The Eurovision Song Contest (French: Concours Eurovision de la Chanson) is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
Each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the most popular song in the competition. Each country participates via one of their national EBU-member television stations, whose task it is to select a singer and a song to represent their country in the international competition.
The Contest has been broadcast every year since its inauguration in 1956 and is one of the longest-running television programmes in the world. It is also one of the most-watched non-sporting events in the world, with audience figures having been quoted in recent years as anything between 100 million and 600 million internationally. Eurovision has also been broadcast outside Europe to such places as Australia, Canada, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Jordan, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea, Vietnam, and the United States, despite the fact that these countries do not compete. Since the year 2000, the Contest has also been broadcast over the Internet, with more than 74,000 people in almost 140 countries having watched the 2006 edition online.
The Contest is historically known for often showcasing formulaic, orchestrated pop music. However, it has featured a vast, diverse array of songs, including such musical genres as Arab, Armenian, Balkan, Breton, Celtic, Dance, Folk, Greek, Israeli, Latin, Nordic, Pop-rap, Rock and Turkish.
Winning the Eurovision Song Contest provides a unique opportunity for the winning artist(s) to capitalise on their success and surrounding publicity by launching or furthering their international career. However, throughout the history of the Contest relatively few names have gone on to be huge international stars.
List of Winners (Winning Nations)
|Year||Country||Song||Performer||Points||Margin||Second place||Date||Host city|
||24 May 1956||Lugano|
|1957||Netherlands||"Net Als Toen"||Corry Brokken||31||14||France||3 March 1957||Frankfurt am Main|
|1958||France||"Dors, Mon Amour"||Andr? Claveau||27||3||Switzerland||12 March 1958||Hilversum|
|1959||Netherlands||"Een Beetje"||Teddy Scholten||21||5||United Kingdom||11 March 1959||Cannes|
|1960||France||"Tom Pillibi"||Jacqueline Boyer||32||7||United Kingdom||25 March 1960||London|
|1961||Luxembourg||"Nous les amoureux"||Jean-Claude Pascal||31||6||United Kingdom||18 March 1961||Cannes|
|1962||France||"Un premier amour"||Isabelle Aubret||26||13||Monaco||18 March 1962||Luxembourg|
|1963||Denmark||"Dansevise"||Grethe & J?rgen Ingmann||42||2||Switzerland||23 March 1963||London|
|1964||Italy||"Non ho l'et? (per amarti)"||Gigliola Cinquetti||49||32||United Kingdom||21 March 1964||Copenhagen|
|1965||Luxembourg||"Poup?e de cire, poup?e de son"||France Gall||32||6||United Kingdom||20 March 1965||Naples|
|1966||Austria||"Merci Ch?rie"||Udo J?rgens||31||15||Sweden||5 March 1966||Luxembourg|
|1967||United Kingdom||"Puppet on a String"||Sandie Shaw||42||25||Ireland||8 April 1967||Vienna|
|1968||Spain||"La, la, la"||Massiel||29||1||United Kingdom||6 April 1968||London|
|1969||Spain||"Vivo Cantando"||Salom?||18||N/A||N/A||29 March 1969||Madrid|
|United Kingdom||"Boom Bang-a-Bang"||Lulu|
|Netherlands||"De Troubadour"||Lennie Kuhr|
|France||"Un jour, un enfant"||Frida Boccara|
|1970||Ireland||"All Kinds of Everything"||Dana||32||6||United Kingdom||21 March 1970||Amsterdam|
|1971||Monaco||"Un banc, un arbre, une rue"||S?verine||128||12||Spain||3 April 1971||Dublin|
|1972||Luxembourg||"Apr?s Toi"||Vicky Leandros||128||14||United Kingdom||25 March 1972||Edinburgh|
