Eurovision Song Contest

From Academic Kids

Running since 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest (in French: Concours Eurovision de la Chanson) is an annual televised song contest with participants from numerous countries whose national television broadcasters are members of the European Broadcasting Union. The contest is broadcast on television and also radio throughout Europe. More recently, the contest has also been televised in other parts of the world and broadcast on the internet.

The contest's name comes from the Eurovision TV distribution network, which is run by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and can reach a potential television audience of more than one billion. Any member of the EBU may participate in the contest. This also includes countries of Africa and Asia such as Turkey, Israel, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya and Syria. Of these non-European nations, only Turkey, Israel and Morocco have participated in the contest. Lebanon had intended to participate for the first time in 2005, but decided to withdraw because of problems broadcasting the Israeli performance. [1] (

The EBU is not connected with the European Union.



Based on the San Remo Music Festival, the first Eurovision Song Contest was the brainchild of the European Broadcasting Union. The first contest took place on May 24, 1956, when seven of the original invitees participated (the other three were disqualified for late entry). The original participants were France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, and Switzerland. They were joined the next year by the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Austria ("the Procrastinators"). In 1958, Sweden took part for the first time, Monaco entered for the first time in 1959. More countries came on board in a gradual trickle over subsequent decades, with for instance Israel first appearing in 1973 and Iceland in 1986. However, the definitive end of the Cold War in the early 1990s led to a sudden increase in numbers, with many former Eastern Bloc countries queuing up to compete for the first time. This process continued into the 2005 contest, in which both Bulgaria and Moldova made their debut appearance.

Up until 2003, participation in the Eurovision Song Contest was dependent on a country having performed with a reasonable amount of success for the previous few years. A poor run of form meant that a country could be effectively suspended for a year. Because of the size of their contribution to the EBU budget, France, Germany, Spain and the UK automatically qualify regardless of how poorly their songs perform.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) decided to make the Eurovision Song Contest a two day event as of 2004, dropping the previous restrictions on the number of EBU member countries that can participate. The new format calls for the 10 most successful countries from the previous year along with the four biggest budget contributors to directly qualify for the final show. The remaining countries go through a qualification round from which the 10 best advance to the 24-26 nation final show.

For the 2002 edition, the Spanish TVE created a reality show Operacin Triunfo that showed the selection and training of unknown singers. At the end, one of them would be elected by the public to represent the country in the contest. The format was initially an enormous success in Spain, ran for two more years there and was swiftly exported to other countries. One example is the Irish You're A Star, a Pop Idol clone run on Radio Teilifs ireann since 2002, which carries the ultimate prize of representing Ireland at Eurovision. Ironically, however, the original Spanish show was quietly dropped for the 2005 contest, with the country reverting to a conventional national pre-selection competition.


Number of songs

At the first contest in 1956, each country was allowed to submit two three-minute (or less) songs, performed by inhabitants of the respective country. From 1957, entries were limited to one song per country. The number of participating countries has grown throughout the Contest's history, and by the turn of the century the rules had been changed several times to both limit the number of finalists and to allow for the new independent republics that arose from the former Eastern bloc countries.


Current rules state that countries are only allowed to have six performers on stage and that performers must be aged 16 or more, on the 31st of December in the year of the contest. It is worth noting that under the current rules there is no restriction on the nationality of the performers, allowing the French-Canadian Cline Dion to represent Switzerland, amongst many others. If an EBU country does not broadcast the Song Contest they are automatically disqualified for the next year.

Among the famous performers to have graced the Eurovision stage are Sandie Shaw, Cliff Richard, Nana Mouskouri, The Shadows, Vicky Leandros, Olivia Newton John, t.A.T.u., Mocedades, Baccara and Cline Dion. ABBA rose to fame after winning the contest for Sweden in 1974.


Following the dominance of English language songs, particularly Sweden's 1974 victory (with ABBA's "Waterloo"), a rule was passed in 1977 that the song had to be sung in one of the official languages of the performing country.

