Reader’s Editorial: The Big 5 Issue

 Editorial – About a week ago we got a mail by one of our reader’s, who criticized the status of the Big 5 in the Eurovision Song Contest. We asked him to write an editorial and he agreed. Here is thus the first reader editorial by JKF Irish! Tell us what you think in the comment section.


Imagine this…

Due to the financial constraints on UEFA it has been announced that Spain, France, England, Germany and Italy have been given automatic entry into the next European Football Championships finals themselves. It is believed the contest would not exist without their money. This means that the bottom five in the qualifying rounds that would have qualified under the old system will now lose their place to these big five.
The boards of the national Football Associations have expressed their gratitude to the big 5 for saving the economically endangered competition.
I know, it sounds stupid. There would be war in many European nations if this happened. No non big 5 country would sacrifice themselves just to let a bigger nation get an automatic place. Yes it would never happen in soccer but it has been happening in every Eurovision Song Contest since 2000. This is the year according to Wikipedia that the rules were changed to allow the then big 4 to automatically qualify.
As you realise you are reading a piece about the big 5 you may inwardly groan and think to yourself, “..yeah it is unfair…..but the Eurovision needs the money……and well it just wouldn’t feel right to not have them in the final…”. My aim with this editorial is to challenge the acceptance that there is about the existence of the big 5. I will use the three areas I’ve just mentioned.

“…yeah it is unfair…”

I think that everybody would generally accept this. Unfortunately I think us Eurovision fans seem to be too polite. Since a semi-final was first introduced in 2004 the big 5 countries have between them come 20th or worse 17 times. I believe that implies that on 17 occasions these big 5 countries would probably not have gotten through to the finals if they had fairly competed in a semi-final format. This then also blocked 17 other countries from being allowed to progress to the final. Perhaps your country failed to progress from a semi-final by a few points the year that a big 5 country came last in the final? All competing nations in the Eurovision deserve a fair and equal right to compete to win. There are no divine rights to entry in the Eurovision final, well there shouldn’t be.
One of the strange coincidences of the big 5 is that as I understand media coverage France and U.K. don’t like the Eurovision too much. For years the U.K.’s Terry Wogan scoffed at it, and his audience loved it. When they started to do badly they blamed the new eastern nations for block voting, ignoring that they were privileged with automatic qualification to the final. Surely the advantage is on the side of the big 5.

“…but the Eurovision needs the money..”

Recent years have seen the money spent on the production of the Eurovision sky rocket. Is this necessary? Has the huge stage and special effects improved the show? I believe no. Some acts look lost on the big stage and manage it poorly, such as The Netherlands in 2012. Also the special effects only really improve things if done creatively. Germany did a good job with this when they turned round the green room wall into the main hall. Otherwise they are just a smoke, wind and light show which adds nothing really.
The Guardian newspaper of 28th of May 2008 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/may/28/bbc.television) had an interesting article about the big 5. There was concern that these countries were being disadvantaged because of the success of eastern European countries. The EBU representative said that the scale of sponsorship the Eurovision attracts would supplement any loss of revenue from the big 5 pulling out. For some reason the discussions that were supposed to have been had at that time led to nothing. But it is extremely enlightening that the EBU itself has questioned the need for the big 5 money.
For ten years until Italy’s return the Eurovision somehow coped with just a big 4. Or maybe Italy’s contribution isn’t really that big. This would make you think that Italy were given the big 5 status as part of the package to secure their re-entry.
As for extra revenue sources for the competition that could be found. Why not have each song sponsored with the sponsors logo branded with the song. How about all countries being allowed to vote in both semi-finals, (which I think would be fairer anyway), and generating more revenue from televoting. Why not just increase the cost of televoting?
As for the fees paid to the EBU. Maybe these big 5 countries do carry an unfair burden. Perhaps there should be a standard entrance fee. If this meant that some countries couldn’t afford to compete some years well that would be a pity but understandable.
Perhaps only the countries that want to host the Eurovision should be asked to host it. The hosts could be decided years in advance via an Olympics type system. This would mean that only the countries who feel they can afford it would host it, reducing the need for an EBU bailout fund. So the fees needed to be paid to the EBU would go down, therefore eliminating the need for the big 5.
I genuinely believe that if the will was there to find new sources of funding such sources would be found. Is the real question, “Could the Eurovision survive without the big 5’s money”, or is it, “Why hasn’t the EBU broadened its scope for funding or looked at reducing the costs of the competition so as to create a level playing pitch for all”.

“…and well it wouldn’t feel right to not have them in the final…”

Who says that; those who are in the big 5 or those outside of the exclusive club? Yes these countries do all have distinguished histories in the Eurovision. Unfortunately it has to be said, “Well so what”. Surely Sweden can argue that on pedigree alone it has the right to automatic qualification?
The Guardian article that I mentioned earlier mentioned a BBC representative saying that it would be odd for them to broadcast the final if they were not in it. There was a response from the EBU saying that this is exactly the problem all the other non-big 5 broadcasters face. It has been suggested to me that one of the reasons for the big 5 is that Germany failed to qualify for the final in 1996. Is it really just a matter of pride for these countries? Are they bad losers? Is the EBU afraid to upset them? Do they have a problem accepting that in the new Europe they are not the centre of the universe anymore? Perhaps these questions are unfounded but I personally can’t help believe there is some truth to them.
Each individual has to decide where they stand on this, with justice and fairness or with insecure broadcasting companies who try to buy their way out of humiliation.
May I also make a plea for more openness from the EBU as to how the Eurovision is actually funded. Perhaps that may be sensitive information but when funding is given as the excuse for the big 5, well then transparency is essential.
Dropping the big 5 status wouldn’t be all bad for them. It could result in a reinvention of the contest in these countries. If they really just wanted to leave after continuous failure well then so be it. They could always come back. Italy did. If a country has lost heart in the Eurovision then they shouldn’t be expected to keep with it. Their negativity would drive everyone else down.

So that brings to an end my discourse on the subject. Thank you for reading, especially if you disagree with every word I said. As I said earlier my purpose is to challenge the passive acceptance there seems to be about the big 5 amongst Eurovision fans. Please do comment below if I succeeded to do this.

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232 comments on “Reader’s Editorial: The Big 5 Issue

  1. I like very much your article, and I am really concerned of what other countries think. Look, I’m from Spain and I still think the situation of the big 5 is still unfair to other countries. For example, I remember the year when Spain sent Rodolfo Chikiliquatre (or however is written the “surname”) and with “Baila el Chiki Chiki” …. I know Spain sent that song to make other countries realize that the songs they sent years before were bad…. But anyway, there were other songs who deserved Spanish place on the final. or for example, the year Daniel Diges sung “algo pequeñito”, and that jimmy jump went on to stage. That year Spain didn’t deserved a place in the final…

    Non the less, there were other years, like this one for example, which the song was spectacular and it was the first time I saw a REAL act of Spain and personally, I think the 10th place was well deserved, even though I would expected a 6th place, maybe.

    So, I want to ask you two questions:

    1) I know there were years the songs were bad for the big 5, but what of those other years where good songs the big 5 had?? Those songs don’t count? Don’t we mention those years??

    2) as Bradley said (the comment before mine), what if other countries were the big 5?? Countries, for example, from the east? What would happen then?? It would be the same story or it would change??

    I would appreciate if you answer my questions!! BTW, great article!! Good job!!

    • Hello SamsMichael. Thanks for your reply. I have absolutley no problem with any song getting a deserved placing. The most obvious big 5 example of this is Lena. Lena would still have won more than likely if she had competed in the semi. The Italin song this year deserved its placing. I don’t think automatic qualification enables a song to win and if it does win fair dues to it. The problem is when a big 5 contry comes near the bottom in the final you cann’t help but presume that if it had competed in the semi it wouldn’t have gotten through and so some country in the semi final who got 11th or 12th place was denied their rightful place in the final.
      I think it is great that Spain are delighted with the big Eurovision improvement. I thought your entry last year was a great summer party song.

      I would be against the big 5 or even big 23 no matter where they came from. I think it is a pity that the big 5 are all from one section of the ESC, ie old Europe. It gives the impression that they are moaning about there being new kids in the playground.

      I hope I have answered your questions.

    • G:son a “REAL act of Spain”? Loool, love that comment. :D Can’t stop roflin’. :D

      • You can stop rofling now. You know, Brahms composed Hungarian Dances although he was from Hamburg … and they sound pretty Hungarian. And there are countless other examples in classical music.
        That doesn’t say anything about Quédate conmigo’s quality though. The song has a typical (melo)dramatic feel to it but is pretty generic at the same time, but then so are Brahm’s Ungarische Tänze. Generic stuff is what you usually end up with if you try to do cultures you are not familiar with. You tend to do it my by numbers.

      • Compare chiki chiki with Quedate Conmigo. Mow tell me…. Was it or was it not the Chiki Chiki a stupid song with no more than laughs and rhymes that if you understand Spanish they make no sense?

        Now please let’s see Quedate Conmigo. Strong song and a in my opinion a wonderful ballad, sung by a women who has a whole career and a life full of merits throughout the years.

        Now, please tell me… Why can’t you stop laughing for me saying that it’s “a REAL act”? Because, compared to Chiki Chiki…. It IS a real act….

