Voting changes announced for Eurovision Song Contest 2023. Major changes to the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 voting system have been announced by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
Details were shared in a press release after the new format was approved by the Contest’s Reference Group earlier today.
- Viewer votes will decide countries qualifying from Semi-Finals
- Viewers in non-participating countries will be able to vote online
- Jury votes will be combined with votes from the global audience to decide final result
Next year, the countries that qualify from the Semi-Finals will be decided solely based on the votes cast by YOU the viewers, rather than a combination of a jury and public vote as has been the case since 2009.
The professional music industry juries will remain for the Grand Final, but complete control of who gets there from the Semi-Finals has been handed over to the viewing public.
And, for the first time ever, viewers from non-participating countries will be able to vote for their favourite songs too!
Martin Österdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest’s Executive Supervisor, said of the changes: ‘Throughout its 67-year history the Eurovision Song Contest has constantly evolved to remain relevant and exciting. These changes acknowledge the immense popularity of the show by giving more power to the audience of the world’s largest live music event. In 2023 only Eurovision Song Contest viewers will decide which countries make it to the Grand Final and, reflecting the global impact of the event, everyone watching the show, wherever they live in the world, can cast their votes for their favourite songs. By also involving juries of music professionals in deciding the final result, all the songs in the Grand Final can be assessed on the broadest possible criteria. We can also maintain the tradition of travelling around Europe and Australia to collect points and ensure a thrilling voting sequence with the winner only revealed at the very end of the show.’
Those watching in the rest of the world will be able to vote via a secure online platform using a credit card from their country, and their votes, once added together, will be converted into points that will have the same weight as one participating country in both of the Semi-Finals and the Grand Final.
Audiences in all participating countries will still be able to vote by SMS, phone or via the Eurovision Song Contest app.
Voting changes announced for Eurovision Song Contest 2023. Major changes to how the voting in the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 will work have been announced by organizers, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
- Only viewer votes will decide countries qualifying from Semi-Finals
- Viewers in non-participating countries will be able to vote online
- Jury votes will, as before, be combined with viewer votes to decide final result
The countries that qualify from the two Semi-Finals, 10 from each, will now be decided solely based on the votes cast by viewers of the competition, rather than a combination of a jury and public vote as has been the case since 2009.
And, for the first time ever, those watching in countries not taking part in the competition will also be able to vote for their favourite songs online.
Their votes will be added together and converted to points that will have the same weight as one participating country in both of the Semi-Finals and the Grand Final.
Professional juries, made up of those working in the music industry, will continue to contribute to the result of the Grand Final along with viewers in each country taking part and those voting internationally.
Martin Österdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest’s Executive Supervisor said: “Throughout its 67-year history the Eurovision Song Contest has constantly evolved to remain relevant and exciting. These changes acknowledge the immense popularity of the show by giving more power to the audience of the world’s largest live music event. In 2023 only Eurovision Song Contest viewers will decide which countries make it to the Grand Final and, reflecting the global impact of the event, everyone watching the show, wherever they live in the world, can cast their votes for their favourite songs. By also involving juries of music professionals in deciding the final result, all the songs in the Grand Final can be assessed on the broadest possible criteria. We can also maintain the tradition of travelling around Europe and Australia to collect points and ensure a thrilling voting sequence with the winner only revealed at the very end of the show.”
Audiences in all participating countries will still be able to vote by SMS, phone or via the Eurovision Song Contest app.
Those watching in the rest of the world will be able to vote via a secure online platform using a credit card from their country.
Following the unprecedented nature of the voting irregularities seen at the 2022 Contest a working group of EBU Members was established to look at ways to protect the integrity of the event. Its recommendations were then approved by the Reference Group, the Contest’s governing board and the Executive Board of the EBU.
Public broadcasters from 37 countries will compete to win the 67th Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool on 9, 11 and 13 May.
31 countries will compete for 20 places in the Grand Final alongside France, Germany, Italy, Spain, hosts the United Kingdom and 2022 winner Ukraine. A full list of participating nations and broadcasters can be found here.
The competition is being hosted by the BBC in the UK on behalf of Ukraine following Kalush Orchestra’s win for their country in Turin in May 2022.
Frequently Asked Questions about the voting changes can be found here.
What are the major changes to the voting system at the Eurovision Song Contest? In 2023, the countries that qualify from each of the two Semi-Finals of the Eurovision Song Contest will be decided solely on the basis of votes cast by the general public. Juries, in each country taking part in the respective Semi-Final, will still cast their votes but they will only be used should a valid televote not be recorded or possible in an individual country. The Jury votes from each participating country will however be counted, as before, in the Grand Final. They will be combined with the result of the public vote to make up the total overall score.
Why are you also introducing an additional Rest of World vote? As a further step to strengthen the audience’s power in influencing the results of the Eurovision Song Contest, and in recognition of the global reach of the event, those watching the Eurovision Song Contest in non-participating countries will now be able to vote online. Votes from countries not participating will be combined to create a set of points with the same weight as one participating country in both of the Semi-Finals and the Grand Final. This will affect the 50/50 percentage balance between Jury points and public points marginally, giving the general public slightly more impact on the final result – approximately 50.6%.
