Turin 2022: Mr Eurovision Awards & Australian TV Ratings

11 August 2022

First, the good news. After a depressing few years, TV ratings in Australia improved, with the Sunday evening replay of the grand final returning to the top 20 shows on its day. The replay averaged 204,000, so that’s about 25% up on last year’s dreadful 165,000, making it the 19th most watch show of the day. The live show early Sunday morning peaked at 190,000 when the winner was announced, so that’s 20,000 up on last year’s 170,000 peak and made it the 20th most watch “show”. It’s worthwhile noting that since Eurovision typically runs overtime, the peak rating is often for the show scheduled after Eurovision, which could be weather or foreign language news. While there was no average rating for this year’s live grand final, last year’s was 123,000 and so 2022 would calculate to around 150,000.

United Kingdom's Sam Ryder performs Space Man at Turin 2022 Eurovision Song Contest
United Kingdom’s Sam Ryder performs Space Man at Turin 2022 – Image: EBU / Corinne Cumming

While scraping into the top 20 might seem a low bar given the hype about Australia’s obsession with the Eurovision Song Contest, in reality, it’s always been a niche event, even during the years of its record ratings. That record for a grand final of 595,000 in 2013 pales compared to the one million-plus for each of two 6pm nightly news on the leading commercial channels (7 and 9), or shows like The Voice that can attract 1.5 million during the season and over 2 million for the finale, while 4 million watch the AFL (Australian Rules football) grand final.

When talking Eurovision TV ratings, we must keep them in perspective and really only judge them against previous years. The ambitious goal SBS wanted to reach 1 million viewers for the grand final, which was a key plank behind the lobbying to get Australia invited, looks unlikely to ever happen. Even the novelty of the first year (2015 with Guy Sebastian and the first year ESC was televised live) fell well short with 592,000 for the replay and 263,00 live. Since then, ratings have steadily dropped, to their low point of last year. Ironically, Australia’s involvement has coincided with this drop in ratings, which is likely the direct result of Australians determining their interest in the show by the candidate they send, whereas before 2015 the event was seen in broader terms and with more wonder.

For the semi finals, the repeat on Saturday night of the second semi averaged 221,000 to be ranked 16th on the day, and was fifth in the key demographic of ages 25-54 and second for ages 16-39. There’s no figures for the first semi replay on Friday night, nor either of the live semi final broadcasts on Wednesday and Friday morning. In broad terms, that means none were in the top 20 for the day. For some context, the 20th rank show on Friday night was Network 10 News with 262,000 while Nine News at 5pm rated 162,000 for its 20th position. Even if the first semi final replay was watched by 221,000 like the second semi final, that still would place it outside the top 20 on Friday night.

One thing SBS has wisely done in 2022 is return Eurovision replays to a stacked format over Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. The experiment of showing them on the same evening as the live show (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) broke that feeling of a Eurovision weekend fiesta and lost many casual and opportunistic viewers. That related especially to the Saturday night replay of semi final 2, which benefitted the most due to lack of competition, and from people looking for a bit of fun on their Saturday night. It was traditionally the highest rated Eurovision show of the Eurovision weekend, and produced the single highest ratings figures too, with 640,000 viewers in 2015 and 599,000 in 2016. It needed to return.

Ratings Source: TV Tonight

Now to the fun part…

Mr Eurovision Awards

The Cool Vibes Awards for Best Song

The winner is…

Sweden – Cornelia Jakobs – Hold Me Closer

Cornelia captured me with her first bite, when I saw her in the first semi final of Melodifestivalen, and that bite stayed forever. In fact, despite essentially reprising the same stage presentation over and over through Melodfestivalen and then Eurovision, her bite only got stronger and stronger.

The Tornero Award for Best Artistry

We look more at stage presentation here, and it doesn’t need to be complicated either. It’s what works or magnifies the song. After considering Maro from Portugal (Saudade Saudade), Czechia’s We Are Domi (Lights Off), Croatia’s Mia Dimsic (Guilty Pleasure), Greece’s Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord (Die Together) and, of course, Sweden…

The winner is…

Spain – Chanel – SloMo

Let’s just say that Chanel really kicked butt on stage. Always a strong song, it was lifted to stratospheric heights with one of the most energetic routines ever.

The Open Your Heart Award for Best Pure Song

This is purely about the song and nothing else! If it wasn’t obvious for all these months…

The winner is…

Sweden – Cornelia Jakobs – Hold Me Closer

It still is the one song when I listen to it, I really listen to it, and still discover new pieces of delight from it!

The Lenna Kuurmaa Award for Best Voice

This is more about tone and sound of the voice, not raw vocal ability. Maro from Portugal, Emma from Malta, Dominika of We Are Domi from Czechia, Mia from Croatia, S10 from Netherlands and Jeremie from Belgium were among the considerations.

The winner is…

North Macedonia – Andrea – Circles

Yes, one of the forgotten songs, and voices! Andrea has a really sexy, deep tone, and that was a key reason behind this one of my favourite songs for 2022.

The Polina Gagarina Award for Best Vocals

Now the reverse: more on quality, less on tone. Poland’s Ochman was up there, as was Azerbaijan’s Nadir Rustamli.

The winner is…

Greece – Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord – Die Together

For a song that most of us thought we’d die together of boredom because it initially seemed so laborious, Amanda transformed it towards the end with her superlative vocals. That translated to plenty of douze points from the jury too, where she finished sixth.

The Igranka Award for Biggest Surprise

While Greece surprised with their good result, San Marino (Achille Lauro – Stripper) with their chaotic display, Ireland (Brooke – That’s Rich) with an accomplished presentation, Portugal with their enchanting reprisal, and Estonia’s boring Stefan becoming smiling Stefan, the biggest surprise was actually among one of the favourites.

The winner is…

United Kingdom – Sam Ryder – Space Man

Yes, the real winner of Eurovision if you ignore the absurd sympathy vote Ukraine got, the fear for the UK’s high hopes heading into Eurovision was whether it would all end in disappointment as in previous years. Sam didn’t let us down, with a consummate performance, especially with the set design and guitar solo. You could also include Spain in this category of a big surprise as they’ve had their high hopes dashed plenty of times too. This year will forever remain with me the year we were denied a battle between three high quality songs and performances (UK, Spain and Sweden) because of Europe’s insane urge to vote for Ukraine in ridiculous numbers. There’s some consolation in that the UK will host Eurovision 2023, and that Sam Ryder will get the extra credit he deserves.

The Lost And Found Award for Biggest Disappointment

My heart says Croatia because Guilty Pleasure was one of my favourite songs. In reality, they were a long shot to qualify and I still felt that following their performance, despite it being interesting and Mia so good. While I expected more from Netherlands’ S10, she did reach the final and presented her song well.

The winner is…

Austria – LUM!X feat. Pia Maria – Halo

Of course, this was one I feared would miss the final, yet I hoped like hard it wouldn’t. The disappointment was knowing all along that Pia’s weak vocals would hurt their chances to qualify and so it proved. The big contrast is to Czechia, which had a similar high energy dance song, except with a strong vocal performance, and qualified easily.

The Piret Järvis Award for Hottest Girl

The candidates are Mia from Croatia, Dominika from Czechia, Emma from Malta and Cornelia from Sweden

The winner is…

Malta – Emma Muscat

I don’t know. With her smile, her youth, and her saccarhine sweet song, there’s just something so infectious about her, in a good way! Dominika is probably more my type, while I’d get warm fuzzy feelings if Cornelia could to physically hold me closer.

The Victor Crone Award for Hunkiest Guy

The winner is…

Estonia – Smiling Stefan

Estonians seem to win this award often. They won it last year with Uku Suviste and, of course, Victor Crone, while Swedish, did represent Estonia. The only other candidate was the UK’s Sam Ryder.

The Nina Sublatti Award for Best Outfit

The winner is…

Spain – Chanel

More for the lack of outfit than anything. Although, I must say, Croatia’s Mia was gorgeous in that pink dress.

The Marija from Eye Cue Award for Worst Outfit

The winner is…

Albania – Ronela Hajati

Again, more for the lack of outfit than anything. I guess it’s about context: it made sense for Spain given the style and presentation, whereas Albania was gratuitious flaunting of skin and groping of crotches. Come on! We need some standards.

The Natalia Gordienko Award for Best Personality

The winner is…

Malta – Emma Muscat

Emma’s just so bubbly and fun! There’s something really infectious about her. Have I said that before?

The Tick-Tock Award for Biggest Semi Final Injustice

This was new category added last year due to the horrendous injustice of Croatia’s Albina non qualification, and guess what?

The winner is…

Croatia – Mia Dimsic – Guilty Pleasure

Croatia wins it again! While no where near the injustice like Albina suffered last year, it was still bad considering some those that qualified ahead of her. Croatia was 11th in the first semi final at 28 points behind Iceland. In SF2, San Marino was a slight surprise in 14th place given their crazy performance, while I hoped for much better for Ireland and Malta in 15th and 16th, respectively.

The Estonian Stacked Shipping Container Award for Best Postcard

The winner is…

None

The postcards were montages of various sites and attractions in Italy, with an image of the artist superimposed somewhere. Cheap and lame!

The Public Vote Smackdown Award for Best Moment

Yes, that vote reading sequence at Rotterdam 2021 will go down eternally into Eurovision lore. The first four read of the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Netherlands all got zero points. Then San Marino and Bulgaria got smacked with low votes along the way, with Malta, one of the big favourites, severely smacked towards the end. Of course, Italy had to endure a nervous wait, as they hoped none of final three countries would leapfrog ahead of them, before being announced as the winner.

The Winner Is…

The Grand Final Public Vote Announcement

While not as brutal as last year, it took until Switzerland (12th with the jury and 14th to be read) for the first and only zero points, before the big smackdown came. Finishing 9th with the jury and 17th to be read, Australia’s high hopes of a good result were brutally terminated with a miserable 2 points. Sorry Australia, it doesn’t look like Europe wants you. Every year there’s been a disparity between the jury vote and the public vote – and it’s been huger except in 2019 – and provided the final memorable moment of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest in Turin.

More about the category title holders

Turin 2022: Grand Final Review – Kalush Orchestra win it for Ukraine

Turin 2022: My Top 40 & Fab Five

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