III. The Jury
Just before Eurovision Song Contest 2014 the Reference Group of the EBU announced “tighter voting practices”. They threatened non-Nato-countries with blocking and collective punishment - but then fell victims to their own strict rules. Jurors from Georgia and Azerbaijan demonstrated the deficiency of ESC-rules by presenting bizarre voting procedures.
Immediately everyone screamed “fraud”. But then they hesitated with serving the sentence of blocking. Until now they seem to be content to declare the votes of the Georgian jurors invalid. German blogger Stefan Niggemeier even has additionally found out that the same should apply to his hated Azerbaijan. If I understand correctly, the judges in both countries have only awarded with 12, 10 and 8 points, the distributions of remaining points 8 – 0 were similar or just the same with all 10 jurors.
The fact is that the set of rules at ESC cannot be used as a guidance either for the production nor for the evaluation of artistic performances. One could thus use the ESC-rules to rate a petting zoo or an exhibition of weapons. On the one hand the rules are only strict about a certain behavior concerning completing the "lottery tickets". To be
precise: "Jurors have to confirm to vote independently". Beyond that Sweden had 2013 introduced an additional requirement: "Each jury member shall rank ALL songs which have been performend in the show." This rule only manipulates the ranking, but has nothing to do with evaluation, since no one will be able to justify, why his song number 18 did not become 23 or why number 20 isn’t become 19 and so on…
Considering these two points Georgia and Azerbaijan voted professionally and in some ways even compliant. For their 3 best entries each juror will surely find a justification and concerning the other songs it is sufficient if they have run "indepentently" from each other to the copier. That their results now "appear as if ..." is indeed not their fault, but the problem of disabled rules. Who guarantees that the other countries and jurors have not throwing dice? And diced rankings are not more "fair" or "professional" than copied rankings.
With the rules of ESC our world is reduced to the measure of a very modest imagination. Simple rankings from 0 to about 40 replace language and as arguments only serve points, optics and keywords. This is ok. But instead of concieving the ESC as a non serious game some members of EBU apply the rules of ESC as a Sharia. Terms are unleashed such as rigor, transparency, rule tightening, punishment, voting fraud, political voting, diaspora voting, vote buying, infractions, xenophobia, homophobia, rogue states and so on. This polarizes and builds up prejudices. At the same time these words pretend the need for experts and their superiority. But it is too bad if the attacked countries break the rules and invite:
"Block us, please!"
And that is exactly what Georgia and Azerbaijan have done, whether with or without intent. In any case, it works like a tit-for-tat response and exposes the hypocrisy of the whole voting procedures and its moralizers.
Doesn’t German blogger Niggemeier know that these votings are irrational and that they
are without value regarding music and assessment of music? Does an intellectuel blogger really feel clever when he compares lottery tickets of different countries? I cannot believe. In addition, he should have confined himself to Georgia. That he at every opportunity try to attack Azerbaijan, leads to the conclusion that his interest for the ESC and for music is only feigned.
Consequently EBU, NDR, Niggemeier and fans should have demand to block Georgia and Azerbaijan with the same tenacity with which they glorify the strict rules. But they do not. Obviously their popularity depends only on creating images of enemies. Precisely in this sense they every year provoke and denunciate non-NATO countries. With the exclusion of these countries, however, they would saw off the branch on which they have made themselves comfortable since 2008.