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Eurovision Song Contest

 

Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest logo set to debut at the 2015 Contest.
Genre Song contest
Created by Marcel Bezençon
Presented by List of presenters
Theme music composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Opening theme Te Deum: Prelude (Marche en rondeau)
Ending theme Te Deum: Prelude (Marche en rondeau)
Country of origin List of countries
Original language(s) English and French
No. of episodes 59 contests
Production
Location(s) List of host cities
Running time 2 hours (semi-finals)
3 hours 30 minutes (final)
Production company(s) European Broadcasting Union
Distributor Eurovision
Broadcast
Picture format 576i (SDTV) (1956–present)
720i (HDTV) (2003–present)
1080i (HDTV) (2007–present)
4K (UHDTV) (2013–present)
Original run 24 May 1956 (1956-05-24) – present
Chronology
Related shows Eurovision Young Musicians (1982–)
Eurovision Young Dancers (1985–)
Junior Eurovision Song Contest (2003–)
Eurovision Dance Contest (2007–2008)
External links
Official website
Production website

The Eurovision Song Contest (French: Concours Eurovision de la chanson),[1] often shortened to ESC, Eurovision, or EuroSong, is an annual song competition held among the member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) since 1956.

Each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and radio and then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the most popular song in the 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,[2] with audience figures having been quoted in recent years as anything between 100 million and 600 million internationally.[3][4] Eurovision has also been broadcast outside Europe to such places as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, South Africa, Suriname, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, Uruguay, Venezuela and Vietnam, although these countries do not compete.[5][6][1] Since 2000, the contest has also been broadcast over the Internet, via the Eurovision website.[7]

Winning the Eurovision Song Contest provides an opportunity for the winning artists to capitalise on the surrounding publicity and further their career. Artists whose international careers were directly launched into the spotlight following their participation at Eurovision include: Italian Domenico Modugno, who came third with the song "Nel blu dipinto di blu" ("In the sky, painted blue", popularly known as "Volare") in 1958; ABBA, who won the contest for Sweden in 1974 with "Waterloo"; Céline Dion, who won for Switzerland in 1988 with the French-language song "Ne partez pas sans moi" ("Don't leave without me");[8][9] the Spaniard Julio Iglesias, who has sold over 300 million records worldwide; and Bucks Fizz, who won in 1981 for the United Kingdom with "Making Your Mind Up". The current champion is Conchita Wurst of Austria, who won the 2014 contest in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Contents

  • Origins 1
    • Naming 1.1
  • Format 2
  • Participation 3
  • Hosting 4
    • Host country 4.1
    • Eurovision logo and theme 4.2
    • Slogans 4.3
    • Eurovision Week 4.4
    • Rehearsals and press conferences 4.5
    • Parties and Euroclub 4.6
  • Rules 5
    • Live music 5.1
    • Language 5.2
    • Voting 5.3
      • Presentation of votes 5.3.1
      • Ties for first place 5.3.2
    • Broadcasting 5.4
      • Political recognition issues 5.4.1
    • Other 5.5
  • Expansion of the contest 6
    • Pre-selections and relegation 6.1
    • Big Four and Big Five 6.2
    • Qualification and semi-finals 6.3
  • Winners 7
    • Artists 7.1
    • Countries 7.2
  • Criticism and controversy 8
    • Musical style and presentation 8.1
    • Political and geographical voting 8.2
  • Spin-offs 9
  • See also 10
  • Notes 11
  • References 12
  • Further reading 13
  • External links 14

Origins

In the 1950s, as a Evening Standard in 1951.[11]

The first contest was held in the town of Lugano, Switzerland, on 24 May 1956. Seven countries participated—each submitting two songs, for a total of 14. This was the only contest in which more than one song per country was performed: since 1957 all contests have allowed one entry per country. The 1956 contest was won by the host nation, Switzerland.[14]

Naming

The programme was first known as the "Eurovision Grand Prix" (in English). This "Grand Prix" name was adopted by

  • Eurovision Song Contest official website
  • Eurovision Song Contest's channel on YouTube

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

External links

  • Raykoff, Ivan and Robert D. Tobin (eds.), A Song for Europe: Popular Music and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007).
  • Yair, G; (1995). 'Unite Unite Europe' The political and cultural structures of Europe as reflected in the Eurovision Song Contest, Social Networks. 17: 147–161.
  • Yair and Maman (1996). The Persistent Structure of Hegemony in the Eurovision Song Contest, Acta Sociologica. 39: 309–325

