I'm glad to see you on my site dedicated to Eurovision Song Contest, and, particularly, to the last 10 years.
I hope you will find something new about this annual event or get acquainted with it, if you haven't heard about it before (although it's very unlikely to happen because everyone knows Eurovision now).
On one saturday of May precisely at 9PM CET for already 54 years millions of people sit in front of their TV screen and watch the greatest song contest to have ever taken place on planet Earth - "Eurovision"...
"Eurovision" is the song contest, brought up by members of European Broadcast Union (EBU) in the 60s of the last century.
The name of the contest has its foundation from the name of the TV network "Eurovision", owned by the EBU.
The first ever competition was hosted in Lugano, Switzerland, in 1956. Only 7 countries took part in it. Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Germany, France and the Netherlands were represented by two different songs.
However, this was the first and only time when each country had more than one song in the competition.
Due to increasing popularity, number of participating countries was also increasing. And, hence, number of performances which people would have to watch, increases as well.
So, in 2004 it'd been decided that the show will now consist of the semifinal and the final stages.
For participation a country has to be the member of EBU, but not necessarily be situated in Europe. For example, such countries as
Lebanon, Vatikan, Algeria, Egypt, Lybia, Jordan, Lichtenstein and Tunisia are eligible to enter but have never done it before.
Every country chooses the song that will represent it in the following contest.
This song has to satisfy these rules:
length of the song is no more than 3 minutes exactly;
It must not have been performed anywhere until October 1st of the prior to the contest year;
it can be written and sung in any language;
only up to six vocalists may take part in a performance;
all the entrants must be 16 aged by the time of the contest;
A song can be decided over in different ways: either by a professional jury (for example, in 2007 Russian Jury chose group "Serebro" this way),
or by means of the country-scale "National Final" (being the most widespread way).
Also, the most important rule of the contest is that every song must be performed "live", i.e. without phonogram.
However, the music may not be "live" and may be recorded.
Voting and the winner determination routine
After performances finish, voting, the most important part of the show, starts. People vote for their favourite song during 15 minutes precisely.
But, according to the "Eurovision" rules, you can NOT vote for your own country (i.e. the country you're currently in).
Every country gathers voting data and compiles the Top 10 best songs, chosen by televoters, giving points in the following way:
12 points for the 1st placed; 10 points for the 2nd placed; 8 points for the 3rd placed; 7 points for the 4th placed and so on until 1 point for 10th placed country.
Every country announces their votes with the means of the satellite connection (it used to be done by a usual telephone).
After all votes are announced the winner is determined.
The voting in 1956 was not, however, public and the winner was chosen by a special expert jury. Full results of that contest still are not revealed to the public.
In 2009 it's been decided to use the Juries help in the final once again. Each country chooses 5 members, who will represent this expert jury. The Jury
votes determine the Top 10, in their opinion, best songs of the show. The same do televoters. Then results are summed up and the final version is announced on the show.
If after all countries' votes two or more songs have the same amount of points, then tie-breaking rules come into force. According to them, the the winner is the song
that was voted for by more countries. If these amounts are equal then number of 12's is counted. If, again, these numbers are equal then 10's are counted and so on.
This procedure stops when one country has the bigger amount than any other country, sharing the first place.
If, however, the amounts of countries you were voted for, the numbers of "twelves", "tens" and so on are equal between two or more countries then
nothing can be said in this case. This ending is extremely unlikely, but, despite its extremely low likelihood, it still may occur.
The winning country has the right to host the contest on its territory next year. Nevertheless, it may decline it and the right will go straight to the next placed country in the scoreboard points-wise.
United Kingdom is the leader by the times of one country being a "Eurovision" host. UK had an honour to have the contest on their territory 8 times,
5 - after wins, and the remaining 3 - after winners' refusal to host. The United Kingdom has an absolute record with 15 second place finishes.
Since not long ago (1998) the "Big Four" has been active, the members of which are UK, Spain, Germany and France. These countries automatically go through to the Final
without touching Semifinal stage. They granted such a priviledge due to their most valuable contribution (in comparison to other countries') to the contest. It's been announced that if Italy comes back
to participate in the contest it'd become the part of the "Big Five".
From 2004 on the Semifinal stage was introduced. It helped dropping out weak songs and pushing the better ones through to the final, because the number of all countries
that wish to participate was over the limit. The Semifinal worked in such way: The "Big Four" and 10 countries, who were the Top 10 from the last contest
go through to the Final automatically. 10 songs, scoring the most points in the Semifinal, take part farther in the final.
Since 2008 there's been implemented the new rule, according to which every country, bar the "Big Four" and the last year's winner, take part in the Semifinals.
Yes, not in the singular form, two Semifinals now take place. This is reasoned by neighbour and diaspora voting. The new way of splitting countries onto two Semifinals
and not allowing each of the opposite Semifinal country vote for you or vice versa. The perfect example is Greece-Cyprus. If count the sum of all points Cyprus gave to Greece
then you get 244 in 22 contests. So, Greece is granted with approximately 11 points per contest from Cyprus every time they both participate. The same can be told about
the former Soviet republics, Portugal-Spain, Moldova-Romania and so on. As it's already been said, there are two Semifinals, 10 from going to the final from both.
Nine first are being decided by the televotes and the 10th - by the Juries. For example, in 2009, straight to the final from the second Semi a 13th placed song went.
Songs that finished 10th, 11th and 12th didn't make it to the final.