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Here’s another fine mess EBU’ve gotten us into…

by | May 23, 2019

Here’s another fine mess EBU’ve gotten us into…

by | May 23, 2019 | Eurovision, Featured |

As the EU elections begin around the continent, the European Broadcasting Union last night provided some voting drama of its own with the announcement – as already suspected by many fans – that the substitute jury result it calculated for Belarus in the grand final was completely wrong and has been revised. The result: Changes to the final scoreboard, with Sweden replacing Norway in the top five, and North Macedonia denied its rightful moment in the spotlight as the jury winner.

We have questions.

  • How come this was allowed to happen in the first place, considering it was screamingly obvious to everyone watching on Saturday night that something weird was going on when the Belarusian votes went almost exclusively to countries at the bottom end of the scoreboard?
  • At the very least, did the fact that Belarus’s 12 points went to a country that otherwise received no points from any other jury not raise any alerts, given that the entire point of the aggregated vote is that it reflects how other countries voted?
  • What’s the point of the juries voting 24 hours before the public, on a completely different set of performances, if that time isn’t used to verify their results correctly?
  • Is the idea of devising an artificial aggregated result to replace a disqualified jury really the best one anyway? Surely it’d be possible to either find a new set of people in Belarus to vote in the final, or to simply use an alternative jury – a representative sample from various parts of the continent, people from a non-participating country, former Eurovision winners, whatever. Anything seems preferable to adding points to the scoreboard that are literally made up.
  • Since we now also know that multiple jurors messed up their individual rankings by putting their favourite song in last place and vice versa – and not for the first time – isn’t it time the EBU and Digame introduced more checks and balances, from on-site scrutineers to manual confirmations when the results are submitted by each country? How hard is it to get this right?
  • How will this affect the betting markets? At time of writing, Betfair are digging in their heels when it comes to paying out on the revised results – which is understandable since, in theory, it also requires them to demand money back from those who won it e.g. on Norway finishing in the top five. However, the argument they’re using is that, under their terms and conditions, more than 72 hours have passed since the original result so the affected markets can’t be resettled. Since we all knew there was something fishy about the Belarusian jury result the instant it was announced, how come it’s taken the EBU so long to fess up?
  • And perhaps most concerningly of all… what if this happens again, but next time the identity of the winner changes?

What a mess. It’s not quite enough to ruin the aftertaste of a fun and dramatic Eurovision grand final, but for the sake of the contest’s integrity, it really needs to be something that is never repeated.

 

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