There’s been a lot of chatter from fans (both casual and obsessed) about the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of a 50% Jury, 50% Televote split at Eurovision. Call me crazy, but I actually kind of prefer having the two sides. A jury might be less inclined to vote for a song based on geographical or cultural distribution, while a public vote might be a better divining rod of what’s actually popular. Juries also have the benefit of having a few hours to digest their thoughts and register their votes, while televoters have a smaller window to decide where to spend their hard-earned cell-phone minutes. (Granted, until the full votes from each nation are released by the EBU or by the broadcasters themselves, this is a lot of speculation.)
What *does* bother me a bit, however, is the fact that the juries and the public vote on two different performances. The Juries give their scores based on the final dress rehearsal from the night before the actual event. As many have said over the past few weeks, Blue’s vocals simply didn’t do the song justice during the Jury Final (which pains me to say, since I loved both the song and the boys themselves, as my readers knew).
I think it all boils down to what makes a Eurovision Winner the “best” song. Is it the composition? The showmanship? The personality? The actual vocal performance? The potential for a song to become a commercial hit? The public will look for one thing, while the juries might look for something else. When it comes to actual musical talent, I sincerely think that the juries got it right when they favored Italy. In terms of showmanship, the Azeris put on a great performance that was visually stunning (with a bit of eye candy for all). Was “Running Scared” my personal choice or prediction for the winner? Not by a long shot. After watching the semifinals and a slew of rehearsals, I was hoping for Rome, Reykjavík, Copenhagen, Athens, Sarajevo, or Tblisi, and I predicted it would go to London, Dublin, Paris, or even Belgrade. But even though “Running Scared” wasn’t my personal taste, I can sit back and understand how it took the crown. Düsseldorf was full of impressive songs and performances, and when enthusiasm is spread out over a number of different nations (a total of 20 nations out of 25 ended up with at least one “douze points”, with only Estonia, Russia, Switzerland, Germany, and Serbia missing out), an entry can easily fly under the radar and take a victory.
It’s possible to go on about this topic for pages and pages, and you might never come up with a true consensus of how to find an ideal winner.
My friend John Kennedy O’Connor wrote a really in-depth and incisive piece on this topic
for ESCInsight.com, and I recommend that you all check it out, if you haven’t already.
Ok, everybody…let the (hopefully civil) debate begin! What would you like to see, in terms of the voting?