How does Eurovision voting work?

The contest uses a fiendishly complex voting system

Olly Alexander performs on stage during Eurovision 2024 dress rehearsals
Olly Alexander will represent the UK at Eurovision 2024. (TT/AFP via Getty)

The Eurovision Song Contest is back this weekend, with Years & Years singer Olly Alexander set to represent the UK in Malmo, Sweden.

The pop star will be hoping to top the leaderboard with his track, Dizzy, after the previous UK entrant Mae Muller finished second-last last year.

But Eurovision's douze points voting system is fiendishly complex. Ahead of Saturday's grand final, get up to speed with how it works.

Loreen poses with her trophy after winning Eurovision 2023 in Liverpool
Swedish star Loreen took home the Eurovision trophy last year. (Getty)

Eurovision 2024 voting will take place during the grand final on Saturday, 11 May, with 26 countries set to compete for the coveted trophy.

Fans can cast a maximum of 20 votes over the phone, by text or via the Eurovision app, which is available via iOS and Android.

Voting will open shortly before the first performance – hosts Sweden are opening the show – and will remain open throughout the show and for up to 40 minutes after final song.

Read more: How many times has the UK won Eurovision?

One quirk of the voting system is that viewers cannot pick their own country's entry. This means Olly Alexander will have to rely on support from across Europe if the UK is to win.

The system has undergone several changes since Eurovision began in 1956. In 2023, voting was opened up to viewers from countries outside the contest for the first time. Their votes are converted into points that have the same weight as one participating country.

Public votes only make up 50% of the total vote. The other half is determined by a professional jury of music experts in each country.

Each jury dishes out points ranging from the maximum douze points (12) to nil points (zero).

The results of each jury will be announced by a national spokesperson from each country, typically a TV or film personality. This year the UK's representative is actor Joanna Lumley.

These scores will be combined with the public points, providing one score for each song, and the country with the largest number of votes will be crowned the winner.

There can be huge differences between the judges' and viewers' choices. The UK's Sam Ryder won the jury vote in 2022, but finished in fifth place with the public. He came second overall.

The Eurovision 2024 final is on BBC One at 8pm on Saturday, 11 May