Storia dell’Eurovision Song Contest


The history of the Eurovision Song Contest began with an idea of Sergio Pugliese, of the Italian television RAI, and then approved by Marcel Bezençon of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The contest was based on the Italian Sanremo Music Festival and was designed to test the limits of live television broadcast technology.

The first contest took place on 24 May 1956,[1] where seven nations participated. As the Contest progressed, the rules grew increasingly complex and participation levels rose to pass forty nations at the end of the 20th century. As more countries came on board over subsequent decades and technology advanced, the EBU attempted to keep up with national and international trends.

The end of the Cold War in the early 1990s led to a sudden increase in numbers, with many former Eastern Bloc countries queuing up to compete for the first time. This process continued into the 2005 contest, in which both Bulgaria and Moldova made their debut.

Liechtenstein, Vatican City and Kosovo are the only European countries not to have participated; the most recent major European country to take part was the Czech Republic, which made its debut in the 2007 contest. San Marino took part in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade, Serbia, together with Azerbaijan.

Australia made their debut in the 2015 contest and became the first country from the Oceania region (and the second country outside Eurasia overall after Morocco in 1980) to participate in the contest. Although their participation was originally announced as a one-off event, the country was subsequently invited to participate in the 2016 contest.

The end of the Cold War in the early 1990s led to a sudden increase in numbers, with many former Eastern Bloc countries queuing up to compete for the first time. This process continued into the 2005 contest, in which both Bulgaria and Moldova made their debut.

Liechtenstein and Vatican City are the only European countries not to have participated; the last major European country to take part was the Czech Republic which made its debut in the 2007 contest. San Marino took part in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade, Serbia, together with Azerbaijan.

In the beginning, it was obvious for the participants that they should sing in their country’s national language. However, as the Swedish entry in 1965, Absent Friend, was sung in English, the EBU set very strict rules on the language in which the songs could be performed. National languages had to be used in all lyrics. Song writers across Europe soon tagged onto the notion that success would only come if the judges could understand the content, resulting in such entries as Boom- Bang-A-Bang and La La La. In 1973, the rules on language use were relaxed, and in the following year ABBA would win with Waterloo. Those freedom of language rules would be soon reversed in 1977, to return with apparent permanent status in the 1999 contest.

The voting systems used in the Contest have changed throughout the years. The modern system has been in place since 1975. Voters award a set of points from 1 to 8, then 10 and finally 12 to songs from other countries — with the favourite being awarded the now famous douze points.  Historically, a country’s set of votes was decided by an internal jury, but in 1997 five countries experimented with televoting, giving members of the public in those countries the opportunity to vote en masse for their favourite songs. The experiment was a success and from 1998 all countries were encouraged to use televoting wherever possible.

Nowadays members of the public may also vote by SMS. Whichever method of voting is used – jury, telephone or SMS – countries may not cast votes for their own songs.

The end of the Cold War in the early 1990s led to a sudden increase in numbers, with many former Eastern Bloc countries queuing up to compete for the first time. This process has continued to this day with more and more countries joining. For this reason, in 2004 the Semi-Final format was introduced by the EBU which turned into two Semi-Finals for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008. Now all countries, except the ‘Big Five’ – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom – together with the host country, must be in a Semi-Final top-10 to qualify for the Final.

In 2015, the Eurovision Song Contest celebrated its 60th anniversary. The BBC hosted a grand anniversary show in London, featuring over a dozen former participants. And to honour the country’s Eurovision Song Contest commitment for over 30 years, the organisers admitted Australia to participate for the first time ever.

Despite the ‘grand old lady’ being of respectable age, her pension is nowhere in sight, as the Eurovision Song Contest is still the most modern live TV entertainment spectacle in the world. 

Facts & Figures With a legacy of more than 60 years, which brought hundreds of hours of live television and nearly 1,500 songs from some 50 countries, the Eurovision Song Contest is a great source of historic facts and mind-blowing figures. On this ever-expanding page, we are sharing the most significant ones with you.

