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Ukraine, Russia, and Australia: How Did The Top Three Win And Lose Eurovision 2016? Written by on May 15, 2016 | 6 Comments

The story from 2016’s Grand Final is significantly about splitting votes. The combined jury/televote system is designed to equally balance entry popularity with musical and artistic merit. That means that when there is a significant divergence between jurors and televoters, in terms of the worth of an entry, some observers are unhappy. However, the past has shown that jurors often do not reflect what is contemporary in their deliberations, whilst televoters are often not motivated to vote based on song or performance.

In this article we dissect the results for our 2016 Grand Final medalists, Ukraine (gold), Australia (silver) and Russia (bronze). We look at the component scores for each individually, the degree to which they supported the other medalists, and the breadth and depth of their support.

Russia: You Are The Only One

Our third place finisher was Sergey Lazarev, who took ‘You Are the Only One’ to a combined score of 491 points. Russia’s support was severely skewed towards the televote component, though he also received a significant amount of jury support. Two countries, Azerbaijan and Belarus, awarded Sergey the double-double: their top televote and jury scores went to Russia.

Sergey earned a decent 130 jury points, enough for fourth place, including top marks from 12s Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cyprus, and Greece.

But the real jury start is who blanked Russia:

Australia, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Macedonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Ukraine and UK.

The 21 (!) juries that awarded no points to Russia include three ex-Soviet states, 10 Western European states and a smattering of Central and Eastern European ones. When slightly more than half of Europe’s juries snub you, it’s difficult to compensate in the televote score.

Sergey Lazarev waits for the televote result s.

                                         Sergey waits for the result (Courtesy

In terms of the other medalists, both Australian and Ukrainian juries blanked Sergey. Even if this were strategic, the impact is inconsequential.

And yet, ‘You Are the Only One‘ won the televote with 361 points. Russia earned televote points from every other country, including douze points from 10 countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Moldova, Serbia and…Ukraine! Australian televoters awarded 5 points to Sergey.

The story of Russia 2016 is the dearth of jury support…and a convincing, but not overwhelming victory in the televote.

Australia: Sound Of Silence

Our second place finisher was Dami Im who took ‘Sound of Silence‘ to a combined score of 511 points. Dami’s support came overwhelmingly from juries, though she was fourth with televoters as well. Albania and Sweden were the only countries to award Australia the double-double of their top scores in both jury and televote components.

Dami earned an impressive 320 jury points, the highest jury score by over 100 points. Every jury except three (Czechia, Ireland, or San Marino) gave Australia some points. Dami score douze points from nine countries: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands. But she earned lots of 10s and 8s, which quickly accumulated.

Dami Im celebrates Courtesy

Dami Im celebrates (courtesy

In terms of her immediate competition, Russia’s jury gave Australia two points; five jury points came from the Ukrainian jury. With a 109 point lead over Ukraine, it seemed unlikely that Jamala would score the over 350 televote points needed for compensate for Australia’s massive jury score.

And then the televote scores came in. When Australia’s fourth place score of 190 televote points was announced there was a gasp. Suddenly all seemed to play for. Australia received points from all but four countries: France, Armenia, Italy, and Montenegro. Dami earned top televote scores from only three countries: Albania, Malta and (again) Sweden.  Australia earned 4 televote points each from both Russia and Ukraine.

Ukraine: 1944

Jamala took Ukraine to what seemed like a distant second in the jury score component, with 211 jury points. She earned the double double from Poland and San Marino. Fully 16 juries blanked ‘1944′: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Malta, Montenegro, Russia, Spain and Sweden. Conversely, Ukraine scored douze points from 10 countries: Bosnia & Hercegovina, Denmark, Georgia, Israel, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, San Marino, Serbia, and Slovenia. The Australian jury awarded Jamala two points; the Russian jury, unsurprisingly, blanked ‘1944′. It’s worth noting that Joseph Stalin, the ostensive villain in the story of Jamala’s great-grandmother, was Georgian (12 points from jury) rather than Russian (no points).

Most pundits assumed ‘1944′ would rely on jury support rather than televote support for any chance of victory. So being a distant second to Australia seemed inadequate; so too, arguably did having an 80 point cushion with Russia.

And then the televote scores came in. ‘1944′ had a massive televote score of 323 points. Every country awarded some points to Jamala; she received the top televote marks from six (Czechia, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Poland, and San Marino). Australia awarded Ukraine 8 points—Russia awarded Ukraine 10 points!