|1973||Luxembourg||"Tu Te Reconna?tras"||Anne-Marie David||129||4||Spain||7 April 1973||Luxembourg|
|1974||Sweden||"Waterloo"||ABBA||24||6||Italy||6 April 1974||Brighton|
|1975||Netherlands||"Ding-A-Dong"||Teach-In||152||14||United Kingdom||22 March 1975||Stockholm|
|1976||United Kingdom||"Save Your Kisses for Me"||Brotherhood of Man||164||17||France||3 April 1976||The Hague|
|1977||France||"L'Oiseau Et L'Enfant"||Marie Myriam||136||15||United Kingdom||7 May
|1978||Israel||"A-Ba-Ni-Bi"||Izhar Cohen & Alphabeta||157||32||Belgium||22 April 1978||Paris|
|1979||Israel||"Hallelujah"||Gali Atari & Milk and Honey||125||9||Spain||31 March 1979||Jerusalem|
|1980||Ireland||"What's Another Year?"||Johnny Logan||143||15||Germany||19 April 1980||The Hague|
|1981||United Kingdom||"Making Your Mind Up"||Bucks Fizz||136||4||Germany||4 April 1981||Dublin|
|1982||Germany||"Ein Bisschen Frieden"||Nicole||161||61||Israel||24 April 1982||Harrogate|
|1983||Luxembourg||"Si la vie est cadeau"||Corinne Herm?s||142||6||Israel||23 April 1983||Munich|
|1984||Sweden||"Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley"||Herreys||145||8||Ireland||5 May
|1985||Norway||"La det swinge"||Bobbysocks||123||18||Germany||4 May
|1986||Belgium||"J'aime la vie"||Sandra Kim||176||31||Luxembourg||3 May
|1987||Ireland||"Hold Me Now"||Johnny Logan||172||31||Germany||9 May
|1988||Switzerland||"Ne partez pas sans moi"||C?line Dion||137||1||United Kingdom||30 April 1988||Dublin|
|1989||Yugoslavia||"Rock Me"||Riva||137||7||United Kingdom||6 May
|1990||Italy||"Insieme: 1992"||Toto Cutugno||149||17||Ireland, France||5 May
|1991||Sweden||"F?ngad av en stormvind"||Carola||146||0||France||4 May
|1992||Ireland||"Why Me"||Linda Martin||155||16||United Kingdom||9 May
|1993||Ireland||"In Your Eyes"||Niamh Kavanagh||187||23||United Kingdom||15 May 1993||Millstreet|
|1994||Ireland||"Rock 'n' Roll Kids"||Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan||226||60||Poland||30 April 1994||Dublin|
|1995||Norway||"Nocturne"||Secret Garden||148||29||Spain||13 May 1995||Dublin|
|1996||Ireland||"The Voice"||Eimear Quinn||162||48||Norway||18 May 1996||Oslo|
|1997||United Kingdom||"Love Shine a Light"||Katrina and the Waves||227||70||Ireland||3 May
|1998||Israel||"Diva"||Dana International||172||6||United Kingdom||9 May
|1999||Sweden||"Take Me to Your Heaven"||Charlotte Nilsson||163||17||Iceland||29 May 1999||Jerusalem|
|2000||Denmark||"Fly on the Wings of Love"||Olsen Brothers||195||40||Russia||13 May 2000||Stockholm|
|2001||Estonia||"Everybody"||Tanel Padar, Dave Benton & 2XL||198||21||Denmark||12 May 2001||Copenhagen|
|2002||Latvia||"I Wanna"||Marie N||176||12||Malta||25 May 2002||Tallinn|
|2003||Turkey||"Everyway That I Can"||Sertab Erener||167||2||Belgium||24 May 2003||Riga|
|2004||Ukraine||"Wild Dances"||Ruslana||280||17||Serbia & Montenegro||15 May 2004||Istanbul|
|2005||Greece||"My Number One"||Helena Paparizou||230||38||Malta||21 May 2005||Kiev|
|2006||Finland||"Hard Rock Hallelujah"||Lordi||292||44||Russia||20 May 2006||Athens|
|2007||Serbia||"Molitva"||Marija ?erifovic||268||33||Ukraine||12 May 2007||Helsinki|
|2008||Russia||"Believe"||Dima Bilan||272||42||Ukraine||24 May 2008||Belgrade|
|2009||Finland||"Fairytale"||Alexander Rybak||387||169||Iceland||17 May 2009||Moscow|
The most notable winning Eurovision artists whose career was directly launched into the spotlight following their win were ABBA, who won the Contest for Sweden in 1974 with their song "Waterloo". ABBA went on to be one of the most successful bands of their time.
