Hey guys, I thought we could make a topic for the Eurovision Song Contest! I guess everyone here who lives in Europe or Australia has some clue what this is, for the rest of you, here are some info:
The Eurovision Song Contest (ESC or simply Eurovision) is an annual song contest organized by EBU (European Breadcasting Union) and it takes part every May in some country in Europe. The contestants are basically the European countries (or more precisely, the countries that have EBU membership; this is the reason why some countries such as Israel or Australia can participate although they are technically not in Europe). Each year, the countries will select their entries (both the artist and the song are usually chosen by a national final or by internal voting months before the contest). The participants divide into 2 groups, each one with each own semifinal. 10 countries from each semifinal plus 6 more countries (the host country and the Big-5: UK, France, Spain, Italy and Germany) will then compete in the Grand Final. After all the songs have been presented, the voting period starts! The voting system has changed through the years, but nowadays it's a mix of televoting and national juries (50/50). Once the voting period ends, the announcement of the votes takes place (usually the funniest part of the contest), with each country announcing their votes (which come as an average of the national juries voting and the viewers of that country's votes). Each country gives points to their top 10 (excluding of course themselves). The points given to those countries range from 1-7 and then 8, 10, and 12 points for the top 3. Once this process ends and all countries have announced their results, we have a winner! The winning artist will receive the Eurovision statuette and will perform his/her/their act on stage again. The next year, the winning country is the one in charge of the contest (AKA the semifinals and the grand final will take place in a city in the winning country, usually its capital).
Quick facts and trivia about the contest:
- It is the longest running TV show (Guinness record), since it took place every year since 1956 (2016 is the 61st year!)
- 7 countries participated in the 1956 Eurovision in Lugano, Switzerland, each of them with 2 songs. The winner was Swiss singer Lys Assia with the song Refrain
. Lys is considered the queen of Eurovision, and she is treated as such in every major Eurovision-related event.
- Originally the contestants had to sing in one of their countries' official languages. As of 1999, the contestants are allowed to sing in any language they want (non-European languages such as Swahili, or even fictional languages have been heard in the contest!
- The 2015 Eurovision winner country was Sweden, which was represented by Måns Zelmerlöw (look him up, he is a hottie) and his song Heroes
. Hence, Eurovision 2016 will take place in Stockholm (May 10, 12, and 14).
- 43 countries will fight for the title in 2016.
- The host country goes straight to the final for obvious reasons. The Big-5 (see above) qualify to the final immediately too, as these countries give the most money to EBU. BUT, by a rule of thumb, these countries don't do well in the contest in the last years, with the exception of Germany who won the contest in 2010.
- The country who has won the contest the most times of all is Ireland with 7 wins, followed by Sweden which won 6 times.
- Celine Dion won the contest (1988, Dublin). Other well-known artists have performed in the contest too.
- Australia was invited as a guest country to the contest for its 60th anniversary. The reason was mainly the slogan of the 2015 contest "Building Bridges" as well as Australia's obsession with the event (even if they were not participating, Australian stayed up till early in the morning just to watch it, partying as hard as Europeans). After its debut last year, Australia has been now verified to participate again in this year's and future contest too.
- The Eurovision Song Contest has a mass support from LGBT communities, since it promotes freedom, respect, and equality. Various LGBT artists have participated or even won the contest (Dana International for Israel (1998) is a MTF transsexual, Conchita Wurst for Austria (2014) is gay and a drag queen, etc...)
- The contest broadcasted by the public TV broadcaster of each country that participates. Some non-participating countries such as China broadcast the contest too. Everyone else can watch the contest online for free, via Eurovision's official webpage (eurovision.tv).
So, to my fellow Europeans (and Australians): What do you think of the contest? Are you excited for May? What are you expecting to see this year? And to the rest who just found out: Would you watch it? Do you have any further questions?