The block voting is getting worse and worse for every year, but contrary to what Western Europeans keep complaining about, it's Western Europe who does it more!
The Western European nations have gone into a routine of pretty much voting exclusively for their neighbours. Pretty much every single Western European 8-12:er will go to a neighbours, or, sometimes, another Western European nation who's close to the geographically. And they always vote for the [b]same[b] neghbours.
At least the Eastern European nations are more unpredictable. Many Eastern European 8-12:ers go to non-neighbours and Western European nations. And those that do go to neighbours or other Eastern European nations are not always easy to predict.
Like last night, when, I believe, it was Iceland's turn to vote and none of the 1-7 pointers were given to Denmark, Sweden or Finland. Anyone with half a brain knew that 8-12 would go to those three nations. Finland jumped from nul points (after, like, 8 countries have voted, IIRC) to 12.
People keep saying crap like "Russia can enter with **************************************** and will still keep getting 12 points from X, Y and Z nations". Really? Because out of 43 voting nations, Russia didn't receive a single 12-pointer last night, not even from Belarus!
The Iberian Peninsula are just as bad as the Nordic nations. France, Spain and Portugal always award each other 8's, 10's and 12's.
You know why this is bad? Because say that X-Eastern European block routinely award each other high marks. Well, those same entries getting high marks from other Eastern European nations are at least given marks from other Eastern European nations outside of their block and also from the Western European nations.
Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Bosnia and Georgia, last night's Eastern European Top 10's, while they received a lot of points from their neighbours, they at least received a whole bunch of points from Western European nations and non-neighbours in the same hemisphere.
* Finland ended up with 21 points, every single one of which came from neighbouring countries, if I recall correctly (there might've been 2-3 or so points that came from outside of the Nordic block). And I believe 10 or 20 of those came from 10-pointers. For shame, Nordic Mafia, for shame.
* Spain ended up with only 50 points, mostly ignored by Western and Eastern nations alike. They got 2 12-pointers from within the Iberian peninsula.
And those are just the 12-pointers. It gets much worse if one goes in for an even closer look, at the 10-pointers and 8-pointers.
Block voting is rampant and getting worse by the year, but not because of the Eastern European nations but because of the Western European nations. You can argue that Western Europe might be less inclined to enjoy Eastern European music, but then we still get slapped in the face with examples like Finland and Spain's high marks from last night.
Because you know what, at least the Eastern European nations who get high marks from neighbours and other Eastern European nations still get points from the Western European nations... and pretty much not a single recipient of a 12-pointer in Eastern Europe was otherwise largely ignoerd by the rest of Europe, Western or Eastern!
Nordic nations, I am ashamed of how you voted last night. At least Finland had the decency to keep up its history of not awarding the other Nordic countries high marks and Sweden had the decency to give our 12-pointer to Ireland.