Entertainment & Arts

Eurovision Song Contest overhauls voting rules

Eurovision logo Image copyright Eurovision
Image caption The Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Stockholm on Saturday 14 May 2016

New rules have been announced for the Eurovision Song Contest in the biggest change to voting since 1975.

In previous years each country's jury and public votes were combined and announced in one go.

Now the votes will be split with each country's jury vote cast first, and votes from viewers in all countries combined and announced at the end.

Organisers say this will create a "dramatic finish" as the winner will only be revealed at the very end.

In previous years the winner has been known for up to 20 minutes before the end of voting.

"This format change will inject a new level of excitement into the finish of the Eurovision Song Contest," said Martin Osterdahl, executive producer for this year's show.

Image copyright Thomas Hanses/ EBU
Image caption Mans Zelmerlow won the Eurovison Song Contest last year for Sweden and will host this year's ceremony

The new voting system is a "big step forward", according to Jon Ola Sand, executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, that will "make a better television show as well as a more exciting competition".

He added: "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."

The same voting system will be used in the semi-finals.

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 the official Eurovision website.

The grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Stockholm on Saturday 14 May.


How the new voting system works

  • Each country participating will now be able to score the maximum 12 points from each the five-member juries and the voting public - instead of combining the jury and public televote.
  • As with every year, only the top 10 countries in each vote receive points (1-8, 10, 12). The new system means that even if a song is marked down by the jury, it will not affect the public vote. This means the jury cannot sway the public vote and vice versa.
  • For example, Poland's busty butter-churning act of 2014 was voted in the bottom five by the UK jury, but scored the highest with the British public. However when the scores were combined, it did not score enough to get into the overall top 10 and so it received no points from the UK at all.
  • Now after the jury votes have been counted, the televoting points from all participating countries will be combined, providing one score for each country. These televoting results will then be announced, starting with the country receiving the fewest points from the public and ending with the country that received the highest number of points.
  • Organisers hope the new system will create a more exciting show where in previous years the winner has been known before voting has finished.
  • Now the actual winner will not be known until the final moments of the voting as the audience learns what the public think. A song ranked fifth with the judges and 200 points behind the leader may race to the top if it is ranked higher with the voting public.
  • While it is technically true a country may never score "nil points" again as double points are on offer, it may still be the case a country may not be rated by either the jury or the public.

A video explainer of how the new voting system will work is on the Eurovision website.

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