Eurovision 2011 Results – A Fuller Dissection

Jun 24, 2011 by

It’s something of a fallow period on the tv betting front currently, so a good opportunity to analyse the Eurovision 2011 result in greater detail.
One of this year’s biggest surprises was the high score achieved by Italy to finish 2nd. It was boosted by a massive jury score of 251. To be fair, Raphael Gualazzi performed ‘Madness Of Love’ very well and by all accounts he was more impressive than France’s Amaury Vassili in the jury performance on the Friday evening as well. Even so, it remained a shock that this song was so loved by juries.
While Italy was mostly overlooked, the live bloggers in Dusseldorf were all raving about ‘Sognu’ during rehearsals and it remained a short-priced fav going into the final on Saturday night. France’s desperately poor televote score of 76 can be explained by a very nervous, off-key performance by Amaury in the live final that clearly failed to connect with viewers at home, but it is also to be noted that Italy only achieved a televote score of 99.
Much of the damage had been done, in hindsight, the night before but why juries went for Italy’s classical jazz and not France’s pop opera – to the extent of a 161 point disparity – still remains hard to fathom. Maybe juries were weighted this year in favour of jazz fans, or more realistically, they perhaps scored Italy higher than the song merited given it was Italy’s first appearance at the ESC since 1997. Be it sentiment or an official ESC directive, who knows, but encouraged by such an excellent result, one would expect Italy to form part of effectively a ‘Big 6’ in 2012, helping to fund the event with the other 5 automatic qualifiers – UK, Germany, France, Spain and hosts Azerbaijan – which can only be a boost to the event.
A noticeable aspect of jury voting this year was their support of well sung solo female ballads. Maja Keuc of Slovenia and Austria’s Nadine Beiler were stand out vocalists and they were justly rewarded by finishing 4th and 5th respectively in the final jury vote. Disappointingly, their support collapsed among televoters, Slovenia only receiving 39 points and Austria a meagre 25. They both had decent late draws but having so few voting friends in the final damaged their scores dramatically. It also shows that the general televoting base of the ESC is not refined or discerning enough to reward genuine vocal talent, or songs of subtlety and depth. We saw a similar trend in 2010 with Ukraine’s Alyosha singing ‘Sweet People’ only finishing 13th on the televote in the final. Georgia’s 9th place on the televote with ‘Shine’ by Sopho Nizharadze last year, and a points tally of 127, remains something of a televoting high benchmark for the pure, solo female ballad (this year’s Ukraine song is not included here for reasons explained below).
Lithuania’s qualification from semi-final 1 certainly raised a lot of eyebrows at the time. Looking at the breakdown of the scoring, ‘C’est Ma Vie’ actually won the jury vote which again highlights jurors love of a well sung, solo female ballad. One might assume being drawn 17 of 19 must have helped boost Lithuania further, but in truth it only achieved a televote of 52 points which was the same as Austria in semi-final 2, which was disadvantaged by its draw in 2. Slovenia, which won the semi-final 2 jury vote and managed 3rd overall in this semi, received only 68 points on the televote (a placing of 7th overall on the televote). What we can summise is that such songs are loved by jurors but rejected by the public unless such songs are able to rely on a strong diaspora.
A criteria jurors are supposed to factor into scores is a song’s hit potential. Based on this year’s results, this remains a difficult factor to gauge. ‘Popular’ by Eric Saade is certainly our idea of a song with hit potential. A televote score of 221 in the final backs up our view, pointing to European teen girls loving it and going into overdrive texting their votes for the Swedish heart-throb who offered up the catchiest of Schlager. Yet it was Sweden’s poor jury vote of 106 (9th in the jury vote overall) that cost Saade his chance of victory, resulting in an overall placing of 3rd.
Somewhat bizarrely, Jedward’s ‘Lipstick’ was considered superior to Saade’s ‘Popular’ by juries in the final, achieving 119 points – placing it 6th on the jury vote. This was a big turnaround from semi-final 2 in which Sweden received 99 points compared to Ireland’s 66. Was ‘Lipstick’ genuinely considered to have stronger hit potential than ‘Popular’ among the 43 juries? Similarly, 2 other songs vying for approval among jurors for their hit potential were the UK’s ‘I Can’ by Blue and Russia’s ‘Get You’ sung by Alex Vorobyov, and yet both completely bombed – the UK receiving only 57 points, and Russia an even more dismal 25 points.
Did these 2 songs not have hit potential by comparison? Their excellent televoting scores of 166 (UK) and 138 (Russia) would suggest otherwise so why were they shunned? Blog reports told us that Blue performed poorly in front of the juries on the Friday night which might partly explain the UK’s poor jury score but Russia’s Alex Vorobyov sang adequately enough to the best of our knowledge. Might this be a case of juries assessing Russia harshly due to its powerful diaspora? Possibly.
Two strongly fancied nations in the lead up to Dusseldorf were Estonia with Getter Jaani’s Rockefeller Street, and Hungary with Kati Wolf’s ‘What About My Dreams?’. Both might legitimately have been considered songs with hit potential, yet they, too, fared poorly with juries, achieving scores of 74 and 60 respectively. We wonder if these songs were penalised by jurors for their unimpressive live vocals though, to be fair, the public also gave the thumbs down to these 2 songs. Perhaps Getter Jaani was too ‘Disney Channel’ and Kati Wolf too niche – as an anthemic house tune – to suit the tastes of the general ESC vote base. Given the advent of text voting, perhaps this also now gives male pop performers a big edge on the televote, as they are strongly supported by teenage girls/young women – the UK, Russia, Sweden and Ireland all achieving decent 3 figure scores on the televote.
Another possible clue to jury scoring of these songs could lie in the staging. Sweden’s staging was impressively slick and Russia’s not nearly as good. The UK’s staging was extremely poor as was Hungary’s whereas Ireland’s was a triumph. Given that Jedward cannot hold a note but were cleverly concealed by backing singers, a mesmerisingly colourful canvas for a backdrop, and the sheer energy they threw into the performance, perhaps ‘hit’ potential, in the eyes of juries, now encompasses the visuals as much, if not more, than the song, or the vocals. But overall, this whole ‘hit’ potential aspect of jury scoring remains something of a mystery and hard to nail down.
Along with Italy, another surprise top-10-er, at least for us, was Ukraine. Mika Newton’s ‘Angel’ struck us as very bland and yet it managed to finish 4th, an exceptional result for a solo female ballad. A great draw of 23 out of 25, certainly didn’t hinder its televote but its score was clearly inflated by an element totally separate from the song or Mika’s voice, namely, the visual impact of the sand artist used to tell the story of the song. This undoubtedly bewitched the tv audience, and again highlights the power of staging.
In the semi-finals, it was hammered home again how much of an advantage it can be to be drawn late. The best illustration of this is the largely unheralded Greek song winning semi-final 1 (tipped up by us at 50-1). Yes, it was bolstered by having strong voting allies in this semi – only Azerbaijan had superior voting strength in this semi – but ‘Watch My Dance’ was able to steal the show and knock Azerbaijan, which preceded it, off top spot. Loukas Giorkas’s outstanding vocal was able to take a fairly average Greek song to a higher level, as did the tremendously evocative staging, but the draw must also have helped Greece to top the televote.

Conversely, an early draw makes it tougher for countries. We had the shock result in semi-final 1 of seeing the first 5 songs to perform all failing to qualify. The first 4 were sung by women so possibly helped to cancel each other out, but the big hitter of Turkey missing out from the 5 draw, highlights the vulnerability of songs from an early draw position.
An anomaly we have noticed in semi-final 2 is Bosnia’s surprisingly low jury vote (65) and high televote (131) given its draw in 1. Indeed, we would have expected a reversal of those scores and anticipated Bosnia to be vying for top spot on the jury vote yet it was shunned, finishing 11th. Dino Merlin certainly didn’t sing the song to the best of his ability when singing live in the semi-final – though televoters forgave him for this – but we were not aware of him performing poorly in his jury performance the previous evening. Is this another example of juries being harsh on a nation with a strong diaspora – trying to make the event more of a level playing field?
The impressive jury scores achieved by minnows by way of voting friends, Lithuania (113), Iceland (104) and Switzerland (76), in semi-final 1 – enabling them all to qualify with what were largely considered pretty ordinary entries –  and the likes of diaspora big guns Georgia (51), Armenia (33) and Russia (31) being heavily penalised by juries, might also suggest there is something in this.
One of the biggest disparities in the final saw Denmark finish 3rd on the jury vote, but 18th on the televote. An early draw didn’t help Denmark win televotes yet Bosnia was able to overcome this obstacle to achieve 6th place in the televote. While it is easy to point to Bosnia having more voting friends than Denmark, Bosnia’s comparative failure with juries, along with Denmark’s failure on the televote, reveal part of the beauty of the ESC – its great uncertainty as a contest and the guesswork required in assessing the impact of the different variables at play, and attempting to penetrate the tastes of both the jury professionals and the wider public.
For jurors to rate the likes of Italy and Ireland as superior to Bosnia and Georgia still baffles us, and shows that no end of study will ever give you the full picture, and some results will always leave you scratching your head for answers.
What are your opinions on the 2011 ESC vote breakdown? Is there anything you have spotted ahead of next year’s contest in Baku? Do you agree or disagree with some of the trends highlighted above? Please feel free to add your thoughts below and join in the discussion.
Rob Furber