        • I respect your opinion about the songs but calling Cheeson (G:son) or his work a ‘real Spanish act’ sounded unintentionally funny to me. Sorry for that, it was not my intention to be impudent. But for me he is an allegory of the annual MF silliness, glitter, kitsch, superficiality and oddity, and ‘Quédate conmigo (to stay with me)’ rounds off this picture perfectly. If I was to choose a classy entry from recent years I would go with ‘Algo pequeñito (something tiny)’.

  2. You totally have!! And I also think that it’s awkward that we (the big 5) leave behind ALL of the east countries and “make them compete” in semi finals, plus some west countries… It would be interesting to see every single country competing in semifinals (maybe not the host country… Or yes??).

    On the other hand, even though Spain has sent poor songs this years (except this one and 2011’s, which IMO deserved a much higher place and as you said it’s very summer type and a happy song which we thought many people would like), on the XX’s century most of the songs were good, and we can prove he good they were with the results, where many of them Are in top 10….

    This may prove one thing; since the beginning of the semifinals, the named BIG 5 have relaxed and haven’t sent those type of songs they used to send years before, because they (or better said we) think that, even though we send the worst song in the contest, we will be directly in the final. That is also unfair, don’t you think??

    • It cann’t be proven that the big 5 have relaxed their standard of entries as a result of the big 5 rule. I think it is fair enough to say that UK and France are getting increasingly grumpy about their poor results, if media reports are right. If they were in the semis and failed to progress I believe they would be enraged. I believe that if a country has lost interest in the ESC they should take a break and review their position. No one should be forced to compete, and the ESC shouldn’t be dependenent on them either.

      Naturally I would hope that as many Europen countries as possible would compete, Compete fairly and voluntarily.

      If you read the older posts you will see more on this.

      • Yes, like Italy did. They took a break and now look at the wonderful songs they have sent to he contest…. UK is the country of the big 5 which has sent the poorest songs since the beginning of the semis, I think….

  3. 1st of all: Italys Fee is higher than Spains. Everybody knew, that they will get Big5 Status, if they return;)

    I am from Germany & yes, I like the Big5-Rule neither. Before 2008, I think, it was okay anyway, but since the Big5 & the Host are the only to be automatically in the Final, it’s anyway strange…but what’s the Alternative?
    Big5 don’t only pay more than the Rest, they pay much much more, more than the other 36 together (only the Host pays more). & they have something like 10 Million Fewers, no Matter, how unpopular the Contest is there (only in Italy, there are too less Fewers), most other Contries don’t have even 10 Million Inhabitants, & ESC is no Competition, it’s a Program.
    That’s too the Reason, why this is not possible in Football: UEFA Championship is an Event & Broadcasters “are allowed” to Broadcast it, ESC is a Program by Broadcasters & they want nothing, but Money, Viewers…& of Course the Honor to host it.
    For me, it’s a horrible Imagination, to give the Hosting Rights before Winning. The Privilege to host is the Medal you get for winning. Who wants to take Part without Medal (you see, JESC 2012 has under 10 Participants at the Moment, EDC stopped after 3 Editions)? If you won’t, or can’t host, you can ask the 2nd Place, he will be very thankful. Last Time, the Winner wasn’t the Host, was 1980, I think, when Israel didn’t host for 2nd Time in a Row. I would be a Friend of the Idea, to make a smaller, cheaper ESC, too, if Iceland or San Marino will win 1 Day.
    Gain the Phone Costs…in Germany, I think, the Costs for a Call ate too cheep with 14ct, but on the other Hand, if they get more “expensive” maybe only Diasporas will vote in the End, & you see German Diaspora Points (8 Points for Turkey without any Jury Vote?) every Year.

    Yes, Germany is to blame, that we have Big5-Rule now. You can”t belive, what happened 1996 here. & yes, I think, it was unfair that Time, to let Germany choose an Entry & then say “Sorry, you are out”. maybe, we wouldn’t have been that angry, if we hadn’t had a Preselection before. But then, they asked (funny: 1 of those was Guildo Horn): Why should we pay for that Event, when we are not Part of it? As a Semifinal Looser, we maybe wuldn’t be that angry, but we were so angry for ESC 1996, that it’s a Wonder, ESC gained such a Popularity in 1998 again.
    Today, it’s unnecessary, but if we debolish Big5 Rule now, They all would be out, I think…they got used to it. What I think is very pity, how German Medias handle the Semifinals. They ban them to Broadcasters, not even everybody can recieve. I’m sure, most Germans don’t even know, they exist. They only wonder, why Montenegro can vote, but Luxembourg can’t. & I think, the other Big5er handle similar.

    But your Note, that Big5 steal others their deserved Final Place, is stupid, I think. Without Italy, we have 25 Final Spots, without Spain, we would have 24. I am always angry, when my Favourite would have done it to the Final without Jury, like Belarus last Year, but Rules are Rules. I think anyone of us thinks, some Songs deserve the Final more than others, but Rules are Rules.

    For us Fans, it’s a Pity, that we can’t vote in both Semis, but the Regular Viewer only watches his own (in Big5-Countries, not even that), so, only Diasporas & Juries would vote in the other & we all would be even more angry/sad/disappointed about the Results.

    The same Fees for every Country? Andorra & Germany? that’s impossible. Andorra payed a very small Fee with 30.000 €, but that’s almost 1€ per Inhabitant. Why doesn’t Liechtenstein participate? Because EBU-Membership alone would cost 100.000 CHF, so, as long as the Duke doesn’t become ESC-Fan (like Albert from Monaco did 2004), Liechtenstein will never Participate. If every Country had to pay the same, we would have Singers from 15 Countries, singing in an Opera Hall…okay, I would watch it, but most of the other 120.000.000 Viewers wouldn’t.

    Please, don’t be angry or think, I’m angry. Like I said, I don’t like the Big5-Rule, too. But it’s the best Solution, not for the Viewer, but for EBU…I simply like to discuss:)

    • I forgot to say here lucky about 1996. This is Germany’s only experience of being disqualified. That happened to 16 other countries this year. It has happened to the Netherlands for the last 7 (I think), years in a row.
      When Ireland finished 11th in 2009 in a semi and therefore failed to progress for the final it was crap. I think a big 5 country came last in the final that year. Would we have done better than them, possibly?? I think Germany’s 1996 experience is minor really.

      As for the financial loss. I presume every country that looses in a semi feels hard done by financialy It is all proportional. It could be said that really only the host through attracting tourisim and the winner by, “record” – I’m showing my age – sales can hope to recoup the cost of the event. At least now advertising is allowed. It wasn’t for decades. That is the kind of change of attitude that is needed to find new ways of raising revenue.

      • No, 1996 was worst. Of Course not only for Germany, but for Israel & Denmark, too (the others were newer Participants, so I think it was not THAT desillusionating).

        I don’t think, Germany would have acted like this, if the Qualification was public like today Semifinals are. Maybe we wouldn’t ever hear about Big5 if that not happened.

        I understand how sad Dutch Situation is. & I understand, that you are angry, when you are 11th & Big5 make stay you outside the Final (look at Polands Results: 11th, 11th, 14th, 3rd last in Final, 12th, 13th, & very Last 2011). But what do you feel wehen you are 11th & Russia has only 5 (Diaspora-)Points more than you? Or if you are 11th & stay outside, because Jury prefers horrible Things like Ukraine this Year? Are you really more satisfied with Results like this?

        • As for Ukraine in 2012, I loved it, loud and repeditive I know, but extremly positive in attitude and catchy too.

          I take it from you that 1996 was a serious problem for Germany. But in all honesty don’t you think it is unfaif to not accept that it is equally uppsetting for others. Can you imagine how difficult it must be to be an ESC fan in Poland and The netherlands these days??

          Yes I would feel anoyed with block or diaspora voting denying Ireland a final place. What can be done about it apart from the 50/50 voting structure. The reason why the big 5 rule upsets me far more is because it is a deliberate act by 5 broadcasters assisted by the EBU to deliberatley advantage themselves and therefore to disadvantage others. It is a purely deliberate act, that is what makes it so offensive. Diaspora and block voting is only deliberate by one person at a time.

          If people in the big 5 countries disagree with the big 5 rule they should say this to their national head of delegation, one person at a time.

          Anyway I’m enjoying the discussion. Are you?

          • Yes, I do:) Even if it looks like we are running in Circles:D

            & Yes, I understand, that. You see, in 14 Semifinals we had until now, only 3 Times my Favourite won (Malta 2004, Latvia 2009 & Malta 2012).

            I don’t even like most German Entries from recent Years, so, I think I can be objective. But for me, it’s still the same Grade of Unfairness. Yes, 5 Broadcasters take themselves higher than the Rest, & pay a proud Prize for that. On the other Hand an Organization keeps unfair Voting, because they want more Profit.

            Of Course you are allowed to like Ukraine this Year, like I liked San Marino:), but splitted Voting shows, that we both were Minority in this Cases;)

  4. Thank you Lucky very much for your honest reply. I can totally understand your view and you put it across very well.

    It is interesting that you say Itally pays mnore than Spain. But still the ESC was able to exist for years with out Italy’s money, so I presume they could again. You seem to know what the actuall amounts are that the big 5 pay. Could you share this information here.

    I genuinely believe that there are numerous ways of looking at the ESC finances. Firstly reduce cost by reducing the amount of production values. Now don’t think I want a stupid looking contest, (and it is a contest not a programme), just a normal one. Single singers on a stage big enough for an orchestra look silly.
    Also increase revenue. I personally like the branding of an entry with a sponsor from that country, eg Ireland’s entry would be sponsored by Ryan air etc. There is lots of scope for for increasing revenue if the EBU cared to look. I personally paid for the CD download and €14 in voting charges. Now if evryone did a 1/4 of that well….???
    With these financial funding issues sorted a standard fee would be kept as low as possible. If theree were years a country couldn’t compete due to money fine, hopefully they will be back the next year.

