It’s that time of the year again – that is, it’s time for the annual Eurovision Song Contest! This year, the ESC is held in Stockholm, Sweden, and it’s the 61st time that the contest is being arranged. The ESC is in fact one of the longest running recurring television broadcasts in the world, and also the world’s biggest music show. A lot has happened during the history of the competition – so, here are 10 quick and fun facts about the Eurovision Song Contest!
1. Every year, around 180 million viewers in 5 continents watch the Eurovision Song Contest. This year, the finale will also be broadcasted live on US television for the first time!
2. The youngest ever entrant was 13-year-old Sandra Kim from Belgium who won the contest in 1986. A minimum age of 16 was brought in in 1989, after 11-year-old Nathalie Paque and 12-year-old Gili Natanel competed for France. The oldest entrant to date was 95-year-old Emil Ramsauer from the Swiss group Takasa which competed in 2013.
3. Ireland has had the most success in the competition, as they have won 7 times. Sweden has won 6 times and Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom 5 times. Norway, on the other hand, has been at the bottom of the list 11 times! Luckily, they also won 3 times.
4. In the first ESC in 1956, only 7 countries participated. Since then, up to 43 countries have entered the competition in the same year, in 2008 and 2011.
5. The contest has been boycotted on a few occasions. Austria boycotted the 1969-contest in Madrid because Spain at that time was ruled by Francisco Franco. In 1970 all the Scandinavian countries, Austria and Portugal boycotted the event because of the voting system. Italy boycotted the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest because they thought it was too old fashioned!
6. All Eurovision songs must be no longer than three minutes, and over 1,400 songs have been sung in the Eurovision Song contest to date.
7. There have been a few scandals in the history of the ESC – in 1957, a Danish pop duo shocked viewers with the longest on-stage kiss in the history of the show (13 seconds), as the producers forgot to signal they should stop. In 1963, Switzerland and Denmark were neck and neck until Norway changed its vote at the last minute, giving the victory to its neighbour Denmark. In 1968, Spain’s victory was conspired to be “bought” by Franco, Spain’s fascist leader at that time.
8. The percentage of viewers for Eurovision Song Contest has sometimes been higher in Australia than in some of the competing nations. Because of the competition’s popularity in Australia, the country was allowed to participate in the competition in 2015, and again in 2016.
9. In 1969, there was a point tie which resulted in 4 winners! Back then there were no rules for a tie. If there’s a tie today, the country with points from most countries will win.
We’ll wrap this up with last year’s winning entry: Måns Zelmerlöw – Heroes. Don’t miss the final on the 14th of May!
Do you have a favourite ESC entry?