Eurovision Song Contest unveils rule changes

Eurovision Song Contest unveils rule changes

GENEVA - Agence France-Presse
Eurovision Song Contest unveils rule changes

The island of Refshaleoen in Copenhagen, Denmark, which will be transformed to Eurovision Island in time for the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest is seen in this photo taken from Eurovision official website.

The Eurovision Song Contest, an annual music extravaganza affectionately mocked for its voting system, will take place under new rules next year, organisers said on Monday.

The European Broadcasting Union said the names of jury members will for the first time be published a week ahead of the event and their votes will be released immediately after the winner is announced.

Some 26 countries take part in the final of the contest and the winner is decided half by jury and half by viewers around Europe.

With an estimated 125 million viewers, Eurovision is a bigger broadcasting event than U.S. football's Super Bowl.

But the voting after the show has been criticized as too predictable and politicized, with neighbors often awarding maximum points to each other regardless of the quality of the song performed.

Russia and Azerbaijan became locked in a diplomatic scandal after the 2013 Eurovision contest when it emerged that a "nul points" (zero points) snub to the Russian entry from Baku appeared to have been falsified.

Eurovision supervisor Jon Ola Sand said in a statement: "Fundamentally, the rules remain the same. However, increased openness enables the Eurovision Song Contest to build on its success." Organizers are still investigating reports of irregular voting during the 2013 contest, held in the Swedish city of Malmoe.

The 2013 event was won by Emmelie de Forest from Denmark with her rhythmic pop tune "Only Teardrops." She won a massive 281 points from viewers and jurors, comfortably beating the entry from Azerbaijan into second place.

Next year's extravaganza will take place in Copenhagen on May 10.