Following the excitement of Eurovision, I've been spending a bit of time looking into ways to try and make Eurovision as exciting as possible by choosing the order in which the votes are given.
As ever, there was a slow build-up period as I tried to get the data into a suitable format. Once again I was parsing Wikipedia, and some small errors in the current page set me back a little.
However, a bit of 'massaging' later and the data was about ready.
Then I got to have some fun by thinking up ways to make 'excitement' measurable.
The results are available on Heroku where there are a number of strategies adopted.
Of particular interest is the 'intended' strategy which is how Eurovision should have gone if there hadn't been any technical problems. Very similar is the 'broadcast' strategy which is what actually happened.
Trying to keep Sweden (the eventual winner) as low as possible is a fun one as it looks as though Italy is going to run away with it during the first half, until they are overtaken around the 30th vote.
Other strategies such as keeping the leader and second place as close as possible and keeping the leader and third place as close as possible work very well and would definitely keep the audience guessing. However they look a little suspicious with just how close things are.
Regardless of what strategy is chosen though, it's impossible to stop Sweden from running away with it after about round 31. Effectively their '12' votes are being postponed to the end and they all (12 in total) appear at the end of the voting.
Anyway, it's been a fun exercise, and I might submit an alternative algorithm for next year.
[Image credit: Steve Sewell]