Eurovision analysis: Blaming bloc voting just doesn't add up

Ireland's Nicky Bryne didn't make it past the Eurovision semi-finals last night, but protestations of "Bloc Voting" just don't add up, writes Karl Fradgley.

Yes we all know our Nicky didn't make it last night. He performed well and though all the Irish fans in the audience had everything crossable crossed for him, no-one was really surprised that we didn't qualify.

Irish fans were out in force and it would have been great to have Ireland to cheer in the final but alas it was not to be.

Eurovision analysis: Blaming bloc voting just doesn't add up

When Georgia was called out - we all knew the game was up.

Immediately cries of "Political Voting" and "Bloc Voting" could be heard from moaners all around Ireland and this morning I find myself yet again trying to explain to people, who clearly didn't watch the show, that ... that you will not do well if you don't have a good song ... it doesn't matter where you are from.

Seriously though, let's look at the actual facts for a moment.

Some 36 countries took part in the semi-finals.

Breaking them into geographical blocs you have the Balkans - Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Albania, Greece, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Montenegro.

Only Serbia , Bulgaria and Croatia made it through.

Croatia for the first time in nine years, Bulgaria for the first time in 11 years and Bosnia and Greece have failed for the first time ever - despite having neighbours in their semi-finals.

The Baltics - Lithuania and Latvia - qualified and Estonia didn't. It is worth noting that Latvia has been one of the favourites to win for a while.

The Western or 'Old' countries - Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Malta, Austria and Switzerland.

Of these, only Ireland and Switzerland missed out.

The Eastern or Ex-Soviet bloc, made up of qualifiers Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary Armenia, Georgia and non qualfiers Moldova and Belarus. Again, bear in mind that Russia and Ukraine are favourites to win.

Cyprus and Australia made it through and San Marino didn't.

In Scandinavia - Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland - none of them qualified and they would probably be more likely to vote for each other than anyone else.

So where is all this political voting that the world is decrying? I don't see it. I just don't.

I was there in the arena last night and the loudest cheers were for Australia, Ukraine and Belgium - that's about as geographically split as you can get!

I suggest that instead of blaming the Polish for Ireland not qualifying, how about Ireland start entering some good stuff instead?

How about we smile and cheer for the phenomenal opening sequence we all watched last night - the audience chanting Petra Mede's name, the happy faces, the positive energy and the very ethos of the contest underlined in their logo 'Come Together'.

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