    As regards viewers, I believe the ESC is attractive as a TV programme in its own right, because it is an international and easily understood competition. That will always attract viewers. If the big 5 are in the semis it would mean increased viewers for the semis, therby increasing their advertising potential. If a big 5 gets through the semi then it means incrased hype for the final and even bigger viewers for the final than if they automatically qualified.
    If viewing figures are as important as you suggest then Turkey should be in the big 5 and European Russia.

    My suggestion to scrap the rule about winners hosting is just a sugestion. Is it not appropriate to look at every posible solution to the funding problem, before you start giving automatic qualification to the top 5 bidders.

    As I understand you are saying that in Germany the majority of people cann’t even see the semi’s. This is a shame. The Semis are as much a part of the ESC as the final is, and shouldn’t be treated as inferior. Similar happens in the UK with BBC3 which is not widely available. If the big 5 were in the semis that would change of course.

    Your discussion about 1996 is interesting. I doubt if the big 5 is all Deutschland’s fault but I’m sure 1996 was a factor in it all.

    As for the point about the number of position available in the final I believe the ESC have decided that and it is presently fixed at it maximum of 26. If there was no big 5 it would simply mean 5 more countries would qualify out of the semis. Why would scrapping the big 5 rule decrease the amount of countries in the final?????

    Any way I hope I have appropriatley replied to your piece.

  5. Thats interesting about Italy paying more than Spain ask for the Big 5 i look it this way if they paying big money to keep the contest going then they deserve to be in the final if its not about the money then Big 5 should be in Semi Finals i think that is a fair comment but great job J F K for this article very interesting topic

    • Thanks Bradley. J K F here.

      Is it just about the money? If so why not overcome that problem by reducing cost and increasing revenue.

      If that isn’t been looked into as an option then it would seem it is not just about the money

      There is more on this in the older posts.

  6. Wow, that’s what I call a fast Answer:)

    In German TV, they once showed, how they finance ESC. This was befor they introduced 2nd Semifinal, so this could have changed a little. & they didn’t tell the exactly Prizes of each Country. They told, that there is a fix Prize, how much ESC should costs. 50% are payed by the Host. Big4, or 5 now, pay “more then the Half” of the Rest (in High Order: Germany, France, United Kingom, Italy, & Spain pays the smallest), so let’s say 25-30%. So the other, last Year 36 Countries pay only 20-25% together. If the Host wants, he can make a bigger Show & pay more, like Russia did & of Course, there are Sponsors at well (funny: Austrian Reiffeisenbank sponsored the ESC in Years Austria didn’t take Part). Andorra & Ireland once published their Fees. In Andorra, it was something like 30.000€, in Ireland something like 50.000, I think (but you may know it better?:).
    There were some Rumours, that some Countries like Hungary & Slovakia can only take Part at the Moment, because Italy does, because with Italys Comeback, not the Fee of the Big4-Members degreased, but those of the others. (San Marinos Channel SMTV can take Part, because they belong to 50% to Italian RAI…what a Surprise they returned together & share Points;) In Germany, National TV has an “endless” Budget, they can take from Taxes (especially for Cultural relevant Programms like ESC), other Countries take Part with Private Channels, or they are simply too small or poor.

    What you say about the Stage is so true. The most horrible was the Russian. 1/3 of all LED-Lights in the World, only that this big Army-Choir has enough Place & after them, most of the Performances looked lost. I don’t need a bigger Show Year by Year, but either EBU or regular Viewers want it (or EBU thinks regular Viewer want it). I like to watch the old ESCs back in the 90s, they look sometimes even better than the actual ones. & of Course, I would like to have the Language Rule back, but that’s another Topic:)

    This with the Sponsors is a great Idea, but I think, it’s against EBUs Rules, since San Marino had to change their Lyric, only because the Title “Facebook” can be seen as an Advert (Ralph Siegel even asked some Advocats before, if it’s okay & they said, yes, because “Facebook” is not only a Brand, it’s a Synonyme for “Social Network” today, like “Tempo” or in English “Kleenex” is a Synonyme for “Tissue”).
    I buy the CD every Year as well. This Costs even more, but so I have something “in my Hands”. Since we can only vote 30 Times per Show, I spend 8,40 every Year for Calles. But I think those, that do this, are the Minority.

    I think, too, that the Big5-Viewers that would be away in Final, would be there in Semifinal, but the more often they would fail, the more Viewers would degrease. I saw this in Czechia, since I am from Czech Border & was in Prague while ESC 2009. While 2nd Semifinal wasn’t even broadcasted, I searched the whole City for a Place to watch the 1st & discovered a very small Bar in the End, where I could watch it together with 1 other Guest & the Barkeeper (so, we were 3…in the Capital!?!).

    If the Fees for every Country would be the same, we would never have Microstates, Central Europe or maybe even Balcan or former UdSSR had to stay away (okay, some “Wessis” would be happy about that, but not me). This would be a big Pity, not only for themselves.

    Of Course, the Vewing Figures are less important than Money is. Turkey & Russia are big, rich Countries & they easily could pay enough to join Big5, but they don’t need. With their Diasporas in many Countries, they almost can be sure to go to the Final. To be honest, we have not only Big5, with Serbia, Bosnia, Russia, Turkey, Greece & Armenia, we have at Least Big10. Only Jury could make Serbia, Turkey & Armenia fail once, which is no good Solution either. But, what I wanted so say: Yes, maybe bad Big5 Songs steal good Semifinalists their Places. But poor Songs from Diaspora-Countries or unenjoyable Jury-Favourites steal them, too. But Rules are Rules & EBUs Rules are Rules, they gain most Money from. Money is the Reason, why we have Big5 & Money is the Reason, why we have Juryíes instead of a fair 1-Vote-per-Song-Rule.

    Yes, Big4-Rule was very German Idea, but of Course the others were not against it. You see, the 1st Big4 Country that profited from this Rule was Spain, which had to stay out in 2000 for the 1st Time (were they ended 18th before getting Top10 4 Times in a Row) ever without it. Germans are very proud to have sent an Entry every Year, since ESC exists, I think, that’s the Reason, why we never boykotted, even in the unhappy 2005-2009 Aera, when nobody here thought a Country can win without Diaspora Votes, or before, when we had a Southern, Northern & French Voting-Group & only Germany & Austria always boykotted each other…& in the End, boring Songs did good only because they were English or French. The other Members, United Kingdom, France & Spain never stopped because of their former Successes, I think.

    German ARD is a federal Boradcaster with 9 local “Staate-Channels” & many smaller ones. ARD doesn’t produce anything on its own, only the different Staates do (that’s the Reason too, why we never had an ESC in Berlin: 1957 was produced by Hesse Channel, so they moved to Frankfurt. Nicole was sent by Bavarian Channel, so they moved to Munich & Lena was sent by Northern Channel & Private Channel Pro7 from Cologne together & so they went to Western City Düsseldorf. Since Northern Broadcaster has the ESC-Rights here at the Moment, the most probably next German Host-City would be Hamburg, were German Votes come from, too). The “relevant” Semifinal was broadcasted by Northern NDR, which I from the very South can only watch from 21.00 on, on most Ocassions. This Year, it was for the 2nd Time broadcasted on phoenix, that’s a “Special Interest Broadcaster” for Politics, Documentations & Events with very small Vewer-Ratings. Luckyly you can watch it all over Germany. The other Semifinal is always good hided. 1st they sent it on NDR, too, but at 3.00, not live. This Year they sent it on a Channel most Germans can’t receive. I am lucky to live in the South, so I can watch it on Swiss & Austrian TV. I even get France3 with bad Quality & other Fans can watch it per Net. But as long as they hide Semifinals like this, they will never get high Rates from the Masses. I’m sure, that many would be interested, but they don’t read ESC-News every Day & simply don’t know about them.

    I hope, this wasn’t too long;)

    • Thanks Lucky for your interesting comments, yes long but not too long for my taste, I like to write a lot too! :-)

      About the semifinals and Germany 1996:

      I do understand Germany being upset in 1996. I think the way the ESC worked that year, there was a pre-selection that wasn’t broadcast, or not much, and Germany was eliminated in the pre-selection. I think this was a bad way to set it up, to have countries investing resources in it, and some countries getting nothing at all out of it. I presume other countries were eliminated too but hadn’t invested as much as Germany.

      The reality is that there are so many countries interested in taking part now, that it’s just not practical to have everyone in a final, unless it goes on for about 4 or 5 hours. It’s nice to do it all in one night like years ago, but it can’t be done anymore. Actually I like that there are so many countries now so I would not want to change it back to about 15 countries. But we have to accept that if there are so many countries then some sort of semifinal has to be organised. What I’m saying is, it’s a fact that the semifinal is all some countries will get, so it should be worth something to take part in the semifinal itself.

      Even though the semifinal can’t be as important or popular as the final, I think it should be organised so the semifinal gets quite a lot of publicity and broadcasting and attention etc. Maybe the semifinal concept needs to be promoted to the general public some way. I’m not sure how but I’m sure this could be done if there was a will to do it. Maybe this was the main problem with how things went wrong in 1996, that this was not done at all, if I understand correctly.

