sidewalk social science and the Eurovision

Amongst various leisurely pursuits–many of which may well be things in the past, thanks to my recent surgery (snowboarding, skiing, biking, bodysurfing, alas)–I have one guilty pleasure: the Eurovision Song Contest. But even when it comes to something officially categorized as “light entertainment”, I can’t help but intellectualize it. A bit. I’m a member, for example. of the Eurovision Research Network, a heterogenous group of academics and fans who examine all sorts of issues related to the Contest™ with respect to culture, politics, and identity. This is very much a niche research interest. For me it remains mostly a hobby.

I have, marginally more seriously, delved into the realm of Eurovision “journalism”. Years ago I was an editor for ESCToday.com. I’ve also co-written a couple of articles about the Eurovision for the Advocate online, including an overview of the Contest and an analysis of the Grand Final in 2006.

Currently I do it bit of writing for ESCInsight.com. Ewan contacted me for some assistance critically appraising some quantitative research literature. To date I’ve written two articles for the site:

  1. Does the draw (order of appearance) impact how well an entry does in the Eurovision final–in particular, does it impact who wins?
  2. How might a tweaking of the ranking system for this year’s Contest impact the final results?

This is much more akin to knowledge translation than research. But very fun to write. Working through some of the descriptive statistics is a nice way to keep that part of my brain fresh.

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Malmø Sweden on 19 May (07h 20 May in Auckland). Unlike last year, where the favourite–where Sweden’s Loreen and Euphoria romped to a massive victory before becoming a global hit–there’s no obvious winner this year. My favourite this year is Hungary, but I suspect we will be in Norway, Russia, Ireland or Germany in 2014. But I’ve only predicted one winner in 15 years (Sweden last year)…