Figures – The Eurovision Song Contest started with just seven participating countries in 1956. It was the only contest with two songs per country. Following the break-up of the Soviet Union, more countries wanted to join in the 1990s. In 1993 and 1994, a then-record 25 countries took part. In 1996, a pre-qualification heat was organised to reduce 29 participants to 23, while host country Norway automatically qualified for the contest as 24th country. The challenge was solved in 2004, when a Semi-Final was introduced. Growing interest lead to the introduction of a second Semi-Final in 2008. As a result, a record number of 43 countries took part in 2008 for the first time.

Over 1,500 songs have taken part in the Eurovision Song Contest (not including the seven songs that didn’t make it in the 1996 pre-qualification round). In 2006, Ireland’s Brian Kennedy delivered the 1,000th entry to the contest, appropriately titled Every Song is a Cry for Love. If you would listen to all the songs without a break, you would be sitting up for nearly 72 hours.

In 2001, the largest audience ever attended the Eurovision Song Contest. Almost 38,000 peoplegathered at Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium to witness the first ever Estonian victory.

Ratings of the Eurovision Song Contest have varied greatly over the past decades. In 2016, some 204 million people saw at least one of the three shows in whole or in part.

With seven victories, Ireland is the most successful country at the contest. Sweden won the contest six times, while Luxembourg, France and the United Kingdom won five times.

Poland made the most impressive debut in 1994, when Edyta Gorniak came second with To Nie Ja, closely followed by Serbia’s victory in 2007. Although Serbia & Montenegro was represented twice before, it was the first time that Serbia took part as an independent country.

Norway could be found at the bottom of the scoreboard as many as eleven times. The unfortunates came last in 1963, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1990, 1997, 2001, 2004 and in the Grand Final of 2012. Nevertheless, they also won three times, in 1985, 1995 and 2009.

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L’Eurovision Song Contest è il Concorso in Eurovisione della canzone.

La manifestazione nasce nel 1956 per iniziativa dell’EBU-UER, European Broadcasting Union, l’ente che riunisce le tv e le radio pubbliche europee. Ispirato inizialmente al Festival di Sanremo, nato poco prima, nel tempo l’Eurovision Song Contest ha ben presto sviluppato una propria fisionomia.

L’Eurovision Song Contest è il più importante evento televisivo non sportivo del mondo. I diritti sono venduti anche in Oceania e Asia (Cina), Canada e Sud Africa. La serata finale dell’ultima edizione è stata seguita da 108 milioni di telespettatori, 300 milioni i contatti. Agli ascolti in diretta tv, si sommano poi 200 milioni di spettatori per la differita e 150.000 spettatori in diretta streaming dal sito ufficiale dell’Eurovisione. 212 milioni i contatti sul canale ufficiale dell’Eurovisione su Youtube.

L’idea nasce nel corso di un convegno tenutosi a Monaco nel 1955. E’ stato l’allora direttore dell’EBU-UER (consorzio Eurovisione), lo svizzero Marcel Bezençon a lanciarla, proponendo di unire i paesi europei in una competizione canora, sull’esempio del Festival di Sanremo italiano. Allo stesso tempo, il Gran Premio Eurovisione della Canzone, questo il primo nome dell’evento, avrebbe costituito un’ambizioso esperimento di trasmissione televisiva simultanea in più paesi. Tutto cominciò così.

L’idea venne approvata all’assemblea generale dell’EBU-UER tenutosi a Roma, a palazzo Corsini, il 19 ottobre 1955. La televisione pubblica svizzera propose di organizzare il primo Grand Prix a Lugano, il successivo 24 maggio. Vi presero parte sette paesi con due canzoni a testa, cosa che avvenne solo nella prima edizione del concorso.

