Australia’s jury for its inaugural Eurovision Song Contest is, from left, music presenter Ash London, journalist Richard Wilkins, music producer Amanda Pelman (who is also the chairperson of the jury), singer/songwriter Danielle Spencer, musician and host Jake Stone. Photo: SBS The jury’s favourite … ABBA took first place in Eurovision for Sweden in 1974 with ‘Waterloo’ and went on to become the song contest’s most successful group. Photo: Veronique Mandray
ABBA’s Anni-Frid Lyngstad belts out ‘Waterloo’, representing Sweden in Eurovision in 1974. Photo: The Washington Post
Hello Australia, can we have your points please?
For the first time in the Eurovision Song Contest’s six decade history Australia is competing, assured of a berth in this weekend’s final alongside the host country, Austria, and the so-called “big five” – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.
And for the first time, our vote matters. Although we cannot vote for our own competing artist – Guy Sebastian – we, along with all the other competing countries, are required to score our competitors, to determine the ten leading songs in each of two semi-finals.
This weekend’s final will feature 27 performances – the host country is guaranteed a place, as are the “big five”. This year, Australia’s “wild card” also puts us straight into the final. But for the remaining 20 slots in the final, more than 30 countries are slugging it out through two semi-finals.
The rules of Eurovision, like the contest itself, are somewhat archaic. Voting, on the other hand, is high tech, done via either the official app, telephone or SMS. Australia’s viewing audience and jury vote in both semi-finals and the final. The only major rule is that we cannot, obviously, vote for ourselves.
But this is where it gets tricky. The voting window opens after the last song has been performed, and ends just 15 minutes later. That isn’t a major hurdle for most European countries, which will air the live semi-final in primetime. But it will air in Australia early Wednesday morning, local time.
The broadcast of the first semi-final kicks off at 5am on Wednesday, May 20. The second semi-final airs live two days later at 5am, on Friday, May 22. And the final airs live at 5am, on Sunday, May 24. SBS is repeating all three broadcasts in primetime but votes, obviously, can only be made during the live broadcasts.
The number to dial to register a vote will be announced during the broadcast. And there is a limit of 20 votes which can be recorded against a single phone number.
As well as the “televoting”, there is a professional jury each country who also vote. The two votes each account for half of the total and from the two groups Eurovision’s governing body, the European Broacasting Union (EBU), determines a final result.
There is one caveat – if the audience “televoting” does not reach a high enough level to be considered a fair sample – a benchmark around 2000 votes or so – the EBU may opt to use only the professional jury’s scores.
In the semi-finals, the winning countries are announced without breaking down their scores.
In the final, the ten best-scoring countries, according to each other country’s voters, are ranked. Those ranked 10th through 3rd are each given one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight points respectively. The second highest scoring country is awarded 10 points. The highest scoring country is awarded 12 points.
Each country’s professional jury is comprised of five music professionals. Australia’s jury for its inaugural Eurovision Song Contest is music producer Amanda Pelman (who is also the chairperson of the jury), journalist Richard Wilkins, singer/songwriter Danielle Spencer, musician and host Jake Stone and music presenter Ash London.
Though their tastes will be difficult to predict, Fairfax Media has assembled this pre-Eurovision primer on the jurors earliest memories of the competition and the performances that had the most impact on them. It should offer some insight into how they might vote through the two semi-finals and the final. (Editor’s note: the short summary is, ABBA.)
Earliest Eurovision memory: “I begged my mother to make me a dress like Olivia Newton-John wore to Eurovision representing the UK. Poor Livvy lost out to ABBA in 1974 but we all won as they both went on to have incredible careers.”
Favourite all-time Eurovision performer: “I’m torn between Ukraine in 2004 performing in an early Game of Thrones costume drama (never have so many performers delivered so little) and Serbia’s winner in 2004, Marija Serifovic. Probably the latter as the drama of not having a clue what she was singing about added to the hilarity of the moment.”
Earliest Eurovision memory: “Probably ABBA and Waterloo. I don’t remember if I saw the exact “live” moment but certainly the endless repeats of that performance are indelibly stamped in my memory.”
Favourite all-time Eurovision performer: “I think Conchita stands tall. Her winning performance last year ticked a lot of boxes. A very Euro song, great performance, unique artist, lovely person, strong message. That is until Guy this year, of course.”
Earliest Eurovision memory: “I spent half my childhood in England so I remember sitting on the couch with my mum avidly watching the Eurovision Song Contest.”
Favourite all-time Eurovision performer: “ABBA, because I absolutely loved ABBA when I was a child.”
Earliest Eurovision memory: “I was only two when she performed, but growing up I was a huge Celine Dion fan. Eurovision launched her career back in 1988. Her song Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi is a ‘choon’ and her ’80s drop waist tutu skirt is on point. Legendary.”
Favourite all-time Eurovision performer: “Up until Guy Sebastian’s entry this year, I could never go past ABBA. They epitomise everything Eurovision is about, Europe, catchy pop, spandex, and amazing hair.”
Earliest Eurovision memory: “My favourite Eurovision moment was Conchita’s win last year – a genuinely different proposition. She’s a great performer, and an important marker for social change. That’s what I like about Eurovision – it’s progressive, fun, and genuinely focuses on bringing people together.”
Favourite all-time Eurovision performer: “Christopher Pyne and I don’t generally agree, but I’d hazard a guess that we share a favourite all-time Eurovision performer. My reasoning is fairly simple – the education minister is a big ABBA fan, and the legendary Swedish pop act are the most legitimate band to have won Eurovision.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.