The rule was quashed in 1999, and Sweden immediately won again with another English song ("Take Me To Your Heaven" by Charlotte Nilsson).

Many small countries sing in English to reach broader audiences, though this is sometimes looked upon as unpatriotic. In these cases the lyrics have commonly been written in the mother tongue originally, in order to win the national competition, and then translated.

In 2005, even the majority of larger states including Germany opted to sing in English. The remaining exception to this is France, which resolutely sings in its native tongue, and defends the dual-language policy of the presentation whereby scores and points are announced in both English and French.


Voting and Results

The winner of the contest is decided by each country assigning points (currently 1 to 8, 10 and 12) to their favourite ten entries. Until recently votes were decided by small juries in each country, but under normal conditions national telephone polls are now held during the broadcast in order to determine points assignment. Countries are not allowed to vote for themselves.

The jury voting system still exists as a reserve measure, when televoting is impractical or suffers a malfunction. In 2003 Eircom's (Irish telecom) telephone polls system ceased to operate normally, the Irish broadcaster RT did not receive the votes on time and instead used a panel of judges. The Russian competitors t.A.T.u. threatened to take legal action against the RT on the grounds that the votes would have allowed t.A.T.u. to win the contest and accusing RT of intentionally causing an error in the televoting, to directly prevent t.A.T.u. from winning. This has been strongly denied by the broadcaster.

The presenters of the contest connect by satellite to each country's jury in turn, inviting the spokesperson for each national jury to read out that country's votes in French or English, although French is usually only used by France and Monaco. The presenters then repeat the votes in both English and French, following the formula: "Country name, number points. Nom du pays, nombre points" (but putting French first if the spokesperson is reading the points in French). For example: "Belgium, twelve points. La Belgique, douze points."

Nul points

Since each of the entrant countries casts a series of votes, it is only rarely that a song has failed to have any votes at all cast for it — under the modern rules this means that the song failed to make the top ten most popular songs in any country. This is also known as receiving nul points, from the practice of reading results in French as well as English during the broadcast.

Entries which received no points, or nul points, since the introduction of the current scoring system in 1975 are as follows:

  • In 1978, Jahn Teigen for his song, "Mil etter mil", for Norway.
  • In 1981, Norway's "Aldri I Livet" by Finn Kalvik.
  • In 1982, Finland's "Nuku pommiin" by Kojo.
  • In 1983, two entries- "Opera" by Cetin Alp and Short Wave (Turkey) and "Quien Maneja Mi Barca" by Remedios Amaya (Spain).
  • In 1987, Turkey's entry "Sarkim Sevgi Ustune" by Seyyal Taner and Locomotif.
  • In 1988, Austria's "Lisa, Mona Lisa" by Wilfried.
  • In 1989, the Icelandic entry, "a sem enginn sr", sung by Danel gst Haraldsson.
  • In 1991, the Austrian entry "Venedig Im Regen" by Thomas Forstner.
  • In 1994, Lithuania's "Lopsine Mylimai" by Ovidijus Vysniauskas.
  • In 1997, both Norway's entry ("San Francisco" by Tor Endresen) and Portugal's entry ("Antes do Adeus" by Clia Lawson).
  • In 1998, the Switzerland entry, "Lass ihn" sung by Gunvor.
  • In 2003, the UK contestants, Jemini, scored no points for their entry, which caused slight consternation in the UK.
  • In the 2004 semi-final (a new procedure), Switzerland's performance, "Celebrate".

Political and regional voting patterns

It has been observed that politics dictate a lot of the voting. Regional and cultural voting patterns are quite common. The votes are often, though not always, reciprocated. One of the interesting tendencies in the voting patterns is that often countries will tend to vote for others in the same region notwithstanding that they may share a recent troubled history. Countries entering the contest for the first time often score highly as well, as voters are generally sympathetic to newly forged nations.