Further reading

  1. ^ "Winners of the Eurovision Song Contest" (PDF).  
  2. ^ "Live Webcast".  
  3. ^ Staff (21 May 2006). "Finland wins Eurovision contest".  
  4. ^ Murray, Matthew. "Eurovision Song Contest – International Music Program".  
  5. ^ "Eurovision Trivia" (PDF).  
  6. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1972".  
  7. ^ Philip Laven (July 2002). "Webcasting and the Eurovision Song Contest".  
  8. ^ a b "Opening of Sweden's ABBA museum is delayed". The San Francisco Chronicle. 12 September 2008. 
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ a b c Staff (17 May 2005). "Singing out loud and proud".  
  11. ^ a b c Jaquin, Patrick (1 December 2004). "Eurovision's Golden Jubilee".  
  12. ^ "History of Eurovision".  
  13. ^ a b Waters, George T. (Winter 1994). "Eurovision: 40 years of network development, four decades of service to broadcasters".  
  14. ^ a b c d e "Historical Milestones".  
  15. ^ Thomas, Franck (1999). "Histoire 1956 à 1959" (in Français). eurovision-fr.net. Archived from the original on 2 May 2006. Retrieved 17 July 2006. 
  16. ^ "The EBU Operations Department".  
  17. ^ "Voting fault hits Eurovision heat". BBC News. 13 May 2004. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Rules for the Eurovision Song Contest 2009" (PDF).  
  19. ^ a b "Eurovision Song Contest 1974".  
  20. ^ Barnes, Clive. "Riverdance Ten Years on". RiverDance. Retrieved 27 July 2006. 
  21. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1956".  
  22. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1979".  
  23. ^ a b "Membership conditions".  
  24. ^ a b "ITU-R Radio Regulations 2012-2015" (PDF).  
  25. ^ "ITU-R Radio Regulations - Articles edition of 2004 (valid in 2004-2007)" (PDF).  
  26. ^ "Radio Regulations".  
  27. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest – Dusseldorf 2011 | News – JESC – Delegation leaders meet for Junior Eurovision 2008". Esctoday.com. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  28. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest: History".  
  29. ^ Fawkes, Helen (19 May 2005). "Ukrainian hosts' high hopes for Eurovision".  
  30. ^ "General Information on Millstreet" (PDF).  
  31. ^ "Green Glens Arena".  
  32. ^ "Reference group meets in Moscow".  
  33. ^ Marone, John. "Where Do We Put The Foreign Tourists?". The Ukrainian Observer. Archived from the original on 4 February 2006. Retrieved 18 July 2006. 
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i O'Connor, John Kennedy (2005). The Eurovision Song Contest 50 Years The Official History.  
  35. ^ Siim, Jarmo. "Eurovision Song Contest logo evolves".  
  36. ^ "Serbia in spotlight for Eurovision". BBC News. 23 May 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  37. ^ "Belgrade 2008".  
  38. ^ a b c d e "Rules of the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest".  
  39. ^ a b [1]
  40. ^ a b "Rehearsal Schedule" (PDF).  
  41. ^ "Interviews 2008".  
  42. ^ "The grand opening reception!".  
  43. ^ "After Show Party: Reactions".  
  44. ^ a b "The EuroClub: Official party venue opened its doors".  
  45. ^ a b "Eurovision Song Contest 1999".  
  46. ^ a b c d e "Rules of the 44th Eurovision Song Contest, 1999" (PDF).  
  47. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1973".  
  48. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1977".  
  49. ^ a b c Schacht, Andreas (9 March 2008). "Ishtar for Belgium to Belgrade!".  
  50. ^ Hondal, Victor (12 February 2011). "Norway sends Stella Mwangi to Eurovision 2011". EscToday.com. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  51. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1975".  
  52. ^ "People's Daily Online – Eurovision Song Contest semi-final held in Helsinki". English.people.com.cn. 11 May 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  53. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest app launched!". Eurovision.tv. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2014. 
  54. ^ "Download the official Eurovision app". Eurovision.tv. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2014. 
  55. ^ Bakker, Sietse (2009-10-11). "Exclusive: Juries also get 50% stake in Semi-Final result!".  
  56. ^ a b Fenn, Daniel; Suleman, Omer; Efstathiou, Janet; Johnson, Neil F. (2006). "How does Europe Make Its Mind Up? Connections, cliques, and compatibility between countries in the Eurovision Song Contest". arXiv:physics/0505071.
  57. ^ "Eurovision 2004 – Voting Briefing".  
  58. ^ a b "Results from the draw".  
  59. ^ "Eurovision 2011: Voting order revealed!". esctoday.com. 11 May 2011. 
  60. ^ http://www.eurovision.tv/page/history/by-year/contest?event=273
  61. ^ "A to Z of Eurovision".  
  62. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1969".  
  63. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1970".  
  64. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1978".  
  65. ^ "Lebanon withdraws from Eurovision".  
  66. ^ References are found in "We Don't Wanna Put In"
  67. ^ "Reglement du Grand Prix Eurovision 1956 De La Chanson Européenne" (PDF).  
  68. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1957".  
  69. ^ "Extracts from the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest rules".  
  70. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1993".  
  71. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1993".  
  72. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1994". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 22 July 2009. 
  73. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1995".  
  74. ^ a b "Eurovision Song Contest 1996".  
  75. ^ "Reference Group".  
  76. ^ Bakker, Sietse (31 December 2010). "43 nations on 2011 participants list". Eurovision.tv. Retrieved 31 December 2010. 
  77. ^ Jiandani, Sanjay (14 December 2012). "Turkey will not go to Eurovision in Malmö". ESCToday. Retrieved 14 December 2012. 
  78. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1997".  
  79. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 2001".  
  80. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 2004 Semi-Final".  
  81. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 2005 Semi-Final".  
  82. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest – Two Semi Finals In 2008" (PDF).  
  83. ^ "Bubble rapt". The Sydney Morning Herald. 17 May 2004. 
  84. ^ "The voting".  
  85. ^ Gray, Sadie (19 October 2008). "Lloyd Webber agrees to try to write a winner for Eurovision". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  86. ^ Sharrock, David (29 May 1999). "Discord at pop's Tower of Babel". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media Limited). Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  87. ^ "'"Eurovision Song Contest – Dusseldorf 2011 | News – 'Luxembourg never to return to the contest. Esctoday.com. 5 September 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  88. ^ "News – Serbia wins Eurovision Song Contest". B92. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  89. ^ http://www.eurovision.tv/page/history/year
  90. ^ a b c "History of Eurovision song contest". Eurovision.tv. 20 October 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  91. ^ "'"Politics 'not Eurovision factor.  
  92. ^ "Malta slates Eurovision's voting".  
  93. ^ "BBC News - Russia booed at Eurovision semi-final". BBC. 2014-05-07. Retrieved 2014-05-13.
  94. ^ Majendie, Paul (11 August 2007). "Edinburgh Fringe show celebrates Eurovision kitsch".  
  95. ^ Paul Allatson, "‘Antes cursi que sencilla’: Eurovision Song Contests and the Kitsch Drive to Euro-Unity," in the Special issue on Creolisation: Towards a Non-Eurocentric Europe, in Culture, Theory and Critique, vol. 48, no. 1 (Spring 2007): 87–98.
  96. ^ "Eurovision votes 'farce' attack".  
  97. ^ Derek Gatherer. "Comparison of Eurovision Song Contest Simulation with Actual Results Reveals Shifting Patterns of Collusive Voting Alliances.", Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation vol. 9, no. 2. 31 March 2006. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  98. ^ Ginsburgh, Victor and Abdul Noury. 2006. The Eurovision Song Contest Is Voting Political or Cultural?
  99. ^ Spierdjik, Laura; Vellekoop, Michel (18 May 2006). "Geography, Culture, and Religion: Explaining the Bias in Eurovision Song Contest Voting" (PDF). rug.nl. Retrieved 18 April 2007. 
  100. ^ Viniker, Barry (8 December 2008). "EBU confirms 50/50 vote for Eurovision Song Contest". ESCToday. Retrieved 8 December 2008. 
  101. ^ Bakker, Sietse (31 December 2009). "Exclusive: 39 countries to be represented in Oslo".  
  102. ^ "Asiavision: Off To a New Start". The Eurovision Times. 9 November w011. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  103. ^ Granger, Anthony (21 September 2013). "Turkvision a snub at Eurovision?". Eurovoix.com. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  104. ^ "Abba win 'Eurovision 50th' vote".  

