The Joys of Eurovision Scoring

Transcript of a presentation given at the RSS Merseyside Group’s event “A Stat for Europe: Statistics of the Eurovision Song Contest” at the University of Liverpool on 26 April 2023. It is partly based on my article in Significance (April 2023).

A video of the live version of this presentation is available here.

I’ve called this talk “The Joys of Eurovision Scoring” partly because I’m a bit of a nerd and Eurovision is an excellent source of statistics, but also because it is a clever scoring system, where everyone can have their say but there is guaranteed suspense and excitement up until the end of the show. It also reflects the Eurovision countries and how they relate to each other.

I’d like to cover three topics – what we can learn from the scores of individual jury members; why the public televote has more influence than the jury scores; and finally looking at the question of voting clusters.

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Deduplication is an important, though often messy and time-consuming, part of many statistical investigations. It is usually required when data comes from several different sources, to identify all of the records that actually refer to the same thing. For example, I have recently been deduplicating the names appearing in the ‘women composers’ sources listed in this previous article. Deduplication may also be needed where several publications of the same work are described in different ways in a library catalogue. Continue reading →