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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 May 2007, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
Politics 'not Eurovision factor'
Scooch
Scooch are representing the UK in the contest
Performance and lyrics, not politics and diplomacy, will decide this weekend's Eurovision Song Contest, according to one university researcher.

Dr Alan Howard, from Reading University's school of human sciences, has surveyed 1,000 fans of the contest on how they would cast their votes.

He says the results undermine the belief voting is influenced by the countries' traditional loyalties.

Only 24% of fans agreed tactical voting was reducing the contest to a farce.

The Eurovision Song Contest has gained a reputation as a light entertainment show rather than an important competition
Dr Alan Howard

The 12-month online survey received 1,126 responses from fans in 51 countries.

A total of 57% said a good performance on the night would make them vote for an act but only 7% said they would vote tactically.

Thirty-three per cent also said lyrics would have an influence while 16% said the attractivneness of singers might sway them.

Dr Howard said: "For some time now, the Eurovision Song Contest has gained a reputation as a light entertainment show rather than an important competition.

"I think what these results show is that a serious element remains and fans still believe in the event - although, undoubtedly, there is always going to be one or two countries whose histories might play a part in the voting."

The final of the Eurovision Song Contest takes place on Saturday and will be shown on BBC One from 2000 BST.


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