I paesi europei, fino a undici anni prima in guerra, potevano affrontarsi in una gara di canzoni. A prendere parte alla prima edizione furono le nazioni che pochi mesi più tardi firmeranno il trattato di Roma istituendo la Comunità Economica Europea (Francia, Germania, Italia, Belgio, Olanda e Lussemburgo), più la Svizzera.

L’Eurofestival, così l’Eurovision Song Contest è chiamato in lingua italiana, è organizzato da allora nel mese di maggio sotto gli auspici dell’European Broadcasting Union, il consorzio delle emittenti radiotelevisive pubbliche dello spazio radiotelevisivo europeo. Rappresenta lo stato dell’arte delle tecniche di produzione televisiva, e consiste da sempre in una gara di canzoni in rappresentanza degli stati delle televisioni che aderiscono all’EBU-UER. In buona sintesi, si può dire che come le Olimpiadi non sono una gara tra nazioni ma tra Comitati Olimpici nazionali. L’Eurovision Song Contest è una competizione dove a gareggiare sono gli enti televisivi di stato. Canzoni e cantanti, in questo caso, sono come gli atleti. Solo le televisioni attivamente parte dell’EBU-UER possono partecipare all’Eurofestival e sono autorizzati a iscriversi.

Nal 2004 il format dello spettacolo venne modificato con l’introduzione di una serata eliminatoria detta semifinale. Nel 2008 venne introdotta una seconda serata semifinale. Secondo il regolamento attualmente in vigore, possono prendere parte a ogni semifinale un massimo di 20 nazioni. Il paese ospitante e i cosiddetti “Big 4”, Francia, Regno Unito, Spagna e Germania sono automaticamente qualificati alla finale. Nel 2009 l’EBU-UER ha reintrodotto le giurie di professionisti, dopo alcuni anni in cui il responso finale era stato affidato al solo televoto. Dopo un primo anno nel quale i giurati hanno avuto un peso del 60% nel voto della finale, quest’anno votano e determinano anche il risultato delle due semifinali.

Alla finale arrivano 25 canzoni, in rappresentanza di altrettante nazioni. Il vincitore è scelto dal pubblico e dai giurati di ognuno dei 39 paesi che prendono parte alla gara. È tradizione che, come la coppa America, chi vince organizzi l’edizione successiva del concorso.

L’Eurovision Song Contest è il più importante evento televisivo non sportivo del mondo: un marchio forte e riconosciuto per centinaia di milioni di spettatori europei. La serata finale del 2009 è stata vista, secondo le stime, da circa 125 milioni di telespettatori, rappresentando la trasmissione più seguita in termini di audience e share in quasi tutti i paesi partecipanti.

