Eurovision facing calls to overhaul voting system after cheating allegations

Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra pose onstage with their trophy and Ukraine's flags

Eurovision is facing calls to scrap its jury system after organisers detected “irregular voting patterns” from six countries.

Since its early days, Eurovision has relied on juries of professionals from each participating country to award votes, which since the late 90s have been combined with public telephone voting.

However, the European Broadcasting Union, which organises the contest, is facing calls to scrap the system after allegations six juries attempted to rig the result of the second semi-final.

In the early hours of Sunday (15 May) morning, the EBU confirmed “certain irregular voting patterns” were spotted in six participating countries’ results.

Votes from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, and Sam Marino were replaced with aggregate scores as a result.

A statement said: “The EBU takes any suspected attempts to manipulate the voting at the Eurovision Song Contest extremely seriously and has the right to remove such votes in accordance with the Official Voting Instructions, irrespective of whether or not such votes are likely to influence the results and/or outcome of the voting.”

Flemish broadcaster VRT alleged that the six countries whose jury votes were suspended “had agreed to vote for each other”.

The EBU statement did not confirm or deny this, stating only that “certain irregular voting patterns were identified” after the second dress rehearsal of the second semi-final, meaning that the vote was pulled for both the second semi-final and the grand final”.

Some of the countries’ announcers are claiming foul play. Narmin Salmanova, the spokesperson for Azerbaijan, claimed she was meant to announce 12 points for Ukraine, but that the EBU “didn’t make [a] video connection”. Romania has said its 12 votes were supposed to go to Moldova but instead went to Ukraine.

Some viewers are now calling for jury votes to be reformed or discarded. One Twitter user said: “The jury system sucks, and we have to get rid of it.”

Each jury comprises six experts who rank their favourite songs, allocating 1-8, 10 or 12 points. These votes are added to the televotes to decide the winner.

The UK topped the Eurovision 2022 leaderboard after earning 283 jury votes, but was pipped to the post by Ukraine, which added 439 televotes to its 192 jury votes.

It left the UK’s Sam Ryder, the singer-songwriter and social media personality who rose to prominence through TikTok during the first COVID-19 lockdown, in second place – the country’s best result since 1998.

The UK last won Eurovision in 1997 with Katrina and the Waves’ song “Love Shine A Light”.

PinkNews contacted the EBU for comment.