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What is the Eurovision Song Contest?


May 4, 2023 #Eurovision 2023

What is the Eurovision Song Contest?

The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual international music competition that has been entertaining viewers across Europe and beyond for almost seven decades. It was first held on May 24, 1956, bringing together seven countries in the Swiss city of Lugano.

Since then, the contest has evolved to include dozens of countries from all over Europe, as well as Israel (which started participating in 1973), Australia (as a guest in 2015 and then as a regular participant in 2016), and even China (which broadcast the contest in 2015 and 2016 but was not allowed to participate due to contract issues).

The Eurovision Song Contest is quite unique in terms of its format, as it requires each participating country to send an original song that has never been released commercially before. The songs are performed live, and viewers from all participating countries (and a few more) get to vote for their favorite entries. The contest’s tagline, “Celebrating Diversity,” reflects the wide range of genres, styles, and languages that are featured every year.

The Rules and the Performances

The contest is organized by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which represents public service media organizations in Europe and beyond. The rules of the contest are quite complex, covering everything from the length of the songs to the order in which the countries perform and the percentage of the total vote that each country’s jury and viewers get. Each country’s broadcaster is responsible for selecting its entry, and they typically hold a national competition in which several singers or bands compete for the honor.

The performances are usually quite extravagant, featuring elaborate costumes, choreography, and stage designs. Some entries are more serious or emotional, while others are deliberately campy or quirky. Some performers rely heavily on visual effects and props, while others let their vocals shine. In recent years, many countries have started to use more cutting-edge technology and digital effects to enhance their performances.

While the music and the performances are the main focus of the contest, there are many other elements that contribute to its popularity. The so-called “Eurofans” are a dedicated group of followers who attend the contest every year and follow it closely on social media. They often create fan art, remixes, and mashups of the songs, and they hold watch parties, unofficial contests, and other events around the contest. The contest also has a rich history and many iconic moments that are still talked about today, such as ABBA’s victory in 1974 with “Waterloo,” Celine Dion’s win for Switzerland in 1988, or Conchita Wurst’s triumph with “Rise Like a Phoenix” in 2014.

The Voting System and the Controversies

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Eurovision Song Contest is its voting system, which is based on a combination of national juries and televoting. Each country’s jury is made up of music industry professionals who are responsible for ranking the entries based on their musical quality. The results of the jury votes from all participating countries are then combined to create a separate ranking called the “jury scoreboard.”

Next, viewers from all participating countries (except the country they’re voting for) get to vote for their favorite entries via phone, SMS, or an official app. The results of the televoting are also combined to create a separate ranking called the “public scoreboard.” These two rankings are then combined to create the final result, with the top 10 entries receiving points in descending order (from 12 points to 1).

This system has led to many controversies over the years, as some countries have been accused of block voting (i.e., giving high points to their neighbors or allies), tactical voting (i.e., giving low points to their rivals or favorites), or even vote buying or rigging. The EBU has tried to address these issues by introducing new rules and procedures, such as the introduction of a “diaspora rule” (which requires each country’s jury to include at least one person with a background in the country they’re voting for) or the use of a new vote-counting system (which combines the jury and televoting results differently). However, these changes have not completely eliminated the controversies, and the voting results are still a major topic of discussion and analysis every year.

The Legacy of the Eurovision Song Contest

Despite its flaws and challenges, the Eurovision Song Contest remains one of the most watched and beloved TV events in the world. Its influence can be seen in many aspects of pop culture, from the music charts and the fashion trends to the TV shows and the Internet memes. Many artists who started their careers in the contest have gone on to achieve international success and recognition, such as ABBA, Celine Dion, Julio Iglesias, and more recently, Loreen, Mans Zelmerlow, and Eleni Foureira.

Moreover, the contest has also played a role in promoting cultural exchange, mutual understanding, and tolerance among the participating countries and their citizens. The contest often features messages of peace, love, and unity, and it has been used as a platform for social causes and campaigns, such as LGBTQ+ rights, environmental awareness, and mental health. The contest’s motto for 2021, “Open Up,” further emphasizes this mission.

So, whether you’re a diehard Eurofan or a curious newcomer, the Eurovision Song Contest is definitely worth checking out. It offers a unique combination of music, spectacle, and drama that is unlike anything else on TV, and it can be a fun way to discover new artists, cultures, and languages. Who knows, you might even catch the Eurovision bug and become a devoted fan yourself. As they say, “Eurovision is a state of mind.”

By admin