Null points 2015

Jemini have had to wait 12 years to pass on their null points crown—except this year we have more than one Cry Baby. Austria and Germany’s null points are the first ever awarded in a Grand Final since the introduction of (various) semi-final systems in 2004.

Both entries also had relatively good draws: 14th for The Make Makes and the much prized 17th slot for Ann-Sophie. Both entries were also sung in English rather than German. Rather interestingly, both were pre-qualified finalists who didn’t need to earn their spots through a semi-final. The draw and singing in arguably the most accessible (and successful) language nonetheless failed to insulate these artists from ending up at the bottom of the score board on Saturday night.

However, when you break down the levels of support for I’m Yours and Black Smoke you find these entries were not universally loathed: each received significant support, depending on how you crunch the numbers. Let’s crunch away, starting with Germany.

Germany

In general, Ann-Sophie received some support from both juries and televoters from across Europe. Looking at the cumulative voting splits, Black Smoke would have scored 5 televote-only points, ranking them 25th of 27 entries. With respect to jury-only, Germany would have received 24 points, moving them up to 20th overall.

Alas, the combined televote/jury components were significantly different—to an extent that ultimately left Germany pointless. Here are the key voting splits:

Voting Country Jury Rank Televote Rank Combined Rank
Albania 16 7 12
Belgium 5 19 11
Czech Republic 8 20 12
Denmark 16 12 11
Finland 7 19 12
France 10 19 15
Hungary 12 11 11
Israel 5 21 13
Poland 14 10 11
Serbia 9 16 12
United Kingdom 9 20 14

Under the current system it’s possible (not plausible, but possible) that an entry ranked 11th overall in every country’s combined score, could still get zero points. Black Smoke didn’t achieve anything like that consistent level of support., But no less than four countries (Belgium, Denmark, Hungary and Poland) had Ann-Sophie in 11th place: another four (Albania, Czech Republic, Finland and Serbia) had her in 12th. So Germany’s entry wasn’t derided or loathed: juries liked it much more than televoters, and where televoters liked it, juries didn’t. Thus null points.

Some might argue that there’s a political element of this: the current tensions in the EU and Euro zone about Germany’s role in the current Greek financial crisis, to be precise. So what about the PIGS: Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain?

Voting Country Jury Rank Televote Rank Combined Rank
Greece 19 24 23
Ireland 16 19 22
Portugal 17 26 24
Spain 21 17 21

Only the Spanish jury had Ann-Sophie near the bottom of their rankings, in 26th. Televoters in Greece and Portugal both ranked Germany near the bottom, whereas Irish and Spanish televoters had qualified (or limited) support for Black Smoke. But there’s no pattern to suggest a correlation between the current political circumstances and Germany’s poor performance. We don’t see significantly, consistently higher levels of support from the rest of the voting public.

It’s also likely that the excluded jury scores from Montenegro (18th televote rank) or Macedonia (17th televote rank) probably would not have given Germany any points once combined with the rather middling televote rankings.

So…what about our hosts?

Austria

A jury only vote would have given Austria a surprisingly decent number of points. Fully 11 of 39 countries had “I’m Yours” in their jury top 10 rankings. That adds up to 40 points—13th overall in what was a very skewed Grand Final, in terms of point distribution!

However the televote results were dire for Austria. The Albanian televote ranked I’m Yours higher than any other: it had the Make Makes in 15th place. Unfortunately their jury ranking was only 22nd. Switzerland’s 16th place televote ranking for I’m Yours, combined with a 7th place in the jury vote, puts Austria in dreaded 11th place, their highest combined ranking. See below:

Voting Country Jury Rank Televote Rank Combined Rank
Albania 22 15 18
Belgium 6 26 17
Georgia 3 25 13
Germany 8 17 12
Hungary 10 19 16
Iceland 9 21 15
Ireland 10 22 19
Israel 10 26 20
Lithuania 10 18 16
Russia 7 26 15
Spain 9 23 14
Switzerland 7 16 11

Austria therefore got null points in the televote, which killed them overall. It’s also unlikely that the excluded jury scores from Montenegro (26th televote rank) or Macedonia (20th televote rank) would have given Austria any points once combined.

Ouch!

What If

Austria’s zero score overall aligned with a dearth of public support despite significant jury support. Germany suffered because of splits within countries: some public support and some jury support, but no productive convergence between both score components in any single country. It’s only under a televote-only scoring system that either entry—Austria, to be precise—would still receive null points.

But here’s the way the televote and jury rankings combine:

Televote Ranking   Jury Ranking   Combined Ranking Overall Rank
3 Sweden 1 Sweden 4 1
2 Russia 3 Russia 5 2
1 Italy 6 Italy 7 3
4 Belgium 5 Belgium 9 4
6 Australia 4 Australia 10 5
8 Latvia 2 Latvia 10 6
7 Israel 8 Israel 15 7
5 Estonia 11 Estonia 16 8
13 Georgia 10 Georgia 23 9
17 Norway 7 Norway 24 10
14 Azerbaijan 14 Azerbaijan 28 11
18 Montenegro 12 Montenegro 30 12
23 Cyprus 9 Cyprus 32 13
16 Lithuania 16 Lithuania 32 14
11 Armenia 22 Armenia 33 15
12 Romania 21 Romania 33 16
10 Serbia 24 Serbia 34 17
19 Slovenia 15 Slovenia 34 18
9 Albania 26 Albania 35 19
21 Greece 18 Greece 39 20
22 Hungary 17 Hungary 39 21
27 Austria 13 Austria 40 22
15 Poland 27 Poland 42 23
26 France 19 France 45 24
25 Germany 20 Germany 45 25
20 Spain 25 Spain 45 26
24 United Kingdom 23 United Kingdom 47 27

Using this method, Austria finishes 22nd, Germany 25th. Neither is a great result, but certainly better than last place and null points. As well, four of the big 5 are the lowest ranked entries, with the UK in last place. Note these are rankings, rather than scores.

How about under the pre-2012 system, where the top 10 televote and top 10 jury scores (using 12, 10, 8, 7, 6 etc.) were combined, with the televote score acting as tie-breaker between two entries with same combined scores.

Well we know there’s zero chance of Austria getting enough points with no televote points at all. And for Germany, we have one country that would have given points to Germany based on televotes and where they received a relatively high rank from juries: Albania. Take a look:

From Country To Country Jury Rank Jury Points Televote Rank Televote Points Combined Points Final Points
Albania Slovenia 14 24 0
Albania France 15 19 0
Albania Israel 11 6 5 5 4
Albania Estonia 10 1 8 3 4 2
Albania United Kingdom 26 17 0
Albania Armenia 20 25 0
Albania Lithuania 23 23 0
Albania Serbia 6 5 14 5 3
Albania Norway 17 21 0
Albania Sweden 5 6 5 6 12 7
Albania Cyprus 25 22 0
Albania Australia 8 3 10 1 4 1
Albania Belgium 12 9 2 2
Albania Austria 22 15 0
Albania Greece 2 10 2 10 20 10
Albania Montenegro 3 8 13 8 6
Albania Germany 16 7 4 4 3
Albania Poland 24 20 0
Albania Latvia 7 4 16 4  –
Albania Romania 13 12 0
Albania Spain 19 11 0
Albania Hungary 9 2 18 2
Albania Georgia 18 4 7 7 5
Albania Azerbaijan 21 26 0
Albania Russia 4 7 3 8 15 8
Albania Italy 1 12 1 12 24 12

Bingo! There were four countries whose totals for added up to 4 combined points, including Germany. Of these—Germany, Australia, Latvia, and Estonia—Germany had the highest televote score, so it gets 3 points. Latvia also had total points, but without any points from the televote top 10 it ends up in 11th place.

So Ann-Sophie would have got 3 points from Albania. Hurrah!

To Qualify or Not to Qualify

With two pre-qualified finalists ending up with null points, and most of the other automatic finalists near the bottom of the scoreboard, is it in the interests of the Big 5 and hosts to go directly to the Grand Final?

Perhaps it would have been better for each of these four entries (Austria, Germany, France and the UK) to compete in a semi-final and limp out of the competition as a non-finalists, rather than populate the bottom reaches of the tally sheet.

That’s something the Big 5—and Reference Group—might want to consider.

2 Responses

  1. Ali Nella Houd says:

    Great post, Dr John – thanks.
    Just on terminology, I’m curious as to whether there as a regional influence behind your use of the term ‘null points’ rather than the more common ‘nul points’? (You say potato …)
    Cheers
    Ali

  2. John says:

    Thank you! Strictly stylised rather than grammatically correct!

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