World of Chig   

Eurovision: We Vote Tomorrow!

When the draw was made on 30 January this year, which determined that the UK would be voting in the first Eurovision semi-final, on the Tuesday, I said to friends that the BBC had another major challenge this year. They needed to make people aware that the Tuesday semi-final exists. It looks to me as if they just haven't even bothered to try. The trailers have started for Saturday's final, featuring Jade, Jade and more Jade, but the existence of any semi-finals, let alone the one we're voting in tomorrow, isn't mentioned.

Have the semi-finals been advertised at all? Please let us all know in the comments if you've seen or heard any publicity for them.

Although it's easy to say it doesn't matter (and of course none of it matters in the great scheme of things), the truth is that the viewing figures for Eurovision's single qualifying rounds (2004-2007) and semi-finals (2008) have been reasonable for BBC Three but pitiful in terms of anything on the main channels. The lack of advertising means that many people who would watch the shows miss them entirely. More importantly, it skews the UK vote horribly, because the only people watching are committed fans and the immigrant populations in this country whose own countries are taking part. They have the communication networks, through their newspapers, community radio and websites, to make a significant population ready to vote.

If there's any doubt about this, let's look at the great shame of last year's second semi-final, where the UK televote gave the maximum 12 points to Cyprus, one of the worst songs in the entire competition. Cyprus failed to qualify for the final, finishing a deserved 15th out of 19 songs, but one third of their 36 points came from us. I don't remember Wogan complaining about OUR diaspora voting, also evidenced when we gave Ireland's Donna & Joe 12 points in their 2005 qualifier, but they too failed to make the final. Low viewing figures allow our televote to be hijacked and that's a shame.

So, based on recent patterns and who's likely to be watching tomorrow, here's where I think the big semi-final points from the UK televote are going, and the reasons:

12 points - Turkey (Turks in UK.)
10 points - Sweden (Fan fave.)
8 points - Malta (We love Malta, and it's plucky Chiara again.)


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