What if Google searches were used to award points in the Eurovision Song Contest? What countries would make the final and who would cry victory?
By Maarten Lambrechts for
43 candidates, each representing one European country, took part in the Eurovision Song Contest this year. But only 26 made it to the final on May 12 in Lisbon, Portugal.
Getting through to the big final will be decided during two semi-finals before the event, with a professional jury and the public voting.
We wondered if searches would reflect each country’s voting patterns. If they did, the map would look like the one below. It shows the 20 countries that would have past the semi-finals in search and the 17 eliminated participants.6 countries, host Portugal and the 'Big Five', are automatically qualified for the final.
Votes based on search activity 'predicted' 16 out of 20 qualified semi-finalists correctly. Use the switch to toggle the colors between the predicted and the real qualified countries.
A few countries on the map are not participating. Turkey was a regular participant until 2012 but hasn't entered the competition since. The national broadcasters of Slovakia and Bosnia and Herzegovina announced they were unable to secure funds for participation. Luxembourg hasn't entered the competition since 1993. And Kosovo, finally, is not recognized as an independent state by various European countries and isn't a member of the organizing European Broadcasting Union.
Many of the participating countries are small. Some of them are barely visible on the map. And because points awarded by small countries are worth as much as the ones from big countries, it makes sense to transform the map a bit. In that way, small countries will be better visible and the map will represent the equal weight of votes from all countries, big and small.
So in this squarified map of Europe, every country is equal in size. Use this to animate to the geographical map and back.
Automatically qualified countries semi-final qualifiers and eliminated countries
Small countries like San Marino and Malta are visible on the squarified map. Notice Australia in the bottom right corner. The Contest is very popular in Australia and the country was allowed to participate in 2015 for the 60th anniversary of the festival. It was supposed to be a one-off event, but Australia participated in all editions since then.
After the singing, every participating country awards a set of 1 to 8 points to 8 other countries. The two countries they liked the most receive 10 and 12 points. The country that earned the biggest amount of points after all voting is done, wins it.
We focus on the vote by the viewers here. Another set of points is awarded by a professional jury from each country.
Want to know what artists your country would have awarded if searches would equal points? Check it below!
FINALISTS ◯ Points by search ◯ Points by televoting
Points awarded by searches*
Points awarded by televoting
*Some countries lacked sufficient search data to award all search points
Let's compare the ranking generated by searches with the actual Eurovision result.
Winner Israel was second in search, runner up Cyprus was third in search.
Norway showed the most search activity, but only ended up 15th. It couldn't repeat its performance of the semi-final, which it won (Israel won the other semi-final, before Cyprus).
The good result of Austria surprised many. It didn't perform well in search either.
The underestimation of the results in search activity of Germany and Italy could be attributed to the semi-final effect: both countries didn't have to compete in the semi-finals, so they were not exposed to the public until the finals.
The low search activity for Slovenia, the UK, Spain and Portugal was confirmed by the final results. Last year's winner and host Portugal finished last.
These maps show from what countries every participant received viewer votes or would have received based on searches.