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Eurovision: Who votes for who (and is it really predictable)?

By Claire Miller

It’s Eurovision, and the UK might finally be in with a chance! But have you ever wondered which countries always vote for each other - and never vote for the UK?

Currently, the UK is cautiously optimistic that we won’t repeat last year’s last place with ‘nul points’ at the grand final in Turin this Saturday evening. The betting odds suggest Sam Ryder might make it much higher up the leaderboard with his song Space Man.

Ukraine is the favourite, with predictions that hip hop act Kalush Orchestra, whose song Stefania blends modern rap and classical Ukrainian folk music, could win amid the ongoing Russian invasion of their country.

While global events may impact voting patterns a bit this year, sometimes in the past when countries come to give their scores, it can seem a little predictable. Some countries definitely appear to give top marks to the same places regularly.

Since 2000, Cyprus has awarded Greece the maximum 12 points 75% of the time it has been eligible to vote. Greece has returned the favour 60% of the time. When it took part, Andorra (which hasn’t competed since 2009), gave Spain 12 points five times out of six.

The United Kingdom gives Greece top points most often, but only 16% of the time, followed by 12 points to Lithuania 12% of the time. Australia is the UK’s best bet for 12 points (10% of eligible votes).

Since 2000, the biggest average scores have gone from Greece to Cyprus - an average of 11.0 points per voting opportunity in the years the country has voted, then 10.8 points from Moldova to Romania, and 10.7 points from Cyprus to Greece.

The UK’s closest relationship is with Ireland, with Ireland awarding the UK 4.8 points on average, this is followed by Malta, which gives us an average of 3.8 points, followed by 1.4 from Malta and Albania.

Montenegro is the least likely to give the UK points - handing out 0.1 points on average, followed by Sweden, which gives us just 0.2. The UK gives the most points to Bulgaria and Ireland - 7.1 on average - followed by 5.9 for Australia and 5.2 to Lithuania.

Since 2000, the UK has the lowest overall average score of any nation that has appeared in at least five finals, with 45.6 - that includes five last place performances, and two ‘nul points’. The highest average scorers since 2000 have been Bulgaria, with an average of 283.0 and Australia (252.6) - both of which performed well across a small number of appearances.

Last year’s winners, and this year’s hosts, Italy are the best performer among those who have more regularly made the finals in recent years, with an average overall score of 250.3. The average score is based on total points divided by number of appearances in the live final.

As the biggest contributors to the European Broadcasting Union, France, Germany, Spain, and the UK automatically get a place every year, with Italy joining this group in 2011. Up to 2003, the rest of the contestants in the final were decided by performance in the previous year, with poor performers relegated and replaced by other countries that hadn’t competed the year before.

The competition expanded to include a semi-final in 2004 to decide who got the spaces opened up by relegation, expanding the overall field to 36. This year, 38 countries are taking part.

Countries that take part in the competition are also allowed a vote, and since 2016 points from the televoting and the jury have been reported separately - massively increasing the overall points available and doubling the chances of picking up a maximum of 12 points. Average points awarded by countries, and chances of picking up 12 points are based on all the available opportunities to collect points, rather than final appearances.

Choose a country from the gadget below to find out the countries they love - and hate - to vote for. The analysis dates back to 2000 and only includes countries that have featured in the live finals.

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