Eurovision Voting: a likely cliff-hanger

As in several recent Eurovision Song Contest finals, this year’s competition in Rotterdam ended with a cliff-hanger, with the result being uncertain right up until the last few votes were revealed. The Italian group Måneskin finally triumphed with their song Zitti E Buoni. In this article I will discuss how the Eurovision voting system is very likely to result in uncertainty until the very last minute.

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The Voice UK: 10 Years of Blind Auditions

A few weeks ago saw the final of the tenth series of The Voice UK – a reality TV singing competition. The first stage of The Voice consists of blind auditions, where contestants sing, unseen by the four coaches whose chairs face away from the stage. If a coach likes what they hear, they press a button to turn around. If more than one coach turns, the contestant chooses which team to join. The blind auditions finish when each coach has a team of ten. Subsequent rounds reduce the field until four remain for the final, with the winner chosen by public vote. This article looks at the blind audition rounds over the ten series.

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The Impact of Covid-19 on Concerts in England

This article uses data from concert-diary to analyse the impact of this year’s Covid-19 restrictions on classical concert activity in England. The website is a listing of (mainly classical) concerts, primarily in the UK. Any concert promoter is able to submit details of their events, so, whilst not covering all UK concert activity, the listings include a wide range of small and large concerts, in various formats and genres, from across the country. Historical data on the site goes back to the year 2000.

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Christmas Quiz: Name that Carol!

Here is a short festive quiz based on the lyrics of the top 30 carols on the website. The challenge is to identify the carol from words that appear only in the lyrics of that carol and no other. So “merrily”, for example, only appears in one carol (clue: Ding Dong). It is just for fun – there is no prize other than a smug feeling and whatever you decide to reward yourself with!

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Eighteenth Century London Concerts: 7 – Composers

Thomas Arne

This article in the series covering the Eighteenth Century London Concerts dataset looks at composers. As previously discussed, composers can be identified as the names preceding a “Genre” code in the list of entries in the dataset’s “Programme” field. In most cases they can also be associated with the genre of the work in question (and sometimes the precise work can be identified, although this information is quite patchy).

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Eighteenth Century London Concerts: 6 – Repertoire

This article looks at the types of repertoire included in eighteenth-century London concerts. As discussed in the first article of this series, information on the works performed is encoded, in a complicated way, in the “programme” field of the dataset.

The data is based on concert advertisements in newspapers, so there is considerable variation in the detail provided. Some advertisements spell out details of all of the works and who will perform them, but it is more typical for the focus to be on the performers, with the works often vaguely specified, such as “a concerto by Handel” (if you are lucky, it will say what instrument it is for).

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