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  • Writer's pictureFord Carter

Alternate Eurovision voting systems - where Australia would have finished

Over the years, Eurovision has had many voting systems, from jurors voting in secret (as in 1956), to jurors rating every song between 1 and 5 points (as used from 1971 to 1973), to an experiment in televoting in 1997, all the way to the voting system used today.

But how would Australia’s Eurovision entries looked under different voting systems?

Today, we’re comparing how each Australian Eurovision entry would look under these previous voting systems:

  • Jury only (1975-1996): Jurors give 1-8, 10 and 12 points

  • Televote only (2004-2008): The public vote accounted for 100% of the vote

  • Mixed voting (2013-2015): The jury and televote was combined for one set of points per country

  • Current system (2016 - ): The jury and televote were separated for two sets of points per country

2015 – Guy Sebastian – Tonight Again

  • Jury only: 4th

  • Televote only: 6th

  • Mixed voting: 5th

  • Separate voting: 5th

Back in 2015, the Eurovision Song Contest still mixed both the televoting and the jury voting together, with nation’s spokespeople presenting the votes as one set of one to eight, ten and twelve points.

Under the mixed televote and jury system used in 2015, Australia’s debut entrant, Guy Sebastian, was awarded 196 points for his song 'Tonight Again', and as a result placed fifth at the end of the night (or morning, depending on when you watched).

Had the current voting system been applied to the contest just a year earlier, Guy’s entry would have earned a massive 348 points! That being said, we would still have come fifth, placing behind Sweden’s Måns Zelmerlöw, who would still have won the show, albeit with a total of 625 points.

But if we looked at the televote, Australia would have fared just a little worse, coming in sixth place receiving 124 points. Under this system, Italy’s powerhouse trio Il Volo would have won the competition with 356 points.

And what if the voting system had gone back even further, to the days between 1975 and the mid-1990’s, a voting era that gave us Bucks Fizz, Sandra Kim and the three wins of Johnny Logan? Under this system, Australia would actually have done a little better, coming in fourth place and receiving 224 points. With the votes of the just the jurors, Sweden would have remained the winners, with a total of 353 points.

2016 – Dami Im – Sound of Silence

  • Jury only 1st

  • Televote only: 4th

  • Mixed voting: 1st

  • Separate voting: 2nd

In 2016, the EBU announced a huge change to the Eurovision voting system with the televotes and the jury votes now to be announced separately. National spokespeople would announce a nation’s jury votes, and at the end of the trip around Europe, the show’s presenters would announced each nation’s combined televoting score.

Under this new system, Australia received its best placing to date, with Dami Im’s 'Sound of Silence' scoring 511 points and coming second behind eventual winner Jamala’s '1944'.

It’s become common knowledge that under the previous voting system used in 2015, Australia would have been crowned the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016. It was the subject of much debate over whether fans liked the Melodifestivalen-inspired voting announcement or not. Australia’s 320 points under the 2015 voting system would have beaten out a second place Ukraine by 41 points.

Using the televote-only count, Australia would have fallen down to fourth place, just behind Poland's 'Color of Your Life', and with a total of 191 points. Under this system, fan favourite Russia’s Sergey Lazarev would have taken the crystal microphone with an astonishing 361 points.

Had only juries been allowed to vote, the situation would again have fallen in favour of Dam Im, with a total of 320 points being awarded, and beating out Ukraine’s Jamala by over a hundred points.

2017 – Isaiah Firebrace – Don’t Come Easy

  • Jury only: 4th

  • Televote only: Non-qualifier

  • Mixed voting: 12th

  • Separate voting: 9th

With the continuation of the new voting system, Isaiah Firebrace rocketed to the top ten in Kyiv, despite a disappointing televote result from the audience at home. Receiving a total of 173 points, Australia came ninth.

Under the mixed voting system previously used, Isaiah would have fallen out of the top ten. The 60 points he would have received would have placed him twelfth. This voting system would still have provided viewers with the exact same winner in Salvador Sobral’s 'Amar pelos dois', and his 417 points would still have been record-breaking. In fact, all four voting systems would provide a win for Portugal in 2017.

The televote were not the biggest fans of Australia’s 2017 entry, with 'Don’t Come Easy' receiving just 2 points from Denmark. Under a televoting-only voting system, Australia would have come twenty-fifth, surviving last place only by the fact that Austria’s Nathan Trent failed to receive any points at all from the televote. However if we applied this to the semi-final, Australia would have had our first and only non-qualifier. Isaiah placed 15th out of the 18 competitors in the televote.

Under the jury only voting system, Australia would have fared much better, coming in fourth place with a total of 171 points. We would have come behind Sweden in third (with 218 points), Bulgaria in second (278 points) and Portugal in first (382 points).

2018 – Jessica Mauboy – We Got Love

  • Jury only: 12th

  • Televote only: 26th

  • Mixed voting: 18th

  • Separate voting: 20th

For the second year in a row, the televoters around Europe weren’t eager to show their love for Austrlaia in the Grand Final. But even the jurors didn't come for our entry as they had been in previous years. Jessica Mauboy came twentieth in Lisbon with a total of 99 points.

Using the mixed voting system of 2013 to 2015, Jessica’s placing would have increased from twentieth to eighteenth, receiving a total of 58 points, with Norway and the Netherlands falling below Australia. This voting system would still have provided Netta’s 'Toy' the win, with 323 points.

A televoting only system would have provided Australia the dreaded last place. Although, unlike Isaiah who finished 25th in the Grand Final, she woudl have qualified easily from her semi-final (finishing 7th out of the 18 songs in the televote). 'Toy' would still have won the Grand Final, with 317 points being given from the viewers across Europe.

A jury only system would have raised Jessica’s placing to twelfth, still making it to the left hand side of the scoreboard! With a total of 90 points, we would have been sandwiched between Lithuania’s Ieva Zasimauskaitė (also with 90 points) and the Netherlands Waylon (with 89 points). The biggest change here is that Austria’s Cesár Sampson would have won the competition with 271 points.

2019 – Kate Miller-Heidke – Zero Gravity

  • Jury only: 6th

  • Televote only: 7th

  • Mixed voting: 9th

  • Separate voting: 9th

While Kate flew above the Earth while on stage in Tel Aviv last year, both televoters and jurors alike ranked her performances in their top tens. The inspiring performance came ninth with a total of 284 points, giving us our best placing performance since 2017 and our second-highest scoring entry ever by total points.

Using the old mixed voting system would actually keep 'Zero Gravity' in the same spot. While only receiving 127 points, Kate Miller-Heidke would still rank ninth by the end of the night. Duncan Laurence would still have been the winner, with a total of 299 points.

If only the viewers got to choose the winner, Australia would have ranked higher, coming in seventh place with a total of 131 points. This voting system would produce a winner in Australia’s favourite entry at the competition – Norway’s KEiiNO! 'Spirit in the Sky' would have received 291 points, beating out second placed the Netherlands by 30 points.

And if only the juries got to choose the winner, then Kate would have done even better still, coming in sixth place and receiving 153 points. The winner would be different yet again, with Tamara Todevska’s 'Proud' coming first with 247 points for North Macedonia.

If we look at Australia overall, it's clear that our entries certainly sing well to a jury. Our results under that system would have been 4th, 1st, 4th, 9th, 12th and 6th.

That's a win, three top five results, five top 10 results and our worst placing of 12th.

But let's not forget we've had some strong televote results. Three of our five entries have made the top 10 (6th in 2015, 4th in 2016 and 7th in 2019). That is a huge achievement for any nation.

So whatever the scoring system, we can be proud of what Australia has achieved over the last five years.


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