Change makes headlines across Europe

"It is time to take Eurovision seriously," writes Eurovision Song Contest critic Ewan Spence in a column for UK-based magazine The Stage. "For the UK to win again, we - the public and the BBC - need to believe that we can. That’s the goal for 2009," Spence confidently writes.

The story about the re-introduction of national juries in the Final of the Eurovision Song Contest made headlines in several countries, such as the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Estonia and Germany. Fan sites covering the contest reported on the change within minutes after made the official announcement, providing fans a platform to discuss the impact of jury involvement.

The change announced in the 2009 Final follows after changes introduced in the 2008 contest, when - for the first time ever - two Semi-Finals took place in the lead up to the Final of the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. 

To determine the impact of suggested neighbor- and diaspora voting, the EBU's voting partner Digame analyzed voting results and grouped the Semi-Finalists in poules. A draw held in January lead to two diverse Semi-Finals, increasing fairness and making the outcome less predictable. Televoters picked nine qualifiers in each Semi-Final, while the highest ranked non-qualified contestant in the back-up jury voting also qualified. 

Organizers, fans, media and viewers were overall excited about the outcome of the new Semi-Final format. The format introduced last year will also be used next year's Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Finals. 

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