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article imageFrance demands changes in Eurovision voting

By Johnny Summerton     Jun 3, 2010 in Entertainment
Paris - The head of entertainment at France Television, Nicolas Pernikoff, is calling for a change in the way voting is conducted at the Eurovision Song Contest.
This year's Eurovision Song Contest might be over, but once again the issue of how the votes are tallied is making the headlines - at least in France.
According to a report in the weekly news magazine, Le Point (in French), Nicolas Pernikoff, the head of entertainment at France Television, is unhappy with the current 50-50 split between national juries and the viewing public.
Apparently, says Le Point, there were negotiations going on in the corridors of the hotel at which various delegations were staying during last weekend's contest in the Norwegian capital Oslo.
Alliances were created to exchange points and Twitter used to influence the vote of juries in countries who would be allocating points at the end of the competition.
"It's a scandal and we'll bring it up at the next committee meeting of Eurovision," said Pernikoff.
"I'll also put forward a motion that only the vote of the viewing public be taken into consideration," he added.
"Why should there be juries involved?"
Voting at Eurovision has long been a subject of controversy with accusations of political bias, skulduggery and geographical and cultural blocs playing their part in influencing the outcome.
It's a complicated process, perhaps most clearly explained by this year's official website.
Put briefly, the vote last Saturday began as the first contestant took to the stage and finished after the last of the 25 entries had been sung.
The tallies were then announced from around Europe; each of the 39 participating countries (including those who had been knocked out in the semi-finals) awarding points (from one to twelve) based on a 50-50 combination of televoting and national juries.
The system was one introduced by the European Broadcasting Union, under whose auspices Eurovision is produced, for the 2009 final with Svante Stockselius, executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest saying at the time that it would make the outcome of the competition "more interesting".
"Nothing is more democratic than the vote of the public," the official Eurovision website quotes Stockselius as saying when the decision to establish the mixed voting was announced.
"But a jury takes the opportunity to listen to the songs several times, before they make up their minds."
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