A notable commentator of the political aspect of voting is Terry Wogan, the BBC TV presenter and long term commentator on the show. He observed that the United Kingdom's receipt of 'nul points' in 2003 reflected Europe's opposition to British involvement in the invasion of Iraq, as much as the poor quality of the song and performance. The last time the United Kingdom won the contest was just after the EU-sceptic Conservative government of John Major was heavily defeated by the more EU-friendly Tony Blair (although the country had come second in both 1992 and 1993, during the Major administration).

Cyprus and Greece usually give maximum points to each other, regardless of the quality of their songs. They have also been known to scarcely, if ever, award votes to Turkey. However, in a reflection of the improved state of relations in 2003, Greece awarded Turkey (the eventual victors) a number of points while Cyprus awarded Turkey eight, and in 2005 Turkey gave their twelve points to eventual winners Greece.

The Nordic and Baltic countries tend to stick together, leading to successive victories for Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and Latvia between 1999 and 2002. Denmark and Sweden got disproportionally strong votes from the entire Nordic region in 2005.

When Serbia and Montenegro returned to the ESC in the 2004 and 2005 contests, both Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina gave their maximum 12 points to them. The three countries stuck together in general with regard to the lesser point options. When one adds the voting pattern of Slovenia and FYR Macedonia to the set, it is apparent that these preferences may well stem from their past union of Yugoslavia. It is also possible that the large national minorities contributed to those votes.

Ireland, although not part of a voting block, often does well as a neutral, largely English speaking country. However, a clear exception to this was in the 2004 semi-final, when the only points received by Ireland came from the United Kingdom. In 2005, the United Kingdom received most of its points from Ireland.

The paradox of voting for a previously unamicable country pops up routinely in the voting patterns in former Yugoslavia and in Northern Europe. The ironic flipside is that the Western European states very rarely vote for others in the same region, despite the fact relations between those countries are cordial (at least in comparison). Consequently the Western European states have tended to dwell at the bottom of the voting table in recent years.

Russia also tends to get high numbers of points from former Soviet republics, though this can mostly be explained through massive numbers of Russians that moved to former Soviet Republics - Russians make up 29% of the population in Latvia, 26% in Estonia, 17% in Ukraine, Belarus has mostly been culturally and lingually assimilated by Russia - during times of the Soviet Union that keep a certain loyalty to Russia till today. Through the sheer number of Russians, the Russian vote will often outweigh the votes of other ethnic groups if these are less polarized (which, for example, did not happen in Estonia in 2005, when the Estonian vote was swayed towards Switzerland, represented by the Estonian group Vanilla Ninja, and this outweighed the Russian vote).

Also, often immigrants in one nation will vote for the country of their origin if they have the possibility. This is a partial reason for the regularly strong votes for Turkey and countries within former Yugoslavia from countries like Austria, Switzerland and Germany and for the usual strong vote for Estonia from Finland (though cultural closeness plays a factor here too). France, with a large Portuguese community, often awards a high score to Portugal, and Romania gets a high score from Spain thanks to the recent immigrants there.

The counter-argument to accusations of regional and politically prejudiced voting patterns is that it is natural for people of similar cultures within Europe, sharing common borders where the TV and radio stations of a number of countries can be received, and speaking similar languages, to enjoy similar styles of music. That said, even though voting is now done by public telephone poll rather than by jury, friendly voting does seem to persist, and with an increasing number of nations appearing each year, may even be becoming more prevalent.

The 2005 Contest

The 2005 contest saw France, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom, the four largest contributors to the EBU who automaticaly qualify for the final, occupying the four bottom positions of the final, each with fewer than 20 points. This could reflect negative sentiments from countries who have to qualify, or a general lack of enthusiasm from these country who have no prospect of dropping out of the contest.