  Albo d’oro

Anno Città e paese ospitante Paese vincitore Artista Canzone Lingua
1956 Lugano, Svizzera Svizzera Lys Assia Refrain francese
1957 Francoforte sul Meno,Germania Ovest Paesi Bassi Corry Brokken Net als toen olandese
1958 Hilversum, Paesi Bassi Francia André Claveau Dors, mon amour francese
1959 Cannes, Francia Paesi Bassi Teddy Scholten Een beetje olandese
1960 Londra, Regno Unito Francia Jacqueline Boyer Tom Pillibi francese
1961 Cannes, Francia Lussemburgo Jean-Claude Pascal Nous les amoureux francese
1962 Lussemburgo, Lussemburgo Francia Isabelle Aubret Un premier amour francese
1963 Londra, Regno Unito Danimarca Grethe e Jørgen Ingmann Dansevise danese
1964 Copenaghen, Danimarca Italia Gigliola Cinquetti Non ho l’età (Per amarti) italiano
1965 Napoli, Italia Lussemburgo France Gall Poupée de cire, poupée de son francese
1966 Lussemburgo, Lussemburgo Austria Udo Jürgens Merci Chérie tedesco
1967 Vienna, Austria Regno Unito Sandie Shaw Puppet on a String inglese
1968 Londra, Regno Unito Spagna Massiel La, la, la spagnolo
1969 Madrid, Spagna Francia Frida Boccara Un jour, un enfant francese
Paesi Bassi Lenny Kuhr De troubadour olandese
Regno Unito Lulu Boom Bang-a-Bang inglese
Spagna Salomé Vivo cantando spagnolo
1970 Amsterdam, Paesi Bassi Irlanda Dana All Kinds of Everything inglese
1971 Dublino, Irlanda Principato di Monaco Séverine Un banc, un arbre, une rue francese
1972 Edimburgo, Regno Unito Lussemburgo Vicky Léandros Après toi francese
1973 Lussemburgo, Lussemburgo Lussemburgo Anne-Marie David Tu te reconnaîtras francese
1974 Brighton, Regno Unito Svezia ABBA Waterloo inglese
1975 Stoccolma, Svezia Paesi Bassi Teach-In Ding-A-Dong inglese
1976 L’Aia, Paesi Bassi Regno Unito Brotherhood of Man Save Your Kisses for Me inglese
1977 Londra, Regno Unito Francia Marie Myriam L’oiseau et l’enfant francese
1978 Parigi, Francia Israele Izhar Cohen & The Alpha Beta A-Ba-Ni-Bi ebraico
1979 Gerusalemme, Israele Israele Milk & Honey e Gali Atari Hallelujah ebraico
1980 L’Aia, Paesi Bassi Irlanda Johnny Logan What’s Another Year? inglese
1981 Dublino, Irlanda Regno Unito Bucks Fizz Making Your Mind Up inglese
1982 Harrogate, Regno Unito Germania Ovest Nicole Ein bißchen Frieden tedesco
1983 Monaco di Baviera, Germania Ovest Lussemburgo Corinne Hermès Si la vie est cadeau francese
1984 Lussemburgo, Lussemburgo Svezia Herreys Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley svedese
1985 Göteborg, Svezia Norvegia Bobbysocks La det swinge norvegese
1986 Bergen, Norvegia Belgio Sandra Kim J’aime la vie francese
1987 Bruxelles, Belgio Irlanda Johnny Logan Hold Me Now inglese
1988 Dublino, Irlanda Svizzera Céline Dion Ne partez pas sans moi francese
1989 Losanna, Svizzera Jugoslavia Riva Rock Me serbo-croato
1990 Zagabria, Jugoslavia Italia Toto Cutugno Insieme: 1992 italiano
1991 Roma, Italia Svezia Carola Fångad av en stormvind svedese
1992 Malmö, Svezia Irlanda Linda Martin Why Me? inglese
1993 Millstreet, Irlanda Irlanda Niamh Kavanagh In Your Eyes inglese
1994 Dublino, Irlanda Irlanda Paul Harrington e Charlie McGettigan Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids inglese
1995 Dublino, Irlanda Norvegia Secret Garden Nocturne norvegese
1996 Oslo, Norvegia Irlanda Eimear Quinn The Voice inglese
1997 Dublino, Irlanda Regno Unito Katrina and the Waves Love Shine a Light inglese
1998 Birmingham, Regno Unito Israele Dana International Diva ebraico
1999 Gerusalemme, Israele Svezia Charlotte Nilsson Take Me to Your Heaven inglese
2000 Stoccolma, Svezia Danimarca Olsen Brothers Fly on the Wings of Love inglese
2001 Copenaghen, Danimarca Estonia Tanel Padar, Dave Benton &2XL Everybody inglese
2002 Tallinn, Estonia Lettonia Marie N I Wanna inglese
2003 Riga, Lettonia Turchia Sertab Erener Every Way that I Can inglese
2004 Istanbul, Turchia Ucraina Ruslana Wild Dances inglese,ucraino
2005 Kiev, Ucraina Grecia Helena Paparizou My Number One inglese
2006 Atene, Grecia Finlandia Lordi Hard Rock Hallelujah inglese
2007 Helsinki, Finlandia Serbia Marija Šerifović Molitva serbo
2008 Belgrado, Serbia Russia Dima Bilan Believe inglese
2009 Mosca, Russia Norvegia Alexander Rybak Fairytale inglese
2010 Oslo, Norvegia Germania Lena Satellite inglese
2011 Düsseldorf, Germania Azerbaigian Ell & Nikki Running Scared inglese
2012 Baku, Azerbaigian Svezia Loreen Euphoria inglese
2013 Malmö, Svezia Danimarca Emmelie de Forest Only Teardrops inglese
2014 Copenaghen, Danimarca Austria Conchita Wurst Rise Like a Phoenix inglese
2015 Vienna, Austria Svezia Måns Zelmerlöw Heroes inglese
2016 -, Svezia        

