The Eurovision Song Contest – A Guide and Brief History


Eurovision is a song competition that invites all the counties in Europe to put forward a song to be entered into a music competition voted for by the rest of Europe (the competition is designed so that a country cannot vote for its own entry in the interest of objectivity). This way the Eurovision song contest provides an opportunity for some friendly competition between European countries, a fun event that brings families together and is suitable for all ages, and generates some great songs. At the same time it is also a celebration of music with some great sets, costumes and props thrown in too making Eurovision a great spectacle. Finally it is a great celebration of culture, with each Eurovision entry serving as a great example of the kind of music that is enjoyed in that country and allowing others to enjoy something a bit different to their own music. It is as such one of the most loved television programmes around Europe and is also broadcast outside of Europe and on the internet for other countries who want to listen in on the music and get involved with the celebration.

Eurovision began in 1956 (making Eurovision one of the longest running television programmes in the world) and there have been 54 separate Eurovision contests and 58 winners. The reason that Eurovision has more winners than contests is that the 1969 Eurovision contest had four tied winners (Spain, The UK, Netherlands and France). Each year Eurovision is hosted by the country that won it the previous year, which adds to the multicultural flavour. This can sometimes be a problem for countries such as Finland who hosted it in 2010 due to the cost associated with putting on such a show – particularly during the economic crisis.

The most recent winners of the Eurovision song contest have been Germany in 2010, Norway in 2009, Russia in 2008, Serbia in 2007 and Finland in 2006. This most recent success for Germany was a big surprise to many who saw Germany as being unable to win another Eurovision thanks to the ‘political voting’ that often takes place (whereby people vote on the countries that they like the most rather than songs themselves). This reflects the unpredictability of Eurovision, and this also makes it popular at the bookies where many viewers will add to the excitement by betting on the outcome.

The Eurovision song voted the most successful and popular of all time however remains the UK song ‘Waterloo’ by ABBA who would go on to become a popular band in their own right and release many more hit singles. This is a good example of how Eurovision has created much loved music and has its own rich history.