Biggest change to Eurovision Song Contest voting since 1975

Changes to the voting presentation in the Grand Final will inject new excitement in the contest

EBU
Geneva, Switzerland

The voting in the Eurovision Song Contest is set to be radically transformed in 2016. In previous years the results of the professional juries and viewers have been presented as a combined result, each accounting for 50 percent of the final score. From 2016, the professional juries and televoters from each country will each award a separate set of points from 1 to 8, 10 and 12. This now means the top 10 countries in both the jury and televote will receive points, adding a new level of excitement for hundreds of millions of viewers in Europe and beyond.

How does it work?

After viewers have cast their votes by telephone, SMS or using the official app, each national spokesperson from the 43 participating countries will be called in to present the points of their professional jury. After the presentation of the scores from the juries, the televoting points from all participating countries will be combined, providing one score for each song. These televoting results will then be announced by the host, starting with the country receiving the fewest points from the public and ending with the country that received the highest number of points, building towards a guaranteed climax.

For those wanting to know how their country has voted, the televoting and jury scores from each participating country will be available after the show on Eurovision.tv.

"It's about creating TV magic"

“This new way of presenting the votes is a big step forward, both to make a better television show as well as a more exciting competition,” said the EBU’s Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest. “There is more reason than ever to vote in the Eurovision Song Contest. The new voting format guarantees that the song which is most popular among the public will receive twelve points regardless of how the juries voted. It is fitting that this change to the Contest’s iconic scoring sequence will be debuted in Stockholm, where the famous douze points system was introduced in 1975.”

“All competitions are enhanced by creating a dramatic finish” Eurovision Song Contest Producer, Christer Björkman, says. “This was a unanimous decision taken by the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group. It’s about creating TV magic”, he added.

Martin Österdahl, Executive Producer for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest explained, “In previous years the winner has been known for up to 20 minutes before the end of voting and that’s not good TV. This format change will inject a new level of excitement into the finish of the Eurovision Song Contest”.

The Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Stockholm on Saturday 14th May 2016.

Questions & Answers

Why change things?

For several years, the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest has been known well before the end of voting as technically no other act could catch up. Under the new system, the winner will only be known in the final minutes of the show. The new format, inspired by the voting system of Melodifestivalen, Sweden’s national selection format for the Eurovision Song Contest, has been discussed since 2012. The changes increase transparency and were unanimously approved by the Reference Group and the EBU Television Committee, the governing bodies of the Eurovision Song Contest. 

How will this make the voting more exciting?

This innovation means that the winner will not be known until the final moments of the voting procedure. Depending on the distribution of jury votes, it means that a country in third or fourth place for example, may still have a chance to win. The point is that viewers will not know which country has won until the final moments of the voting sequence.

Will this make the Grand Final longer?

No. Based on calculations made by the producers, the projected running time of the Grand Final will remain approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes.

If the spokespeople are only giving points for the jury vote, where can we find out the results of the televote?

Viewers will be able to see the point allocation on-screen in a fast-paced and exciting sequence. The points given by televoters in each country will be made available via Eurovision.tv and in the official app shortly after the end of the Grand Final. As before, the EBU will also disclose full jury results after the Grand Final. The professional jury result of each country will continue to be determined based on the full ranking of all five jury members.

In addition, EBU, its voting partner Digame and Host Broadcaster SVT will facilitate broadcasters with the possibility to show the national televoting results on-screen, before the end of the Grand Final.

What if a country cannot deliver a valid televoting result?

Both jury and televoting award 1 to 8, 10, and 12 points in each country. In order to secure the 50/50 balance between jury and televoting a national jury result cannot be used as backup result for the televoting. Therefore, if – for whatever reason – a country cannot deliver a valid televoting result, a substitute result is calculated by the audience result of a pre-selected group of countries. These groups and their composition have been pre-approved by the EBU and the Reference Group.

What if a country cannot deliver a valid jury result?

Both juries and televoters award 1 to 8, 10, and 12 points in each country. In order to secure the 50/50 balance between jury and televoting, a national televoting result can’t be used as backup result for the jury. Therefore, if – for whatever reason – a country cannot deliver a valid jury result, a substitute result is calculated by the jury result of a pre-selected group of countries. These groups and their composition have been pre-approved by the EBU permanent services and the Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest

What happens in case of a tie on the scoreboard?

Only for the purpose of solving tie situations, a combined national televoting and jury result will be calculated. In any situation where a tie occurs, this combined country result is considered, the winner shall be the song which has obtained points from the highest number of countries.

If the tied songs have received points from the same number of countries, the highest number of 12-point scores shall be decisive. If the winner still cannot be determined by this procedure, the number of times ten points have been awarded shall be the deciding factor.

If necessary, this method shall continue until account has been taken of the number of times one point has been awarded. In the very unlikely case that after applying the above procedure l there is still a tie, the tie shall be resolved by giving precedence to the country which was earlier in the running order for the respective show in question.

When will the juries cast their votes?

As before, the juries will watch and vote on the evening Dress Rehearsal (the so-called Jury Semi-Finals and Jury Final respectively), one day prior to each live show. As previously, should major technical problems arise during the live show, preventing the collection of valid televoting results, the jury results can be used as backup.

How will the Semi-Final results be calculated? 

The Semi-Final results will be calculated using the same formula that will be used in the Grand Final. Only the top ten qualifying countries will be announced, as usual. All the results will be available on Eurovision.tv shortly after the Grand Final.

How was the decision making process around this change organised?

This change is the outcome of a long process that started in the Reference Group, the governing body of the contest on behalf of the Participating Broadcasters, at the initiative of the EBU and SVT. The change was accepted by the Reference Group in 2015 and consequently approved by the EBU Television Committee. 

Comments

Måns Zelmerlöw and Petra Mede hosted the two Semi-Finals and Grand Final in 2016.

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