In my previous post, I wrote up a big long analysis covering why the televoters have lost most of their power in Melfest since the app votes come in. Firstly, I mentioned that the last couple of years had been at a power split of around 24-76 in favour of juries. Then, I noted that the changes to the jury votes were expected to help fix that a little, but wouldn’t be perfect, lifting the power split to around 30-70, still favouring juries. So how did that work out, in the end? Well, in a sense, I was wrong…
…because the changes were even more miniscule than I’d expected. After plugging this year’s televotes and jury votes back into my formula, the effective power split for this year was: 24.6-75.4. To put this in context with previous years:
And so the split moved by just a single percentage point in the favour of televoters. Wow. As a reminder, I’d expected that the jury changes would bring televote power back to around 30% this year, and already said that that would be a crappy outcome in need of major fixes from SVT. With that in mind, seeing things essentially stay unchanged is pretty laughable, to be honest. As for why the changes were even less useful than expected, I’ve got a few theories, and I expect that the full answer is a bit of a combination of each:
1. The juries agreed on their lower points more than expected. In trying to predict how the juries allocated their lower scores (9th and 10th places, which they hadn’t previously had to vote for), I assumed there’d be at least a little disagreement, with some unpopular songs picking up points here and there that they otherwise wouldn’t have. Instead, a good chunk of these extra points went towards the songs that were doing well anyway, leaving the least favourite acts of the jury vote – Mendez in particular – even further behind than they would’ve been otherwise. In this sense, the change intended to restore some power to televoters may have in some cases given the juries even more ability to kill off songs they don’t like.
2. The app votes caused even more clumping this year. Despite the app votes already forming into a little clumped ball of uselessness in previous years, we could at least see that Frans was a clear favourite in 2016, and that Nano enjoyed a semi-decent lead in 2017. This year may have been our first real year with no clear televote favourite – and when the televote was already clumped in years with a favourite, it serves to reason that it’d turn out even worse when there’s little difference in opinion to begin with.
3. Televote lines stayed open while the jury votes were revealed. Based on how long the app heart beat at full speed for each act, Mendez won the televote as far as app votes were concerned (2m15s beating heart), followed very closely by John Lundvik (2m14s). There was then a bit of a gap, followed by a close grouping of Liamoo, Benjamin, Felix, Samir & Viktor and Mariette (all between 2m and 1m53s). But once the app votes closed and it came to phone-voting time, televoters could see who the juries were voting for, and as such knew which acts would be wasted votes.
I doubt it’s a coincidence that, following the reveal of jury results, televotes stopped coming in as quickly for previous televote favourites Mendez, John, Liamoo, Samir & Viktor and Mariette, who by that stage were all at least 48 points behind and thus seemed like a lost cause. In response, Benjamin and Felix rose up the televote ranks, as they were seen as the only possible winners by then. With the way the preferences were arranged this year, that meant the televoters stopped voting for what had been their favourites, and instead focused on those that had been 4th and 5th in the app vote, largely equalising the top set of scores even more closely. It also means that the televotes may have in effect had less influence than the 24.6% I’ve calculated, since on top of that figure there was a section of voting where all televoters were essentially encouraged to vote only for the two jury favourites.
Without the juries having their direct votes and this influence on the televotes, I think it’s entirely possible, even likely, that Mendez would’ve been Sweden’s representative for the year. Whatever your opinion might be on his song and its chances at Eurovision – and I personally think it would’ve struggled as a result of his vocals, with Benjamin being a safer pick – it seems rather silly, in the context of Melfest also being a show meant for entertainment in its own right, to have a song with that sort of public support ending dead last on the scoreboard.
The combination of those factors seems to have counteracted the change that was supposed to help the televotes, and so in the end juries once again had essentially three times the influence of televoters. Finally, I thought it’d be interesting to end on a few facts about the split to provide some alternative ways of looking at things:
- Last year, third place in the televote won Melodifestivalen overall. This year, third place in the televote came last overall. The only real difference here was that the jury liked one and not the other; essentially, they can have a song finish first or last, wherever they want, largely regardless of televoter preferences.
- The gap between first and last in the televotes (30 points) was far smaller than the gap between first and third (48 points) in the jury votes. Meanwhile, the gap between first and third in the televotes was only 5 points – barely a tenth that of its jury equivalent.
- Adding up the differences between each voter group’s result and the final result (e.g. juries put a song 5th and it instead came 7th = 2 ranks), the juries only missed out on their perfectly-ordered final result by 10 ranks. Televoters missed out by 24 ranks.
Here’s hoping SVT finally makes some changes for next year.