History of Eurovision
The Eurovision Song Contest is a song contest, which has been held annually for over 50 years. Although a part of the contest name is “Euro”, among the participants there are representatives of the countries that are outside Europe, because the contest is held within the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
The purpose of the Eurovision contest
The main idea was to hold an entertaining event that would inspire and contribute to cultural unity of Europe. An example of such a program was a music festival in Sun Remo that is held even today in Italy. This festival was used as the basis 50 years ago and turned into one of the most expected and prestigious events in the musical life of Europe. The popularity of the contest all over the world has increased so much, that annually more than 100 million people follow it.
Each participating country in the Eurovision Song Contest is represented by one participant with one song. The winner of the competition is determined by voting of the TV viewers and a jury of each participating country. For the first time the Eurovision took place in Switzerland in 1956. There were 7 participating countries in the first contest. Each participant presented 2 songs; by the way, it was the first and the last time. The next year they set a rule kept until present days: the participants are allowed to present one song only. Each participant should present only new song (composition should not be in commercial rotation until September preceding the contest). The winner of the first Eurovision Song Contest was Switzerland. Lys Assia won the contest with the song “Refrain”.
The first rules and the first winners
The number of those who wanted to participate in the contest became bigger and bigger. So it was difficult to listen to all the participants at the same time. That is why, first of all, it was decided to remove from the contest the countries that took the last place in the previous year. Second of all, since airtime of the competition finals is limited, in 2004 semi-final appeared at the Eurovision that allows everyone, who has a desire, to participate in the competition. After the semi-finals only 10 of the participating countries reach the final, among them 5 countries (the founders and main sponsors of the competition), United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, France have a right to promote their singers directly to the final of the competition.
For many years the Eurovision Song Contest was mainly West European event, because of the closed borders of the USSR. However, after the fall of communist regimes it became really all-European, extending and uniting cultural borders of Europe, as it was conceived in 1956.
Regular disagreements arise around Eurovision about the quality of the song material, original purpose of the contest, methods of voting for the winners, excessive politicization, nevertheless, some scandal turns into a good PR in mass media, as well as on Internet, and it only increases the interest to the contest.
Ireland was the most successful participating country that received the award seven times, United Kingdom is on the second place, although English 15 times were ranked second, France and Luxembourg got 5 victories. The youngest Eurovision winner was 13-year-old Sandra Kim from Belgium, who won in 1986. According to the new rules, the contestants must be over 16 years old. That is why the youngest winner in the 21st century was 23-year-old Helena Paparizou from Greece, and 23-year-old Norwegian of Belarusian origin Alexander Rybak, and the oldest winner was 38-year-old Sertab Erener, the representative of Turkey.
Theme song, sounding before and after Eurovision Song Contest broadcasts is the prelude to Te Deum by Marc-Antoine Charpentie.
It should be mentioned, that the participants of the countries on the contest not necessarily have to have the citizenship of the country they represent. For example, Katrina Leskanich was born in America, but performed with a Cambridge band “Waves”. Another example was Ozzie Gina, who represented United Kingdom on the contest. Greek Nana Mouskouri in 1963 and the Belgian Lara Fabian in 1988 represented Luxembourg. The Canadian singer Celine Dion in 1988 brought victory to Switzerland. We should also mention that the victory in this contest turned an unknown singer into a real star.
Terms of Eurovision
The Eurovision Song Contest is held annually in mid-May in the country that won the contest in the previous year. The symbol of the Eurovision Song Contest is the word “Eurovision”, inside of which there is a flag of the country hosting the competition and won the previous year. A singer that will represent the country on the contest is chosen by TV company, which has the rights to broadcast the Eurovision, and also there can be TV viewers’ voting or both options at the same time.
Countries that got in the previous contest in the Top-10 automatically go to the finals (without selection in semifinals). The contest has certain rules for the participants: it is forbidden to use a phonogram, the performance duration should not exceed three minutes. Group performances became allowed in 1970, but there can be no more than 6 people on the stage (including backing singers and dancers). Eurovision winner signs a contract with the commitments of performances and visits to events planned by European Broadcasting Union.
Eurovision Winners of the past ten years
Now we suggest you to remember bright hits of the winners from previous years – the best songs of the Eurovision 2005 – 2015!
It is a well-known fact that songs-winners receive not only recognition of the jury and the competition viewers, but also they become major hits of Europe, heading numerous charts and getting into the rotation of various radio stations.
In 2005 39 participants competed for the victory, and the winner was Greek singer Helena Paparizou with the song “My Number One”. The singer gained 230 points.
In 2006 the contestants from all over Europe gathered in Athens. This time Finland won. The rock-band Lordi with the song “Hard Rock Hallelujah” got 292 points.
The next year, in 2007 in Helsinki Serbian singer Marija Serifovic captivated millions of hearts with the song “Molitva”.
53rd Eurovision Song Contest was held at the main arena of Serbia in Belgrade and brought victory to Russian singer Dima Bilan with the song “Believe”.
In May 2009 millions of listeners vote for the charismatic Norwegian Alexander Rybak. His song “Fairytale” set an absolute record and gained 387 points.
In 2010 Germany won the contest. Lena Meyer-Landrut with the song “Satellite” later received several gold and platinum certifications.
25 participating countries fought for victory, but the best were Eldar Gasimov and Nigar Jamal with the song “Running Scared”. In such a way Azerbaijan won for the first time.
In 2012 Swedish singer Loreen with her song “Euphoria” took the first place.
The next year singer from Denmark Emmili de Forest with the song “Only Teardrops” won the contest.
The representative of Austria drag queen Conchita Wurst with the song “Rise Like a Phoenix” took the first place in 2014.
In 2015 among 27 participants there was Swedish singer Måns Zelmerlöw with the song “Heroes”, who gained the victory. The song brought him 365 points.
A grand final of the international song contest Eurovision 2016 was held on May 14. The winner became Ukrainian singer Jamala with the song of 1944 about the deportation of the Crimean Tatars. She gained 534 and took the first place, Australia and Russia got the second and the third place.
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