Dust off your flags … it’s Eurovision time!
By Annie Leyman
Love it or hate it, you can’t deny that the Eurovision Song Contest has a unique appeal. Although often seen as tacky, extravagant and occasionally politically controversial, that doesn’t stop around 125 million people around the world watching it each year! It has helped to launch careers, in the cases of ABBA and Bucks Fizz, as well as destroy them (cast your memories back to Jemini, aka ‘nul points’).
To celebrate the 58th contest which takes place tomorrow night, we’ve put together a playlist of the best and worst entries in Eurovision history as well as some interesting (as well as bizarre) facts about the competition.
Fun facts about Eurovision
- The first Eurovision Song Contest took place in Switzerland, with only 7 countries competing.
- This year’s competition takes place in Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city. Did you know that Malmö’s football team, Malmö FF, is where footballer Zlatan Ibrahimović began his professional career?
- Ireland is the most successful country in the Contest, winning 7 times, 3 of which were in consecutive years (1992, 1993 and 1994).
- Portugal has competed since 1964 and is yet to finish in the top 5. The highest they have placed is 6th, which was in 1996.
- Norway’s Alexander Rybak is the record-holder for the highest amount of points, scoring 387 in 2009. Closely followed by last year’s winner, Loreen from Sweden, who won with 372 points.
- The maximum duration of each performance is 3 minutes.
- A Eurovision song must always have vocals; purely instrumental music is not permitted.
- No live animals are allowed on stage during a performance.
- However, the costume options are pretty much limitless . . . . .
Annie Leyman is Marketing Executive for Music books at Oxford University Press.
Image credits: (1) Photo of ABBA. By AVRO (FTA001019454_012 from Beeld & Geluid wiki) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons (2) Photo of Lordi performing at ESC 2007. By Indrek Galetin (http://nagi.ee/photos/sAgApO/824612/in-set/17031/) [see page for license], via Wikimedia Commons (3) Photo of Verka Serduchka performing at ESC 2007. By Indrek Galetin [see page for license], via Wikimedia Commons (4) Photo of Jedward at ESC 2011. By Frédéric de Villamil (Flickr: DSC_9298) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons