#Eurovision 2019 Semi-Final One: an Analysis

As is tradition, the EBU released the detailed scores from all three competitions as this year’s Grand Final came to a close. John Egan drills down into the numbers for the first semi-final.

In our analysis of the Grand Final draw we surmised either Greece or Australia won the first semi-final. Indeed it was Kate Miller-Heidke and her soaring Zero Gravity that topped the table. Australia did not come first in either component score: they were second in the televote and third with the juries. The Czech Republic’s Friend of a Friend gave Lake Malawi the jury title; Iceland’s Hatari beat their way to the top of the televote with Hatrid min Sigra. Greece, it turns out, qualified in fifth place.

Rank Draw Country Total Jury Televote
1 12  Australia 261 121 140
2 6  Czech Republic 242 157 85
3 13  Iceland 221 70 151
4 14  Estonia 198 65 133
5 16  Greece 185 131 54
6 5  Slovenia 167 74 93
7 9  Serbia 156 91 65
8 17  San Marino 150 26 124
9 1  Cyprus 149 95 54
10 8  Belarus 122 78 44
11 4  Poland 120 60 60
12 7  Hungary 97 65 32
13 10  Belgium 70 50 20
14 11  Georgia 62 29 33
15 15  Portugal 51 8 43
16 2  Montenegro 46 31 15
17 3  Finland 23 9 14

The top 10 across both components shared nine entries. The juries had Hungary in 9th place; the public had Poland in 8th. But when those delegations total scores were added together, they could only manage 11th and 12th. The outlier qualifier was Belarus, whose 6th place with the juries came with 78 points (they liked it, liked it). While ZENA’s televote ranking was 11th (44 points), ulltimately ZENA pipped Tulia for tenth overall by two points. Ouch!

Say What What What

San Marino’s Serhat was not loved by jurors, as their 15th rank and 26 points indicates. But Say Na Na Na’s televote score was huge—124 points—so Serhat qualified easily. There has been something of a buzz online that this was mostly a Turkish diaspora score. We’ve crunched those numbers.

Here’s the voting countries known to have a significant Turkish diaspora and their televotes to San Marino (Spain, Israel and France voted in this semi-fina)l:

  • France: Null points
  • Cyprus: 8 points
  • Australia: 6 points
  • Greece (Thrace): 4 points
  • Belgium: 2 points

That is a total of 20 points out of 124 televote points. Any diaspora effect was minor, accounting for no more than 16 per cent of Serhat’s score—assuming that every single televote in these countries was diaspora alone (not likely).

But did this make a difference, in terms of who qualified from the semi-final? The next ranked televote entry was Slovenia, whose 93 televote points were 32 points back. If we deduct those 20 points the televote rankings would not have changed. In terms of aggregate score, if you reduced Serhat’s 150 points to 130, he still would have qualified ninth rather than eight.

Austria, Azerbaijan, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, North Macedonia, and Denmark all have significant Turkish communities…and all were voting in the Thursday semi-final.

I don’t like the entry. But San Marino earned their place in the Grand Final.


We had three of the former constituent republics of Yugoslavia in this semi-final: Montenegro, Slovenia and Serbia. They shared a bit of televote love, but that’s about it. Montenegro failed to qualify, though they received most of their points from Serbia (12 jury; 8 televote) and Slovenia (7 televote; zero jury). Conversely, the Montenegrin televote awards 12 to Serbia and 8 to Slovenia; their jury gave Serbia seven points and Slovenia a single point. Not the sort of pumped up neighbourly support we saw a decade ago—which, to be fair, rarely benefited Slovenia.

Slovenia’s Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl took Sebi to sixth place, including fifth in the televote and 7th with the juries. That included 10 Serbian televote and 7 Serbian jury points.

Serbia’s Nevena Božović took Kruna to seventh overall (fifth with juries; seventh with televoters).  As is often with the leader of a voting bloc, the Slovene and Montenegrin televoters both awarded Kruna their douze points. Montegrin double-doubled them in the jury vote too; the Slovenian jury awarded Božović seven points.

A fair bit of love, but enough diversity in terms of rankings to refute any argument that the ex-Yugoslav bloc dominates the semi-final process anymore.

Speaking of blocs…


How did the other three main blocs (Scandi, russosphere, ex-Yugo) do, in terms of qualification from this semi-final? Decidedly mixed, it turns out, not unlike the ex-Yugos: mixed results.

The Scandinavian bloc included Estonia in this year’s pot, which makes particular sense when the singer is a Swede. Estonia’s Victor Crone qualified fourth from this semi-final. Storm only netted 65 jury points, but a nice big televote score of 133 points put them third with the Tuesday night public. Iceland gave Estonia 7 points from both the jury and the public. Finland’s public gave Estonia 10 points; their jury offered 6 more. But these aren’t unusually high marks compared to the rest of the scores that night.

Iceland’s Hatari were given a bit of jury love from Estonia (2 points) and Finland (4 points). But Hatrid min sigra topped the televote, including douze points from Finland…but only six points from Estonia. They qualified third overall.

Alas, Darude’s Look Away proved prophetic. Finland finished last in the semi-final. All 14 televote points came from the bloc: douze points from Estonia and two more from Iceland. None of their nine jury points came from the bloc. In this semi-final, the Scandi bloc wasn’t super-efficient in supporting its members, yet two of them still qualified. Song quality? Performance quality? Staging? Impossible!  😉

The russosphere bloc had between four and five members, depending on whether you include Cyprus and it’s increasing Russophone community and this year’s artist, Tamta, is originally from Georgia. We also have Belarus, Georgia, Israel and Estonia. Estonia’s population is around 25 per cent Russophone: Israel has a massive Russophone community too. Israel only voted in this semi-final as this year’s hosts.

Let’s start with Cyprus. Georgia awarded Replay 10 televote and null jury points. Israel delivered eight televote and four jury points. Estonia awarded Tamta eight jury points alone; Belarus awarded her a mere 4 jury points. A total of 34 of Cyprus’ 149 points came from this bloc: 22 per cent of her total, from 4/19 delegations around 21 per cent). Almost perfectly proportional!

Estonia received 12 jury and six televote points from Belarus, eight jury and eight televote points from Georgia, and 10 jury and 10 televote points from Israel. Cyprus only awarded Storm 7 televote points.   That’s a total of 61 points of Crone’s 198 total points (31 per cent). Hmmm…

ZENA’s Like It qualified tenth overall. Their scores included 11 points from Estonia (10 jury; 1 public), 10 from Georgia (3 jury; 7 public), five from Israel (1 jury; 4 public), and six televote points from Cyprus. That’s a total of 33 of 122 total points—roughly 27 per cent. There’s perhaps a slight advantage there above an anticipated contribution to total points of 21 per cent.

However…if you calculate 6 per cent of Belarus’ total points (27%-21%) you get 7 points.

ZENA qualified over Poland’s Tulia by a mere 2 points. Ouch. But Like It is pop music of the sort very popular globally at the moment. Fire of Love is not.


There were some surprises from this semi-final, but there’s no evidence of anyone having qualified who did not deserve to do so. There’s also no stand out non-qualifier that seems to have been ripped off. It’s a Contest: it has a competitive element and there are points to be won. 

Will have the second semi-final analysis up ASAP!