Eurovision voting irregularities leave countries ‘furious’ after original scores ‘disregarded’

Reports suggest that UK could have finished in third place if original scores were used instead of aggregate results

Nicole Vassell
Tuesday 17 May 2022 09:17
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Highlights from Eurovision Song Contest 2022

Action over voting irregularities at the Eurovision Song Contest has apparently left six countries “furious” after their jury votes were disregarded.

According to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which runs the contest, six countries were found to have reported “irregular voting patterns” after the second dress rehearsal of the second semi-final.

As a result of these unexpected findings, the countries of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania and San Marino had their countries’ jury votes substituted by aggregate scores at Saturday’s (14 May) grand final.

These substitute scores were calculated by using the voting records of other countries that had voted in similar ways in the past.

A statement for the organisation said: “In order to comply with the Contest’s Voting Instructions, the EBU worked with its voting partner to calculate a substitute aggregated result for each country concerned for both the Second-Semi Final and the Grand Final (calculated based on the results of other countries with similar voting records).

“This process was acknowledged by the Independent Voting Monitor.”

Using the substitute votes submitted by the EBU, the UK’s 2022 entry Sam Ryder received the maximum 12 points from Azerbaijan and Georgia, eight points from each of San Marino, Romania and Poland, and five points from Montenegro.

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra

The jury round of voting is worth 50 per cent of the final score, with the public telephone vote making up the other half.

Though the UK finished at the top of the leaderboard after the jury round, the public vote pushed Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra into the lead.

The UK ultimately received 466 points, with Spain’s Chanel coming third with 459 points and Sweden’s Cornelia Jakobs fourth on 438.

However, since the final, officials in Azerbaijan and Georgia have since clarified that their initial jury results had given 12 points to Ukraine, not the UK as the aggregate scores reported.

Georgia’s broadcaster GPB confirmed that the country’s national jury “gave the highest rating – the first place to Ukraine, which means 12 points” in a statement, while Azerbaijan’s İctimai Television added: “We declare that we have sent the names of countries for which the Azerbaijani jury voted to organizers of the competition. According to this list, Ukraine received 12 points.”

If the original votes from these countries had been taken into account, the UK’s points would not have surpassed those of Spain in the jury round.

As a result, the UK could have finished in third place if aggregate scores were not used, according to The i. The publication also states that “furious” Azerbaijani officials plan to “take the next steps” depending on the EBU’s response to its complaints, with suggestions that they could walk away from future competitions.

Upon speaking to press after his arrival back in the UK, Ryder was positive about the Eurovision experience itself, rather than his final position on the scoreboard.

Praising Ukraine’s win, he told Radio 4: “They needed to win that. They were always going to win that,” he said.

“It’s so important that we use the platform of Eurovision to celebrate solidarity and to shine light into darkness.”

When approached by The Independent for comment, the EBU responded that they have nothing further to add to these statements at this time.

Find our review of the 2022 contest here and all the updates, as they happened, here.

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