ABC election analyst Antony Green had such a great time covering last year’s Eurovision Song Contest for The Tunnel that he’s back again.
How did the Eurovision 2014 voting unfold and why? Australia’s favourite election expert bares all.To quote playwright Michael Frayn: “Why did he come to Copenhagen?”
To see the Eurovision Song Contest, of course!
It’s been a busy year for us psephologists with a couple of state elections in Australia already. Frankly, we need a break.
And there’s no better holiday than a working holiday. And there’s no better working holiday than being in a roomful of Scandinavian hunks as the votes come in at the ESC!
Unless you’ve been cowering under your bed in fear of the Federal Budget, you’ll know that this year’s Eurovision winner was Austria’s Conchita Wurst – or, as Princess Mary described her over drinks with me on Thursday night, the chick with the beard.
Austria’s winning score of 290 votes was nine votes more than last year’s winner and was achieved with two less countries participating.
This sounds impressive until you realise – or in my case, you know – that hot Norwegian fiddler Alexander Rybak won with a stunning 387 votes in 2009.
In other words, 2014 was actually quite an even contest, with Austria not being announced the winner until there were three countries still to reveal their votes.
Of course, my computer predicted the Austrian victory with 12 countries still to vote.
I tried to tell the Eurovision authorities this – in fact, at one point, I may have taken my shirt off and waved it furiously above my head. Unfortunately, this was Eurovision so everyone thought I was just getting into the spirit of the event.
Still, I want it on record that the last 12 rounds of votes were unnecessary and, in the view of this little electoral analyst, a complete waste of time.
The Eurovision 2014 voting started with what we election analysts call a “bit of a mindf**k”.
András from Hungary, who was totally unfancied (although he looked all right to me) surged to an early lead, with the favourites barely getting a vote between them.
My computer hadn’t predicted this and I was still searching for my AppleCare Protection Plan when Austria belatedly hit the front after the twelfth round of voting. From that point onwards, Conchita asserted her (or his) dominance by bagging round after round of 12 point votes.
To win the ESC, you need these 12 pointers – or “douze points” as we say in the biz.
Sweden’s Sanna Nielsen had arguably the best song of the competition – and was fancied by many so-called experts to win – but she only got three “douze points” to Conchita’s whopping baker’s dozen.
In the end, Sweden could only manage third place with 218 votes, with Netherlands a clear second with 238 votes (and eight lots of douze points).
As a fanatical bird fancier myself – who’d have thought? – I was much taken by The Common Linnets, the Dutch country music duo.
Some of the bitchier psephologists in Copenhagen complained their song sounded too much like The Police’s Every Breath You Take. But, as Paul Keating once told me in the National Tally Room toilets, you can only give what you’ve got – whereas you can take from others forever.
Honestly, when Waylon the Dutchman stared down the camera and crooned about the calm after the storm, I swung hard.
Meanwhile, at the bottom of the count, France finished last with two votes, seven votes adrift of a Slovenian flute player (that hurts!) And this was despite France’s concession of singing part of their peppy comic hip hop number in English.
As I’ve said before, it’s hard to get Eurovision votes without either a geographical voting bloc or a good song. As both of these can be expensive to buy, you need to be inventive.
Poland, for example, had buxom blondes churning butter to camera.
Ukraine deployed a human hamster wheel.
Romania – and I, for one, am getting one for my inner city apartment – had a wearable circular piano.
It’s not rocket science. It’s just electoral science.
And, again, for the record, I’m happy to spend a couple of months in France – the south coast would be nice – doing some consulting work for next year’s French Eurovision assault.
In any case, I’ll be there in Vienna for Eurovision 2015.
And I don’t even need my computer to predict that.
The Tunnel are satire writers from Queensland. For more stories, click HERE.