References

  1. ^ The [25][24]
  2. ^ Despite Germany's two wins, Germany as a whole have only won once in 2010. Before the German Reunification, the Federal Republic of Germany (also known by its common English name of West Germany) had won once in 1982.

Notes

See also

In autumn 2005, the EBU organised a special programme to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the contest. The show, entitled Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest; after Cliff Richard's 1968 entry for the United Kingdom, was held in Copenhagen, and featured many artists from the last 50 years of the contest. A telephone vote was held to determine the most popular Eurovision song of all-time, which was won by ABBA's "Waterloo" (winner for Sweden in 1974).[104]

Similar competitions that are no longer held, include:

Similar competitions that are still held, include:

A number of spin-offs and imitators of the Eurovision Song Contest have been produced over the years, some national and other international.

Spin-offs

To try to reduce the effect of voting blocs, national juries were re-introduced alongside televoting in the final in 2009: each contributing 50% of the vote.[100] This hybrid system was expanded in 2010 to also be implemented in the semi-finals.[101] However, since 1994 no country has won two years in a row, and semi-finals have also been won by different countries, until 2012 when Sweden won the second semi-final in 2011 and 2012. Although many of them used to give their 12 points to the same country each year, like Cyprus and Greece, it has been noticed that factors such as the sets of other high votes received (7, 8 or 10 points) and the number of countries giving points to a specific entry, also highly affect the final positions.

The total numbers of points to be distributed by each country are equal, irrespective of the country's population. Thus voters in countries with larger populations have less power as individuals to influence the result of the contest than those voting in smaller countries. For example, San Marino holds the same voting power as Russia despite the vast geographic and population differences between them.

Another influential factor is the high proportion of expatriates and ethnic minorities living in certain countries. Although judges and televoters cannot vote for their own country's entry, expatriates can vote for their country of origin.

The contest has long been accused by some of political bias: the perception is that judges and televoters allocate points based on their nation's relationship to the other countries, rather than the musical merits of the songs.[96] According to one study of Eurovision voting patterns, certain countries tend to form "clusters" or "cliques" by frequently voting in the same way.[56] Another study concludes that as of 2006, voting blocs have, on at least two occasions, crucially affected the outcome of the contest.[97] On the other hand, others argue that certain countries allocate disproportionately high points to others because of similar musical tastes and cultures and because they speak similar languages,[98][99] and are therefore more likely to appreciate each other's music.

Political and geographical voting

Because the songs are playing to such a diverse supranational audience with contrasting musical tastes, and countries want to be able to appeal to as many people as possible to gain votes, this has led to the music of the contest being characterized as a "mishmash of power ballads, ethnic rhythms and bubblegum pop".[94] This well-established pattern, however, was notably broken in 2006 with Finnish hard rock band Lordi's victory. As Eurovision is a visual show, many performances attempt to attract the attention of the voters through means other than the music, notably elaborate lighting sequences and pyrotechnics; sometimes leading to bizarre on-stage theatrics, costumes, including the use of revealing dress.[95]

Musical style and presentation

The contest has been the subject of criticism regarding both its musical and political content.[91][92] For example, on rare occasions, certain countries have been booed when performing or received points. Most recently in 2014, Russia was heavily booed when it qualified to the final and received high points.[93]

Criticism and controversy

Since the introduction of semifinals, six countries, other than the big five, have always reached the final: Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine. However, both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ukraine have missed at least one contest since the inception of the semi-finals.[90]

In 2009, Norway won the contest with 387 points, the highest total in the history of the competition, becoming the first competitor to score 300 or more points, including 16 maximum scores. This feat was emulated in 2012, when Sweden won with 372 points, but with a new record of 18 maximum scores.[90]

The country that has participated the longest without any win is Portugal, which made its debut in 1964 and has never finished in the top five. Malta is the most successful country without a win, achieving two second places and two third places.[90]

The first years of the 21st century produced numerous first-time winners, from both "new" and long-serving countries who had previous entered numerous times but without victories. Every year from 2001 to 2008 inclusive, a country won for its first time. Estonia was the first post-Soviet country to win the competition in 2001. The 2006 winner was Finland, which finally won after having entered the contest for 45 years. Ukraine, on the other hand, did not have to wait so long, winning with only their second entry in 2004. Serbia won the very first year it entered as an independent state, in 2007.[88] Other relatively quick winners were Latvia, who won in 2002, only their third year competing, and Azerbaijan, who won in 2011 in only their fourth year in the competition.[89]

The early years of the contest saw many wins for "traditional" Eurovision countries: France, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. However, the success of these countries has declined in recent decades; the Netherlands last won in 1975; France, in 1977; and Luxembourg, in 1983. Luxembourg last entered the contest in 1993.[87]

The United Kingdom holds the record for the highest number of runner-up placings, coming in second on no less than 15 occasions as of 2014.

Ireland holds the record for the highest number of wins, having won the contest seven times—including three times in a row in 1992, 1993, and 1994. France, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and Sweden are joint second with five wins. Next comes the Netherlands, with four victories.[86]

Countries

Several other winners were well-known artists who won the contest mid-career after they had already established themselves, including Katrina and the Waves, winners in 1997 with "Love Shine a Light",[85] Lordi, winner in 2006 with "Hard Rock Hallelujah", and Sandie Shaw, winner in 1967 with "Puppet on a String".