      And a few other brief comments –

      You were saying about sponsorship being against the rules – the EBU make the rules and they could change them if they wanted to so maybe that will change someday, I would like to see it change if it would mean a level playing field for all the countries.

      Finally yes it is interesting how languages are used – if there isn’t already a topic maybe you could start one??

    • I’m back!! About which songs/countries get through semifinals:

      Lucky, you said: “Yes, maybe bad Big5 Songs steal good Semifinalists their Places. But poor Songs from Diaspora-Countries or unenjoyable Jury-Favourites steal them, too.”

      I’m afraid I have to disagree with you about this. I don’t believe voting for countries rather than songs generally changes the outcome much. If you disagree please do tell me and why? The main difference it makes, when countries have nearly guaranteed votes from either neighbours or diaspora eg Turkey/Germany, is that they will rarely if ever finish at the bottom with “nul points”.

      Let’s get a little bit mathematical (not taking the actual numbers too seriously…)?! Let’s imagine all the semifinal songs are equally good and 10 out of 20 countries randomly will go through. So every country has a 50% chance. Of course in reality the good songs have a better chance. Let’s see what effect diaspora voting and big5 have on this.

      I don’t have the statistics handy but for example, in a semifinal, a country may have 3 neighbours that will give it 12, 12, 10 points even if the song is rubbish. That’s about as big as the advantage gets I think. That’s out of about 20 countries, and only for the televoting, the juries usually are not so politically biased. So this gives the “lucky” country maybe a 7% better chance. Or to put it another way, their risk of not going in the final goes down from 50% to 43%.

      Then for the big5, they have 100% chance of getting in the final. So they increase their chances of going through by 50%. Or to put it another way, they reduce their risk of not going through from 50% to zero.

      That’s a lot bigger of an advantage. So I don’t think you can really say poor songs from diaspora countries steal songs from good semifinalists just like the big5 do?

      As for unenjoyable jury favourites – yes the jury’s picks may not be so popular with the public but if it’s a good song in some way then it deserves its place on its merit, that’s not stealing a place at all in my opinion. And I think there really have to be juries to balance the political televoting.

      I’ve said enough for now I think ;-)

      • Poltical televoting? Lol. I comprehend the complaints about diaspora voting but calling the ‘jury’ unbiassed makes your comment look ridiculous imho. Also, since when do they tend to support ‘good’ songs (whosoever decides what is ‘good’ – the ‘jury’, BigMomma?).

        • I wouldn’t say juries are completely unbiased. But I think they are less biased than televotes. Maybe you would disagree CC.

          For example: over the years Germany have given more votes to Turkey than any other country.


          In 2012 Turkey “probably” topped the German televote, but didn’t appear in the German jury vote.


          As for good songs – I would say really that’s a matter of opinion to a large extent! The juries, the televoters, the posters here, the viewers and anyone and everyone else is entitled to their opinions about what is a good song!

          There are songs that are not so catchy and may not do so well with televoters but may do better with juries. I think Tom Dice of Belgium a few years ago was an example of this. In the final he came second with juries and 14th with televoters.


          Apparently he also hit the fewest wrong notes out of the performers that year, I’m not sure how they analysed that!!

          I liked it a lot myself anyway ;-)

          • Nope, televoters are not unbiased but I presume the wide majority cares very little about political happenings while watching ESC. What you refer to is a classic example of diaspora voting and I reckon one could easily impair its impact to a fair degree with using the one-vote-per-phone-rule. Zero points from the jurors, on the other hand, are frankly harsh and seem political to me. Check recent ‘jury’ votes from NDR, each year about 90 per cent went to friendly countries. 2011 being the most obvious when they provided 12 points for Austria and 10 for Denmark, and we know how well these countries fared with the public.
            I agree on the taste issue, it is completely subjective. Though looking at some entries which the ‘jury’ saved (e.g. Sweden 2008, Finland 2009, Austria 2011, Estonia 2011, Spain 2012) and others they intended to kill (e.g. Finland 2010, Sweden 2010, Spain 2010, Bosnia 2011, Greece 2011) I do not think their musical preferences do the contest good either.

            For the German phone votes this year, if you are interested in, most parts can be mathematically calculated:

            12 Turkes
            10 Russia
            08 Serbia
            07 Sweden
            06 Greece
            05 Italy
            04 Albania
            03 Denmark
            02 ?
            01 ?
            00 Estonia, …

          • As for Tom Dice, are you British? Apparently England was one of the ‘few’ (in comparision to the massive jury support he got) countries that voted for Belgium, four points if I recall correctly. However, the BBC diminished the combined score to null. That is awkward considering that elsewhere it usually was the other way around..

            • No, I’m not British. I’m Irish. Actually I’m Mrs JKF Irish. There might be a language factor there though.

      • Now BigMomma are you saying political tellevoting actually exists. How could you?LOL

        I haven’t the head to figure out if your maths are right or wrong, but I know I agree with your findings.

        Goodnight everyone, I’m not well. I’l check in with you all tomorrow.

        Do you know this will be a week old by 2pm tomorrow.

        It proves that the big 5 issue is not one to ignore.

    • I’l be honest Lucky, one of the reasons I’ve been able to keep up with this discussion is because I’m sick off work. That has the effect that my concentration is not great so responding to your long comment will be difficult.

      As for funding, yes I’m sure some countries are currently only in the ESC through big 5 subsidy. That is only through the current situation. If the finance structure were changed then this may change too. I think that it is reasonable that a country should opt out occasionally for financial reasons. A broadcaster only has so much funding. And if they opt out for that reason fair enough. A lot of pressure is applied to participate in the ESC which is unfair if the country has overall lost interest or no money.

      Perhaps a set fee could be reached on a proportional basis of population and on the basis of national wealth. That would still be fair to everyone, perhaps that is how the fees are calculated allready. Does anybody know?????????????? If that is how its done then the big 5 ecconomic rule dosen’t stand as we are all proportionally paying the same.

      The EBU rule on sponsorship could be changed. I’m not a capitalist by nature but in this case I think not to allow sponsorship implies trying to keep the status quo for reasons I don’t understand.

      Do you think that if Azerbijan, Turkey etc applied for automatic qualification status and outbid Spain and Italy that this would be a good thing. To me it would make little difference. I think politically there would be uproar. Thats what the big 5 rule has done it has turned the ESC into a geopolitical financial battle of the Titans.

      There is nothing wrong with Diaspora voting. It is not against the rules and it is only normal to expect that you would vote for your own country if you are abroad. Wouldn’t you? It often seems to me that the Big 5 don’t have a diaspora vote and are anoyed that others do, well:::::, tough. It still comes no where near the bonous of automatic qualification. Poland has lots of neighbours and a large diaspora and still rarely gets out of the semis

      Well done to Germany for always competing.

      I’m sorry to hear that it is difficult to get coverage of the semi finals in Germany. If you were in the semis that would ofcourse change. Do you think that perhaps the broadcasters are trying to hide the fact that they automatically qualify? If this was more known in Germany would people react to it and say it is wrong.????

      The semi final experience for me is now part of the whole ESC week. Its great a whole week of ESC. I think it has improved overall awearness of the ESC here in Ireland. I think the same could happen in the big 5 nations if they got over their fear of failure, and who dosen’t have a fear of failure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Of all the posters in this discussion I have felt that your contributions were excellent. Thank you!!

  7. Haha, discussing here is much more interesting, than in other Forums:)

    BigMomma, thank you for your Answer.

    Of Course I know, that we need Semifinals today. It’s great that so many Countries can take Part now. I can’t wait to see Liechtensteins Debuet 1 Day or maybe even Iraq? We saw it in 2007, when many People said, the Semifinal was too long with 28 Participants (so, it looks like the “Magic Border” is anywere between 26 & 28;). Only Hardcore-Fans like me, would watch a Marathon of 43 Songs (with Moderation 4-5 Hours?) at 1 Evening. It’s a great Idea to advert for the Semifinals in Big5-Countries, but how would EBU force NDR to do that? As long as EBU wants to make Money, Big5 will exist. Especially since the Juries support them, because I think the Regular Viewer knows how unfair this Rule is & prefers to vote for a “deserved” Finalist. Ironically we had even here in Germany Voices, that told, Big4-Status is a Disadvantige, because every other Finalist can be sure, that People already heared him & voted for him. EBU didn’t even have a Rule what happens when a Big4-Country wins…it looks like this seemed too impossible before 2010.

    EBU changing the Rules for something else but Money? Okay, Hope never dies…;)

    To your 2nd Message: Yes. I think, that’s unfair in the Same Way. But you have to see it from another View: Of Course, Diaspora Points make no 1st Place out of a Last. But only 1 12 Points can easily make a 10th out of a 13th or a 11th out of a 8th. & in Semifinal, this means qualifying or not. We had so many great Songs from Poland, Andorra, Slovenia or Bulgaria (yes, this is no East-West-Problem), that had to give their “deserved” Final Spots to regular or bad Songs from Turkey, Bosnia or Russia. For me, this is the same Grade of Unfairness.
    Or in your Formula, if Turkeys Chance inceases only 7%, the Cances of someone else degrese 7%, so Turkey Chances are 14% bigger than San Marinos (& in Reality it’s more, than only 7%). Every Country gives 58 Points. If 1 Country steals 12 Points, with Jury or Diaspora, noone else can get this 12 Points anymore. If you have watched ESC for more than 2 Years, you can easily predict most Countries 8, 10 & 12 Points, Jury, or not. Just try it.

