Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Nul Points - Geographic Bias in the Eurovision Song Contest

This Saturday millions of Europeans will sit down to watch three and half hours of excruciating television. Much of that time will be spent listening to contestants from around Europe singing some of the worst songs ever written. The rest of the evening will then be spent watching judges from each country awarding points to their favorite songs.

The voting system in the Eurovision Song Contest is ludicrously complicated. However, having endured a few of these contests before, I think I know how the system works. Basically each country awards the highest points to their nearest geographical neighbors.

You can see how this system works by exploring a new interactive map The European Song Contest - Points Map. Using the map you can click on any of the participating countries to see which countries have awarded them the most points in previous Eurovision Song Contests. The darker a country appears on the map then the more points that country has awarded to your selected country in previous competitions.

If you play around with the map for a while then I'm sure you'll discover that my theory holds true. Points are awarded not on the quality of the songs performed but on how close you live to the performers.

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