There were no surprises at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, either in the result or the reaction to it.
The bookmakers’ favourite, Sweden, won by a large margin while those with the fewest points brought out the usual claims that the voting system is a farce.
The Swedish entry, dance club tune ‘Euphoria’ performed by Loreen, garnered a huge 372 points, the second highest tally in the contest’s history (Norway scored 387 in the 2009 final). It had been expected to do well as the track had already reached Number 1 in the music charts of several European countries and few people deny that it was a worthy winner. Sweden was awarded a maximum 12 points by 18 out of the 42 countries that voted and only one country, Italy, gave it no points at all.
There was nothing surprising either about the voting patterns. Greece was inevitably given a top score of 12 by Cyprus and Albania. The voting blocs stayed true to themselves: Sweden was given top points by all its Scandinavian and Baltic neighbours, Russia was able to count on the votes of former Soviet states, and Serbia finished in third place thanks largely to the 12 points it received from each of its Balkan chums Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia.
Another predictable factor to come out of the contest has been the response of the countries that didn’t do so well. The United Kingdom and France, who as among the biggest contributors to the event’s organisers EBU qualify automatically each year, received just 12 and 21 points respectively. The usual claims of unfairness in the voting system duly followed.
The United Kingdom, a country with a proud history in pop music but whose Eurovision results have been in freefall over the last 15 years, fielded Engelbert Humperdinck, a world famous crooner with hundreds of millions of record sales to his name. He finished second last. People in his native Leicester were outraged and some think the UK should boycott the competition if its superstars are going to be treated so dismissively. Leicester resident Alan Birchenall told one local website:
“It’s always been this way with the Eurovision Song Contest and we have to think about whether it’s worth entering it. It’s a stitch-up because countries vote for their friends and they just don’t like us Brits. It’s a bit of a clique.”
Another report, from the Daily Mail, describes how angry British viewers are asking the BBC to pull the UK out of the contest, quoting one as saying: “Once again the voting has been political, when will we in the UK learn we are not liked and no matter what song or who sings it we will not get anywhere. It is time for the UK to pull out of this biased contest so we are not humiliated year after year.”
And the French, who finished 22nd out of 26, feel equally as mistreated. Representing France was Anggun, who told reporters the result was “unfair for my team, for France Television and for France.” “We don’t deserve this,” she goes on. “We were told about geopolitical voting but didn’t really want to believe it.”
The program director of France 3, which broadcasts the contest and pays towards its organisation hinted that he would be having stern words about the future of the voting system with the EBU, as “there is clearly a debate to be had.”