How does Europe Make Its Mind Up? Connections, cliques, and compatibility between countries in the Eurovision Song Contest
We investigate the complex relationships between countries in the Eurovision Song Contest, by recasting past voting data from 1992-2003 in terms of a dynamical network. Our analysis shows that the UK is remarkably compatible, or ‘in tune’, with other European countries during the period of study. Equally surprising is our finding that some other core countries, most notably France, are significantly ‘out of tune’ with the rest of Europe during the same period. In addition, our analysis enables us to confirm a widely-held belief that there are unofficial cliques of countries; however, these cliques are not always the expected ones, nor can their existence be explained solely on the grounds of geographical proximity. The complexity in this system emerges via the group ‘self-assessment’ process, and in the absence of any central controller. One might therefore speculate that such complexity is representative of many real-world situations in which groups of ‘agents’ establish their own inter-relationships and hence ultimately decide their own fate. Possible examples include groups of individuals, societies, political groups or even governments.