• Dami Im at Eurovision 2016 (Photo by Rolf Klatt for SBS) (SBS)Source: SBS
Jess Carniel crunches the numbers and breaks down the voting stats to discover just how much love Europe had for Australia at Eurovision 2016. Take THAT Graham Norton! #JusticeforAustralia
Jess Carniel

15 May 2016 - 10:27 PM  UPDATED 16 May 2016 - 10:45 AM

This year heralded changes to the voting system that were subject to much criticism in the lead up to the show. Rather than reporting combined jury and popular votes, these were divided and reported separately, meaning that both fans and the juries would be awarding douze points. Each country’s televotes were then combined and reported from lowest to highest.

Eurovision announces the biggest change to its voting system in 40 years
An update to the Eurovision Song Contest’s complex voting system marks the biggest change since the “douze points” system was introduced in 1975.

Fans feared that the changes would ruin long-held traditions that had developed around the idiosyncratic voting system, while the Swedish producers and the EBU assured us that the new format would increase tension and possibly mitigate concerns about bloc voting.

I was a sceptic, but the producers were right.

Australia’s clear lead in the professional jury vote and its fourth place in the popular vote meant that Australian fans waited with bated breath until the bitter end. We were joined in the nail-biting tension by Eurovision (and political) rivals Russia and Ukraine, who took out the first and second places of the popular vote respectively.

Eurovision 2016: And the winner is...UKRAINE
The winner of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest is officially UKRAINE.

The votes are in, Australia, and we came second, but how did this happen and what does it mean?

As I know that sitting down with an Excel spreadsheet may not be everyone’s favourite way to spend a Sunday morning, I took one for the team.

Australia received a total of 511 votes. The professional juries awarded us 320 votes, beating Ukraine in second place by 109 points. In the televote, Australia came in third with 191 points, beaten by Ukraine with 361 points and Ukraine with 323 points.

How Australia voted in the Eurovision 2016 Grand Final official results
Here's how Australia's Eurovision vote contributed toward the final outcome.

Although Russia won the televote by 32 points – and beat Australia by 170 points – it is hardly time to sob quietly into our pillows about how Europe doesn’t like us. On the contrary, an even closer examination of the results reveals that Europeans – both the professional juries and the televoting populace – really responded to Dami’s “Sound of Silence”.

Watch Dami's incredible Grand Final performance below:

Of the 41 professional juries eligible to vote for Australia (our jury being the 42nd and therefore ineligible to vote for Dami), 38 awarded points to Dami. The three that resisted her charms were the Czech Republic, Ireland, and San Marino. (Fair cop from Ireland – our jury didn’t award them any points in the semi final).

To put this into further perspective, 23 juries voted for Ukraine, placing them second in frequency of voting as well as in total number of votes from the professional juries, while Russia received votes from only 19 juries.

Australia was amongst those juries that did not allocate points to Russia – “You Are the Only One” ranked 18th in our jury's totals, with Myf Warhurst being the only judge to place it in her top ten.

Australia’s Eurovision 2016 jury and spokesperson is revealed!
Aussie fan favourite Shannon Noll WILL be joining team Eurovision after all – along with Monica Trapaga, Myf Warhurst, James Mathison and Craig Porteils to form the Australian Jury. Making a triumphant return to her starring role as Australian Eurovision spokesperson will be SBS’s own Lee Lin Chin.

In the televote, the only countries to not award Australia points were Armenia, France, Italy, and Montenegro. These were all countries that had awarded jury votes; Australia did gain popular votes from those countries where jury votes were not awarded.

We were most popular in Albania, Malta, and Sweden, who each awarded us 12 points. The Scandinavian countries generally responded well, with Denmark awarding 10, and Iceland and Norway awarding 8 points each. Australia was less popular the further east you travelled – but still popular enough to be awarded points.

Russia, in comparison, did receive televotes from all countries, including douze points from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine. Iceland was the only country that did not award popular votes to Ukraine, but many of the countries that had awarded the top prize to Russia gave their ten points to Ukraine.

Certainly there are arguments to be made that these results show evidence that the new system has not eradicated bloc voting, but it is also important to temper our cynicism. After all, Sergey Lazarev is a highly popular artist in the region (and highly fancied beyond it) and Jamala’s “1944” doubtless struck a strong emotional, musical and, dare I say, political chord with Eurovision fans. Nevertheless, the fact that the winning song of 2016 won neither the jury nor the televote will have some fuming. 

Further number crunching also indicates that Dami likely would have won under the old voting system. In response to this the hashtag #JusticeForAustralia has started trending in the Twittersphere – and not just from embittered Australians - but from all over Europe.

While I’m not inclined to read anything too nefarious into our relations with those countries who awarded Australia nul points, there is much to be interpreted from our successes.

Australia’s domination in the professional jury vote is a vindication of our pop music industry in a global arena.

Sweden’s douze points are a particularly ringing endorsement for songwriters DNA (Anthony Egizil and David Musumeci). As the whole production of Eurovision 2016 served to highlight – from the mash-up of global hits by Swedish artists to the appearance of Justin Timberlake performing a song co-written with Swedish songwriters – Sweden has quietly (or perhaps not so quietly) risen to dominance as a pop powerhouse.

And what does the popular vote signify? Australia may be halfway around the other side of the world from Europe, as Graham Norton helpfully pointed out to us the other day, but it turns out that the geographical divide can be overcome by a good song and an amazing performance.

Read more from Eurovision
How they built Dami Im's staging for Eurovision 2016
Get a glimpse at how they put together Dami's incredible staging for the Australian entry of Eurovision 2016.
Australia's Favourite Performance of the Eurovision 2016 Grand Final is....
It's official! The resaults from the SBS Prime Time Renault Rater are IN. Unsurprisingly, Australia's favourite performance from the Grand Final is .... Australia! This was followed close behind by Bulgaria and Belgium.
Comment: Sorry Graham Norton, but Australia's participation in Eurovision is not "stupid"
Britain's Eurovision presenter Graham Norton says it's "kind of stupid" that Australia is in Eurovision Song Contest. Here writer, academic, Aussie and lifelong Eurovision fan Jess Carniel responds to the criticism.