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By Andy Malt | Published on Wednesday 23 November 2022
The Eurovision Song Contest has announced a major shake-up of its voting rules, opening up voting to viewers across the world and reducing the significance of competing countries’ juries.
To date, only viewers and juries from countries competing in Eurovision have been able to vote in the competition, despite the show building up a significant global audience. In 2023, viewers from anywhere in the world will be able to vote in the semi-finals and grand final.
Not voting in the semi-finals, however, will be competing nations’ expert juries. Since 2009, the acts who go through to the grand final have been chosen through a combination of public and jury votes.
However, from next year, only public votes will be taken. This follows voting irregularities from juries in six countries – Azerbaijan, Georgia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania and San Marino – being discovered during this year’s contest. Those irregularities happened at the semi-final stage, and jury votes from those countries were not counted in the grand final.
“Following the unprecedented voting irregularities we saw this year, we looked at ways to protect the integrity of the competition”, said Eurovision reference group member Sietse Bakker on Twitter. “The problem occurred in the semi-finals, this was the best way to end it. Also, difference of who qualifies in public v public/jury vote is minimal”.
Jury votes will still be taken into account in the grand final. Also, recognising that opening up voting more widely to a global audience leaves more room for other irregularities, anyone outside the competing countries will have to verify their vote with a credit card. This obviously makes voting less simple for those people.
“Throughout its 67 year history the Eurovision Song Contest has constantly evolved to remain relevant and exciting”, says Eurovision Executive Supervisor Martin Österdahl. “These changes acknowledge the immense popularity of the show by giving more power to the audience of the world’s largest live music event”.
“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 favourite songs”, he goes on.
“By also involving juries of music professionals in deciding the final result, all the songs in the grand final can be assessed on the broadest possible criteria”, he adds. “We can also maintain the tradition of travelling around Europe and Australia to collect points and ensure a thrilling voting sequence with the winner only revealed at the very end of the show”.
Next year’s Eurovision Song Contest is set to take place in Liverpool. The semi-finals will go ahead on 9 and 11 May, with the grand final on 13 May.