Earlier today, the Semi Final allocation draw for the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest took place where the 31 participating countries (without the Big Five and host country) where divided into two groups of 16 and 15 respectively.
The allocation can have a significant impact on a country’s odds to qualify so we decided it would be a good idea to take a closer look at the two Semi Finals and guess which countries have the best shot at qualification. Today we are focusing on the first Semi Final with the second following tomorrow.
It is no secret that certain countries tend to vote for each other for different reasons which is why they were put into to six pots so not all of them would end up in the same Semi.
We came up with a ranking using the average points awarded by each country and ranked them accordingly using only the Semi Final votes.
What we did is look at all 16 countries and tallied up their votes from inception of the two Semi Final System (2008) and divided them by the number of times a country was able to vote for their “competitor”. So if Country A was in the same Semi as Country B three times and the vote looked like this: 10 points, 8 points, 0 points. We would then divide it by three which would result in an average point count of 6. The country with the highest average count will get 12 points, the second on 10 points and so on.
So according to voting patterns, the following 10 countries will qualify in May:
1. Azerbaijan (127 points)
2. Russia (117 points)
3. Ukraine (108 points)
4. Iceland (104 points)
5. Armenia (92 points)
6. Sweden (86 points)
7. Moldova (72 points)
8. Albania (67 points)
9. Portugal (67 points)
10. Belgium (56 points)
11. Estonia (51 points)
12. The Netherlands (40 points)
13. San Marino (34 points)
14. Montenegro (32 points)
15. Hungary (25 points)
16. Latvia (24 points)
While a lot of the results are expected, there were some surprises. Azerbaijan has been one of the most successful countries since their debut six years ago so the fact that they are expected to finish first in the Semi shouldn’t come as a surprise. Based on their average points they they will receive 12 points from Russia, Hungary, Moldova and Ukraine. As a matter of fact they are the only country that, according to our system, receives points from every single country.
The biggest surprise is the low score for Hungary who ended up second to last. It seems that the countries that would traditionally vote for them, won’t have a say this year and are all allocated to Semi Final 2. Hungary manged to qualify for three years in a row so it’ll be interested to find out if our analysis is correct or totally off.
Some other interesting facts:
1. Armenia will give Azerbaijan 2 points. This is all based on voting patterns. While both countries havnen’t exchanged points in a while, when Azerbaijan first joined Armenia gave them a few points which was enough to put them into the Top 10.
2. Sweden is pretty low considering it’s quite a popular country (in Eurovision terms). While we were adding up the points we realized that out of all these countries, on average they had less exposure to the nations taking part in this Semi.
Before you start complaining about the loopholes in this system, we are totally aware that this is all based on previous voting patterns and average points and the following factors that contribute are not taken into consideration:
1. The song “quality”. Needless to say that when a song is considered popular by the majority, it odds to qualify will increase significantly and this system is purely based on prior voting records.
2. The luck of the draw. Some countries only crossed paths once over the past six years so having only vote set of votes will skew with the ranking. So the more data we can collect over the next few years, the more accurate it will be.
3. Running order. A lot of people believe (which is also backed up by multiple studies) that performing in the second half increases the odds of gathering a few extra points. We did not consider the allocation (first vs second half) when creating the data.
So this is merely one way to look at the odds. Please let us know what you’ll think and if the Top 10 looks about right or totally off.