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Eurovision Song Contest

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Eurovision's "heart logo"

The Eurovision Song Contest (sometimes shortened to ESC or simply Eurovision) is an international song contest held every year by the European Broadcasting Union since 1956. Each year, different singers representing countries in Europe perform a song and the winner is decided through voting.

Between 160 million and 200 million people watch every year. This makes it the largest music competition in the world. Eurovision has had many famous winners in the past including ABBA, Céline Dion, Sandie Shaw, Bucks Fizz, Alexander Rybak, Conchita Wurst, Netta Barzilai, Duncan Laurence and Måneskin. Other famous contestants that did not win include Olivia Newton-John, Bonnie Tyler, Blue, Jedward, Engelbert Humperdinck and Rosa Linn.

Creation[change | change source]

Top row (left to right):

Middle row (left to right):

Bottom row (left to right):

  • Salvador Sobral is the contestant who won with the most points
  • Johnny Logan is the first person to win twice
  • Loreen is the first woman to win twice and most recent winner

Eurovision started on 24 May 1956.[1] The Eurovision Song Contest was created by the European Broadcasting Union to experiment live television and broadcasting across multiple countries. It was inspired by RAI's Sanremo Music Festival.[1] The first contest was held in 1956 with the aim of uniting the countries of Europe following World War II. Seven countries took part in the first contest, which was hosted in Lugano. It was won by Lys Assia, who was representing Switzerland.[2]

Expansion of the contest[change | change source]

More countries began to join very quickly. In the 1970s, countries from outside Europe began to participate (such as Israel). Morocco also participated once (and is the only African country to do so). The early 1990s saw the fall of both the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, with both split into multiple countries (all in Eastern Europe). All of these new countries wanted to join so the 1993 contest had a separate contest held beforehand between seven new Eastern European countries. The three winners of the contest would participate in the actual Eurovision Contest.

Relegation system (1994—2003)[change | change source]

The 1994 contest introduced a relegation system. This meant that each year, the countries that ranked lowest would not be allowed to participate the following year in order to allow other countries to enter. Eurovision 1999 introduced a new rule where the United Kingdom, Spain, France and Germany (this group was called the "Big Four") were given the right to participate in every contest, even if they ranked at the bottom.

Semi-finals (2004—present)[change | change source]

The relegation system was used until the Eurovision Song Contest 2004, which introduced a semi-final. The Big 4 and the ten highest-scoring acts of the previous contest would automatically qualify to the final while the rest would have to participate in a semi-final (the ten winners of the semi-final would join the others in the final).

In 2008, a second semi-final was introduced. Now, the ten highest-ranking countries from each semi-final join the host country and the Big Four in the Grand Final. The Big Four expanded to the "Big Five" when Italy re-joined the contest.

Current competition format[change | change source]

Loreen is the most recent winner

Each year, every country taking part will send in one song which is performed by up to six singers. Each song is performed in a large arena in front of an audience of fans. The winner is decided through a complicated system of voting.

Participation[change | change source]

In the first few years of the contest, a small group of countries competed against each other in one show. As more countries wanted to join, it was eventually decided that there would be two semi-finals, where the ten highest-ranked countries from each semi-final would go into the final. The United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany and Italy automatically qualify for the final because they give a lot of money to the contest. In addition to this, the host country also automatically makes it to the final. This makes an average of 26 finalists (25 if the host country is a member of the Big Five).

Voting and winner selection[change | change source]

Eurovision trophy

Until the late 1990s, the winner was decided by experts from each country, called a jury. The juries awarded points to their favourite songs. The way that the points were awarded changed many times over the years until 1975, where it was decided that each jury awarded 12, 10 and 8—1 points to ten songs (with their favourite getting 12 points, second getting 10 and third to tenth getting 8—1 points).

In the late 1990s, televoting was introduced for some countries while others used juries. From 1998 to 2008, only televoting was used with the same system which had been used since 1975.

In 2009 was decided that the juries would come back because countries kept voting for their neighbours. From 2009 to 2015, the rankings of each country's jury vote and public vote were added together and the top ten songs were awarded with 12, 10 and 8—1 points.

In 2016, a new system was introduced where each country's jury and public awarded separate points to their top ten favourite songs. This meant that countries started scoring far higher than before.

In 2023, the "Rest of the World" vote was introduced for the public vote, which allowed viewers from other countries to vote. This gave the public 50.6% say in the voting while the juries now have 49.4%.

Hosting[change | change source]

The four hosts of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

According to the Eurovision rules, the winner of each contest will host the next year's contest.[3][4] This rule has been applied most of the time, with a notable exception being the 2023 contest, which was hosted in the United Kingdom because the previous year's winner, Ukraine, was unable to host.

