Few countries do take the Eurovision’s participation as serious as Malta. For a country which tends to have a divisive perspective on anything under the sun, the music festival provides a rare occasion of national unity. The anger, bitterness and frustrations after every festival is witness to this.
Enthusiasts believe that no matter how good Malta’s participation is, there is an underlying current which puts Malta at a disadvantage, so much that many question whether the country should participate further.
The most common argument used in this regard, is the collusion between neighbours. This comes evident with every declaration of votes. However research proves this ‘hunch’.
The Economist describes the Eurovision as an example of how Europe is breaking up. “Where once the continent was connected by a web of tight relationships, it is now fragmenting into peripheral alliances. The core countries are becoming more isolated; collusion among voting blocs is on the rise.”
The Economist claims that the data published in a paper last year by three researchers at the University of Central Florida, show that neighbourly tensions tend to be outweighed by collusive voting, defined as a consistently greater exchange of points between two countries than would be expected by random allocation. The fraternising has increased sharply since 1997, when votes by the general public were introduced to supplement those cast by juries of so-called experts. The trend has been most marked among adjacent countries at the continent’s edges. In the past 20 years the Nordic bloc has won seven times; former Soviet states, six times.
The “Big Five”, meanwhile, have rarely co-operated and often been shunned by everybody else. Their contestants have won only once (Lena, a German singer, triumphed in 2010 with “Satellite”). They have finished last in the final nine times, with null points in 2003 and 2015.