Other artists who have achieved varying degrees of success after winning the contest include France Gall ("Poupée de cire, poupée de son", Luxembourg 1965), Dana ("All Kinds of Everything", Ireland 1970), Vicky Leandros ("Après toi", Luxembourg 1972), Brotherhood of Man ("Save Your Kisses for Me", United Kingdom 1976), Marie Myriam ("L'oiseau et l'enfant", France 1977), 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), Nicole ("Ein bißchen Frieden", Germany 1982), Herreys ("Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley", Sweden 1984) and Sandra Kim ("J'aime la vie", Belgium 1986).

There have been a number of Eurovision artists and groups whose careers were directly launched into the spotlight following their win. Notable examples were ABBA, who won the contest for Sweden in 1974 with their song "Waterloo", and went on to become one of the most successful bands of all time,[8] and the French Canadian singer Céline Dion, who won the contest for Switzerland in 1988 with the song "Ne partez pas sans moi", which subsequently helped launch her international career.[9]

Artists

Map showing each country's number of Eurovision wins up to and including 2014.[2]

Winners

After the votes have been cast in each semi-final, the countries which received the most votes—and will therefore proceed to the grand final on Saturday—are announced by the presenters in English and French, in a random order. Full voting results are withheld until after the grand final, whereupon they are published on the EBU's website.[18]

In each of the semi-finals the voting is conducted among those countries which participate in that semi-final. With regard to the automatic grand final qualifiers, who do not participate in the semi-finals, a draw is conducted to determine in which semi-final each of them will be allowed to vote. In contrast, every participating country in a particular year may vote in the Saturday grand final – whether their song qualified for the final or not.[84]

At the 50th annual meeting of the EBU reference group in September 2007, it was decided that, with still more nations entering, starting from the 2008 contest onwards two semi-finals would be held,[82] from each of which one could qualify for the final.[83] From 2008 onwards, the scoreboard position in previous years has not been relevant, and—save for the automatic qualifiers—all participating countries have had to participate in the semi-finals, regardless of their previous year's scoreboard position. The only countries which automatically qualify for the grand final are the host country and the Big Five: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, who continue to enjoy their protected status.[18]

The ten highest-placed non-Big Four countries in the "grand final" were guaranteed a place in the following year's grand final, without having to qualify. If, for example, Germany came in the top ten, the eleventh-placed non-Big-Four country would automatically qualify for the next year's grand final.[38] The remaining countries—which had not automatically qualified for the grand final—had to enter the semi-final.[38]

From 1997 to 2003, countries qualified for each contest based on the average of their points totals for their entries over the previous five years.[78][79] However, there was much discontent voiced over this system because a country could be excluded merely because of poor previous results, which did not take into account how good a fresh attempt might be. This led the EBU to create what was hoped would be a more permanent solution to the problem. A qualification round, known as the semi-final, was introduced for the 2004 Contest.[80] 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. The highest-placed songs from the semi-final qualified for the grand final, while the lower-placed songs were eliminated. From 2005 to 2007, the semi-final programme was held on the Thursday of Eurovision Week.[81] In these two shows there was enough time to include all the countries who wished to participate.

Each country's qualification rates from 2004 to 2014.

Qualification and semi-finals

Since 2000, France, Germany, Spain and United Kingdom have automatically qualified for the final, regardless of their positions on the scoreboard in previous contests, as they are the four biggest financial contributors to the EBU.[46] These countries became known as the "Big Four".[75] Germany became the first and, as of 2014, only "Big Four" country to win the contest since the rule was made in 2000, when Lena Meyer-Landrut won the 2010 Contest. On 31 December 2010, it was announced that Italy would also automatically qualify for the final, joining the other four qualifiers to become the "Big Five".[76] This decision was controversial: Turkey withdrew from the 2013 Contest with the status of the "Big Five" being one of the reasons cited.[77]

Big Four and Big Five

One country which failed to qualify in the 1996 pre-selection was Germany. As one of the largest financial contributors to the EBU, their non-participation in the contest brought about a funding issue, which the EBU would have to consider.[74]

Relegation continued in 1994 and 1995;[73] but in 1996 a different pre-selection system was used, in which nearly all the countries participated. Audio tapes of all the songs were sent to juries in each of the countries some weeks before the television show. These juries selected the songs which would be included in the international broadcast.[74] Norway, as the host country in 1996 (having won the previous year), automatically qualified and so did not need to go through pre-selection.

Since 1993, and following the cessation of the Eastern European OIRT network and the merger with the EBU, there have been more entries than there is time to reasonably include in a single TV show. Several relegation or qualification systems have been tried in order to limit the number of countries participating in the contest at one time. Thus the 1993 Contest introduced two new features: first, a pre-selection competition was held in Ljubljana in which seven new countries fought for three places in the international competition. Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia took part in Kvalifikacija za Millstreet; and the three former Yugoslav republics, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia, qualified for a place in the international final.[71] Also to be introduced that year was "relegation": the lowest-placed countries in the 1993 score table were not invited in 1994, to allow the countries which failed the 1993 pre-selection into the 1994 Contest. The 1994 Contest included—for the first time—Estonia, Romania, Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland and Russia.[72]

Pre-selections and relegation

Because the contest is a live television programme, a reasonable time limit must be imposed on the duration of the show. In recent years the nominal limit has been three hours, with the broadcast occasionally overrunning.[46]

The number of countries participating has steadily grown over time, from seven in 1956 to over 20 in the late 1980s. In 1993, twenty-five countries participated in the competition, including, for the first time, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia, entering independently due to the dissolution of Yugoslavia.[70]

Regular participants in 1994. Changes from 1992 include the addition of Central and Eastern European countries, and the separation of ex-Yugoslavian states.
Regular participants in 1992. Yugoslavia is coloured in red: 1991 was the last year in which that nation participated under one name.