Edition Finals date Year Broadcaster Venue City Countries Winner
1st 24 May 1956 SSR Teatro Kursaal Switzerland Lugano 7[2]   Switzerland
2nd 3 March 1957 ARD Großer Sendesaal West GermanyFrankfurt 10  Netherlands
3rd 12 March 1958 NTS AVRO Studio NetherlandsHilversum  France
4th 11 March 1959 RTF Palais des Festivals France Cannes 11  Netherlands
5th 25 March 1960 BBC Royal Festival Hall United Kingdom London 13  France
6th 18 March 1961 RTF Palais des Festivals France Cannes 16  Luxembourg
7th 1962 CLT Villa Louvigny LuxembourgLuxembourg City  France
8th 23 March 1963 BBC BBC Television Centre United Kingdom London  Denmark
9th 21 March 1964 DR Tivoli Concert Hall DenmarkCopenhagen  Italy
10th 20 March 1965 RAI RAI Television Centre Italy Naples 18  Luxembourg
11th 5 March 1966 CLT Villa Louvigny LuxembourgLuxembourg City  Austria
12th 8 April 1967 ORF Hofburg Imperial Palace Austria Vienna 17  United Kingdom
13th 6 April 1968 BBC Royal Albert Hall United Kingdom London  Spain
14th 29 March 1969 TVE Teatro Real Spain Madrid 16  France
 Netherlands
 Spain
 United Kingdom
15th 21 March 1970 NOS RAI Congrescentrum NetherlandsAmsterdam 12  Ireland
16th 3 April 1971 RTÉ Gaiety Theatre Republic of Ireland Dublin 18  Monaco
17th 25 March 1972 BBC Usher Hall United KingdomEdinburgh  Luxembourg
18th 7 April 1973 CLT Nouveau Théâtre Luxembourg LuxembourgLuxembourg City 17
19th 6 April 1974 BBC Brighton Dome United KingdomBrighton  Sweden
20th 22 March 1975 SR Stockholm International Fairs SwedenStockholm 19  Netherlands
21st 3 April 1976 NOS Congresgebouw Netherlands The Hague 18  United Kingdom
22nd 7 May 1977 BBC Wembley Conference Centre United Kingdom London  France
23rd 22 April 1978 TF1 Palais des Congrès France Paris 20  Israel
24th 31 March 1979 IBA International Convention Centre IsraelJerusalem 19
25th 19 April 1980 NOS Congresgebouw Netherlands The Hague  Ireland
26th 4 April 1981 RTÉ Royal Dublin Society Republic of Ireland Dublin 20  United Kingdom
27th 24 April 1982 BBC Harrogate International Centre United KingdomHarrogate 18  Germany
28th 23 April 1983 ARD Rudi Sedlmayer Halle West Germany Munich 20  Luxembourg
29th 5 May 1984 CLT Théâtre Municipal LuxembourgLuxembourg City 19  Sweden
