A magnificent show is what Russia is offering us tonight. An imposing opening featuring Dima Bilan performing last-year’s winning song. So far we’ve heard 8 songs, most of them deserving to win. Who is going to win tonight? Hang on till after 12.00 CET, when the winner will be announced.

Winning the Eurovision Song Contest has become a highly debated topic. Fans and professionals from all over Europe and around the world discuss this event massively. I am constantly amazed to find out that serious reserachers like Oxford scientists and students make extensive research on Eurovision and publish papers on it. It seems like this European event plays a major role in the cultural life of the old continent.

Much discontent has been voiced over the televoting procesure, which was introduced just several years ago. In fact, the major changes came after 1993, when fresh former Yugoslav republics emerged on the political and Eurovision map. 2004 competition in Istanbul also saw many changes as more and more countries showed interest in the Contest. There was the need to centralise the event, which gave ground to the appearance of a centralised voting system.

Block voting, as it is called, could only appear with the new countries taking part in Eurovision. Many experiments, however, show that even if the results of the post-1993 countries (the participants who took part after 1993) are not taken into account, the final ranking will still be the same. According to Julian Vignoles from RTE, who made a so-called ‘pre – ’93 Experiment’:

Leaving out the votes of mainly Eastern ‘new countries’ who joined from the early 90’s, the 2007 result would have been:

  1. Serbia
  2. Ukraine
  3. Turkey
  4. Russia
  5. Bulgaria

instead of : Serbia, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Bulgaria

So, what did it take for Russia to win this year? Even with the neighbour voting, this would have brought Dima Bilan only 72 points form the “kindest neighbours” – Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. This is a far cry from what got Russia to the top – 272 points coming from 36 countries. In fact, this is the number of countries supporting Russia last year as well. So, if it’s neigbour or diaspora voting, why does Ireland, Turkey, Norway, Andorra, and Spain gave Russia 5 points each. I don’t know many Russians living in Romania too, or in Serbia, Cyprus, or Montenegro for that matter. Greece also supported the winner with 7 points, just like Slovenia and Malta. Hungary voted for Russia as well, giving it second place (10 points).

Numbers can go on forever, and perhaps many Russians live all over Europe and click on their mobiles like mad during the televoting window. But many other nations do it as well. I don’t feel like discussing the quality of “Believe” or Bilan’s performance. Even if it were only for Plyuschenko that many people voted for, I, as a modest viewer, thought that if the Russian team brought these professionals on stage, then they respect the audience.

We are definitely about to experience a huge show in Moscow next year, don’t you think?