How will you ensure the Rest of the World vote is fair? Those wishing to vote from a country that is not participating in the Contest will only be able to do so via a secure online platform using a credit card from their country. Our Voting Partner will ensure that only audiences from countries allowed to vote online, as stipulated by the Reference Group, the Contest’s governing board, will be able to cast a vote and be charged respectively. The full list of eligible countries will be published near the time of the event.
Will you have a Jury representing the Rest of World as well as a public vote? No. A Jury representing non-participating countries will not be used.
Why have you decided to make these changes now? The Eurovision Song Contest, the world’s largest live music event, is now approaching its 70th anniversary. In order to keep the event relevant and exciting we regularly update the format to ensure it continues to thrive. Additionally, following the unprecedented nature of the voting irregularities seen at the 2022 Contest a working group of EBU Members was established to look at ways to protect the integrity of the event. Their recommendations are being implemented after approval by the Reference Group, the Contest’s governing board and the Executive Board of the EBU.
Why allow Juries to vote in the Grand Final if their votes are no longer used in the Semi-Finals? Using national juries of musical experts in the Grand Final, who rank all the songs in order of preference, allows each song to be considered individually. It ensures the best qualitative ranking of all participants in the Grand Final and that a winner is decided on the broadest criteria. Maintaining the Jury vote for the Grand Final also allows us to continue a long-held tradition of uniting all the 37 participating countries on air with spokespeople delivering votes from their nation. With all participating countries voting in the Grand Final, including the points awarded by professional juries also helps to mitigate the diaspora and cultural voting that is reduced by 50% in the Semi-Finals by allocating countries with similar voting records to perform and vote in separate shows. Finally, in order to maintain the excitement of the voting sequence in the Grand Final, with the eventual winner only known at the very end of the show, two sets of separate votes are still required.
Will this system now radically change which countries will qualify for the Grand Final? Together with our Voting Partner we have determined which countries would have qualified from the Semi-Finals between 2017 and 2022 using only the result from the general public. We saw that, in nearly all cases, when removing the Jury results from the calculation, 9 of the 10 qualifying countries from each Semi-Final stayed the same. The song that qualified for the Grand Final under the previous system, which would have missed out if only public votes had been counted, in most cases, went on to finish at the lower end of the scoreboard in the Grand Final.
What are the circumstances in which a Jury vote will be used in the Semi-Finals? The Jury vote of a participating country will only be counted in the Semi-Finals should a valid televote not be recorded in that country.
If you discover any irregular voting patterns, how will you address the matter? If irregular patterns are seen in any country’s Jury vote in the Semi-Finals (even though the vote no longer counts towards the results of the Semi-Final) that Jury will be dismissed and will not vote in the Grand Final. In the Grand Final, should any national jury have been/be disqualified, the points awarded from the public vote in that country will be doubled and used as a substitute so that the same number of total points, 116 (58 x2), are awarded by each participating country.
What happens if there is neither a valid televote or jury vote from a participating country? If there is not a valid televote or Jury vote in any participating country then a result based on the votes from countries with similar voting records will be used.
Will there still be a draw to determine which countries perform in which Semi-Final? Yes. There will still be a draw at the end of January to decide in which Semi-Final 31 of the countries participating will perform in. This is to ensure all songs have the best possible chance to qualify for the Grand Final by reducing diaspora voting and separating countries with similar voting patterns.
How the Eurovision Song Contest works.
An Overview. The Eurovision Song Contest is an internationally televised songwriting competition, organised by the European Broadcasting Union and featuring participants chosen by EBU member broadcasters representing their countries from across Europe and beyond.
Each Participating Broadcaster has until mid-March to choose a song and an artist to perform it. The song and artist can be selected through a televised national selection show (or shows), an internal process, or via any other means they decide.
Participants then compete at the Eurovision Song Contest, traditionally held in May.
The Contest format comprises three live shows: the First Semi-Final (Tuesday evening), the Second Semi-Final (Thursday evening), and the Grand Final (a Saturday night spectacular).
Participating Broadcasters work hard to prepare acts that will qualify from the show’s Semi-Finals, hoping for a ticket to the Saturday night Grand Final where they will join the so-called ‘Big Five’ broadcasters and Host Broadcaster (usually the broadcaster of the nation than won the previous year).
The ‘Big Five’ are the Participating Broadcasters from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom – the group of countries who via their broadcasters make the biggest financial contribution towards the organisation of the Contest.
There is a comprehensive set of rules concerning participation that has evolved over the decades, but the main ones relating to competing songs and artists are:
- Songs must be original and no more than 3 minutes in length
- Lead vocals must be performed live
- No more than 6 performers can take to the stage during any one performance
In each show, after all songs have been performed, each country will give two sets of points (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12) to their favourite songs; one set is given by a jury of five music industry professionals from that country, and one set given by viewers watching the show in country. Viewers can vote by telephone, SMS and through the official app.
Out of fairness, you cannot vote for your own country.
In the Semi-Finals, only those countries who took part in that specific show can vote (along with 2 or 3 of the ‘Big Five’ who are already in the Grand Final), whereas in the Grand Final, all competing countries can vote.