    & instead of abolishing the Diaspora-Votes with a 1-Vote-per-Song-Rule, EBU brought us Juries back & so Diasporas can still vote 30 Times for “their” Country & bring EBU more Money than 2-3 calls. & Jury can support Big5 better, so they are even less interested in take off their Privilegues.

    History shows us, how Juries support boring English Songs, too. There are so many People in Germany saying “Why should I watch ESC, when the German Song isn’t even German?”. I’m sure: as long we have Jury, we will have less & less different Languages. The ironical Thing is, that Stefan Raab, which invented an ESC between the German Staates with strict German Language Rule, invented a Preselection with only boring English Ballads.
    The Success of Lena brought some new Fans here, but all those English Entries (our last Song without a Word in English was “Guildo hat euch lieb” in 1998!?!) killed the Charme of Eurovision a little, too, & many old Fans disappeared.

    How fair Jury is, you can see at Albanias Points, since they were never able to use Televoting. I made a Statistic last Year & we see: Greece, Turkey, Macedonia, Bosnia & Montenegro got all more than 6 Points in Average. That’s even worse than Diaspora, istn’t it?

    CC, nice said:), bist du der gleiche CC wie in Feddersens Blog? Ich hab’ die Seite hier erst vor kurzem entdeckt…hier ist so viel mehr los:D

    & JKF Irish, no Problem:)
    But Yes, that’s actually the System, Fees are based on:) Only Big5 Pay more, that these Criterias would force.
    Like I said, exept of Andorra & Ireland, there is no Country that ever published exact Numbers (ore there was 1 I didn’t know?).

    Turkey has something like an Automatic Qualifiying Status. It’s almost the same Unfairness & it’s the same Reason: Money. Battle of Titans? No. In the End, hopefully the best Songs battle for the Crown:)

    No. I never would vote for my Favourite Country (in 2009, when I was in Prague, I voted for Montenegro & Latvia). Voting for your own Country is completely against the Idea of Eurovision, were People should vote for other Cultures, other Languages & come together in Music. Especially, when they sing the same English Stuff all others do (In Case of Serbia, I anyway understand it, since Serbs all around Europe understand the Lyrics…maybe I would vote for a German Song from Autria or Switzerland, too). Voting for your own Country only makes other Voters angry. I’m not angry, that Turkey gets many Points from Germany. I’m angry, that because of that, Countries voted by me & other Fans get less or no Points from Germany, especially since Jury-Comeback. I’m sure, this is 1 Reason for Czech Withdraw, too: they felt like their only Job there is giving 12 Points to Armenia Year by Year. The regular Viewer doesn’t want to pay 8€, Diasporas want, as long as they can see “their” Country success. Of Course, I’m not angry if Germany or my Favourite gets Diaspora Votes (& we do, from Spain, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands…on most Ocassions less then 7 Points, but we do), but that doesn’t make the whole Thing okay.
    Poland…lets take a Look at my Statistics…okay, this was a bad Example. They got in Average 6 Points from Ukraine & 4 Points from Germany, Austria, Lithuania, Ireland, Georgia, Hungary & Belarus…but it’s still less than the Big6 from above;)

    No, I think Germans know, that they are in the Final because of Money, or maybe because of their long History. Some may think, that the other Countries aren’t invited, have too less Money or doesn’t want to take Part. Here were so many saying “What? Greece takes Part? I thought, they are insolvent?!?” this May & I answered “Yes, they do, like the poorest European Countrys do, too. They had to have Precelection in a Shopping Centre & couldn’t afford enough Money to let the Singers sing more than playback”. Please don’t hate the Germans for that, but I think, they are anyway proud that “without them, World would collaps”. Since Germany was hated for so many Years, I think, that’s okay.

    Year, I enjoy the whole ESC-Week, too. Last Year was the only Time, Germany broadcasted both Semifinals live on popular Channels, so for many it was a Surprise, that they didn’t this Year. Maybe ARD sees 1 Day how important Semis are. & maybe EBU even Changes Rules 1 Day. Since Semifinals exist, I think, Germany wouldn’t boykott without the Final-Abonnement. Let’s see:)

    Sorry for another overlength Comment, but when I finished, there were now Posts to answer;)

    • Hi, yes I happen to comment on ‘Feddersen’s Blog’ sometimes but recently extremely rarely. Delighted to read your comments here, I could subscribe most of what you say. :D However, I do not aid retaliation, one unfairness (multiple telecalls resulting in contigent advantages) should not be ‘balanced out’ with a new-created unfairness (Big5) ostensibly favouring one unlucky side. You already mentioned it, it makes it even more uneasy for the rest.
      Besides, would it have made a difference if Alex swings Oscar sings! had not performed at the 2009 final in Moscow? I do not think so, maximum a very slight one. In lieu thereof, many more Germans would have watched the semi-finals in 2009-2012.

      • Thank you:) To be honest: I could disclaim every English Entry from Germany. I think, as long as you have the Privilege of a Big5-Member, you should risk singing in your own Language & make the Contest more Colourfull:)

        & no, I don’t say, that unfair+unfair=fair. Diaspora+Big5 is not fair & Diaspora+Jury neither in my Opinion. But Diaspora isn’t fairer than Big5, I think…as long as Turkey, Serbia or Russia are happy about their Advantage, why shouldn’t we (even if I’m no Fan of Big5-Rule)? Another great Idea to make this whole Thing fairer, would be something like a Einner- & a Looser-Semifinal, with all the Loosers from last Year, so that at Least 10 of them could reach the Final (I think, I once said this in the oder Blog…:)

    • Lucky writes: Or in your Formula, if Turkeys Chance inceases only 7%, the Cances of someone else degrese 7%, so Turkey Chances are 14% bigger than San Marinos (& in Reality it’s more, than only 7%).

      Someone else is getting mathematical! I thought I was just strange :-)

      Why would you say it’s more than 7%?

      If Turkey’s chance increases 7%, then the chances of everyone else put together decreases 7% – so that’s less than 1% for each individual country eg San Marino, I would think.

      Human nature being what it is, you can’t stop diapora voting, unless by stopping televoting, or unless there was some way to make one vote for each mobile number. I don’t know if that’s technologically possible, maybe very expensive, and of course it would reduce income from phone calls/texts etc!! Maybe you would say human nature being what it is, if the big5 can have an advantage they will keep it too – but I think it’s less inevitable. The other thing about televoting is, it’s a way for ordinary fans (and hardcore fans!) to be involved which is one of the great parts of the contest.

      Yes I agree Albania’s jury are extremely biased!! But I don’t think most countries are quite as bad as that. If they had a televote maybe they would have a less biased jury (or then again, maybe not…).

      Yes it’s the same here, the Irish televote gives points to Poland, Lithuania etc and of course that “robs” another country of the Irish vote. Maybe we should start a campaign for “one person one vote” :-)

      • Oh my God, Mathemathics;) Let’s simply say: there are Countries with higher Rates to go to Final than others. Germany has most, Turkey has very much, Cyprus has less, San Marino has fewest. I have made Statistics about Semi Final Wins few Weeks ago, when I was bored;) , here are the Top10 & Flop10:

        1 – Ukraine, 2 – Bosnia, 3 – Greece, 4 – Romania, 5 – Russia, 6 – Azerbaican, 7 – Moldova, 8 – Turkey, 9 – Serbia, 10 – Sweden, …, 33 – Poland, 34 – Bulgaria, 35 – Belgium, 36 – Netherlands, 37 – Monaco, 38 – Czechia, 39 – San Marino, 40 – Montenegro, 41 – Slovakia, 42 – Andorra

        Interesting: 1st 6 have 100%, last 6 have 0%

        Do you think, I’m against Televonting? NO! I love Televoting!!! The Problem in Televoting was the Diaspora-Votes & EBU simply acted the wrong Way to try to stop them. Yes, it IS technically possible, to make a 1-Vote-per-SONG-Rule, we have Quizshows in Germany that deal with this Concept, so, I’m very sure. At the Moment, 1 Country-Voter, votes 60 Times (30 Time Phone, 30 Times Cell Phone) for his Country, while Regular Viewer votes maybe 5 Times for 1 or different Songs, while Hardcore Fans use there 30 Votes, too, but may reduce their own Votes with voting for 2 or more Songs their like. With a 1-Vote-per-Song-Rule, evrybody could vote 1 Time for his Favourite/s & even Country-Voters may vote for their Favourite Song after vote for their Favourite Country. Diaspora-Votes would almost die, but less Calls means less Money, so EBU introduced Jurys. Turkey still has something like 7 German Points for sure, but EBU can say “We are so fair, now”.

        1-Person-1-Vote is a little different I think, since Country-Voters still would vote only for their Country & Familys may get Arguements, about their only Call;)

        • I wouldn’t like voting to be limited either. I think the 20 votes per phone, which is what I think the current situation is, is a fine arrangement. I usually vote for my top 4, 4 votes to 1st, 3 votes to 2nd, etc.

          I think Lucky and BigMomma should go to a maths confrence together. It’s beyond me and a sense it probably dosen’t matter too much.

