After the songs are performed and the interval act entertains the arena and home viewing crowd, it’s time for ESC to add up the scores! Far from being any boring technical part of the show, the climbing points on the scoreboard can provide one of the most bizarrely fun and unique phases of Eurovision. There are several ground rules you need to know.
- Each country doles out their scores as a combination of televotes (the public calling and SMS votes) and the votes of the country’s jury (which is made up of local music and record company celebrities, former ESC artists and writers, and other contest celebrities). The actual point breakdown of the juries and the voting public are never released until a month or so after the contest.
- The presenter of the scores is also a local celebrity. This is important to know, since they always behave as though the whole world is just waiting to see and hear from them, cracking bad jokes and crypticly humming or singing lines from past or current ESC entries as part of their presentation of the scores. They also usually behave as though they are best buds with the contest’s host who is calling out for each group of scores.
- The local presenter usually starts with the greeting “Good evening, Europe!…” or the name of the host city (“Good evening, Baku!” this year, for example). then scores are doled out in a reverse order, en masse from one to seven points shown immediately on the scoreboard. Then the country presents their top three point-getters, the recipient of 8 points, 10 points, and the coveted 12 points (“douze points” in the old school French scoreboard jargon).
- The presentation of the scores is NOT in any random order, but is artificially calculated to provide the requisite roller-coaster thrills of watching various entries rise in the scoreboard only to be slain repeatedly by other countries’ songs, until the final one or two countries’ scoreboard points reveal the exciting final scores.
- Most of the scores each country doles out is completely predictable. The old political and social alliances to the other countries in the region always play a role, as well as the diaspora vote of various immigrant groups that favor their old homelands. This is another instance where “neighborly voting” takes a major role.
- No country can vote for its own entry! This is the most basic ground rule.
- The voting takes almost as much time as the rest of the show, so if you are completely bored by it, take a half hour break and come back to see the last scores tallied up and the winner crowned.
This clip shows the last ten minutes of the 2011 points being doled out, so you can watch the excitement building to the climax (!?)