Robert Hampton

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27th May 2008

Posted by at 5.51pm | No responses | Music, Television

Say it ain’t so! Terry Wogan is thinking of quitting as Eurovision commentator after claims that the regional bias in the voting has become excessive.

Cyprus voting for Greece has been a running joke for years. However, the new claim is that the former Soviet and Balkan states, who have joined the contest relatively recently, are unfairly advantaged by the voting system. Both Italy and Austria have pulled out of the contest in recent years in protest at this state of affairs.

But is it true? I took the Results table at Wikipedia, pasted it into Excel (and you would not believe how problematic that simple task was) and did some playing around.

Here are the top 5 countries on the night:-

1 Russia 272
2 Ukraine 230
3 Greece 218
4 Armenia 199
5 Norway 182

Disregarding the votes from the Soviet and Balkan “blocks” (as described on Wikipedia) changes the results, but not as much as you’d think:-

1 Greece 157
2 Russia 143
3 Armenia 143
4 Ukraine 141
5 Norway 124

As you can see, the top 5 remain the same, but in a different order. Crucially, the UK moves up from joint last place to… erm, second-to-last place. So a big improvement there then.

Here’s the scorecard if you want to look for yourself. And now, here’s Katrina and the Waves demonstrating exactly how to win Eurovision, on 3rd May 1997:-

Some cynics may suggest that our win was helped by a recent political event that helped the UK suddenly find favour with its European neighbours, but not me!

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