Expansion of the contest

  • In the first contest in 1956, there was a recommended time limit of 3½ minutes per song.[67] In 1957, despite protests, the Italian song was 5:09 minutes in duration. This led to a stricter time limit of 3 minutes precisely.[68] Since the three-minute time limit was adopted in 1960, some artists have had songs longer than three minutes, which must be edited down to 3 minutes, though some songs exceed that time by a few seconds. Many of the entries also have longer versions (including different languages) for commercial release, and since the 1990s, some are released in additional remixed versions.
  • The EBU impose no restrictions on the nationalities of the performers or songwriters. Individual broadcasters are, however, permitted to impose their own restrictions at their discretion.[38]
  • 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.[38]
  • The performance and/or lyrics of a song "must not bring the Contest into disrepute". No lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political or similar nature are permitted. No unacceptable language is allowed, neither are commercial messages.[18]
  • From 1990 onwards, all people on stage must be at least 16 years of age.[18]
  • Each performance may consist of a maximum of six people on stage. No live animals.[18]
  • Each artist may perform for only one country per year.
  • The music and text must not have been published or performed before 1 September of the year before the contest is held. Many countries also have the additional rule that the song shall never have been performed before the relevant national Eurovision Contest. Covers, reworked or sampled versions of older songs are not allowed.[69]

Other

[66] In 2009, the song "

In 2005, Lebanon intended to participate in the contest. However, Lebanese law does not allow recognition of Israel, and consequently Lebanese television did not intend to transmit the Israeli entry. The EBU informed them that such an act would breach the rules of the contest, and Lebanon was subsequently forced to withdraw from the competition. Their late withdrawal incurred a fine, since they had already confirmed their participation and the deadline had passed.[65] However, the Eurovision Song Contest albums were still being sold in Lebanese music stores until 2009, with the word Israel erased from the back cover. As of 2010, the albums were banned completely from sale.

In 1978, during the performance of the Israeli entry, the Jordanian broadcaster JRTV suspended the broadcast and showed pictures of flowers. When it became apparent during the later stages of the voting sequence that Israel was going to win the contest, JRTV abruptly ended the transmission.[34] Afterwards, the Jordanian news media refused to acknowledge that Israel had won and announced that the winner was Belgium (who had actually come in 2nd place).[64] In 1981 JRTV did not broadcast the voting because the name of Israel appeared on the scoreboard.

Political recognition issues

Each participating broadcaster is required to broadcast the show in its entirety: including all songs, recap, voting and reprise, skipping only the interval act for advertising breaks if they wish.[18] From 1999 onwards, broadcasters who wished to do so were given the opportunity to take more advertising breaks as short, non-essential hiatuses were introduced into the programme.[46] Three major contest preemptions have taken place since 1999. The Dutch state broadcaster pulled their broadcast of the 2000 final to provide emergency news coverage of a major incident, the Enschede fireworks disaster. Spain's RTVE delayed their broadcast of the second semi-final in the 2009 Contest, due to the Madrid Open tennis tournament. The Albanian state broadcaster deferred their broadcast of the first semi-final in 2012 to provide emergency news coverage of a major bus accident. These were technically violations of the rule, but were done out of necessity .

Broadcasting

As of 2015, the only time since 1969 when two or more countries have tied for first place on total points alone was in 1991, when France and Sweden both totalled 146 points. At that time, the rules did not include counting the numbers of countries awarding any points to these countries' songs, but began with tallying up the numbers of 12 point scores awarded. Both France and Sweden had received four sets of 12 points. However, because Sweden had received more sets of 10-point scores, they were declared the winners. Had the current rule been in play, France would have won instead.[34]

Under the current rules, in the event of more than one country scoring the same total number of points, a count is made of the numbers of countries who awarded points to each of the tied countries, and the one who received points from the most countries is declared the winner. If the numbers are still tied, it is counted how many sets of maximum points (12 points) each country received. If there is still a tie, the numbers of 10-point scores awarded are compared—and then the numbers of 8-point scores, all the way down the list. In the extremely unlikely event of there then still being a tie for first place, the song performed earliest in the running order is declared the winner, unless the host country performed first in the running order. Since 2008, the same tie-break rule now applies to ties for all places.[18]

In 1969, four of the sixteen countries taking part, France, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, all tied for first place with 18 points each. There was nothing in the rules to decide an outright winner, so all four were declared joint winners. This caused much discontent among most of the other participating countries, and mass walkouts were threatened. Finland, Norway, Sweden and Portugal did not participate in the 1970 Contest as a protest against the results of the previous year. This prompted the EBU to introduce a tie-break rule.[62][63]

Ties for first place

In 2006[58] the EBU decided to save time during the broadcast—much of which had been taken up with the announcement of every single point—because there was an ever-increasing number of countries voting. Since then, votes from 1 to 7 from each country have been displayed automatically on screen and the remaining points (8, 10 and 12) are read out in ascending order by the spokesperson, culminating with the maximum 12 points. Countries must announce the country names and points in either English or French and the scores are repeated by the contest's presenters in the other language. The expression "douze points" when the host or spokesperson states the top score in French is popularly associated with the contest.[46]

In 1956 no public votes were presented: a closed jury simply announced that Switzerland had won.[60] From 1957 to 1987, the points were displayed on a physical scoreboard to the side of the stage. As digital graphic technology progressed, the physical scoreboards were superseded in 1988 by an electronic representation which could be displayed on the TV screen at the will of the programme's director.[61]

From 1971 to 1973, each country sent two jurors, who were present at the contest venue (though the juries in 1972 were locked away in the Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle) and announced their votes as the camera was trained on them. In 1973 one of the Swiss jurors made a great show of presenting his votes with flamboyant gestures. This system was retired for the next year.[34]

From 1957 to 1962, the participating countries were called in reverse order of the presentation of their songs, and from 1963 to 2003, they were called in the same order in which their songs had been presented. Since 2004, when semi-finals were introduced, the order of the countries' announcements of votes has changed; and the countries that did not make it to the final each year could also vote. In 2004, the countries were called in alphabetical order (according to their ISO codes).[57] In 2005, the votes from the non-qualifying semi-finalists were announced first, in their running order on the Thursday night; then the finalists gave their votes in their own order of performance. Between 2006 and 2010, a separate draw was held to determine the order in which countries would present their votes.[58] In 2011, the voting order was determined by the results of a jury the day before the final so as to create as much suspense as possible when the votes were revealed.[59]