30th 4 May 1985 SVT Scandinavium SwedenGothenburg  Norway
31st 3 May 1986 NRK Grieg Hall Norway Bergen 20  Belgium
32nd 9 May 1987 RTBF Centenary Palace BelgiumBrussels 22  Ireland
33rd 30 April 1988 RTÉ Royal Dublin Society Republic of Ireland Dublin 21   Switzerland
34th 6 May 1989 SSR Palais de Beaulieu SwitzerlandLausanne 22  Yugoslavia
35th 5 May 1990 JRT Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Zagreb  Italy
36th 4 May 1991 RAI Studio 15 di Cinecittà Italy Rome  Sweden
37th 9 May 1992 SVT Malmömässan Sweden Malmö 23  Ireland
38th 15 May 1993 RTÉ Green Glens Arena Republic of IrelandMillstreet 25
39th 30 April 1994 Point Depot Republic of Ireland Dublin
40th 13 May 1995 23  Norway
41st 18 May 1996 NRK Oslo Spektrum Norway Oslo  Ireland
42nd 3 May 1997 RTÉ Point Depot Republic of Ireland Dublin 25  United Kingdom
43rd 9 May 1998 BBC National Indoor Arena United KingdomBirmingham  Israel
44th 29 May 1999 IBA International Convention Centre IsraelJerusalem 23  Sweden
45th 13 May 2000 SVT Globen Arena SwedenStockholm 24  Denmark
46th 12 May 2001 DR Parken Stadium DenmarkCopenhagen 23  Estonia
47th 25 May 2002 ETV Saku Suurhall Estonia Tallinn 24  Latvia
48th 24 May 2003 LTV Skonto Hall Latvia Riga 26  Turkey
49th 15 May 2004 TRT Abdi İpekçi Arena Turkey Istanbul 36  Ukraine
50th 21 May 2005 NTU Kiev Sports Palace Ukraine Kiev 39  Greece
51st 20 May 2006 ERT Olympic Indoor Hall Greece Athens 37  Finland
52nd 12 May 2007 YLE Hartwall Arena Finland Helsinki 42  Serbia
53rd 24 May 2008 RTS Belgrade Arena SerbiaBelgrade 43  Russia
54th 16 May 2009 C1R Olimpiyskiy Arena Russia Moscow 42  Norway
55th 29 May 2010 NRK Telenor Arena Norway Oslo 39  Germany
56th 14 May 2011 NDR/ARD Düsseldorf Arena GermanyDüsseldorf 43  Azerbaijan
57th 26 May 2012 İTV Baku Crystal Hall Azerbaijan Baku 42  Sweden
58th 18 May 2013 SVT Malmö Arena Sweden Malmö 39  Denmark
59th 10 May 2014 DR B&W Halls DenmarkCopenhagen 37  Austria
60th 23 May 2015 ORF Wiener Stadthalle Austria Vienna 40  Sweden
61st 14 May 2016 SVT Globen Arena SwedenStockholm 42  Ukraine
62nd 13 May 2017 UA:PBC International Exhibition Centre Ukraine Kiev  Portugal
63rd 12 May 2018 RTP Altice Arena Portugal Lisbon 43  Israel
64th 18 May 2019 KAN Expo Tel Aviv Israel Tel Aviv 41  Netherlands