The UK received only 18 points: 8 from its neighbour, Ireland, 5 from Cyprus, 4 from Malta (all countries with which the UK has formerly administered) and 1 from Turkey ; while many people believed the song was strong enough to deserve more. However, as viewers only vote for one song, it is highly possible that Javine lost votes to the Turkish and Greek songs which were similar in style. This theory is supported by Greece's comfortable win. In general it appeared that large western nations lost out to smaller eastern nations.

The UK tabloid "The Sun", on the Monday following the 2005 contest published an article claiming that the contest was fixed. This was based upon an investigation made by students from Oxford University , showing that over 10 years, there was a definite pattern in voting. In the contest of that year, Switzerland (who finished seventh), were leading prior to the results of the Eastern Block being announced. In fact, the only surprises were when Ukraine didn't give a high mark to Russia, and when Turkey gave 12 points to Greece, as said earlier.


Hosting the Eurovision Song Contest is an honour accorded to the winning country from the previous year — although this means that the victor's home broadcaster actually incurs heavy expenses as a result of winning and this has led to suggestions that some nations deliberately choose substandard acts so as to ensure they do not win twice in a row. In the early 1990s the Irish broadcaster RT was reported to have experienced financial difficulties through having to host the contest four times in five years (this was somewhat parodied in the Father Ted episode "A Song for Europe"). The 2004 ESC was allocated a budget of some €15 million and was the most expensive edition ever. However, the contest is considered a unique showcase for launching the host country as a tourist destination, and for the summer of 2005 to coincide with its hosting of the ESC, Ukraine even abolished its normal visa requirements for tourists.

Many pop singers and groups have begun the path to fame with a win at the contest. However ABBA, Cline Dion and Secret Garden are the only contest winners to have launched their careers internationally by participating in the contest.

The entertainment provided by the host nation between the competitors' performances and the scoring is sometimes used as the launch of a successful career. The Celtic dancing show Riverdance was first seen internationally at the 1994 contest and the Hothouse Flowers had a successful career after their interval appearance in 1988.


The maximum duration of each song is three minutes, and the musicians and songs selected for the contest tend towards very commercial pop, although there are exceptions. Many viewers of the contest view the event as a combination of camp entertainment and a musical train wreck (a fact played upon in the UK broadcast with the sardonic BBC commentary of Terry Wogan) and a subculture of Eurovision song contest drinking games and the like has evolved in some countries.