At the end of the Grand Final, the song that has received the most points wins the iconic trophy, and is performed once more.
National Selections. Each country is de facto represented by its respective public broadcaster, and it’s at the broadcaster’s sole discretion to determine who will represent their country at the Eurovision Song Contest.
There are three common ways to select a participant for the Eurovision Song Contest:
Televised National Selection. The broadcaster can select their entry by organising their own ‘mini Eurovision’ earlier in the year. For example, Albania uses their well established Festivali i Këngës to pick a participant, Sweden runs its annual Melodifestivalen, and Portugal utilises Festival da Canção.
Internal Selection. The broadcaster can invite submissions or approach record labels and individuals, and run the process without public involvement. This method has worked well in recent years for the United Kingdom (Sam Ryder finishing 2nd in 2022), the Netherlands (Duncan Laurence champion in 2019) and Israel (Netta was victor in 2018).
Mixed Format. The best of both worlds, where, for example, an artist is chosen by the broadcaster, leaving the song choice down to a public vote.
The EBU strongly encourages participating broadcasters to engage the public with the selection of a participant for the Eurovision Song Contest.
Semi-Final Allocation Draw. As the Contest moves around the globe, so do the Hosting responsibilities, and in January, the Host Broadcaster meets with their predecessor to symbolically mark the passing of the Contest from one Host City to the next.
It’s at this event that the Semi-Final Allocation Draw takes place, which determines which country takes part in which of the two Semi-Finals.
Event Weeks. While most TV viewers are focused on the three live shows, the broadcasts are in fact the climax of two exciting weeks in the Host City.
- All participants rehearse individually on stage twice for each show. Rehearsals begin up to two weeks before the Saturday night Grand Final.
- The Host City normally organises a Eurovision Village to entertain locals and visitors, and to give an extra platform for participants to perform, as well as screening the live shows.
- Each of the three live shows is preceded by Dress Rehearsals. Tickets are sold to the second and third Dress Rehearsals.
- Traditionally, a Welcome Reception and ‘Red Carpet’ Ceremony are held on the Sunday preceding the live shows, for delegations and selected invitees.
On top of official events and engagements, the Host City welcomes tens of thousands of visitors, with City-organised and fan-run events.
Fairness. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is strongly committed to secure the fairness of the Eurovision Song Contest. In order to assure Participating Broadcasters, contestants and the public a fair and valid result the EBU implemented a wide range of measures.
Governance. Participation in the contest is governed by the Eurovision Song Contest Rules. These Rules are established and enforced by the contest’s governing body, the Reference Group, on behalf of all Participating Broadcasters. Embedded within the Rules is a wealth of legacy, some of which dating back several decades. The EBU and the Reference Group are committed to continuously improving the Rules.
Significant changes that touch upon the basics of the contest will have to be approved by the EBU’s Television Committee, a higher governing body on behalf of the EBU’s Member Broadcasters.
The Executive Supervisor on behalf of the EBU, who is a permanent member of the Reference Group, ensures that the Rules are being followed on a day-to-day basis and reports any breach of the Rules to the Reference Group.
In particular, the Executive Supervisor oversees the voting procedure that determines the outcome of the Eurovision Song Contest.
A breach of the Rules may result in a formal warning, a financial penalty or a sanction. The highest possible sanction is an exclusion from participation in the contest for a maximum of three consecutive years.
Voting validation and observation. The outcome of the Eurovision Song Contest is determined by a jury of music industry professionals and viewers, each making a 50 percent contribution to the result.
Each jury, as well as each individual jury member, must meet a strict set of criteria regarding professional background, as well as diversity in gender and age. Additionally, judges pledge in writing they will evaluate the entries based on a set of criteria and state that they are not connected to any of the contestants in any way that could affect their ability to vote independently. Judges can only take seat in the jury once every three years.
The juries vote on the basis of the second Dress Rehearsal of each show, which takes place the night before each live show. Each judge should vote independently and no discussion about their vote is permitted. An independent notary oversees the jury gathering, to assure all regulatory procedures are being followed.
Each jury submits their result to the EBU and its official voting partner Digame via a highly secured system, as well as by fax.
Viewers can submit their vote by phone call, SMS or via the official app. They can vote up to 20 times. Voting tariffs are set by each Participating Broadcaster and will be presented on screen during the shows. Exceptions may apply due to differences in national legislation.
All televotes are being processed by the Pan-European Response Platform (PERP), which was developed by the EBU’s official voting partner Digame to assure all votes are counted in accordance with the Rules. The entire televoting process is monitored live by some 70 trained professionals from the Voting Control Centre in Cologne, Germany. The setup assures that any attempts to unfairly influence the voting, e.g. via bulk voting are detected and mitigated. The exact methods to prevent and/or detect malicious voting is classified and only known to the EBU Executive Supervisor, the Chairman of the Reference Group, E&Y and Digame.
The entire procedure – both jury voting as well as televoting – is overlooked by independent observers of E&Y and by the EBU’s Executive Supervisor, to assure that all results are being interpreted in accordance with the Rules.
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