Another notable winner who subsequently achieved international fame and success was C?line Dion, who won the Contest for Switzerland in 1988 with the song Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi. Dion's success, however, is not as directly attributed to her winning the Contest, as she achieved international fame some years later.
Other artists who have achieved varying degrees of success after winning the Contest include France Gall (Poup?e De Cire, Poup?e De Son, Luxembourg 1965), Lulu (Boom Bang-a-Bang, United Kingdom 1969), Dana (All Kinds of Everything, Ireland 1970), Vicky Leandros (Apr?s Toi, Luxembourg 1972), Brotherhood of Man (Save Your Kisses for Me, United Kingdom 1976), Johnny Logan (who won twice for Ireland; with What's Another Year? in 1980, and Hold Me Now in 1987), Bucks Fizz (Making Your Mind Up, United Kingdom 1981), and Nicole (Ein Bi?chen Frieden, Germany 1982). Many other winners include well-known artists who won the Contest mid-career, after they had already established themselves as successful.
Some artists, however, have vanished into relative obscurity, making little or no impact on the international music scene since their win.
A qualification round, known as the semi-final, was introduced for the 2004 Contest. This semi-final was held on the Wednesday during Eurovision Week, and was a programme similar in format to the grand final, whose time slot remained 19:00 UTC on the Saturday. Since then, the semi-final programme has been held on the Thursday of Eurovision Week.
The semi-final includes those countries whose ranking on the scoreboard the previous year was not high enough to ensure direct qualification for the final. Until 2007, it was necessary for a country to attain a place within the top ten of the final scoreboard to be assured of direct qualification for next year's grand final. The Big Four rule remains, so that France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom always automatically bypass the semi-final and are directly included in the grand final.
Since the introduction of the semi-final, it has been possible for countries to vote even though they are not participating in the programme: for example it is possible for one of the Big Four to vote for countries in the semi-final even though they do not participate in the semi-final themselves; and a country in the semi-final, which fails to qualify for the final, may still vote for the other countries in the final on Saturday.
After the votes have been cast in the semi-final, the countries which received the most votes?and will therefore proceed to the final on Saturday?are announced in no particular order. The announcement of the actual number of points these qualifiers received is withheld by the EBU until after the grand final, lest the news influence the result on Saturday through tactical voting or otherwise.
The ten most highly-placed countries in the final are guaranteed a place in next year's final, without the need to participate in next year's semi. These ten positions exclude Big-Four countries; so that if, for example, Germany comes in the top ten, the 11th-placed non-Big-Four country will automatically qualify for next year's final.
On 28 September 2007, at a meeting of the EBU reference group, it was decided that from the 2008 Contest onwards there will be held two semi-finals. Only the host country and the Big Four * will automatically qualify for the grand final, and they will be joined by ten countries from each semi?to make a total of 25 entries in the final.
* From 2000 onwards, four particular countries would always qualify for the Eurovision final, regardless of their positions on the scoreboard in previous Contests. They earned this special status by being the four biggest financial contributors to the EBU (without which the production of the Eurovision Song Contest would not be possible). These countries are Germany, France, Spain and the United Kingdom. Due to their "untouchable" status in the Contest, these countries became known as the "Big Four".
Other Facts & Information
- In the first Contest in 1956, there was no time limit on songs. In 1957, a limit of 3? minutes was recommended. In 1962, this was revised to 3 minutes precisely.
- There is no restriction imposed by the EBU on the nationality of the performers or songwriters. Individual broadcasters are, however, permitted to impose their own restrictions at their discretion.
- From 1957 to 1970 (in 1956 there was no restriction at all), only soloists and duos were allowed on stage. From 1963, a chorus of up to three people was permitted. Since 1971, a maximum of six performers have been permitted on the stage.
- The performance and/or lyrics of a song "must not bring the Contest into disrepute".
- Since 1990, all people on stage must be at least 16 years of age.
- All vocals must be sung live: no voices are permitted on backing tracks. In 1999, the Croatian song featured sounds on their backing track which sounded suspiciously like human voices. The Croatian delegation stated that there were no human voices, but only digitally-synthesised sounds which replicated vocals. The EBU nevertheless decided that they had broken the spirit of the rules, and docked them 33% of their points total that year as used for calculating their five-year points average for future qualification