The voting in Eurovision is so much fun it literally takes up half the programme, and yet the voting system itself is still considered a bit of an extended joke. Even the introduction of juries to stop the whole ‘we don’t really like your song but we like you so have our 8/10/12 points’ thing hasn’t really worked – the voting is still largely predictable and the favourite still wins. (I’d highly recommend you select ‘bookies opinion’ and ‘favourite’ as one of your criteria if you’re serious about picking a winner, although we use bookies odds a tie breaker so why not have fun with some other options like amount of facial hair instead?)
Clearly, the system could do with updating so here are our ideas for fixing the voting problem…
1. Get rid of the juries
Although this might seem counter-intuitive, I like to think we have all grown up enough that we can decide who we like based on performance and not geo-political alliances. Plus, these alliances are constantly changing anyway – just look at the Russia/Ukraine situation. Maybe, if Putin gets his way, the tension can stem from just how many Eastern European nations will be left to vote for each other by the time the competition starts? We will never know if we’ve truly matured enough to vote properly unless we give it another try.
2. Outsource the voting
On the other hand, if we Europeans can’t be trusted to vote without taking history into consideration then maybe we need to consider changing the voting bloc to somewhere with less hang-ups. I mean the only biases Asians, Africans or Americans have are which songs they like or don’t like, right? Well, apart from the legacy of colonialism. Or common language. Or trade and business alliances. Or maybe your mum’s sister and her family who moved to Europe last year. But apart from that, it would be a bias-free zone! And really, the costs involved in marketing to all these new fans would be nothing compared to the increased viewership (and therefore advertising euros) the non-predictable voting would provide.
3. Keep all the songs under wraps until the big final
Part of the problem with the current system is that savvy performers use the months of build up to amass serious fan-bases around Europe, something that has gotten even easier with social media/the internet in general. So what if, instead of announcing artists and their songs months in advance, everything was kept under wraps until the live shows? Sure, it would make the national selections a bit harder to run – how can the public vote for which song to send if fears of leaking are so great no one can hear, let alone watch, the performances in advance? – but that’s just the price we pay for extra drama, right?
4. Give the juries 100% of the vote but keep them locked away from the outside world for the entire build-up to the competition
Perhaps keeping the songs under wraps is too much (and I’m sure several countries would be loathe to give up their TV selection shows), but we definitely can keep a small number of people away from all the drama once it starts in order to ensure maximum unpredictability. Based on Ukraine making their selection for Eurovision 2014 in December 2013, and assuming an average 38 participating countries, locking up 180 people for 6 months every year should do it. Sure, there might be some minor human rights issues, but we can overcome these by throwing all of the judges into a house together and pointing some cameras at them. Plus now you get an extra show to boot!
5. Give the vote back to the people, but create major voter apathy among the population
Perhaps what we really need is to create a sense of voter disengagement, the kind that most people under 25 have towards picking their country’s leader. This way we know only people who REALLY care are picking up their phones to vote. Of course there is no way of knowing if they are voting because they like the song or because they like the country it represents but maybe that’s OK if we can’t guess a winner in advance, even if that’s mainly because we can’t find anyone to ask who actually plans on voting in the first place…
Of course these aren’t the only ways to fix a broken system and we haven’t even started considering alternative ways to vote (head-to-head sing offs anyone?) but if you’ve got any better ideas let us know in the comments!