In the run-up to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest this weekend, the jury points of six countries seemed to have been tampered with and had to be recalculated, according to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
The meddling was noticed by the company that coordinated the voting process, which had to recalculate the jury votes of both the second semi-final and the grand final.
"In the analysis of jury votes by the pan-European voting partner... certain irregular voting patterns were identified in the results of six countries," the EBU itself announced in a press release.
According to reports by VRT, which cites confirmation from a reliable source, the professional juries of the six countries involved had agreed to award each other points. The EBU decided to have the jury votes for each of those six countries recalculated and adjusted for both the second semi-final and the grand final, based on the results in countries with similar voting behaviour.
"The EBU takes any suspicious attempt to manipulate the vote in the Eurovision Song Contest very seriously and has the right to remove such votes," the Broadcasting Union said.
According to songfestival.be, which covers everything related to the contest, it concerns the jury points from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania and San Marino, as a look at the detailed results of the second semi-final shows that their jury scores were the only ones adjusted afterwards.
While those reports have not been confirmed by official sources, it was striking that no contact was made in the final with the jury of Azerbaijan and Romania, according to a VRT reporter in the Italian city of Turin, where the contest was hosted this year.
Part of the problem was reportedly due to the fact that the countries involved refused to announce their points after the EBU discovered they had been tampered with and adjusted them. The organisation "will investigate the matter further and take appropriate action," said the Media Director of the EBU Jean Philip De Tender on the Flemish television programme 'De Zevende Dag' on Sunday.
In the meantime, reports of cyber-attacks – unrelated to the irregularities with the jury points – are also surfacing, as Italian news agency Ansa reports that the country's police prevented attacks by pro-Russian hacker groups on the Eurovision Song Contest.
The attacks are said to have happened during both the first semi-final (on Tuesday 10 May) and the final last Saturday, when the Ukrainian group Kalush Orchestra performed.
The attacks came from the groups "Killnet" and "Legion," which attempted to disrupt the voting system. They intended to overload the system by sending so much internet traffic to it that it would no longer be possible to reach the server, the police told Ansa.
However, the cyberattacks did not succeed, as the Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra still won the contest with their song 'Stefania!' – amassing a total of 631 points. They were followed by the United Kingdom (466 points) and Spain (459 points).
Belgium finished in 19th place with 'Miss You' by Jérémie Makiese (64 points).