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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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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