The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the world’s most prestigious entertainment events. It began in 1956, and since then, it has launched the careers of many successful pop artists. Check out some of the interesting and fun facts about Eurovision that you might have never heard of before:
1) Eurovision started with classical music roots
When Eurovision began, only solo artists were allowed to compete. They were usually accompanied by a 24-piece orchestra led by Swiss conductor Fernando Paggi – a far cry to the pop-oriented Eurovision today.
2) Eurovision began as a way to cheer Europe up after World War II
The European Broadcasting Union decided that Europe needed something to cheer itself up after World War II. It wanted to bring European countries together with a “light entertainment program.” This type of program – consisting of lots of acts from all over Europe competing on live television – was an entirely new concept.
3) Eurovision isn’t only restricted to Europe
n 2015, Australia became the first country outside of the European Broadcasting Area to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest. It made a guest appearance as a one-time celebration of Eurovision’s 60th anniversary. It was great news for the contest’s Down Under fans as it has attracted a considerable cult fanbase for many decades. Australia has been participating every year since its 2015 debut.
Other non-European countries that are members of the European Broadcasting Area, such as Cyprus and Israel, have been active participants in the contest.
4) Which country is the winningest?
So far, Ireland is the winningest country with a total of seven wins. It is followed by Sweden with six, then France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom with five wins apiece.
5) Which country is the biggest loser?
That unfortunate distinction goes to Norway. You cannot help but feel sympathy for these Norwegians who have been consistently on the bottom with their astonishingly low Eurovision scores. So far, it has ended in last place eleven times. But don’t worry, Norway has never gone home completely empty-handed in Eurovision’s history as the Scandinavian country previously won three times. So, don’t lose hope, Norway!
6) It has launched the careers of many successful artists
Many of the pop music world’s famous names kickstarted their careers in the Eurovision Song Contest as virtual then-unknowns. The most successful Eurovision artist was Sweden’s ABBA, who shot to fame in 1974 when their song “Waterloo” won the top honors. After their Eurovision win, ABBA became one of the most commercially successful pop acts in the 1970s.
You may have forgotten that some of the biggest pop stars have been involved in Eurovision: Celine Dion, Olivia Newton-John, Enya, t.A.T.u., Julio Iglesias, Bonnie Tyler, Engelbert Humperdinck, Katrina and the Waves, and Flo Rida, among others.
7) One Eurovision winner became an MP in Ukraine
Ukraine won the 2004 Eurovision contest. Ruslana, the winner, was subsequently awarded a seat as a member of the parliament (MP) in Ukraine a few years later. She also served as an advisor to the Ukrainian prime minister.
8) No animals are allowed!
In case you’ve ever wondered about the lack of animal participation in Eurovision performances, look up at the contest’s rules, fellas. Eurovision specifically forbids the use of live animals on stage.
9) First time’s the charm!
Serbia made its Eurovision debut in 2007. Its entry “Molitva,” sung by Marija Šerifović, was adjudged as the winning song.
10) The “three-minute” rule
While Eurovision’s rules change constantly, some of them remain for a long time. They include the “three-minute” rule, which states that no song entry should be longer than three minutes. This rule was adopted in 1960 because of time constraints and as a way to avoid overly lengthy entries (one case was Italy’s 1957 song “Corde della mia chitarra,” which was five minutes and nine seconds long).