This put Jamala ahead of Australia by 23 points. When Russia’s enormous televote score proved only enough to lift it to third place, we had our winner.

Jamala and her sister share the moment (Courtesy

                                  Jamala and her sister share the moment (Courtesy

Lost In Juries Or Televotes; Won In Juries And Televotes

Russia’s chance at victory effectively ended by being 190 points behind Australia and 81 points behind Ukraine once the jury results were in. Most assumed that the televote would allow Russia to compensate, but Australia would win convincingly…except Australia’s weakness proved to be the televote. Ukraine bested Australia’s televote by 132 points. But Russia’s televote lead on Ukraine was only 38 points—or less than 1 point on average from each country.

This is precisely how the combined jury/televote system is supposed to work: a winning Eurovision Song Contest entry needs substantive support in both components. Ukraine was second with both televoters and juries; Australia was first with juries and fourth with televoters; Russia first with televoters, but fourth with jurors. ‘1944′ and Jamala give Ukraine its second Eurovision victory, in a year Ukraine was returning to the Contest after a one year break. A rather breathtaking comeback at that!  At the time of this writing ‘1944′ is charting on iTunes across Europe more than any of the other entries from the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest.

Our three medalists also were the winners of the Marcel Besançon Awards.  Russia won the Press Award, Ukraine won the Artistic Award, and Australia won the Composer Award. These were announced just before the Grand Final.

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6 responses to “Ukraine, Russia, and Australia: How Did The Top Three Win And Lose Eurovision 2016?”

  1. James Triggs says:

    Didn’t Sweden give Australia the double-double, not just Albania?

    This was a good article on a very dramatic final. I wonder how dramatic it would have been under the old system. It would still have been a fairly-tight three-person contest and with geopolitical subtext to boot, but is a tight race to the end more or less dramatic than a surprise comeback?

  2. mk says:

    My faves by far: Italy & Armenia!
    As I’m already used by now my faves never fare well…

    As for the top 3 I have mixed feelings but I’m relieved at least that Australia did not win.
    I have no problem with Australia not being in Europe and for sure they put more work and thought in this contest than UK…I just think the song was boring and repetitive even if Dami Im is a great singer. Pretty much same I thought about Czech Republic.

    Ukraine – I never liked the song and although I’m pretty sure Jamala sings about her family history and 1944 events, the song is a slap in the face of Russia. I’m nevertheless impressed with the televoting support she got.

    Russia – it’s the first year in many they did not have a song about peace, that’s why I was a bit more open to it. I don’t care they did not win. I don’t want an artist to be punished though and I think Sergey should be pleased with winning the televote.

    As for me the only entries/songs that I’ll bother to “replay”: Italy, Armenia, France, Austria and Poland.

  3. bogtrotter says:

    As vocally competent as Dami Im is, the overwhelming support for the Australian entry from the juries still seemed surprising. I took the vote for Australia as a non-political vote, trying not to take a side in the “Russia vs. Ukraine”-attitude that this contest seemed to have. By that logic, the top 3 are all controversial in different ways; political voting or completely depoliticized voting for a country that, according to some, might not even belong in Eurovision at all.

    Taking away that top 3, the first entry detached from the big “story” votes is Bulgaria, one of my favorites; the most contemporary pop song in the contest. One that should be played on radios everywhere and should probably be regarded as a winner in its own right; for being the first result in the final ranking that does not have a political implication.

  4. dimitris esc says:

    Russia was 38 pts ahead of Ukraine in televote and not 42 and Russia was 5th with the juries and not 4th.Thanks for the analysis!

  5. John Egan says:

    Thanks James – fixed!
    My favourites were Italy and Ukraine so I was both very excited and a bit gutted for Italy MK. Ah the joys of being a Eurovision fan…
    We will focus on some of the more interesting results in subsequent articles Bogtrotter–but I agree Bulgaria’s result demonstrates how a non-aligned country with no significant diaspora can do super well if they send something great.
    Thanks Dimitris – also fixed!

  6. James Triggs says:

    Did you hear of the Danish juror who put in her votes the wrong way? Her correct voting would have given more points to Australia, narrowing the margin down to 9… meaning that if just the Russian televote had given no points to Ukraine…

    In a way, the winner was determined by the response of the Russian public vs that of the Russian jury/government to Jamala’s 1944.

    I find that to be one of the most interesting stories to come out of this year’s results.

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