After the interval act is over, when all the points have been calculated, the presenter(s) of the show call upon each voting country in turn to invite them to announce the results of their vote. Prior to 1994 the announcements were made over telephone lines; with the audio being piped into the auditorium for the audience to hear, and over the television transmission. With the advent of more reliable satellite networks, from 1994 onwards voting spokespeople have appeared on camera from their respective countries to read out the votes. Often the opportunity is taken by each country to show their spokesperson standing in front of a backdrop which includes a famous place in that country. For example, the French spokesperson might be seen standing in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Electronic scoreboard, as Johnny Logan announces the Irish votes in 2004

Presentation of votes

According to one study of Eurovision voting patterns, certain countries tend to form "clusters" or "cliques" by frequently voting in the same way.[56]

  • Miroslav Vilček (1964–1965)
  • Clifford Brown (1966–1977)
  • Frank Naef (1978–1992)
  • Christian Clausen (1993–1995)
  • Christine Marchal-Ortiz (1996, 1998–2002)
  • Marie-Claire Vionnet (1997)
  • Sarah Yuen (2003)
  • Svante Stockselius (2004–2010)
  • Jon Ola Sand (2011–present)

Since 1964 the voting has been presided over by the EBU scrutineer, who is responsible for ensuring that all points are allocated correctly and in turn. The following are the scrutineers and Executive Supervisors of the Eurovision Song Contest appointed by the EBU:

The current method for ranking entries is a 50/50 combination of both telephone vote and the votes of juries made up of music professionals.[55] It was first used in the final of 2009 edition, and extended the next year to semifinals. 

Historically, a country's votes were decided by an internal jury, but in 1997 five countries (Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom) experimented with televoting, giving members of the public in those countries the opportunity to vote en masse for their favourite songs. The experiment was a success,[34] and from 1998 onwards all countries were encouraged to use televoting wherever possible. Back-up juries are still used by each country, in the event of a televoting failure. Nowadays members of the public may also vote by SMS, in addition to televoting.[52] From 2013, the public may also vote via a mobile app.[53][54]

The voting system used in the contest has changed over the years. The current system has been in place since 1975, and is a positional voting system. Countries award 12 points to their favourite song, then 10 to the second favourite, and then scores from 8 down to 1 to another eight songs.[51]

Voting

In 1999 the rule was changed to allow the choice of language once more.[45] Belgium entered the 2003 Contest with "Sanomi", a song sung in a constructed language,[49] finishing in second place. In 2006 the Dutch entry, "Amambanda", was sung partly in English and partly in an artificial language.[49] In 2008 the Belgian entry, "O Julissi", was sung in an artificial language.[49] In 2011 the Norwegian entry, "Haba Haba", which was sung in English and Swahili, was the first song to be sung in an African language, apart from Arabic.[50]

In 1977, the EBU decided to revert to the national language restriction. However, special dispensation was given to Germany and Belgium as their national selections had already taken place; both countries' entries were in English.[48]

The language restriction continued until 1973, when performers were again allowed to sing in any language they wished.[47] Several winners in the mid-1970s took advantage of this: performers from non-English-speaking countries sang in English, including ABBA in 1974.

Each submission must have vocals; purely instrumental music has never been allowed. Originally, competitors were required to sing in their own national language, but this rule has been changed several times over the years. From 1956 until 1965, there was no rule restricting the languages in which the songs could be sung. In 1966 a rule was imposed stating that the songs must be performed in one of the official languages of the country participating, after Sweden presented its 1965 entry in English.[14]

Language

In 1999 the requirement for a live orchestra was abolished: it was left as an optional contribution.[46] The host that year, Israel's IBA, decided not to use an orchestra in order to save expenses, and thus 1999 was the first year when all the songs were played as pre-recorded backing tracks (in conjunction with live vocals).

From 1956 until 1998, the host country was required to provide a live orchestra. Prior to 1973, all music had to be played by the host orchestra. From 1973 onwards, pre-recorded backing tracks were permitted—although the host country was still obliged to provide a live orchestra in order to give participants a choice. If a backing track was used, then all the instruments heard on the track were required to be present on the stage. In 1997 this requirement was dropped.[34]

All vocals must be sung live: no voices are permitted on backing tracks.[18] 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 for the purpose of calculating their five-year points average for future qualification.[45]

Live music

Numerous detailed rules must be observed by the participating nations: a new version is produced each year. For instance the rules specify various deadlines, including the date by which all the participating broadcasters must submit the final recorded version of their song to the EBU. The rules also cover sponsorship agreements and rights of broadcasters to re-transmit the show. The most notable rules which affect the format and presentation of the contest have changed over the years, and are highlighted here.

Rules

A long tradition in Israel is Eurovision Sundays held in a club in Tel Aviv, led by Eurofalsh ensemble, which was invited to the 2014 contest in Denmark to perform on the stage of its Euroclub celebrations.

