The fan favourites the juries didn't want in the Eurovision Grand Final
Notorious for voting in ways drastically different to the at-home audience, the professional juries finally got their way in Rotterdam.
For the first time since 2010, the 10 acts jurors voted to send through from this year’s Semi-Final 2 were the same 10 who made the cut.
So, just how different would the make-up of recent grand finals looked if these panels of music industry professionals had not been tempered by the at-home audience?
Well, not altogether different, it turns out. Reviewing semi-final results from the past decade reveals that the vast majority of the juries’ semi-final picks tend to proceed to the final.
In all but four of the semi-finals since 2010, eight or nine of the juries’ favourites went on to perform at the grand final.
Their worst luck at influencing semi-final results was in the first semi in Oslo 2010 and the second semi in Lisbon 2018, when just seven of their top 10 acts qualified.
What is shocking, however, is the list of fan favourite acts to whom the juries did not wish to award a finals berth.
Most gobsmacking is perhaps the jury’s semi-final desertion of 2019 grand final televote winners, KEiiNO.
If the matter was left purely to each country’s handful of experts, 'Spirit in the Sky' would have been left behind at the semi-final stage. Quite remarkable, really.
The group finished 11th in their semi-finals with the juries preferring the likes of 'Stay' from Moldova and 'On a Sunday' from Romania.
A similarly bizarre fate would have awaited Belgian dance pop chanteuse Blanche and her enormously popular 2018 entry, 'City Lights'.
Blanche only finished 13th with the juries who had 'My Turn' from the Czech Republic and 'Keep the Faith' from Georgia in their qualifiers.
Other popular songs at recent contests that would have missed the final if the juries had their way include:
'Runaway' with Sunstroke Project's "epic sax guy" in 2010 (12th with the juries)
'Love in Rewind' from Bosnia and Hezergovina's legend Dino Merlin in 2011 (11th)
'Loin d'ici' from Stockholm 2016 fan favourite Zoe (11th)
'Higher Ground' performed by Denmark’s Rasmussen and his band of vikings in 2018 (12th)
'Monsters' Eurofan favourite Sara Aalto’s dancefloor banger for Finland also in 2018 (15th)
Norway’s TIX with 'Fallen Angel' (11th) and Azerbaijan’s Efendi with 'Mata Hari' (12th); the "lovebirds" would've needed to console one another after neither were among the acts juries wanted to emerge from 2021's ‘semi-final of death’.
There are two countries who should be especially thankful that juries don’t exert more influence: San Marino and Poland.
Left up the the juries, contest stalwart Valentina Monetta would have been denied a finals appearance (again) on her third attempt at Eurovision with 'Maybe' finishing 13th with juries.
Meanwhile, daddy dentist Serhat’s 2019 journey would have ended on the Tuesday night without love from the voters at home; juries resoundingly said no, no, no to his 'Say Na Na Na' which finished in 15th with the juries.
In the case of Poland, not one of Kasia Mos, Monika Kuszyńska or the butter-churning Donatan & Cleo would have made the cut without the public’s intervention.
Love them or hate them, there appears to be no plans to remove juries from the Eurovision picture - so we should probably get used to the idea of them voting in ways different to the public.
Sometimes those differences are slight. On other occasions, the void between the two voting groups is gaping.