Good evening, everyone! Today’s ESC statistical map looks at something that has always intrigued me. Do you ever get the feeling, after the final votes are cast and the semi-final results are released, “Wow! How did this song do so badly, after doing so well in the semis?” I do, and it led me to examine points received per country (PRPC) and the phenomenon of semis-to-finals vote disparity.
In theory, every country who qualified should do better in the finals; there are 37 countries voting, instead of 18-19, and the chances are that you will benefit from generous votes from the “forever friends” who were sorted into another semi-final because of their undying love for your country’s ESC output. There are more countries from which to receive votes, but also, slightly more countries (7-8, this year) vying for those votes. If you compete in a year where there’s a big favourite, and you were lucky enough not to be in their semi-final, you may also find your precious 10s and 12s gobbled up by the year’s goliath.
This year, if you got 100 votes in a semi-final with 18 countries voting (100/18, a none too shabby tally of 5.5 pts received per country), you would receive 206 votes in a final with 37 people if your PRPC in the finals were the same as in the semi-finals. As we know, though, we live in a complex world where pure mathematics must give way to probability.
We see countries gain more points, but fewer points per country, in the finals; we also get fewer points full stop. Tooji (from 45 pts in the SFs to 7 in the finals - a reduction of 1.98 PRPC from 2.14 to 0.17) and last year’s Ryan Dolan (from 54 pts [2.84 PRRC] to 5 [0.13 PRPC], a 2.84 PRPC decrease) are testament to that.
Every country can slide one year or another in the gap between Tue/Thurs and Saturday, but some countries are becoming particularly renowned for receiving a far decreased number of points per country in the finals. Over the past three years, Finland has lost an average of 3.17 PRPC, but they are bested (or worsted?) by Greece (3.18 PRPC lost), Romania (3.29 PRPC lost) and Albania (3.48 PRPC lost). The most dramatic losses of points per country are Greece and Romania’s in 2012 - they received a healthy 116 and 120, 4th and 3rd in their semi, respectively; but dropped to 64 (17th place) and 71 (12th place) in the final - a drop in over 4.00 PRPC.
On the other side of the coin, the countries that have been most consistent in gaining a similar number of points per country in both semis and finals are Azerbaijan (0.74 points per country more in semis) and Ukraine (1.15 PRPC more, including 2011, where the difference was a marginal 0.07 more). In countries that have never not made it to the finals in the 2011-13 period, Sweden, Hungary and Estonia are not far behind.
Speaking of Sweden, they are the only country in the past three years to receive more points per country in the finals than in the semis. Loreen received 181 points in the semis, 8.62 PRPC - and managed to improve that to 372 (8.86 PRPC, 0.24 more), the first to do so since Alexander Rybak.
Country PRPC difference since 2011