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Eurovision 2018: the jurors’s favorite was actually… Sweden

And jurors also preferred Cyprus to Israel

One of the biggest surprise of the 2018 Grand Final, if not the biggest, was Austria’s score. With 271 points, it topped the scoreboard before the televote kicked in, 18 points ahead of Sweden. And yet, a closer look at the detailed results show that Benjamin Ingrosso was the true favorite of the jurors.

Before you ask, no, we are not talking about who got the most “12 points” from the juries. And actually, Austria still managed to gather more top jury scores than anyone else. We are not talking about the juries, though, but about the jurors.

Indeed, with the detailed results now in, we have access to the Top 26/25 of all 215 Eurovision jurors this year. And 215 rankings mean 215 “number one”. And guess who has the most of those?

Sweden leading, and Cyprus in the top 3

Counting how many jurors had each song as a favorite amounts to simulating the first voting system publicly used in Eurovision. Indeed, since the 1956 voting is still a mystery, the first time we got to see a scoreboard was in 1957.

At the time, the voting was fairly simple: each country had ten jurors, and each one of them awarded one point to their favorite song. This system was used between 1957 and 1961, then between 1967 and 1970, and made a last comeback in Brighton, 1974.

Nowadays, with 5 jurors, we can still use this system, to see which country are the favorites of the jurors. And here are the results for 2018:

As you can see, 33 jurors had Sweden as their favorite, against 26 for Austria. Interestingly enough, Cyprus was also favored by more jurors over Israel. In both cases, the actualy jury score had the countries “upside down” (Austria higher than Sweden, and Israel higher than Cyprus). Cyprus’s results are not even specifically related to the Greek or the Albanian vote, since only one Albanian juror had Cyprus as a favorite, and only two Greek jurors.

This is quite similar to the situation in 2016, when Ukraine, while being 2nd with the juries, was actually the jurors’s favorite:

How can we interpret it?

What we can interpret here is not the score in itself, but the difference between this 1957-style rankings and the actual rankings.

The best example here is Israel: despite being the favorite of less jurors than Germany or Cyprus, Netta still achieved a better jury results overall. That means it had a stronger support, a stronger good consensus. This is especially true with the new system, in which being 1st with a juror can lift your song enormously.

Similarly, if Sweden is favored by seven more jurors than Austria, it must have been “disliked enough” to end up under “Nobody But You” when all jurors’s rankings are accounted for (their Top 26).

What do you think? Are you surprised by Sweden’s popularity with the jurors? And Ukraine’s in 2016? What could explain Sweden’s appeal to the juries? Tell us more on the comments below or on social media at @escxtra !

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