Even if you’ve never watched it, you’ve most probably heard of it – the Eurovision Song Contest. It all started back in 1956 and the event took place in Switzerland.
Only 7 countries participated in this first Eurovision and they were The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, and Italy. As Austria, Denmark, and the UK missed the entry deadline. However they join in the following year.
The host nation Switzerland won that first Eurovision contest.
There were not many rules in the early days of the contest and this was prevalent in 1957, when the Italian entry lasted 5 minutes and 9 seconds. Since that song the rules changed and songs are now limited to last longer than 3 minutes.
Also, due to the lack of procedures in place if a tie-break occurred, there were actually four winners in 1969 as they all received the same amount of points. So Spain, the UK, the Netherlands, and France were all joint first.
In the following year to protest against that decision, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Portugal refused to take part.
So a new rule was introduced that is if a country’s points are tied, it goes down to the song with the highest votes from the highest number of countries will wins the competition.
Before 1971, there were only solo or duets allowed to compete, but this changed when it was decided that a country could choose to have a group of up to six performers on stage.
In 1974, the United Kingdom gave nul point to ABBA who sang Waterloo. ABBA went on to with the contest at Brighton in 1974 and have become the most successful Swedish pop, despite officially splitting up in 1983.
In 1979 the Eurovision contest was held outside Europe, in Jerusalem.
In 1986, the youngest contestant who won the Eurovision was Belgium’s Sandra Kim, she was just 13 years old, but claimed to be 15. After other countries such as France and Israeli also entered children into the Eurovision, this rule was also changed. After the 1989 Eurovision, contestants had to be older than 16 on the date of the final.
In 1997, televoting was being phased in and although the outcome still exists, it is now determined by a 50:50 combination of both the national jury and televoting to decide on the winner.
Oddly enough, when there is a tie in the national jury votes it is the youngest member who gets the final decision.
Whereby if there’s a tie between the jury’s score and the televoting score, it is the country with the most televotes who wins.
Up to 40 countries can enter and compete in the semi-finals for a place in the final. However, only 26 countries are allowed to move forward into the final competition.
There are actually six countries that do not have to compete in the semi-finals as they have guaranteed places.
These include Norway, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, the UK. The previous year’s winner also gets a free pass to the final.
Australia were invited to participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015 in Vienna. Australia is the first country from the Oceania region apart from Morocco in 1980) to take part in this contest.
The country that has won the most Eurovision contests is Ireland, having won the competition on seven occasions.
Johnny Logan won the Eurovision Song Contest three times. He represented and won for Ireland in 1980 and 1987 as a performer with “Hold Me Now” and “What’s Another Year”.
In 1992, he wrote the winning entry “Why Me” for Linda Martin.
On the other end of the scale, Norway have scored “nul points” the most times and has happened four times for Norway!
Norway have come last ten times, and this is the most any country has ever lost.
The Eurovision show is always presented in both English and French. The rules are also written in both these languages too, but if there is a linguistic dispute between the two versions of the rules, the English version wins.
There have been 18 female solo artists winners compared to just 7 men.
The 2020 Eurovision Song Contest 2020 will begin at 20:00 on Tuesday, 12 May and end on Saturday, 16 May, with the Grand Final being held in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.