          By the way lucky earlyer you said that you wouldn’t vote for your own country if you had the chance, I admire your honesty :-)

          • Thank you:)
            Maybe I wouldn’t ignore it, if I thought, it has the best Song. But when I was in Czechia, I thought Latvia had the best Song, & so I voted for Latvia:)

            Oh, you are right, 20 Calls per Phone at the Moment, not 30, sorry for my Mistake…but even for your Votes, the 1-Vote-per-Song would be the better Way. Since you vote 10 Times, your Votes count half as those of a Country-Voter. & You weeken your own Votes with splitting them. With this Rule, everybodys Votes would count the Same. I vote 20 Times for the Same, so, that my Votes are at least as strong as those of a Country-Voter:)

        • Thanks for your statistics about semifinal wins! I’m surprised to see Montenegro have NEVER qualified from a semifinal. I know Greece always gets Cyprus’s 12 points but I don’t think this is enough to explain their position. I looked up about Greece in Eurovision after seeing it on your list. It seems they have taken great interest in ESC in recent years. Maybe this is why they and Sweden make your Top10. I would be curious about the jury/televote splits for your Top10, but I don’t have the time or energy to go and find them all unfortunately!!

          I would agree with you that juries are not 100% effective in reducing diaspora-voting advantages for some countries eg Albania. But I do think they have some effect and at least the EBU has taken some action about it.

          I don’t know Lucky if you saw my earlier suggestion, that instead of automatic entry to the final, big5 countries should be given a “head start” – like instead of starting on 0 points like the other countries, they would start on 20 points or 50 points or whatever. That way, if their song was good enough to get even a few more votes, they would qualify. And if their song was rubbish, they wouldn’t, but that would be only fair for the other countries. I don’t think it’s likely to happen but what would you think??

          So there is technology etc for restricting multiple voting you say. I definitely think it would have a lot of benefits for making the contest fairer. It would be better than 1-person-1-vote certainly. From a selfish point of view I have mixed feelings, my tradition is to vote a few times for my favourite song (no particular country may I add) and maybe once for a few other good songs. That wouldn’t happen with 1-vote-per-song. But if there was a vote on it I would vote for the idea all the same :-)

          It would be very interesting to see how voting patterns would change, and even viewing patterns. But if it meant some countries with strong traditions of diaspora voting became less interested, I wouldn’t worry too much about that, it would become more about the songs and less about the politics which is a good thing for the ESC I would say.

          • No Problem BigMomma:) Even if I’m not the biggest Fan of Numbers, sometimes Statistics can be really interesteng;). Since the Complete Jury Votes are only revealed for the last 3 Years, I can make a splitted Statistic tomorrow:)

            & for Greece, there is another interesting Statistic: They don’t only get every Year 12 Points from Cyprus (which I think is okay anyway, since the Cypriot People vote for Greece themselves), until 2011, they got in Average 10 Points from Albania & Bulgaria, 8 Points from Armenia & 7 Points from Serbia & Romania (all rounded down, the only Country, never gave any Point to Greece is Morocco by the Way;). Sweden got 8 from Norway, 7 from Denmark & 6 from Estonia (they got even some Points from Morocco, back in 1980;).Of Course, Sweden & Greece sent some great Songs the recent Years & we will never know, how Results would be complete without Diaspora-Votes. But there are slight Tendences, some profit extremely, while others have to do much bigger Effort to Succeed.

            I think, your Idea would be even more hated than Big5-Rule. This would make the Competition look even unfairer (it wouldn’t be, but it would look like). & Lookalikes can make People very angry, like they did in 2007 for Example. In Western Countries, so many People screamed “Oh my God! All 10 Qualifiers are Eastern Countries?!? Without changing Rules, I will never watch this Competition again!”. But they didn’t realize, that within those Eastern Countries are 3, that never won a Semifinal before (Bulgaria, Slovenia & Belarus), & a Newcomer (Georgia). They only saw, that they are Eastern, got angry & EBU decided to have a Jury Wildcard the next 2 Years. Similar would happen to your Rule, I think. Of Course a Final-Abonnement is less fair than a little Help to win the Semi, but it doesn’t look like this & People would say “What? France got only 35 Points & goes to Final, while we got 44 & don’t?!?”

            Another Idea of me would be, to make a Semifinal only for the Big5, either as Part of the ESC or as a Local Preselection Round. Every Big5-Member could send 1 or more Songs, people can vote & the best 4 of them would go to ESC Final, if 1 Country has more than 1 Top4 Place, the next Place would succeed & so on. In the End 1 Big5-Member would be out of Race & JFK would be a little more Satisfied, since every Country but the Host has to go throw a Qualification. We had a similar seperate Contest in German Speeking Countries until last Year, & it was really interesting:)

            With the Rest of your Comment, I totally agree:)

            • I’ll look out for your split statistic, thanks, I’m sure it will be interesting!

              What was the jury wildcard again and how did that work?

              Yes the “bonus points” would be resented and less accepted than automatic entry, because it would look more unfair – even though it would actually be more fair.

              I saw your post earlier about Greek politics and German politics and EU politics being left aside for a week to have a festival together and I thought it was a very nice point. I would not actually want to create resentment in the Eurovision week but mostly put the “bonus points” idea out there to illustrate the fairness or otherwise of the present rules for readers here. I think it’s safe to say the EBU won’t agree with it or use it!

              A big5 semifinal – interesting idea especially because it introduces big5 broadcasters/viewers etc to the semifinal concept with less of the risk that they are wary of and want to avoid.

              I’ll be offline for a few days and back then!

            • Thank you BigMomma:)
              I never expected how interesting the split Statistic will be. But it’s very long & I will only post the Top10, Flop10 & those, that have been in the first Ranking here.

              Semifinal-winning Rate with only Televoting:
              1 – Turkey, 2 – Greece, 3 – Romania, 4 – Russia, 5 – Armenia, 6 – Azerbaican, 7 – Ukraine, 8 – Bosnia, 9 – Moldova, 10 – Serbia
              Only Armenia is new in this Top10. Sweden dropped to Rank 12 behind Norway that was only Place 16th in overall. Now, the first 7 have 100%.
              33 – Slovenia, 34 – Estonia, 35 – Poland, 36 – Belgium, 37 – Monaco, 38 – Czechia, 39 – San Marino, 40 – Montenegro, 41 – Slovakia, 42 – Andorra
              Slovenia & Estonia are new in the Flop10. The Netherlands raised to Place 32 & Bulgaria even to 30 just before Austria. The 0%ers are identic.

              The Changes here are only slight. But before I go on, I explain you the Jury-Wildcards in 2008 & 2009, since they were really important. Like I told you, after 2007, when all Qualifiers were from the East, many Western Countries went angry & EBU varified the Qualification a little. The first 9 Final Spots from each Semi were still the Top9 from the Televotes, but for the 10th Place, they needed now the Votes from the Backup Jury, wich always were there in Case of any Problems in Televoting. So the 10th Spot went to the highest Country in Jury Ranking, that wasn’t already through because of Televotes. So, in 2008, the last Spot from Semi 2 didn’t go to 10th Place Macedonia, it went to 12th Place Sweden, because it was higher in Jury Ranking (the Top10 in the 1st Semi was the Same in both Rankings, so Poland didn’t need the Wildcard). In 2009, Finland (12th) & Croatia (13th) got the last Spots instead of Serbia & again Macedonia. In this Systhem, of Course Macedonia was the most angry one. But since Macedonia is 1 of the poorest Countries in Europ, I don’t think, that they were the Reason to change the Procedure again to nowadays System in 2010.

              Because Backup-Jury-Votes of those Years have never been published, I could only use the Jury-Winners from last 3 Years & the Wildcards the 2 Years before. The Rest are still Televoting Results, but nevertheless there are some very huge Changes in following Ranking:
              1 – Ukraine, 2 – Greece, 3 – Romania, 4 – Azerbaican, 5 – Bosnia, 6 – Serbia, 7 – Sweden, 8 – Armenia, 9 – Georgia, 10 – Denmark
              Armenia, Georgia & Denmark are new in this Ranking. Turkey dropped to Place 12 behind Malta that was only Place 24 in overall & even 28 in pure Televoting. Russia & Moldova fell dramatically down to Place 17 & 18. The Top4 have the 100%.
              33 – Austria, 34 – Slovenia, 35 – Poland, 36 – Bulgaria, 37 – Netherlands, 38 – Belarus, 39 – Monaco, 40 – Czechia, 41 – Montenegro, 42 – Andorra
              Austria, Slovenia & Belarus (wich was 26th in pure Televoting) are new here. Belgium & Slovakia raised a little to 31 & 32. San Marino raised to 29 just before Switzerland. The last 4 have still 0%.

            • Thanks for all this Lucky. I’ll pass it on to BigMomma. Statistics and stuff is not my area. As you have probably guessed I am more of a moral arguement person. Do check back here in a few days for her reply.

            • Thanks for digging up all those numbers Lucky, I have no idea how long it must have taken!!!

              I notice that mostly juries and televoters put countries in the same order but there are a few striking differences. I thought there would have been more difference between juries and televoters. Being so similar might be 3 reasons – juries and televoters both vote for countries more than songs a lot; or some countries simply share the same taste in music; or there isn’t enough figures yet to show a difference.

              Firstly Malta. If I understand your figures right, Malta was 24th overall, 28th on pure televoting, and 11th on jury voting! That is a very dramatic difference. That actually justifies having juries because it shows that for some countries, it does make a difference.

              Russia and Moldova dropped most when you looked at juries. Russia get lots of diaspora votes, yes, so reducing televoting would hit them hard. Moldova – not sure why Moldova would drop out of your top10 and Armenia and Georgia would come into it instead. Maybe just a random thing.

