The Trouble With Democracy is that it Doesn't Work
A few years ago the station ID spots for Triple J’s Hottest 100 countdown featured one of the DJs pointing out how various pieces of ephemera had kept classic songs out of key spots, such as Denis Leary’s Asshole beating Radiohead’s Creep into first place in 1993, or Blink-182 coming in the top 20 in the 1998 Hottest 100 of all time, out polling classics like New Order’s Blue Monday, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, and The Beatles’ A Day in the Life. The tag line for these spots was “Democracy doesn’t work”.
Well it seems that the Eurovision organisers have discovered this as well.
Following the 2008 competition in Belgrade there was a lot of controversy in certain European newspapers about voting irregularities, notably bloc and diaspora voting. Bjørn Erichsen, Director of Eurovision TV, admitted that there was some bloc voting, but that it was negligible, and didn’t affect the result:
A certain amount of neighbour voting between the Nordic countries, and between former Yugoslavian countries took place at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Statistics however show that did not bring Russia its first ever victory. “This year, as in other years, Russia got good votes from their neighbours. In the past this was not enough to secure a win. The difference this year was that they received points from a total of 38 countries, thereby securing victory.” Erichsen explains. link
Interesting then, that in early December last year the organisers announced a new voting system that would see 50% of the vote being awarded by national juries:
“Nothing is more democratic than the vote of the public. But a jury takes the opportunity to listen to the songs several times, before they make up their minds. In Belgrade, we saw a difference in judgment of the public and the back-up juries, and we believe a combination will make the show more interesting,” said Svante Stockselius, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest. link
The five-person juries will be be made up of music industry professionals.
I just hope that the new system prevents any travesties of justice, like the fact that in 2008 Dustin the Turkey scored only 22 points and failed to advance beyond the first semi-final, when he was obviously the most talented performer in the competition!