National selections vs Internal selections – which one gives a better result?

Over the years, countries have chosen their Eurovision entries in 2 different ways: national selections and internal selections. Between 2010 and 2015, more than 70 of the Eurovision entries were chosen internally and more than 150 songs were selected through a national selection. So we decided to take a look at which selection method is better – which of the two gives a better result in Eurovision? We only took into consideration the 2010-2015 editions of the Contest, as these are the years when both the juries and the televoters had a 50% say in the semi finals results.

First, let’s take a look at what happened each year in semi-final 1. We will first see the qualification rate in percentages during the last six editions of the Eurovision Song Contest:


Internal selections: In 2010 and 2014, all the songs selected internally qualified for the Final, during semi-final 1. On the contrary, in 2012, none of the songs chosen internally qualified for the Final, in the first semi-final.

National selections: In 2013, 7 of the 9 songs (78%) selected during a national final advanced to the next round: which is the highest yearly percentage over the last 6 years, for nationally selected entries.

But overall looking at the percentages only, we can notice that the internal selections were more successful than national selections in this first semi-final over the past 6 years: 64% of the internally selected entries qualified and 57% of the songs chosen during a national final, obtained their ticket for the Final.

In almost every year, there are more than 10 songs taking part in the semi final which were chosen through a national selection. However, as we all know – only 10 songs can make it. Due to this fact, we also had a look at the qualifiers proportionally, as in – how many songs should have made it to the Final from both types of selections, and how many actually did.


Internal selections: Proportionally, in the first semi-final, out of a total of 29 songs, 18 should have qualified to the Grand Final over the past 6 years. In reality, a total of 19 songs made it. The biggest difference is noticed in 2012: mathematically at least two of three songs selected internally should have qualified and in reality, none of them actually qualified for the Final.

National selections: Over the past six years, 73 songs chosen via national selections competed in semi final 1. Proportionally, 42 of them should have qualified, however 41 did. This time, the biggest difference is observed in 2012 when all 10 qualifiers were songs that won their national selections.

Now, let’s do the same thing, but for semi-final 2:


Internal selections: In the second semi final in 2012, 4 out of the 6 (67%) songs selected internally found their way to the Grand Final. In 2011, only 1 of the 4 (25%) entries selected internally qualified for the Final, during this semi-final.

National selections: In 2014, out of 11 songs chosen during national finals, 8 advanced to the next round (73%). During the 5 other editions (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015) of the contest, at least half of the nationally selected songs, qualified for the Final in semi-final 2.

Now, let’s analyze what should have happened in the second semi-final (proportionally):


Internal selections: A total of 27 songs that took part in the second semi final in the past six years. Proportionally, 16 of them should have qualified for the Grand Final, however only 14 did.

National selections: 76 songs chosen through national selections have taken part in the second semi finals over the past six years. Proportionally, 44 songs should have qualified for the Grand Final, while in reality – 46 songs did. The biggest difference here is in 2011 when 9 out of 10 qualifiers were songs chosen through national selections.

From this we can conclude the following:

Looking at percentages only, songs chosen internally would have a bigger chance at qualification for the Final. However, this is mostly due to the fact that there are often more than 10 songs selected through national finals in the semi finals. Looking at the results proportionally, songs selected through national selections have bigger chances of qualifying for the Final than the ones selected internally, as the qualification rate of the songs selected through national finals is higher by 1,20%.


Finally, let’s see which selection method is better during the Grand Final:

final results

In the 6 last contests, more than 100 entries were selected during a national final and less than half of them were chosen internally. The nationally selected songs finished, in the 6 last contests, in 12,82 place on average. The internally selected songs finished in 13,10 place, on average. Therefore, we can conclude that the national selections perform better than internal selections during the Final. Also, in the past six years, four Eurovision winners were  songs selected through a national selection (Satellite, Euphoria, Only Teardrops, and Heroes), while only two were selected internally (Running Scared, and Rise Like A Phoenix).

We shall see whether this trend of songs selected through national finals doing better than the ones selected internally will continue or not.

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