              I looked at the Wikipedia lists of which countries give most votes to which countries, to see which countries benefit most from such voting. For one country, there were 6 other countries which had given it more points through the years, than they had given any other countries. Was it Russia? No. Bosnia? No. Actually Greece, though I don’t know if this will last, long term. Cyprus, Albania, Malta, Romania, Hungary and San Marino have all given Greece more points than they have given any other country, if the Wikipedia statistics are true. Russia and Turkey follow with five – Ukraine, Armenia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia all put Russia at the top of their league. Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Germany, France and Netherlands all have Turkey top of their list, looking at several years. Hopefully that all makes sense, but ask me to try again if not, because it does look a bit complicated :-)

              Interestingly if you look at countries that make the long term top4 on the list of another country’s votes – after Russia, Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sweden does next best. Yes Sweden has some neighbours, but they have done well too with votes from Austria and Malta for no obvious geographical/political reason. Then come Turkey, Ukraine and Ireland…well we just had a few good songs, what can I say :-). Sometimes the complaints about block voting dominating the contest and favouring “eastern” countries are exaggerated I have always thought, and this shows an example of why. Yes block voting is certainly an advantage, but not a dominating advantage, I don’t believe.

              I’m sure Macedonia was very annoyed all right to be denied two years in a row by the new rules, but as you say, this might not be enough to change the system. I wonder if the juries themselves had anything to do with it, they spend the time to judge the songs (I’m sure they were paid too of course) and they only get an influence over one song qualifying, just wondering if they might have disliked that too??

            • Haha, Welcome back BigMomma! Hope, you enjoyed your Journey:)

              I think, the Changes are dramatic, since we know “only” 73 of the Jury-Qualifiers next to all 140 from the Televoting. So, in the Jury-Ranking, there are 67 Televoting-Winners as well…
              Georgia would rise in Juryvoting, becaus this Year, it got last in Televoting & 8th in Juryvoting. Since Georgia has only participated 5 Times, 1 Success/Fail makes a Difference of 20%.

              Your Research makes Sence. But I’m no big Fan of the Wikipedia-Points-Chart, since they only reveal total Numbers. It’s no Wonder, that Greece is THAT high, but since they took Part already in the 70s, they have much more Years to collect Points than Russia for Example, that started in the 90s. Or San Marino, which only took Part 3 Times & always was in the same Semifinal like Greece, so they had 6 Chances to give Points to Greece, while they had only 2 Chances to give Points to Italy. So I made a %-Ranking (since 90 from possible 120 Points are better than 100 from possible 300 for Example) & here, Armenia is the Number 1 of 7 Countries, Serbia from 6, Azerbaican from 5 & Greece from 4. Turkey & Romania from 3, Albania, Estonia, Russia, Malta & Sweden have 2 best Friends, while all the others have 1 or 0 (this Year isn’t in this Chart yet, & I only counted Countries, that met at Least 2 Times). Of Course, Diaspora-Votes don’t make a Zero to a Hero. But they easily make a Semi-Looser to a Semi-Winner & the other Way. Most Countries have at Least a few Voting-Partners (like Ireland has the United Kingdom, or Germany has Austria), but some have more then 10 & others have 0.

              The Jury Wildcard came from the Backup-Jury. This was introduced already in 1998, in Case of, the Televoting doesn’t work. This happened for Example 2007 for Andorra (were there weren’t Calls for every Song) or 2010 for Norway on Homeground (were they had Problems in counting the Calls). If a Country has too less Calls, or Technical Problems, it has this Backup Jury, so that they still can Vote on the same Evening. In Fact, Albania, San Marino & Monaco never used Televoting. That’s another Reason, why I don’t like this Solution, since in the End, the Juries have more than 50% Value of the Votes. But so, I don’t think, the Juries in 2008-2009 disliked having only 1 Wildcard, since they had much more to say than all the Years before.

    • Gutten Tag

      Lucky you are a person of many words:-)

      I thought the big five by EBU rule, had to broadcast the semi they vote in?

      I don’t mind more countries participating but there has got to be a limit how much the semis can handle.

      You seem very stuck in believing the financial arguement. I guess I just believe that the moral arguement against the big 5 far out weighs the funding issue, and that if the EBU wanted the contest to be honest they would sort out the funding issue by decreasing cost and increasing revenue.

      Yes arguements can be said that there is unfairness in diaspora voting, block voting etc but are they easily fixable, no! As for he big 5 that is easily fixable. It requires recognition of how wrong it is and the motivation to do something about it. Everything else is a smoke screen. I hope that does not anger you that I say that.

      I started this discussion because I completly dissagree with the big 5 and wished to express why. To be honest nothing in this discussion has given me reason to change this view. I have enjoyed your posts Lucky and I respect that you genuinely believe what you say. You even made me rethink for a brief moment.

      You seem passionate about the language rule. I can appreciate this. As you know Ireland has a lovely native language but it is never going to be a daily language again for historical reasons. Yes it must be a souce of discontent for non english speakers that thje ESC is now a english song contest. But if you added up the amount of times Ireland and England as english speakers won or came top 3 well it says it all really. I guess English is just the spoken language now, as even this site proves:-(

      Lucky you said this, “Only Big5 Pay more, that these Criterias would force.”, what did you mean by this. If all countries are proportionally paying the same per head of population well then how can the big 5 justify their financial arguement.

      I agree with you about Greece they should bow out for a while, but then pride can be a strong emotion, and a win could possibly motivate their country to greater things.

      You said, “Please don’t hate the Germans for that, but I think, they are anyway proud that “without them, World would collaps”. Since Germany was hated for so many Years, I think, that’s okay.” I don’t think it is needed for Germany to carry guilt anymore. I do think though that the beliefe that Germany is needed to support the rest of Europe is unfounded. But that is getting into a very political debate which is not appropriate for an ESC web site.

      Again thanks for your comments. AND FOR GETTING THE J K F RIGHT!!!!!!

      • Danke dir. Dir auch einen Guten Tag:)

        Yes, they have to broadcast it, & they do (that’s what I called the “relevant” Semifinal in former Post). The Problem is, that they broadcast it on Northern TV or Special Interest Channel, which are not in Focus of the Medias here…

        Of Course, EBU could produce smaller/cheeper Festivals, but they don’t want. They enjoy, that they own the Biggest Non-Sport-Festival ever & in Buissness, bigger is always better. Bigger Festivals mean more Viewers, mean more Merchandazing, Money for Broadcasting Rights (do you know any other Programm, Kirgysystan buys the Rights for?) & Fans that buy Tickets, T-Sirts & something else with ESC-Logo.

        Diaspora Votes are easy fixable with the 1-Vote-per-Country-Rule I explained few Seconds ago for BigMomma a little above…but this Rule would lead to less Money, like the Abolishment of Big5 would lead to less Money. That’s why I compare them. They are both unfair Circumstances that exist because of Money.

        Yes, History Shows, how week Songs from Malta, Ireland or United Kingdom succeeded, only because they were in English or to that Time, French. But this were Jury Times & for me, it looks like more & more Countries tend to boring English Ballads because they want the Jurys to like them & not the Viewers. The big Shame is, that in German Preselection, the Viewers haven’t even the Chance to decide for a German Song. The last German Song in Preselection was “Hiterm Ozean” in 2008!?! This Song went to the Super-Final & got 49,5% of the Votes, only 1% less than NoAngels did. Because of that, this was the last Song, I stood behind, even if it was not the best, but People had the Chance to send a German Song & didn’t. Since we have only English Songs in Preselection, I don’t watch it, especially when they produce 10 boring “SingStar-Castings” & in the End, People can only vote between 4 lame English Songs. The only other Country I know, that has no Local-Language-Songs in Preselection is Belarus…deer Germans: are we really like Belarus?!?
        If you want, we can write German, Spanish or Danish at this Page, too, but I sadly speak no Irish;)

        How they justify their financial Aguement? With being Big5 of Course;) I don’t think, that they payed more than those Criterias say before Big5-Rule. But since there were much less Participants, many small Countries & much smaller Stages at this Time, they payed for sure at least 25-30% of the overall Costs to that Time.

        No, I don’t say, Greece should have a Break! It’s so great, that they can at least celebrate this Week with all of us. All of the Year, the Germans hate Greek Politics, like Greeks hate German Politics & everybody hates EU-Politics, but for 1 Week, we have this Party together & Greek TV does good in holding Costs as low as possible without Withdrawing. But if they win, I think it would be better to search for more Sponsors or make an Open Air Festival or something like that instead of holding the “biggest Festival ever” like the last Winners did.

        To your last Point: yes, it IS unfounded, that’s why I made the Goosefeet (“”) around the Thesis:). But in Germany, you always hear, how evil we are, that we are blameable for everything bad in the World, in School, TV & on the Streets. No Matter, that WWII is over since almost 70 Years & almost none that survived it is still alive. That’s why we enjoy Football Championship so much: that’s the only Time, when you can wear Germany-Tshirts, fly the Flag & sing the National Anthem without being called “Nazi” from any mega-correct Person. & so, People like the Imagination, that without them, the World would collaps, even if it’s not like this;)

        • Gutten mittag und hallo aus Irland

          I spenf a summer in south Bavaria wotking in Hote Bachmair Rattach Ergen in 1990, yes I am that old :-(

          I’m not saying that I want the ESC to be dull and small, but I don’t think it has to be a spend fest either. As the Irish head of delegation says the EBU is wanting it to move to a more sustainable model.

          I’m not in fair of limiting tellevoting beyond what currently happens and yes it would reduce income.

          Why don’t you propose a discussion on the language issue with this site. You certinaly have the drive for it? It was done a few years ago but its a real issue and well go for it.

