Eurovision: Bringing Europe Together Through Music
If you live in Europe (apparently also Australia according to one of our Aussie teammates), there is no way that you haven’t at least watched a single or two episodes from Eurovision. But for someone like me who lives on the other side of the globe, it’s probably something new. if you’re a newbie like myself, or if you just wanted to get to know the show more, you better buckle up because we’re about to enter the world of Eurovision together!
Get to Know the Basic: What is the Eurovision Song Contest?
Eurovision Song Contest—or just Eurovision as people like to call it—is basically an annual music show. How does it differ from other music contests? To put it simply, Eurovision is just like European games, but instead of seeing athletes competing with each other through sports, we have a music concert instead!
Representative artists from various European countries (as well as some non-European countries such as Australia) perform original songs in often utterly extravagant or political costumes and productions with fireworks, stage performance, bright colours, shiny clothes, and spectacular lighting. Annually, the Eurovision Song Contest is set to air in May except for 2020 due to the pandemic, but this year, it’s happening on May 11-14, 2022 in Turin, Italy.
How Did Eurovision Start?
Intriguingly, there’s some political background as to why the show was ever created. It goes back to the second World War that left Europe greatly divided. After it ended, the European Broadcasting Union began to consider an event that would both entertain and unite Europeans in the 1950s. On May 24th 1956, the first European song contest was held. It took place in Lugano, Switzerland and only involved seven countries.
It has since featured over 1,500 songs & gained hundreds of million viewers every year. In 2021 alone, the show had about 183 million viewers! Reports said that even the countries not participating in the Grand Final contributed a massive amount of views. It is big!
How Do They Choose The Winners?
The victor gets chosen by voting. Each country votes for the best song after the Grand Final performances. TV viewers could also vote with their phones, but each country has an official jury that decides 50% of the votes. Voting for your own country is obviously not permitted, knowing the population differs from one country to another. The song with the most votes wins at the end. The winning country will then host the Eurovision Song Contest the following year.
Their Notable ‘Alumni’
Eurovision has helped kickstart the careers of some of the world’s biggest stars such as past winners ABBA, who won for Sweden in 1974, and Céline Dion, who won for Switzerland in 1988.
If we’re talking about Eurovision, we can’t leave Conchita Wurst out of the conversation. The Austrian rep is without a doubt the most well-known performer to appear during the Song-Along. During the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, she won the competition for Austria with her song "Rise Like a Phoenix.", and she was the first to win without backing singers or dancers since 1970. Wurst is a recording artist and drag queen portrayed by Thomas Neuwirth.
Watch her winning performance below:
Is American Song Contest a Franchise of Eurovision?
Yup, sort of! The USA has recently adopted the concept of the show into the American Song Contest. What’s interesting is, instead of countries competing, USA's 50 states, five territories and Washington D.C. competed. An Oklahoman native AleXa (알렉사) won at the Grand Final with over 200 points ahead of the runner up. She is also a K-pop solo singer, dancer, and songwriter who made her debut in Korea in October of 2019.
British Council. 2018. The Eurovision Song Contest.
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