Is Eurovision more about music or politics - a University of Portsmouth professor reveals all

SuRie from Great Britain performs Storm in Lisbon during a dress rehearsal for the Eurovision Song Contest Picture: AP Photo/Armando Franca
SuRie from Great Britain performs Storm in Lisbon during a dress rehearsal for the Eurovision Song Contest Picture: AP Photo/Armando Franca
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Is Eurovision about music or maths?

Many believe that Eurovision voting is purely political, but a University of Portsmouth professor thinks the truth may be more complicated than that.

Professor Andrew Osbaldestin

Professor Andrew Osbaldestin

Professor Andrew Osbaldestin, head of maths, said: ‘The thing that has been looked at in some detail is what everybody who watches Eurovision knows, namely that certain countries have a tendency to vote for each other. For example Greece and Cyprus.

‘There are several other “cartels” too. They don’t always give top votes, but there are clearly preferences.’

So it is clear that politics plays a part at Eurovision, Osbaldestin said. ‘It’s what we do with international relations that count more than the song itself.’

But he said: ‘Somewhere along the line the quality of the song and the performance plays a role.’

And that there are certain trends that can be seen among successful entries such as tempo, key changes and the use of lyrics.

Speaking about Britain’s chances this year, Professor Osbaldestin said: ‘Our entry is a good one but I don’t think it will go far. Fingers crossed we’ll end up on the left side of the board.’

Would he be watching the Eurovision finals? ‘Definitely, I’ll be watching at home with my family.’ He added: ‘I switch off the maths brain and enjoy the show.’

The final will broadcast from 8pm tonight on BBC One.