Officials change Eurovision voting rules

BERLIN, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- New rules for voting in the Eurovision music competition are to be implemented in an effort to keep people from selecting a winner based solely on nationality.

The German publication Der Spiegel said that in recent years Eastern European Eurovision Song Contest fans have voted by phone in blocs, helping Eastern European countries dominate the international competition regardless of the talent of the contestants.


Voting patterns have affected the decision regarding where the competition is held and kept it largely in the former Eastern Bloc during the last decade.

Eurovision organizers decided to change the rules for 2009, so the viewer voting results will be combined with the decisions of juries, made up of people with musical backgrounds, from each country to determine the outcome, the newspaper said.

"Those who care (about the contest) will have had it up to here with the blatant political voting from the former satellites of the U.S.S.R. that awarded this year's event to Russia," the BBC's longtime Eurovision presenter, Terry Wogan, recently wrote in Britain's Sunday Telegraph.

Der Spiegel added that Wogan threatened to quit if changes weren't made.


The next Eurovision contest is slated to take place in Moscow May 16.

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