This year’s Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) was an enormous success in bringing hundreds of millions of people across the world together in unity and celebration.
As communicated on Saturday 14 May, the European Broadcasting Union’s (EBU) independent pan-European Voting Partner detected irregular voting patterns in the jury votes of six countries taking part in the Second Semi-Final: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, San Marino.
The integrity of the voting, both by the national juries in each country and the viewers voting by phone or SMS, is essential to the show’s success. It is the EBU’s duty to all stakeholders, not least all 40 participating public service broadcasters, to ensure we can deliver a valid result at the end of each of the Live Shows. Any breach in the rules is consequently taken very seriously.
In the Second Semi-Final, it was observed that four of the six juries all placed five of the other countries in their Top Five (taking into account they could not vote for themselves); one jury voted for the same five countries in their Top 6; and the last of the six juries placed four of the others in the Top 4 and the fifth in their Top 7. Four of the six received at least one set of 12 points which is the maximum that can be awarded.
The pattern in question was detected as irregular by the pan-European Voting Partner and acknowledged by the Independent Voting Monitor, as five of these six countries were ranked outside the Top 8 by the juries in the 15 other countries voting in the same Semi-Final (which included three of the Big Five: Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom). Additionally, four of the six countries were ranked in the Bottom 6 of the other 15 countries voting in this Semi-Final. A jury voting pattern irregularity of such a scale is unprecedented.
As stated in the Eurovision Song Contest Rules and in the Official Voting instructions of the Contest, if votes by National Juries present irregular voting patterns (as may be detected by the pan-European Voting Partner and acknowledged by the Independent Voting Monitor), the ESC Executive Supervisor has the right to remove the votes concerned for allocating the ranks and to replace them with a substitute aggregated result calculated automatically to determine the final country result of these countries in the Second Semi-Final.
Given the unprecedented nature of the irregularity detected in the Second Semi Final, the EBU in consultation with the pan-European Voting Partner and the Independent Voting Monitor decided, in accordance with the Voting Instructions of the Contest, to exercise its right to remove the votes cast by the six juries in question from the ranking allocation in the Grand Final to preserve the integrity of the voting system. Consequently, the same procedure was followed and the automatically calculated substitute aggregate result has been used to determine the final jury results of the six countries involved, in the Grand Final.
These decisions were approved by the Chair of the ESC Reference Group, the Contest’s governing board, and the Deputy Director General of the EBU in line with the requirements of the Voting Instructions of the Contest.
The EBU has since discussed the jury patterns with the relevant broadcasters and given them the opportunity to further investigate the jury voting in their countries.
The EBU reconfirms its decision to replace the jury votes for these six countries with a substitute aggregate result in both the Second Semi-Final and the Grand Final.
The EBU also confirms the final rankings of the 40 participants in the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest.
The EBU, its Members and the Reference Group will continue to collaborate closely on safeguarding the integrity and success of an event that has been a unique platform for creative talent over 66 years, and looks forward to continuing to entertaining audiences worldwide.
What is an ‘irregular vote’?
An irregular vote is detected if multiple security checks are triggered:
- a) Deviation from the norm – Does the result reflect the overall taste of the other professional jurors? Bearing in mind that they are all music professionals requested to vote on the basis of the same criteria laid down under the Rules of the Contest (e.g. a national jury puts at the top of its ranking (a) song(s) that the majority of the others
- b) Voting Patterns – Are there visible patterns of voting within the jurors?
- c) Irregularities – Did the juries observe the Rules of the Eurovision Song Contest?
- d) Reoccurring Patterns – Do other countries repeat similar voting patterns?
- e) Are there beneficiaries – If deviations occur, who benefits from the result?
If the answer to more than two of these questions is Yes then the pattern is considered as irregular and the votes affected by such irregularity are removed provided that the irregularity is confirmed by the pan-European Voting Partner (benefiting from 17 years of experience administering the ESC voting) and acknowledged by the Independent Voting Monitor.