26 May, 2008

How to save Eurovision

Saturday's Eurovision was great apart from the result. Could have taken a Ukranian win, having a song called Shady Lady is some sort of genius, but it is clear that something must be done.

Here is the 3 part Travers plan for saving Eurovision, without forming a breakaway competition or kicking anyone out because they're not actually from Europe.

1) Change the rule that says the winner gets to host the competition next year. Hosting Eurovision should be decided like the Olympics or the World Cup, by people bidding for it with the best bid winning. The hosting country should put the vast majority of money in for arranging and televising the event. This would take away any real economic benefits for countries from winning the Eurovision. There would be no tourist boost for winning. No benefits to winning apart from the prestige of the competition and therefore, less reason to block vote

2) Change the semi-final format so that there is a Western European and an Eastern European semi final with the same number of finalists coming from each. Hold the semi-finals a week before in different cities to share hosting duties. We should be prepared to lose the automatic entry into the final. (Not that it counts for much at the moment anyway, why automatically qualify just to come last). The only automatic qualifiers would be the host nation and last years winner.

So the Western Europe Semi would look like

UK / Ireland / France / Germany / Spain / Italy / Portugal / Andorra / Belgium / Holland / Iceland / Denmark / Malta / Norway / Sweden / Switzerland / San Marino / Luxemborg (We miss you) / Greece / Cyprus / Czech Rep /Austria (We miss you too) / Israel - 23 Countries

And the Eastern Europe Semi would be

Albania / Armenia / Azerbaijan / Belarus / Bosnia / Bulgaria / Croatia / Finland / Estonia / Macedonia / Georgia / Hungary / Latvia / Lithuania / Moldova / Montenegro / Poland / Romania / Russia / Serbia / Slovenia / Turkey / Ukraine - 23 Countries

Equal representation would also dilute the ability to block vote.

3) Voting should be done by groups of countries rather than by all individual countries. This would allow the voting to go back to the old days where all the votes got read out, not just the top 3. It would allow for closer competitions as there would be less points to give and it would stop some countries voting for each other. No one in a voting block would be allowed to vote for other members of the same voting block.

So it would work like

North West Europe - Iceland / UK / Ireland
France and Flanders - France / Belgium / Holland
Spanish block - Spain / Portugal / Andorra
Scandinavia - Denmark / Norway / Sweden
Germanic Block - Germany / Czech Rep / Austria
Alps Block - Switzerland / Luxemborg / Italy / San Marino
Mediterranean Block - Greece / Cyprus / Israel/ Malta
Baltics - Latvia / Lithuania / Estonia / Finland
Russian Block - Russia / Belarus / Ukraine
Eastern Europe Block - Poland / Slovakia / Hungary
Black Sea Block - Romania / Bulgaria / Turkey / Moldova
Balkans 1 - Slovenia / Croatia / Bosnia
Balkans 2 - Serbia / Montenegro / Albania
Former Republics - Georgia / Armenia / Azerbaijan

The aim of the game is not to eliminate political voting, just to dilute it enough to make it a fair contest again. This can be achieved by taking away an incentive to block vote (the 'our turn' impulse) balancing up the geography of the finalists and regionalising voting.

Any thoughts?

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