Vienna 2015: Some remarkable numbers from a remarkable year

From almost any perspective the 2015 Grand Final is one for the record books. It was our biggest show (27 entries), featured an ostensive one-off special guest (Australia), and expanded its live audience to China. But it’s the final scoreboard that is particularly remarkable: a severely skewed scoreboard, striking differences between the public’s and professionals’ ideas of quality,

Unstoppables

Congratulations go to Mans Zemerlow and Sweden, our Heroes for 2015. Sweden’s victory was massive. 365 points and no less than 12 (out of 39 possible) douze points. A convincing victory!

Sweden’s total of 365 points isn’t quite the most convincing win ever, however. Alexander Rybak’s Fairytale win for Norway in 2009 scored 387 points; Sweden’s last winner Loreen romped to victory with 372 for Euphoria. Each of those won in years with 42 participating countries. Rybak’s average score was 9.44 points; Loreen’s 9.07. Mans earned an average of 9.36 points per country—close to, but not quite a record. Heroes is only the third Eurovision entry to break the 300 point barrier.

2015 Eurovision Song Contest winner Mans Zemerlow (Sweden)

Heroe indeed (Source: Thomas Hanses, EBU/Eurovision.tv)

Our runner-up, however, is the fourth 300 pointer. Russia’s Polina Gagarina should be proud of A Million Voices’ placement as well. Her 303 points is the highest score ever for a non-winning entry. Surprisingly, Polina “only” received five douze points.

In fact, the victories in 2009 and 2012 were both of a much wider margin than this year: Rybak ended up 169 points ahead of Iceland’s Johanna with Is It True? Loreen was lead the Buranovskiye Babushki’s Party for Everyone by 113 points. The average points difference between Mans and Polina was only 1.59 points.

2015 Eurovision Song Contest runner-up, Polina Gagarina (Russia)

Polina Gagarina (Source: Thomas Hanses, EBU/Eurovision.tv)

In third place—in the combined voting, hold that thought—we have Italy’s Il Volo. Grande Amore didn’t quite manage to become only our second entry to hold the Eurovision and San Remo crowns concurrently: Non ho l’eta by Gigliola Cinquetti remains the only entry to manage the song festival double, back in 1964.

In earning 292 points, these lads nearly broke the 300 point barrier. Their score ranks as the fourth highest score ever in the Contest. It ties the winning score for Finland’s Lordi in 2006—but Hard Rock Hallelujah earned its 292 points from 43 other countries (versus 39 this year). And they are this year’s douze points runner-up, with nine.

2015 Eurovision Song Contest Italy Il Volo Grande Amore

Il Volo (Source: Thomas Hanses EBU/Eurovision.tv)

The total number of points available in this year’s Grand Final was 2262. Our top three entries gobbled up 960 points. That represents 42 per cent of the points available. Rather greedy, eh?

Rest of the Best

But the greediness doesn’t stop at this year’s top three entries. Each received a handful of douze points, but racked up their scores through numerous 5’s, 6’s, 7’s and 8’s. All three, more or less, received support from across the participating countries.

Loïc Nottet took Rhythm Inside to fourth place with 217 points—75 points behind Il Volo. This is Belgium’s best result since 2003 and their highest score ever. Next is our special guest Australia. Guy Sebastian’s Tonight Again finished in fifth spot on 196 points.

Then comes Aminata, whose Love Injected earn 186 points, enough to put Latvia in sixth place. That’s now Latvia’s highest ever score, though 2002’s winner Marie N netted 176 points for I Wanna. Marie’s average score of 7.65 is quite a bit higher than Aminata’s 4.77 point average.

Latvia 2015 Eurovision Song Contest representative Aminata

Aminata (Source: Thomas Hanses EBU/Eurovision.tv)

Adding in these three scores and we now have 1559 of the points on offer: 69 per cent of all points on offer. From here, the points received begin to drop precipitously.

Stig Rasta and Elina Born took Goodbye to Yesterday to seventh place and 106 points for Estonia. That’s 80 points between sixth and seventh places. Norway’s Mørland and Debrah Scarlett are a handful of points back on 102 with A Monster Like Me. Israel’s Golden Boy Nadav Guedj are in ninth place with 97 points.

For tenth place Serbia’s Bojana Stamenov only needed 53 points. Beauty Never Lies netted an average of 1.36 points. Between 2005 and 2014 the average score for 10th place was 111 points. The previous lowest 10th place score was last year when Ruth Lorenzo’s Dancing in the Rain gave Spain it’s second top 10 result in a row, with 74 points. Nina Sublatti won the battle of the Warriors and just missed out on a top 10 result. She scored 51 points in the Grand Final.

The Skew

Only 19 points separated places 12 and 18 in the Grand Final. We have two entries that scored 34 points. In fact, both Elhaida Dani and Genealogy earned a single douze points. But since Armenia had support from more countries they ranked 16th ahead of Albania. Similarly, a mere 13 points—out of over 2200 on offer—separated 19th and 23rd place.

2015 Armenia Eurovision Genealogy

Genealogy (Source Thomas Hanses EBU/Eurovision.tv)

But our bottom five yet again features several of the Big Five. The UK (5 points) and France (4 points) each got something. Alas Germany ended up on null points, which is a new record low–a heartache shared with the hosts Austria.

The Draw Running Order

Perhaps I was tempting the universe last week. Sure enough 2015 is the first year most of the top 10 were from the first half of the draw running order. In fact, seven of the top 10 were from the first 13, albeit from a long performance order.

For the second year in a row the song performed tenth won. Interestingly, Il Volo fairly blasted the idea that performing last in a super-long draw was the kiss of death. Unlike the last two years, the song performed last ended up near the top of the leaderboard. Of course for the third year in a row the song performed 26th faired badly. Elhaida Dani’s 17th tied Molly’s result for the UK in 2014, whereas Ryan Dolan ended up in 26th place the year before.

The Aussie Factor

As part of its role as special guest, Australia was allowed to vote in both semi-finals and the Grand Final. And while we offer kudos to our antipodean friends for managing to produce three valid televotes in the early morning hours (good on ya mates!), there was always the potential for the Australian point allocations to be a decider with respect to some aspect of the results. Let’s take a look.

In the Grand Final, Sweden won the Australian televote and were second with the Aussie jury; thus Sweden got their douze points. In fact, the top 10 of televoters and jurors were almost identical (in terms of which countries made the top 10 in each score component), but the ranking within each varied significantly. In particular, Russia was first with jurors but only seventh with televoters—good enough for 10 points ahead of several entries more popular with the Australian public.

2015 Eurovision participant for Australia Guy Sebastian

Guy Sebastian (Source: Thomas Hanses EBU/Eurovision.tv)

Italy was fourth with televoters and fifth with jurors for 8 points. Belgium was second with televoters but only 8th with jurors and got 6 points. Similarly, Serbia was third in the televote, though combined with 9th from jurors netted Bojana 5 points. Only one entry from the Australian televote top 10 got null points: poor old Blighty. Despite being tenth with the public, the United Kingdom was ranked 18th by the jurors. Instead the jurors’ seventh favourite Georgia received a single point, despite being only ranked 15th by the Australian voting public.

But this is how the mixed voting system is supposed to work: balance between artistic merit and popularity. But the Australian votes–particularly at the top of the leader board–is almost identical to the overall Grand Final result. The top 3 were identical.

But what about the semi-finals; more specifically, did the Australian points end up definitive in terms of our lower-ranked qualifiers for the Saturday night show?

Not in the first semi-final, where the difference between 10th (Albania) and 11th (Moldova) was 21 points! The only qualifier that wasn’t ranked in the Australian televote top 10 was Hungary. Boggie’s Wars for Nothing was only 13th in the televote. Who was 10th? Finland’s punk rockers PKN. But this didn’t directly impact whether Aina mun pitaä qualified for the Grand Final: they were only ranked 16th in their semi-final, fully 49 points behind 10th place qualifier Albania.

Nor in the second semi-final, where Azerbaijan’s Elnur Hüseynov qualified 10th (53 points)–fully 10 points ahead of Malta’s Amber (43 points). Elnur nudged Iceland’s Maria Ólafs out of the Australian televoting top 10, thanks to jury support—despite being 14th with the Australian televoting public. The Australians actually favoured Malta (3 points) over Azerbaijan (2 points).

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