For an object lesson to future national finals producers on how NOT to put together the process of finding your winner, you should look not further than Spain's little end of show farrago last night. It had already been a pretty weak and over-long event, with an interminably long stretch between the songs finishing and the scores coming in, and not even a mini-jukebox musical of past Spanish Eurovisios and a surprise performance from a delightfully creaky Karina could lure your attention away from the other three screens you doubtlessly had open at the same time.
But when it did finally come to the voting, oh boy did they cods it up!
The judges came first. For some time before the final it had become clear that two of the three of them favoured the floppy-haired beach squirt Manel for the ticket to Kiev. So it wasn't then surprising that they both put him firmly at the top of their piles. However, it was a little more suspect when they both put the crowd-pleasing fan love sponge Mirela plumb last on their lists. Stranger still that they both offered exactly the same order of acts with their votes. The middle judge looked noticably put out at their judgement, and bunged Mirela at the top of his heap. At the end of this process, when the crowd started to cotton on what was going on, you could clearly hear the booing from the rowdy crowd.
Then came the public votes. With Manel only coming third in the public poll, with was suddenly apparent that whoever came top of this vote would tie with Manel at the head of the leaderboard. And then what would happen. The wardrobe-like host began to look nervous as he read out the results. With the pre-match favourite LeKlein being called out first, it was suddenly clear that Manel and Mirela had tied at the top. For one long, acheing moment, not a single human in the place knew what to do, and the now-angry crowd began beying Mirela's name.
Then, in a move rarely seen in a national final, they chose the jury to decide the winner, and not the public vote. Well it was clear where this was going, and the booing and cat-calling only got louder, and upon his inevitable win, Manel looked visibly put out by the events as he prepared for his reprise. Heck someone had even hidden his guitar.
Even in these days of hooky East European results it is unusual for flawed voting system to be so blindingly apparent. It wasn't as if either song was especially good, but Mirela's Euroclub bop was clearly going to find more favour among the fans in the hall. Reports abound of the offending jury members being jostled on their way out of the studio.
It all made Sanremo look rather staid and organised...