Each year, the contest is hosted by a number of presenters. Usually, these are celebrities from the hosting country or can also be past winners and contestants.

The presenters will usually speak in English or the language of the host country. In addition to the presenters, each participating country has a "commentator" who narrates the event for the viewers in their language.

Contestant selections[change | change source]

The European Broadcasting Area

In order for a country to participate, it must be a part of the European Broadcasting Union. This includes all of Europe, some Asian and African countries as well as Australia. Each country has a television channel (called broadcasters) which broadcasts the Contest in that country. The only European countries which have never participated are Liechtenstein and the Vatican. The only African country to have ever participated was Morocco.

Entry selections[change | change source]

There are three main types of selections which choose who will represent what country:

  • An internal selection is when the channel showing the Contest in a country chooses the contestant and song. For example, the BBC (which airs the Contest in the UK) has chosen the song and contestant without involving the public for several years.
  • A national selection is where a country holds its own competition to decide who will represent them in Eurovision. For example, Sweden's national selection is Melodifestivalen, which is the most watched national selection.
  • A combination of both selections is a rare method. It is often when the broadcaster chooses the contestant and lets the public vote on the song.

Recent history[change | change source]

The Eurovision Song Contest 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[5][6] This is the first time the contest was cancelled. It was replaced by a replacement show called Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light.[7][8][9] It showed the selected entries in place of the Grand Final on 16 May 2020. The BBC also organised an all-stars contest, where ABBA's "Waterloo" was voted best Eurovision song.[10][11][12][13] That same year, a film named Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga was released starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams.[14][15]

Slogans[change | change source]

Starting in the Eurovision Song Contest 2002, each contest was given a different theme and slogan. This stopped when it was announced that the same slogan would be used every year starting from the Eurovision Song Contest 2024.

Year Slogan
2002 A Modern Fairytale [16][17]
2003 A Magical Rendez-vous [18][19]
2004 Under The Same Sky [20][21]
2005 Awakening [22][23]
2006 Feel The Rhythm [24][25]
2007 True Fantasy [26][27]
2008 Confluence of Sound [28][29]
2010 Share The Moment [30][31]
2011 Feel Your Heart Beat [32][33]
2012 Light Your Fire [34][35]
2013 We Are One [36][37]
2014 #JOINUS [38][39]
2015 Building Bridges [40][41]
2016 Come Together [42][43]
2017 Celebrate Diversity [44][45]
2018 All Aboard! [46][47]
2019 Dare To Dream [48][49]
2020 Open Up [50][51]
2021 [52][53]
2022 The Sound Of Beauty [54][55]
2023 United By Music [56][57]
2024 [58][59]

List of contests[change | change source]

The first Contest was won by Swiss singer Lys Assia with the song "Refrain". The first man to win (André Claveau) won the third Contest. ABBA was the first group to win. The first person to win the Contest twice was Johnny Logan. The first woman to win twice was Loreen, whose second win is the most recent victory.

