This has been the cause of massive, heated arguments for decades. In 2008, longstanding British TV host – and Eurovision legend – Sir Terry Wogan actually stepped down from presenting the show because he believed the system had become totally corrupt.
In 2013, this was nearly proved to be true when Azerbaijan was accused of trying to buy votes from jurors and paying Lithuanian students to vote for their contestant Farid Mammadov. The case was never fully proved but Eurovision introduced a new rule as a result and any country found guilty of vote rigging now faces a three-year ban.
Despite this, the tactical voting continues – particularly among the Scandinavian, Balkan and ex-Soviet nations, who basically share the points out among their friends and allies. Put it this way: Belarus entered Eurovision in 2004. Since then it has given Russia twice as many points as any other country.
It doesn’t stop there, either. The truth is that Europe has so many centuries-old alliances and feuds that virtually every country votes tactically to a degree. It is for this reason that Greece always gives high marks to Cyprus and little or nothing to Turkey. Meanwhile, Malta always hands out points to the U.K., and the U.K. always gives points to Ireland.
Just about the only countries that don’t play the game are France, Israel, Monaco, Switzerland, Portugal, Australia and Germany.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is streaming on Netflix.
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