The split results of the Final were as follows:

# Country Combined result Jury voting Televoting
1 Finland 57 75 47
2 Bosnia & Herzegovina 125 90 151
3 Denmark 134 168 61x
4 Lithuania 63 66 55
5 Hungary 53 60 64
6 Ireland 119 119 101
7 Sweden 185 106 221
8 Estonia 44 74 32
9 Greece 120 84 176
10 Russia 77 25 138
11 France 82 90 76
12 Italy 189 251 99
13 Switzerland 19 53 2
14 United Kingdom 100 57 166
15 Moldova 97 82 98
16 Germany 107 104 113
17 Romania 77 86 79
18 Austria 64 145 25
19 Azerbaijan 221 182 223
20 Slovenia 96 160 39
21 Iceland 61 72 60
22 Spain 50 38 73
23 Ukraine 159 117 168
24 Serbia 85 111 89
25 Georgia 110 79 138

 

First Semi-Final split results

The split results of the first Semi-Final were as follows:

# Combined result Jury voting Televoting
1 Poland 18 13 25
2 Norway 30 29 56
3 Albania 47 61 42
4 Armenia 54 33 75
5 Turkey 47 58 54
6 Serbia 67 102 42
7 Russia 64 31 93
8 Switzerland 55 76 45
9 Georgia 74 51 90
10 Finland 103 86 111
11 Malta 54 84 24
12 San Marino 34 74 8
13 Croatia 41 49 32
14 Iceland 100 104 79
15 Hungary 72 65 73
16 Portugal 22 6 39
17 Lithuania 81 113 52
18 Azerbaijan 122 109 124
19 Greece 133 74 154

Second Semi-Final split results

The split results of the second Semi-Final were as follows:

# Combined result Jury voting Televoting
1 Bosnia & Herzegovina 109 65 131
2 Austria 69 95 52
3 The Netherlands 13 22 17
4 Belgium 53 71 50
5 Slovakia 48 71 40
6 Ukraine 81 76 91
7 Moldova 54 53 61
8 Sweden 155 99 159
9 Cyprus 16 24 23
10 Bulgaria 48 59 43
11 FYR Macedonia 36 47 33
12 Israel 38 36 51
13 Slovenia 112 146 68
14 Romania 111 85 121
15 Estonia 60 83 46
16 Belarus 45 38 54
17 Latvia 25 11 43
18 Denmark 135 129 115
19 Ireland 68 66 78

 

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2 Comments

  1. Henry VIII

    Excellent piece Rob.

    I fear the juries may become more corralled and instructed in future for the corporate “good”. It seems to be the way of the world.

    Even if they retain their independence there is a bigger unpredictability which is the tiny size of the jury electorate in a highly subjective field. It must have been easier in those years when it was just a public vote (easier for those who did their homework about diaspora voting).

    A case for discipline – looking at all markets and picking bets selectively and only if an opportunity arises.

  2. Rob

    Thanks for the reply, Henry, and welcome to the Eurovision party! As you will likely discover if you follow things closely, put in the homework and there are some excellent market opportunities to exploit during the lead up to ESC final night. As you say, selectivity is key and pinpointing those stand out value bets. It is a unique tv betting event in which so many variables come into play but if you study them scientifically, and apply your betting instinct, the ESC markets offer the best chance to turn a healthy profit of any tv betting event. Good luck and please keep reading and posting on the blog.

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