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
42 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 13th in Kiev, Ukraine.
Getting through to the big final was 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 16 eliminated participants.6 countries, host Ukraine and the 'Big Five', are automatically qualified for the final.
Votes based on search activity 'predicted' 15 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. Russia pulled out of the competition after its candidate was banned from Ukraine because she had toured the disputed Crimea region. Turkey was a regular participant until 2012 but hasn't entered the competition since. The national broadcasters of Slovakia and Bosnia announced they were unable to secure funds for participation. 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 again in 2016 and is competing this year too.
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 earned by searches
Points earned by televoting
Let's compare the ranking generated by searches with the actual Eurovision result.
Portugal was the winner in both search and the real competition. The wide gap in searches with the number 2 on the ranking was reflected in the viewers votes (see the maps in the next section).
Four out of the five most searched countries also made it into the top 5 of the final result.
Australia is the exception in the top 5. Australia was heavily searched for but received almost no votes from viewers (they did receive a lot of points from the professional juries). People searching for Australia were probably just wondering why a country so far away from Europe is participating in Eurovision.
A similar explanation could explain the much higher place for Israel in the search ranking then in the competition ranking.
The one country in the top 5 not picked up by the searches is Moldova. Neighbouring Romania landed the seventh spot in the competition although it was last in search.
These maps show from what countries every participant received viewer votes or would have received based on searches.