During the week many delegations have traditionally hosted their own parties in addition to the officially sponsored ones. However, in the new 2000 millennium the trend has been for the national delegations to centralise their activity and hold their celebrations in the Euroclub.[44]

A Euroclub is held every night of the week; a Eurovision-themed nightclub, to which all accredited personnel are invited.[44]

After the semi-final and grand final there are after-show parties, held either in a facility in the venue complex or in another suitable location within the city.[43]

On the Monday evening of Eurovision Week, a Mayor's Reception is traditionally held, where the city administration hosts a celebration that Eurovision has come to their city. This is usually held in a grand municipally owned location in the city centre. All delegations are invited, and the party is usually accompanied by live music, complimentary food and drink and—in recent years—fireworks.[42]

Parties and Euroclub

Before each of the semi-finals three dress rehearsals are held. Two rehearsals are held the day before (one in the afternoon and the other in the evening), while the third is held on the afternoon of the live event. Since tickets to the live shows are often scarce, tickets are also sold in order that the public may attend these dress rehearsals. The same applies for the final, with two rehearsals on the Friday and the third on Saturday afternoon before the live transmission of the grand final on Saturday evening.[40] For both semi-finals and for the final, the second dress rehearsal is also the Jury Final, this is where the jury from each country casts their votes. This means that 50% of the result is already decided before the live contests have taken place.[39]

After each country has rehearsed, the delegation meets with the show's artistic director in the video viewing room. Here, they watch the footage of the rehearsal just performed, discussing camera angles, lighting and choreography, in order to try to achieve maximum æsthetic effect on television. At this point the Head of Delegation may make known any special requirements needed for the performance, and request them from the host broadcaster. Following this meeting, the delegation hold a press conference where members of the accredited press may pose them questions.[40] The rehearsals and press conferences are held in parallel; so one country holds its press conference, while the next one is in the auditorium rehearsing. A printed summary of the questions and answers which emerge from the press conferences is produced by the host press office, and distributed to journalists' pigeon-holes.[41]

Switzerland hosting a press conference at Eurovision 2006.

Traditionally, delegations would arrive on the Sunday before the contest, in order to be present for rehearsals starting on the Monday morning. However, with the introduction of the semi-finals—and therefore the resulting increase in the number of countries taking part since 2004, the first rehearsals have commenced on the Sunday almost two weeks before the Grand Final. There are two rehearsal periods for each country. The countries taking part in the semi-finals have their first rehearsal over four days from the first Sunday to Wednesday. The second is from Thursday to Sunday. The countries which have already directly qualified for the Grand Final rehearse on the Saturday and Sunday.[39]

Lena, representing Germany, performing Satellite during a rehearsal in 2010

Rehearsals and press conferences

Each participating broadcaster nominates a Head of Delegation, whose job it is to coordinate the movements of the delegate members, and who acts as that country's representative to the EBU in the host city.[38] Members of the delegations include performers, lyricists, composers, official press officers and—in the years where songs were performed with a live orchestra—a conductor. Also present if desired is a commentator: each broadcaster may supply their own commentary for their TV and/or radio feed, to be broadcast in each country. The commentators are given dedicated commentary booths situated around the back of the arena behind the audience.

The term "Eurovision Week" is used to refer to the week during which the Contest takes place.[36] As it is a live show, the Eurovision Song Contest requires the performers to have perfected their acts in rehearsals in order for the programme to run smoothly. In addition to rehearsals in their home countries, every participant is given the opportunity to rehearse on the stage in the Eurovision auditorium. These rehearsals are held during the course of several days before the Saturday show, and consequently the delegations arrive in the host city many days before the event. Journalists and fans are also present during the preceding days, and so the events of Eurovision last a lot longer than a few hours of television. A number of officially accredited hotels are selected for the delegations to stay in, and shuttle-bus services are used to transport the performers and accompanying people to and from the contest venue.[37]

Eurovision Week

Year Host city Slogan
2002 Tallinn "A Modern Fairytale"
2003 Riga "Magical Rendezvous"
2004 Istanbul "Under The Same Sky"
2005 Kiev "Awakening"
2006 Athens "Feel The Rhythm!"
2007 Helsinki "True Fantasy"
2008 Belgrade "Confluence Of Sound"
2010 Oslo "Share The Moment!"
2011 Düsseldorf "Feel Your Heart Beat!"
2012 Baku "Light Your Fire!"
2013 Malmö "We Are One"
2014 Copenhagen "#JoinUs"
2015 Vienna "Building Bridges"
Since the 2002 contest, slogans (or themes) have been introduced in the show (2009 being the only exception). The slogan is decided by the host broadcaster and based on the slogan, the theme and the visual design are developed.

Slogans

The generic logo was revamped in 2014, ten years after the first generic logo was created. The revamped logo was conducted by lead designer Cornelis Jacobs and his team of Cityzen Agency.[35] The logo will be used for the first time in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest, the 60th anniversary of the contest.

The current generic logo was introduced for the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest in Turkey, to create a consistent visual identity. The host country's flag appears in the heart of the generic logo. Each year of the contest, the host country creates a sub-theme which is usually accompanied and expressed with a sub-logo and slogan. The theme and slogan are announced by the EBU and the host country's national broadcaster.

Eurovision logo and theme

Since 1981, all contests have been held in the country which won the previous year.

  • 1960—hosted by the BBC in London when the Netherlands declined due to expense. The UK was chosen to host because it had come second in 1959.[34]
  • 1963—hosted by the BBC in London when France declined due to expense. Although the UK had only come fourth in 1962, Monaco and Luxembourg (who came second and third) had also declined.[34]
  • 1972—hosted by the BBC in Edinburgh when Monaco was unable to provide a suitable venue: Monegasque television invited the BBC to take over due to its previous experience.[34]
  • 1974—hosted by the BBC in Brighton when Luxembourg declined due to expense. The BBC was becoming known as the host by default, if the winning country declined.[19]
  • 1980—hosted by the NOS in The Hague when Israel declined due to expense, having staged the 1979 event in Jerusalem, and the fact that the date chosen for the contest (19 April) was Israel's Remembrance Day that year. The Dutch offered to host the contest after several other broadcasters (including the BBC) were unwilling to do so.[34] The reluctance of those national broadcasters to stage the contest were due to already having hosted the event during the past couple of years, in addition to the expense involved.