          I’m not arguing your figures re the proportion of fees paid by the big 5. What I do ask is do the big 5 pay the same per person and per country wealth, as the other countries. I don’t know. Does anyone know??

          I’m glad you are imagining that the world falls apart with out the Germans, as long as it stays in your imagination :-) Did you know it was Irish religous groups that kept education alive in Europe during the dark ages, so we’ve all had our day of glory.

          There’s no need to be specific about German history. Be proud of Germany, and dare I say, lead the way by leaving the big 5 and then the others would follow???????? Then Germany really would be saving the world, ok I exagerate ……….. slightly

          I’m glad you think the semifinal idea with bonus points wouldn’t be fair even though it is more fair than automatic qualification. Big Momma and I thought it would be a good way to highlight how peolple reject cheating when it’s obvious but ignore it when weak reasons are given and is done in a less obvous manner.

          BigMomma is away till Tue. evening but I can pass on any posts to her via the phone if you wish.

          • Haha, Guten Abend & Servus:) Do you mean Rottach-Egern? That’s in ther very very South of Bavaria. I am from City of Straubing in the Middle:) I have only been in 10 Countries yet, but I am only 20 now & plan to drive to Albania next Year per Car to doubble that Number;)

            Irish HoD said this? Then, we can be excited, what will happen the next Years:).

            To be honest, I discovered this Page just this Week & don’t really know, how to start an ArticleX). But yes, if People are interested in it, why not?

            It looks like I got your Question wrong…sorry;). No, we don’t know it. I think nobody outside the EBU & those 5 Broadcasters know it. But we know, that these 5 Countries pay more than 36 others together, & we know, that Russia & Turkey have similar/higher Power in Population &/or Finances, so we can be very sure, they do. If Russias & Turkeys Fees would only be slight lower than Big5s, the Rule wouldn’t make any Sense at all & we wouldn’t come to over 25% in overall. Or in other Words: I think everybody knows, that Spain today is neither bigger nor richer than Russia, so it may be Russias Decision, to pay more they need or not & since they have a Final Quote of 100% they may think “we don’t need that”?

            This with Ireland is really interesting. But no Surprise, since this small Island has 1 of the most famous Cultures on Globe. Everybody knows about Irish Pubs, Nature, Crosses, Myths, Riverdance,… & last but not least Music. The 7 ESC-Trophies are only 1st Page, I was Fan of Celtic Women, before they went popular;D

            Since we have strong Regionalism in Germany, especially in Bavaria, we always could be patriotic in other Ways…so maybe my last Comment sounded a little strange in that Point…but that you hear every Day & everywhere about WWII is right…

            Great, that we have some similar Thoughts:)
            It’s okay, when BigMomma is away for some Days, since it’s anyway difficult, to have 2 Writing Partners at 1ce:D. I’m waiting for her, maybe we will have another Topic until then;)

            • Yes I meant Roottach-Egern. A very rich place as I remember.

              I got this article started by just sending an e-mail similar to the editorial to Eurovision Times. My origonal e-mail was stronger, believe it or not. E.T. got back to me with the invitation to write the editorial. I didn’t seek it. Since I am completly against the big 5 idea I felt obliged to take up the invitation. It has been a big commitment to keep up with it as you can imagine with this now being the 214th comment but I only get one chance to do this so I’ve tried to do it properly.

              I’m glad that you feel you understand my question now. It would be interesting if Russia and Turkey and other big non big 5 countries did start to fail in the semis would they start to out bid Spain, then Italy, and maybe even Germany some day. It would really bring it home to the present big 5, what the big 5 rule is, if they were outbid, and tasted their own medicine???

              Anyway enjoy your day!!!!

            • tasted our own medicine. you make it sound like we are brutalising eurovision. Its been a tradition for a long time. why does it matter so much?? if Ireland were a big 5 member, would you be having the same debate. You talk about block voting also and voting 30 times?? Block voting = countries voting for there neighbours as they have similar tastes in music. As for multiple voting – how is that a true reflection? Just enjoy the show. Dont make it political, just enjoy it. If you feel it is so corrupt, stop spending the cost of 30 calls a year on it. As youre now funding the corruption.

            • Tricky you are exagerating my stance. The big 5 has not been a long standing tradition in the context of the ESC’s near 60 year history, and you know that.

              It matters for the very reason that it is wrong. No arguement has been presented to say it is right. Arguements stating that it cann’t be changed are much more political than what I am saying. People who make these statements are implying that the EBU are powerless to change anything without the permission of the big 5. I believe that is a wrong belife about the EBU. I do think the EBU allows itself to be influenced by the big 5 broadcasters but I do think that the EBU can stand up to the big 5 broadcasters when they sense general opinon is not in agreement with them.

              If I did say voting 30 times I was wrong, I should have said 20 as that is as far as I know the amount of votes that are accepted from one phone.

            • Sorry Tricky that I’m doing this over two comments, my computer went off.

              Yes I agree with you that block voting is not good. But in reall terms it matters very little in deciding who wins or looses. Also what do you propose to do about it anyway? Earlyer in this discussion someone said that countries should be banned, now how political can you get?? Also some posts from the UK were mentioning about Scotish independence leading to a possible garunteed 12 votes from Scotland. Block voting is every where, It is more odd not to benefit from block voting than to benefit from it.

              I sense you are upset with me because I continue to point out that the big 5 rule is corrupt and no one has proven otherwise yet. I don’t think the ESC on the whole is a corrupted experience it is just the aspect of big 5 qualification that I see as being a corruption of a very excellent and fine idea of fair open international competition. So I don’t let my frustration prevent me from enjoying the experience.

              If you check older messages you will see that I’ve already answered the question about If Ireland was a big 5 country. In fact everything you refer to has already been dealt with if you read the older comments.

              Ask yourself this question:
              What would you think of a big 5 rule if you weren’t in it?
              One straight question deserves another don’t you think.

            • The dozens of countries do not support the contest financially in the way that big 5 have for 12 years now. Also, the “harmless” bloc voting you mentioned, has affected the outcome twice in recent years. maybe all the rules need to be changed. Im not sure if there should be a big five or not. We do pay for the right, but maybe the uk would step up their game if we had to earn it. But with such large amounts of europe facing financial hardship, how else can the show be produced. Advertising – does it then not just become a free for all. PS – maybe europe didnt put you through to the final in 2009 cos they hadnt forgiven you for Dustin the Turkey. lol. If my country wasnt a big five memeber, i would still feel the same about it. It has to be paid for by someone. Finally – how you can say we ALL know the big 5 is morally wrong. Clearly we dont, or this would not have been a debate.

        • Could i please ask which songs you were referring to as “weak”?? and just because they may not be to your taste do you get to call them weak???

          • Hello Anonymous.

            Unfortunitley you may be right about Dustin being the reason we did badly in 2009. Dustin was voted for people who thought the ESC was a joke and well I giess the last joke was on them. Dustin’s career plucked out after that even in children’s TV. A pity that Black Daisy failed because we have had weaker songs since and they all got through to the final. Other factors at work of course.

            Yes as it stands the big 5 arguement is defendable. My arguement is that it dosen’t have to be that way. It is wrong to believe that it is ok to leave things as they are when they are so wrong to start with. Things can change to be fair if we truly insist with the EBU that they should be. I’ve found in this discussion that many just think there is no point. Some think the politics of it all is too overpowering. I don’t personally.

            The only people in this debate that have completyly supported the big 5 rule have been big 5 countries form what I can remember now, and out of them the most persistent has been the UK. Others have been some what mixed, similar in ways to you. The reason for this mixed feeling seems to be about the, “there’s nothing can be done about it anyway”, view. Per haps it is an exageration on my point to say we all know it immorall. I say that for two reasons. Firstly it is obviously just plain wrong, from a simple observation. Seccondly, though I admit this is very subjective on my part, I sense about 70% of people were against it in this discussion. I’m open to be questioned on that I know. It might be a good poll for this site to do??? Though wording would be crucial.

            I’m not sure what your point is about the advertising?? What do you think of SVT reducing the cost with choosing Malmo. A step in the right direction?? They must have heard me :-)

            What two years are you refering to where block voting decided the out come? Was it before the 50:50 voting was introduced? I’m sure Lucky or BigMomma would like to annalyse those figures they seem to like that stuff.

            All the best.

  8. Hmmm, you make an interesting point. I personally think that the it would be weird if the Big 5 were not in the final. We pay the most towards ESC and so I think it’s only fair that we get something in return for it.

    • Anonymous why would it be weired if you were not in the final, Its being happening to dozens of countries for years now. The semis are an equal part of the ESC week, don’t be afraid, join in the complete experience.

      There have been numerous comments about how the finances of the ESC could be restructured. Your comment is based totally on the presumption that the current financial structure is right and can’t be changed. Obviously I believe it is wrong and should be changed. Morally we all know the big 5 rule is wrong and everything should be done to change this. It should never have even been thought of to start with.

      Take this for what it is, my opinons, that’s all but I really believe in them and I haven’t been convinced of otherwise, yet. :-)

      By the way my advatar seems to have changed????, but this is JKF Irish honest!!!

  9. what i think is weird is that two countries are among the big 5 ( spain and Itlay) so they pay loooooooooooots of money for the eurovision song contest but on the other hand the EU has to sponsor them, because they are bankrupt, so in a way the EU pays for the eurovision song contest and i think that is wrong EU money is not for entertainmet but for serious problems

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