instead of in a room full of friends with a beer in their hand), has a direct influence on their decisions.
  • Red flags / Green flags. Over the years, we have studied jury results intensively and as a result, we have been able to come up with a model of do’s and don’ts for a Eurovision performance. Things juries tend to like (green flags) and dislike (red flags).
  • Star ratings. In the end, each performance gets a rating between 1 and 5 stars. This rating is not influenced by personal taste. We simply apply our model to the performances and the ratings are merely a reflection.

Terminology / jargon we use in our blog

Years of studying jury results have helped us develop our model of how to assess jury performances. We will not share the entire model on our website, however, we will provide you with a brief summary. The following terms are very important to understand when reading our blog on the night of a jury rehearsal:

Green flags

  • The Mans-factor. We derive this term from Mans Zelmerlöw, who won Eurovision with a performance in which he needed to pull of a rather difficult choreography. Not only did he pull this off; he did it with great conviction. Juries like (extreme) professionalism. The Mans-factor is our way of indicating that in any future performance.
  • Conventional, inoffensive, middle of the road. These are all terms to describe a song or a genre. If an entry is acceptable to everyone, it is less likely to be dragged down by one juror, and therefore far more likely to succeed.
  • At Ease / Sit back in your chair. Jurors scrutinize vocals. Exceptional singers make you feel like they could do this all day long without making a single mistake. They make you sit back in your chair and relax.
  • Other important green flags: Former talent show contestants. Songs with a WOKE message. In terms of genre, juries like Swedish schlager and Balkan ballads, and songs generally a bit more outdated.

Red flags

  • The FOP-effect. Jurors are not always as rational as we might think. They are prone to feelings, particularly feelings of pride. A song might tick all the boxes, but when juries feel like they are being fooled by a “joke entry” or “kitsch”, they will quickly withdraw their support. Juries want to be taken seriously, and therefore they do not vote for something that can possibly be perceived as “not serious”. This so-called FOP-effect can often be triggered by the performance: a huge prop, a gimmick in the performance, or an ill-tasted lyric.
  • A Love/Hate entry. The easiest way to describe discrepancies between televoting and jury voting is this. A song which many people will like, but few people will really love, is classic jury food. A song that some people will absolutely love, while plenty of others might hate it (a love/hate entry) is jury poison. This type of song tends to fare way better with televoters.
  • Backing vocals. Strong backing vocals can complement the lead vocals and enhance a good performance. However, if backing vocals take over the lead vocals, or overpower the lead singer, juries are quick to judge.
  • Many red flags are simply the opposite of the green flags above. Juries do not like amateurism, lack of control on stage, weird/offensive (ethnic) songs, or when vocals sound on-key but forced (a singer who keeps you on the edge of your seat). Jury members do not like it when a singer shouts into the audience, or excludes the tv-viewer in any other way. Also, female jurors have often punished performances which they perceived as sexist.