1956Switzerland"Refrain"Lys AssiaESC 1956
1957Netherlands"Net Als Toen"Corry BrokkenESC 1957
1958France"Dors mon amour"Andr ClaveauESC 1958
1959Netherlands"Een beetje"Teddy ScholtenESC 1959
1960France"Tom Pilibi"Jacqueline BoyerESC 1960
1961Luxembourg"Nous les amoureux"Jean-Claude PascalESC 1961
1962France"Un premier amour"Isabelle AubretESC 1962
1963Denmark"Dansevise"Grethe & Jrgen IngmannESC 1963
1964Italy"Non ho l'et (per amarti)"Gigliola CinquettiESC 1964
1965Luxembourg"Poupe de cire, poupe de son"France GallESC 1965
1966Austria"Merci Chrie"Udo JrgensESC 1966
1967UK"Puppet On a String"Sandie ShawESC 1967
1968Spain"La, la, la ..."MassielESC 1968
1969#Spain"Vivo cantando"SalomESC 1969
France"Un jour, un enfant"Frida Boccara
Netherlands"De troubadour"Lennie Kuhr
UK"Boom Bang a Bang"Lulu
1970Ireland"All Kinds of Everything"DanaESC 1970
1971Monaco"Un banc, un arbre, une rue"SvrineESC 1971
1972Luxembourg"Aprs toi"Vicky LeandrosESC 1972
1973Luxembourg"Tu te reconnatras"Anne-Marie DavidESC 1973
1974Sweden"Waterloo"ABBAESC 1974
1975Netherlands"Ding-a-dong"Teach-InESC 1975
1976UK"Save Your Kisses for Me"Brotherhood of ManESC 1976
1977France"L'oiseau et l'enfant"Marie MyriamESC 1977
1978Israel"A-ba'ni-bi" Izhar Cohen & AlphabetaESC 1978
1979Israel"Hallelujah"Gali Atari & Milk and HoneyESC 1979
1980Ireland"What's Another Year"Johnny LoganESC 1980
1981UK"Making Your Mind Up"Bucks FizzESC 1981
1982Germany"Ein bisschen Frieden"NicoleESC 1982
1983Luxembourg"Si la vie est cadeau"Corinne HermesESC 1983
1984Sweden"Diggi-loo-diggi-ley"HerreysESC 1984
1985Norway"La det swinge"BobbysocksESC 1985
1986Belgium"J'aime la vie"Sandra KimESC 1986
1987Ireland"Hold Me Now"Johnny LoganESC 1987
1988Switzerland"Ne partez pas sans moi"Cline DionESC 1988
1989Yugoslavia"Rock Me"RivaESC 1989
1990Italy"Insieme 1992"Toto CutugnoESC 1990
1991Sweden"Fngad av en stormvind"CarolaESC 1991
1992Ireland"Why Me"Linda MartinESC 1992
1993Ireland"In Your Eyes"Niamh KavanaghESC 1993
1994Ireland"Rock'n Roll Kids"Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettiganESC 1994
1995Norway"Nocturne"Secret GardenESC 1995
1996Ireland"The Voice"Eimear QuinnESC 1996
1997UK"Love Shine a Light"Katrina & The WavesESC 1997
1998Israel"Diva"Dana InternationalESC 1998
1999Sweden"Take Me to Your Heaven"Charlotte NilssonESC 1999
2000Denmark"Fly On the Wings of Love"Olsen BrothersESC 2000
2001Estonia"Everybody"Tanel Padar, Dave Benton & 2XLESC 2001
2002 Latvia "I Wanna" Marie NESC 2002
2003Turkey "Everyway That I Can" Sertab ErenerESC 2003
2004Ukraine "Wild Dances" RuslanaESC 2004
2005Greece"My Number One"Helena PaparizouESC 2005

Note: (#) In 1969 four countries were joint winners as there was no rule for a tie.

As of 2005, the most successful country in the song contest has been Ireland whose entrants have won seven times. Close behind them with five wins each are France, Luxembourg and the UK. In ESC 2005 the Irish representative claimed that Ireland is the spiritual home of the Eurovision Song Contest; nonetheless, that year Ireland was eliminated in the semi-final.

Junior Eurovision Song Contests

Denmark originally held a song contest for children in 2000 then it organised a Nordic Children's Eurovision. The EBU saw clips of the show and liked it so decided to create an official Children's Eurovision.

Thus, starting in 2003, an annual children's version of the contest was established, called the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. As originators of the concept, Denmark were given the honour of hosting the first running of the event, which was won by Croatia.

Intervision Song Contest

Between 1977 and 1980 the countries of the former Eastern bloc had a song contest of their own, known as the Intervision Song Contest. Organized by the Intervision Network and held in Sopot, Poland, it replaced an earlier event — the Sopot International Song Festival.

See also

External links

Eurovision Song Contest
1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1959 | 1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006
Junior Eurovision Song Contest
2003 | 2004 | 2005


da:Melodi Grand Prix de:Eurovision Song Contest es:Festival de la Cancin de Eurovisin eo:Eŭrovido-Kantokonkurso fr:Concours Eurovision de la chanson he:אירוויזיון is:Evrvision sngvakeppninit:Eurofestival ja:ユーロビジョン・ソング・コンテスト lb:Eurovision Song Contest nl:Eurovisiesongfestival no:Melodi Grand Prix pl:Konkurs Piosenki Eurowizji fi:Euroviisut sr:Песма Евровизије sv:Eurovisionsschlagerfestivalen uk:Пісенний конкурс Євробачення simple:Eurovision Song Contest pt:Festival Euroviso da Cano


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools