Americans Will (Probably) Be Able to Vote in Eurovision Next Year
People in countries that do not take part in the Eurovision Song Contest will be able to vote for their favorite songs online next year, in one of several changes to the voting process that the contest’s organizers announced on Tuesday.
The changes will also give viewers exclusive say in who qualifies for the final, instead of a combined vote from professional juries and the public, the European Broadcasting Union, which organizes the competition, said in a statement.
The organizer of Eurovision, the world’s largest song contest, said it had made the changes to stay “relevant” and in response to “unprecedented” voting irregularities in the 2022 competition, which the Ukrainian rap and folk band Kalush Orchestra won in May.
The changes will reduce the power of the professional juries, which are made up of five music experts from each participating country, and allow people from countries that do not participate to vote. The European Broadcasting Union did not specify which outside countries would be eligible to vote, but said it would publish a list closer to the May event.
Asked if Eurovision fans in the United States would be able to cast votes, a Eurovision representative said in an email that it was “definitely foreseen that you will be able to vote from the United States.”
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Martin Österdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest’s executive supervisor, said in the statement the changes were being made so that the competition would “remain relevant and exciting.”
“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 favorite songs,” Mr. Österdahl said.
Traditionally, in the semifinal and final live shows, viewers from participating countries vote by telephone or text, or through the Eurovision app. Each country then provides two sets of points, one from the public tally and another from its professional jury. In 2023, the points from the jury will not be used in the semifinal to determine which countries perform in the final.
The juries will still cast votes in the semifinal, but a jury’s tally will be used only if a valid telephone vote is not recorded for that country, organizers said. The juries will also vote in the final, and their selections will be combined with the public vote to determine the overall score.
The European Broadcasting Union said the online votes from countries not participating in the contest would be added together and weighted the same as points from a single participating country in the semifinals and final. These votes will be made on a “secure online platform using a credit card from their country.” It was not clear if people would be charged for their votes.
In a guide to the voting changes, the European Broadcasting Union said it had created a working group to find ways to protect the integrity of voting after the 2022 competition.
Days after this year’s final, the organizer said it had found “irregular voting patterns” in the jury votes from six countries: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania and San Marino. Those votes were discounted and replaced with an aggregate score based on the results from other countries with similar voting records.
Representatives for Montenegro and Poland denied that their jury’s votes were irregular, and Romania’s representative said it was surprised that the vote had not been taken into the final ranking, the news outlet Balkan Insight reported.
The next Eurovision song contest will be in Liverpool in May 2023. Usually, the host country is the winner of the previous year’s competition, but last year’s winner, Ukraine, was ruled out as host because the organizers said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine meant that it could not provide “the security and operational guarantees” needed for the event. Britain was the runner-up in the 2023 contest and has hosted the event eight times.