Anger and Resentment over Strategic Voting in Eurovision

01020118848900 I recall a paper from a few years ago which looked at emergence of regional voting blocs for Eurovision.  It appears that the awareness of this fact is beginning to upset fans and contestants.  In Der Spiegel:

It was at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki that the idea of some kind of Eastern European concerted offensive first took hold. Viewers from Lapland to Lisbon saw how not one single Western European country made it through the semifinals to compete on the big night itself.

The only Western European countries that took part in the finals were the hosts and the so-called “big four,” which are always guaranteed a slot, and none of them fared well. Host Finland got off lightly, receiving 53 points and coming in 17th, while Germany was 19th but still ahead of its partners in Eurovision misery, France, the United Kingdom and Spain.

The hue and cry began almost immediately. Germany’s sole Eurovision winner, Nicole, said Germany should stop entering the competition. There was talk of countries doing each other favors and suggestions that Western Europe should start up a new competition and graciously leave Eurovision to their eastern neighbors.

One thing Western Europeans seemed to agree on: the results could only be the product of some sort of cheeky hustling for points. And if anyone was bound to be shamelessly breaking the most democratic rules of any musical contest, then surely it would be those living to the east of the former Iron Curtain. The only question is how they could be bending the rules, since viewers across Europe can call in and vote for any act they wish to, as long as it isn’t the contestant from their own country.