Year Host city Winner
Country Performer Song
1956 Lugano   Switzerland Lys Assia Refrain
1957 Frankfurt  Netherlands Corry Brokken Net als toen
1958 Hilversum  France André Claveau Dors, mon amour
1959 Cannes  Netherlands Teddy Scholten Een beetje
1960 London  France Jacqueline Boyer Tom Pillibi
1961 Cannes  Luxembourg Jean-Claude Pascal Nous les amoureux
1962 Luxembourg  France Isabelle Aubret Un premier amour
1963 London  Denmark Grethe & Jørgen Ingmann Dansevise
1964 Copenhagen  Italy Gigliola Cinquetti Non ho l'età (per amarti)
1965 Naples  Luxembourg France Gall Poupée de cire, poupée de son
1966 Luxembourg  Austria Udo Jürgens Merci, Chérie
1967 Vienna  United Kingdom Sandie Shaw Puppet on a String
1968 London  Spain Massiel La, la, la
1969 Madrid  France[1] Frida Boccara Un jour, un enfant
 Netherlands[1] Lennie Kuhr De troubadour
 Spain[1] Salomé Vivo cantando
 United Kingdom[1] Lulu Boom Bang-a-Bang
1970 Amsterdam  Ireland Dana All Kinds of Everything
1971 Dublin  Monaco Séverine Un banc, un arbre, une rue
1972 Edinburgh  Luxembourg Vicky Leandros Après toi
1973 Luxembourg  Luxembourg Anne-Marie David Tu te reconnaîtras
1974 Brighton  Sweden ABBA Waterloo
1975 Stockholm  Netherlands Teach-In Ding-a-Dong
1976 The Hague  United Kingdom Brotherhood of Man Save Your Kisses for Me
1977 London  France Marie Myriam L'oiseau et l'enfant
1978 Paris  Israel Izhar Cohen & Alphabeta A-ba-ni-bi (א-ב-ני-בי)
1979 Jerusalem  Israel Gali Atari & Milk and Honey Hallelujah (הללויה)
1980 The Hague  Ireland Johnny Logan What's Another Year?
1981 Dublin  United Kingdom Bucks Fizz Making Your Mind Up
1982 Harrogate  Germany Nicole Ein bißchen Frieden
1983 Munich  Luxembourg Corinne Hermès Si la vie est cadeau
1984 Luxembourg  Sweden Herreys Diggi-loo diggi-ley
1985 Gothenburg  Norway Bobbysocks! La det swinge
1986 Bergen  Belgium Sandra Kim J'aime la vie
1987 Brussels  Ireland Johnny Logan Hold Me Now
1988 Dublin   Switzerland Céline Dion Ne partez pas sans moi
1989 Lausanne  Yugoslavia Riva Rock Me
1990 Zagreb  Italy Toto Cutugno Insieme: 1992
1991 Rome  Sweden Carola Fångad av en stormvind
1992 Malmö  Ireland Linda Martin Why Me?
1993 Millstreet  Ireland Niamh Kavanagh In Your Eyes
1994 Dublin  Ireland Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan Rock 'n' Roll Kids
1995 Dublin  Norway Secret Garden Nocturne
1996 Oslo  Ireland Eimear Quinn The Voice
1997 Dublin  United Kingdom Katrina and the Waves Love Shine a Light
1998 Birmingham  Israel Dana International Diva (דיווה)
1999 Jerusalem  Sweden Charlotte Nilsson Take Me to Your Heaven
2000 Stockholm  Denmark Olsen Brothers Fly on the Wings of Love
2001 Copenhagen  Estonia Tanel Padar, Dave Benton & 2XL Everybody
2002 Tallinn  Latvia Marie N I Wanna
2003 Riga  Turkey Sertab Erener Everyway That I Can
2004 Istanbul  Ukraine Ruslana Wild Dances
2005 Kyiv  Greece Helena Paparizou My Number One
2006 Athens  Finland Lordi Hard Rock Hallelujah
2007 Helsinki  Serbia Marija Šerifović Molitva (Молитва)
2008 Belgrade  Russia Dima Bilan Believe
2009 Moscow  Norway Alexander Rybak Fairytale
2010 Oslo  Germany Lena Meyer-Landrut Satellite
2011 Düsseldorf  Azerbaijan Ell & Nikki Running Scared
2012 Baku  Sweden Loreen Euphoria
2013 Malmö  Denmark Emmelie de Forest Only Teardrops
2014 Copenhagen  Austria Conchita Wurst Rise Like a Phoenix
2015 Vienna  Sweden Måns Zelmerlöw Heroes
2016 Stockholm  Ukraine Jamala 1944
2017 Kyiv  Portugal Salvador Sobral Amar Pelos Dois
2018 Lisbon  Israel Netta Barzilai Toy
2019 Tel Aviv  Netherlands Duncan Laurence Arcade
2020 [2] [2] [2] [2]
2021 Rotterdam  Italy Måneskin Zitti e buoni
2022 Turin  Ukraine Kalush Orchestra Stefania
2023 Liverpool  Sweden Loreen Tattoo
2024 Malmö   Switzerland Nemo The Code
2025 TBA

International versions[change | change source]

There are some other versions of Eurovision including:

Notes[change | change source]

