For the first time, Australian votes count. Here is an introduction to Eurovision voting – a legendary procedure that is nearly as eccentric as the performances themselves.
Viewers in all 40 participating countries, including Australia, can vote for their favourite songs in the Eurovision Semi-Finals and Grand Final by televoting, which makes up 50% of the total vote. For complete fairness, countries cannot vote for themselves (sorry Guy!) The other 50% of the vote comes from the National Juries. Who is in the Australian Eurovision jury?
The video below explains what happens with your vote in the Eurovision Song Contest.
The Australian telephone and SMS numbers will be announced 24 hours before the first Semi Final (Tuesday May 19).
How are votes calculated?
Viewers at home and professional juries each determine half of the outcome of the two Semi-Finals and the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest. In each Semi-Final, 10 contestants qualify for the Final.
Viewers are invited to vote via telephone and/or SMS. The voting window opens after the last song has been performed, and ends 15 minutes later. Televoters determine 50% of the outcome.
Professional juries in all countries that are taking part in or were allocate to that particular event are required to vote. They also determine 50% of the outcome. The jury, which consists of five members (including a chairperson), is the same jury that will vote in the Final.
The EBU will determine the national result by merging these two ranked lists, and will award 12 points to the country with the best combined rank of the jury and the televoting, then 10 points to country with the second-best combined rank, etc. The country ranked 10th in the combined ranking receives 1 point.
Since traditionally only 12, 10 and 8-1 points are being given, countries ranked outside of the top-10 do not receive points. Also, televoters and juries cannot vote for the country they represent.
If there is a tie between two or more songs in the combined ranking between televotes and the jury, the song that obtain a better ranking from the televote will prevail over the other.
THE country’s first entrant in the Eurovision Song Contest wanted koalas and kangaroos on stage with him in Vienna but animal handlers said it wasn’t possible.
“They were worried about them getting loose in the audience and they have big claws so who knows what could have happened,” singer Guy Sebastian said with a laugh.
He was pulling the leg of European reporters and officials from the Austrian embassy in London who had come to see him before he flew off to represent Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest, viewed by more than 180 million people in 40 countries
Australia may even be a wildcard to break up the notorious bloc voting that sees nations group together to support each other. The European Broadcasting Union said it invited Australia because the show is very popular in Australia, with many Eurovision parties being thrown while the live broadcast begins at 5am. People in Europe can vote for Australia, and for the first time Australians can vote in the contest. If Australia wins it will hold the 2016 contest somewhere in Europe. Parties are planned around Australia and several cinemas are putting it up on the big screen.
“I’ve been watching Eurovision since I was a young boy,” Sebastian told DPA. He is 33 and has a wife and two toddler sons. He made his name by winning reality TV show Australian Idol in 2003, and has released several hit albums.
“Eurovision is great fun and entertaining. I loved that it is so diverse with everything from hard rock Lordi in monster costumes to Russian Babushka peasant songs to girls churning butter while someone sings something,” he said.
“You never know what you’re going to get, and now they are going to get an Aussie popping up from nowhere. How good is that?”
Now an Armenian citizen … Educated in the US, Mary-Jean O’Doherty Vasmatzian was born to an Australian father and a Greek-Armenian mother.
Sebastian is not the first Australian to sing at Eurovision. Australian singers have represented Germany and Britain in the past, and Australian Mary-Jean O’Doherty Vasmatzian is singing this year — for Armenia.
This story was first published @ news.com.au