‘Thunder and Lightning’ turns to media storm? The aftermath of the Russian jury leak Written by on May 10, 2016 | 4 Comments

Whilst the Eurovision bubble took its usual party positions at the Euroclub following a triumphant Semi-Final One Jury rehearsal, there were no doubt some late night rumblings in EBU headquarters and scrambling amongst the official Eurovision staff.   As Eurovision party-goers slept unaware, our Southern Hemisphere writers Sharleen Wright and John Egan were on the case investigating the matter.

Over the course of the jury deliberations during the Monday night show, it emerged that the proceedings were being streamed live across the net via Twitter-enabled video service Periscope.

Not the Only One

Across social media, word spread fast, particularly throughout the fan community. Not only could you view the live performances of entrants like the Netherlands and Armenia, but also have a peek behind the scenes of both the reactions of the selected jury and their score sheets as well. Click here for an archive of that stream, though we expect it may be removed soon.

The Periscope account holder is Anastasia Stotskaya, described as a “Mother. Wife. Actress. Singer”.  If you peruse the list of jurors provided by Eurovision.tv, she is one of the five jury members for Russia this year. Stotskaya is a popular Russian singer and theatre performer of Ukrainian heritage, who won the New Wave Festival in 2003 (with a Philipp Kirkorov produced entry), and placed third in the 2005 Russian Eurovision national final.

 

The Russian Jury Issues

The video stream is clearly not in the spirit of the 2016 Eurovision jury and broadcasting rules, given that the footage shows the preferential rankings of at least one Russian jury member.  In the image below, Hungary and Moldova are seen as being marked down (-), and The Netherlands marked up (+).

Russian-jury-voting

Source: Screencap from the Russian Jury Periscope stream

Meanwhile Twitter user Satine_Danielle, has rather helpfully translated some of the Russian jury  members’ comments in the audio of the clip:

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Source: Twitter

The question of the rules is an opaque one–and needlessly so. In publishing the “rules” the EBU makes a claim to transparency for this year’s Contest. Except that the Jury section (1.3) of the rules refers to a “so-called ‘Green Document'” that contains more detailed rules about how jury members are to conduct themselves. Section 1.3.3 states jurors must submit a “signed declaration in which they undertake to vote independently.” Some of the video allegedly has a juror stating “I’m for Armenia. My husband is Armenian.” Both the discussion and the reason for supporting the Armenian entry go against section 1.3.2:

No member of a National Jury shall be connected in any way with any of the participating songs entered and/or artists performing in the ESC in such a way that they cannot vote in complete independence and impartiality.

If these statements are accurate, one of the jurors isn’t impartial. These jurors discussing the entries also means they’re not completely independent.

What is clear is that we now have some indication of how a sizable portion of votes have been allotted, and these have been released prior to the final shows are broadcast to the public.

The Reaction

The EBU seems to have taken this rather seriously, based on their somewhat terse Twitter reaction on both the Eurovision Press and EBU HQ Twitter feeds:

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Source: Twitter (@Eurovisionpress)

 

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Source: Twitter (@EBU)

Making the “Green Document” freely available–or embedding its contents into the main rules–would allow us to ascertain much more clearly the extent to which any rules have been broken. At this point, however, there are three significant issues;

  • A jury that appears not to be independent or impartial – should their scores for the first Semi-Final count? Should a new Russian jury be constituted for the Grand Final–or do the rules now mean that only a televote will count from Russia? The rules indicate that any jury appointed will be the same across both the semi final and final voting, therefore any disqualification of members now seemingly indicates it would be effective for both shows.
  • Is the new rule relating to a ‘replacement jury vote’ of a combination of other pre-determined countries now triggered, or will the EBU impose harsher sanctions? Based on the above twitter messages, we shall surely know prior to the actual 1st semi final broadcast.
  • With the release of alleged comments by jurors that include critiques of other broadcasters’ competing entries; how may this bias voting locally and internationally?

We will keep an eye on this story as it develops.

About The Author: Sharleen Wright

Sharleen Wright is the co-founder of ESC Insight and a freelance journalist and researcher. She has previously worked for numerous community radio stations in Sydney Australia, and contributed to the wider world of comedy holding production and promotions roles at both the Edinburgh Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Her written words have appeared online, as well as The List magazine, and numerous fanzines on the topics of television and specifically, Eurovision . She is currently based in Australia and undertaking research on food and event tourism. You can follow Sharleen on Twitter (@sharly77) and Facebook (facebook.com/sharleenwright).

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4 responses to “‘Thunder and Lightning’ turns to media storm? The aftermath of the Russian jury leak”

  1. The wonders of Periscope – this is the social media that is causing all sorts of Intellectual Property issues with sports, concerts etc. and now voting!

    The easiest way for the EBU to deal with this surely is to disqualify the Russian jury and their votes, as they have shown some of their scores and there is now some question about their conduct – that would mean that the independent vote scenario would have to be used at least twice this year (Russia to cover their jury and San Marino to cover their televotes).

    Assuming that happens, who gets to read out the Russian jury scores?

  2. Cindy Withanesse says:

    And this is what a ‘professional’ panel of music ‘experts’ looks like when they assess acts for the largest music competition in the world. A bunch of rednecks in some underground shame hole, busy drinking, eating, fooling around, and periscoping instead of doing their job. It’s a disgrace to those that take this seriously, and completely ruins the credibility of the contest. Unfortunately, I doubt the EBU has the balls to stand up to the Russian delegation; if there is any form of disciplinary action, it will be a minor slap on the wrist.

  3. Troy Bass says:

    Love the way u write… Thanks for the update

  4. […] die aus der gemeinsamen Sichtung des Halbfinals per Periscope live streamte. Zu hören waren dabei angeblich abfällige Kommentare oder auch Sätze wie: „Ich bin für Armenien. Mein Mann ist […]

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