  1. ^ In 1969 four countries were joint winners as there was no rule for a tie.
  2. ^ Cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Replaced by a programme called Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "The Origins of Eurovision". Eurovision.tv. Retrieved 21 March 2024.
  2. "Eurovision Song Contest: Winners". Eurovision Song Contest. Archived from the original on 12 May 2018. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  3. "Historical Milestones". European Broadcasting Union. Archived from the original on 26 May 2006. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  4. "Eurovision Song Contest: History by events". Eurovision Song Contest. Archived from the original on 25 August 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  5. "Eurovision Song Contest: Facts & Figures". Eurovision Song Contest. 12 January 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  6. "Official EBU statement & FAQ on Eurovision 2020 cancellation". Eurovision Song Contest. 6 April 2020. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  7. "Official EBU statement & FAQ on Eurovision 2020 cancellation". Eurovision Song Contest. 6 April 2020. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  8. "Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light". Eurovision Song Contest. 9 April 2020. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  9. "Eurovision still shines despite cancelled final". The Guardian. PA Media. 17 May 2020. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  10. "ABBA win Eurovision: Come Together". BBC. 17 May 2020. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  11. "Eurovision: Abba's Waterloo voted best song of all time". BBC News. 16 May 2020. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  12. Ryan, Tom (17 May 2020). "BBC reveals top 10 of Come Together vote". ESCXtra. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  13. Stephens, Heidi (16 May 2020). "Eurovision: Come Together and Europe Shine A Light – as it happened". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  14. Mahjouri, Shakiel (17 April 2020). "Rachel McAdams Donates $10,000 To London Health Sciences Centre Stream-A-Thon". Entertainment Tonight Canada. Archived from the original on 20 April 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  15. Fleming, Mike Jr. (18 June 2018). "Will Ferrell To Star In Netflix Music Pic 'Eurovision' As Another A-List Comedy Star Tries A Streaming Vehicle". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  16. "Tallinn 2002". eurovision.tv. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  17. "Eurovision 2002 Results: Voting & Points". Eurovisionworld. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  18. "A magical rendezvous: Riga hosted first Eurovision party of the season". eurovision.tv. 27 March 2017. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  19. "Eurovision 2003 Results: Voting & Points". Eurovisionworld. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  20. "All Aboard! A journey through the slogans of the Eurovision Song Contest". eurovision.tv. 16 November 2023. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  21. "Eurovision 2004 Results: Voting & Points". Eurovisionworld. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  22. "Kyiv 2005". eurovision.tv. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  23. "Eurovision 2005 Results: Voting & Points". Eurovisionworld. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  24. "Athens 2006". eurovision.tv. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  25. "Eurovision 2006 Results: Voting & Points". Eurovisionworld. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  26. "The end of a decade: Helsinki 2007". eurovision.tv. 30 December 2009. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  27. "Eurovision 2007 Results: Voting & Points". Eurovisionworld. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  28. "Belgrade 2008: The Confluence Of Sound". eurovision.tv. 30 January 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  29. "Eurovision 2008 Results: Voting & Points". Eurovisionworld. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  30. "Oslo 2010 theme revealed: Share The Moment". eurovision.tv. 4 December 2009. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  31. "Eurovision 2010 Results: Voting & Points". Eurovisionworld. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  32. "Düsseldorf 2011: Feel your heart beat!". eurovision.tv. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  33. "Eurovision 2011 Results: Voting & Points". Eurovisionworld. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  34. "Baku 2012: Light your fire!". eurovision.tv. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  35. "Eurovision 2012 Results: Voting & Points". Eurovisionworld. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  36. "Looking back at Malmö 2013". eurovision.tv. 15 July 2023. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  37. "Ireland's Wild Youth: "We wanted an anthemic song"". Eurovisionworld. 15 April 2023. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  38. "Copenhagen 2014". eurovision.tv. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  39. Union (EBU), European Broadcasting (9 January 2014). "2014 Eurovision Song Contest lineup revealed". www.ebu.ch. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  40. "Vienna 2015". eurovision.tv. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  41. "Slogan for Vienna revealed". Eurovisionworld. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  42. "Stockholm 2016". eurovision.tv. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  43. "Come Together: Here is the logo for Eurovision 2016". Eurovisionworld. 25 January 2016. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  44. "What does Celebrate Diversity mean?". eurovision.tv. 10 May 2017. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  45. "Kyiv 2017: Celebrate Diversity". Eurovisionworld. 30 January 2017. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
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  48. "Tel Aviv 2019: Dare to Dream". eurovision.tv. 28 October 2018. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
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  50. "Slogan revealed: 'Open Up' to Eurovision 2020". eurovision.tv. 24 October 2019. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
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  52. "Theme | Eurovision Song Contest". eurovision.tv. 28 November 2019. Retrieved 2 April 2024. The slogan for the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 is 'Open Up'. Together, the theme and slogan are the creative foundation for all choices made around the show in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
  53. "Eurovision 2021: Logo, stage, slogan and hosts will remain the same". Eurovisionworld. 18 September 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  54. "The Sound of Beauty | Eurovision Song Contest". eurovision.tv. 24 January 2022. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  55. "The Sound of Beauty – Slogan and logo for Eurovision 2022 revealed". Eurovisionworld. 21 January 2022. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  56. "United By Music | Liverpool 2023 🇬🇧 🇺🇦". eurovision.tv. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
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  58. "'United By Music' chosen as permanent Eurovision slogan". eurovision.tv. 14 November 2023. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  59. "Eurovision Song Contest makes Liverpool's United by Music slogan permanent". BBC News. 14 November 2023. Retrieved 2 April 2024.

Other websites[change | change source]