After the first two contests were hosted by Switzerland and Germany, it was decided that henceforth the winning country would host the contest the next year.[14] The winner of the 1957 Contest was the Netherlands, and Dutch television accepted the responsibility of hosting in 1958. In all but five of the years since this rule has been in place, the winning country has hosted the show the following year. The exceptions are:

Host country

The hotel and press facilities in the vicinity are always a consideration when choosing a host city and venue.[32] In Ukrainian government to put a block on bookings they did not control themselves through official delegation allocations or tour packages: this led to many people's hotel bookings being cancelled.[33]

Preparations for the event start a matter of weeks after the host wins in the previous year, and confirms to the EBU that they intend to—and have the capacity to—host the event. A host city is chosen—often a national or regional capital city—and a suitable concert venue is identified. The two largest concert venues were Parken in Copenhagen (which held approximately 38,000 people when Denmark hosted in 2001[14]) and the Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf (which held approximately 36,500 people when Germany hosted in 2011). The smallest town to have been hosts was Millstreet in County Cork, Ireland, in 1993. The village had a population of 1,500[30]—although the Green Glens Arena venue could hold up to 8,000 people.[31]

Most of the expense of the contest is covered by commercial sponsors and contributions from the other participating nations. The contest is considered to be a unique opportunity for promoting the host country as a tourist destination. In the summer of 2005, Ukraine abolished its normal visa requirement for visitors from the EU to coincide with its hosting of the event.[29]

Hosting

a) Before German reunification in 1990 occasionally presented as West Germany, representing the Federal Republic of Germany. East Germany (the German Democratic Republic) did not compete.
b) The entries presented as being from "Yugoslavia" represented the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, except for the 1992 entry, which represented the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This nation dissolved in 1991/1992 into five independent states: Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia reconstituted itself as Serbia and Montenegro in 2003—entered the contest in 2004—and finally dissolved in 2006, making two separate states: Serbia and Montenegro; both of which debuted in the contest in 2007, the winner that year being Serbia.
Year Country making its debut entry
1956  Netherlands,  France,  Germanya,  Italy,  Luxembourg,  Belgium,  Switzerland
1957  Austria,  Denmark,  United Kingdom
1958  Sweden
1959  Monaco
1960  Norway
1961  Finland,  Spain,  Yugoslaviab
1964  Portugal
1965  Ireland
1971  Malta
1973  Israel
1974  Greece
1975  Turkey
1980  Morocco
1981  Cyprus
1986  Iceland
1993  Bosnia and Herzegovina,  Croatia,  Slovenia
1994  Estonia,  Hungary,  Lithuania,  Poland,  Romania,  Russia,  Slovakia
1996  Macedonia
2000  Latvia
2003  Ukraine
2004  Albania,  Andorra,  Belarus,  Serbia and Montenegro
2005  Bulgaria,  Moldova
2006  Armenia
2007 Serbia
2008  Azerbaijan,  San Marino

Fifty-two countries have participated at least once.[28] These are listed here alongside the year in which they made their début:

Cities that have hosted the Eurovision Song Contest.
Participation since 1956:
  Entered at least once
  Never entered, although eligible to do so
  Entry intended, but later withdrew

Eligibility to participate is not determined by 2007; and Azerbaijan, which made its first appearance in the 2008 edition.[27]

If an EBU Active Member wishes to participate, they must fulfill conditions as laid down by the rules of the contest (of which a separate copy is drafted annually). As of 2014, this includes the necessity to have broadcast the previous year's programme within their country, and paid the EBU a participation fee in advance of the deadline specified in the rules of the contest for the year in which they wish to participate.

Active members include broadcasting organisations whose transmissions are made available to at least 98% of households in their own country which are equipped to receive such transmissions.[23]

The western boundary of Region 1 is defined by a line running from the North Pole along meridian 10° West of Greenwich to its intersection with parallel 72° North; thence by great circle arc to the intersection of meridian 50° West and parallel 40° North; thence by great circle arc to the intersection of meridian 20° West and parallel 10° South; thence along meridian 20° West to the South Pole.[26]

The "European Broadcasting Area" is bounded on the west by the western boundary of Iraq, Jordan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey and Ukraine lying outside the above limits are included in the European Broadcasting Area.[1]

The European Broadcasting Area is defined by the International Telecommunication Union:[24]

Eligible participants include Active Members (as opposed to Associate Members) of the EBU. Active members are those who are located in states that fall within the European Broadcasting Area, or are member states of the Council of Europe.[23]

Participation

The Eurovision Song Contest final is traditionally held on a Saturday evening in May, at 19:00 UTC (15:00 EDT, 20:00 BST/IST, or 21:00 CEST). Usually one Saturday in May is chosen, although the contest has been held on a Thursday (in 1956)[21] and as early as March (in 1979).[22]

As national broadcasters join and leave the EBU feed, the EBU/Eurovision logo is displayed. The accompanying theme music (used on other Eurovision broadcasts) is the prelude to Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Te Deum.[11]

The programme is invariably opened by one or more presenters, welcoming viewers to the show. Most host countries choose to capitalise on the opportunity afforded them by hosting a programme with such a wide-ranging international audience, and it is common to see the presentation interspersed with video footage of scenes from the host nation, as if advertising for tourism. Between the songs and the announcement of the voting, an interval act is performed. These acts can be any form of entertainment imaginable. Interval entertainment has included such acts as the Wombles (1974)[19] and the first international presentation of Riverdance (1994).[20]

The format of the contest has changed over the years, though the basic tenets have always been thus: participant countries submit songs, which are performed live in a television programme transmitted across the Eurovision Network by the EBU simultaneously to all countries.[17] A "country" as a participant is represented by one television broadcaster from that country: typically, but not always, that country's national auditorium in the host city. During this programme, after all the songs have been performed, the countries then proceed to cast votes for the other countries' songs: nations are not allowed to vote for their own song.[18] At the end of the programme, the winner is declared as the song with the most points. The winner receives, simply, the prestige of having won—although it is usual for a trophy to be awarded to the winning songwriters, and the winning country is invited to host the event the following year.[14]

Format

Year(s) English French Other language Official logo language
1956–64 Eurovision Grand Prix Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson Européenne N/A French
1965 Gran Premio Eurovisione della Canzone Italian
1966 N/A French
1967 Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson French
1968–72 Eurovision Song Contest Grand Prix de la Chanson English
1973 Concours Eurovision de la Chanson French
1974–75 English
1976 Eurovisiesongfestival Dutch
1977 N/A English
1978– French

[13] However, in the minds of the public, the name "Eurovision" is most closely associated with the Song Contest.[16]

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