Albo d’oro per nazione

Former countries that have been dissolved.
Numero vittorie Paese Anns
7  Ireland 1970, 1980, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996
6  Sweden 1974, 1984, 1991, 1999, 2012, 2015
5  France 1958, 1960, 1962, 1969, 1977
 Luxembourg 1961, 1965, 1972, 1973, 1983
 United Kingdom 1967, 1969, 1976, 1981, 1997
 Netherlands 1957, 1959, 1969, 1975, 2019
4
 Israel 1978, 1979,1998, 2018
3  Norway 1985, 1995, 2009
 Denmark 1963, 2000, 2013
2  Spain 1968, 1969
  Switzerland 1956, 1988
 Italy 1964, 1990
 Germany[N 9] 1982, 2010
 Austria 1966, 2014
 Ukraine 2004, 2016
1  Monaco 1971
 Belgium 1986
 Yugoslavia 1989
 Estonia 2001
 Latvia 2002
 Turkey 2003
 Greece 2005
 Finland 2006
 Serbia 2007
 Russia 2008
 Azerbaijan 2011
 Portugal 2017

Year 1969 is in italics to indicate joint (4-way) win.

Le canzoni: The earliest period in the Eurovision history is marked by the style of songs which participated and the manner in which the show itself was presented. Famous musical and film stars would participate without prejudice, with Italian winners of the Sanremo Festival and such British names as Patricia Bredin and Bryan Johnson. With a live orchestra the norm in the early years, and simple sing-a-long songs on every radio station, the Contest grew into a favourite amongst almost all age groups across the continent. Iconic songs such as “Volare” and France Gall’s “Poupée de cire, poupée de son” hit the sales charts in many countries after their Eurovision performance.

In the beginning, it was obvious for the participants that they should sing in their country’s national language. However, as the Swedish entry in 1965, “Absent Friend” was sung in English, the EBU set very strict rules on the language in which the songs could be performed. National languages had to be used in all lyrics, including Maltese when the island nation made its debut. Songwriters across Europe soon tagged onto the notion that success would only come if the judges could understand the content, resulting in such entries as “Boom-Bang-A-Bang” and “La La La”. The lyrics were allowed to contain occasional phrases in other languages, which was utilized for example by the Yugoslavian song in 1969. In 1973, the rules on language use was relaxed, and in the following year ABBA would win with “Waterloo”.

Those “freedom of language” rules would be soon reversed in 1977, to return with apparent permanent status in the 1999 contest, with the intervening years waning from highlights to dead-weight years. The “swinging sixties” and punk scenes were all but missed by the contemporary Eurovision periods, whilst the 1980s saw an increase in balladry with an almost blanket disregard for electronica or guitar-based pop. Other than heavily infused pop versions, rap has been next to completely ignored.

One result of the attempt to modernise the songs in the Contest was the abolition of the obligatory use of the live orchestra, to which all songs had to perform. This decision was made in 1997 and removed the automatic requirement for songs to be re-composed for playback with a live orchestra. As of 1999, the host country hasn’t been obliged to provide a live orchestra, and there hasn’t been one since. No attempt has been made to return the Contest to the days of symphonic arrangements and violins. Live music is not allowed. This rule most likely exists because there isn’t enough time to wire the instruments during the short break between the songs. On the other hand, a backing tape may have no voices on it, singing still must be done live. Before 1997 backing tracks were allowed, but only if all instruments on tape were featured on stage. This explains the odd situation in 1996, when Gina G, entrant for the United Kingdom, had two computer screens on stage.

Other than the earliest contests, each and every entry has been fixed at a maximum three minutes in length.

Competitors: Previous performers at the Eurovision Song Contest include: Saara Aalto, ABBA, Emin Agalarov (as an interlude act), Anggun, Amina Annabi, Antique, Apocalyptica (as an interlude act), Aqua (as an interlude act), Arash, Soraya Arnelas, Baccara, Al Bano & Romina Power, Dima Bilan, Blue, Goran Bregović (as an interlude act), Boyzone (as an interlude act), Brotherhood of Man, Carola, Cascada, Cirque du Soleil (as an interlude act), Gigliola Cinquetti, Darude, David Civera, Mélanie Cohl, Zdravko Čolić, Toto Cutugno, Mihai Trăistariu, Sergio Dalma, Dana International, Anne-Marie David, Céline Dion, Kenan Doğulu, DJ BoBo, Dschinghis Khan, Sertab Erener, Lara Fabian, Gina G, Edyta Górniak, Karel Gott, Hadise, Mary Hopkin, Engelbert Humperdinck, Fuerzabruta (as an interlude act), Hothouse Flowers (as an interlude act), Jamala, Julio Iglesias, Jedward, Željko Joksimović, Anna Maria Jopek, Udo Jürgens, Kalomira, Patricia Kaas, Philipp Kirkorov, Paula Seling, Ovi, Katrina and the Waves, Las Ketchup, Luminița Anghel, Vicky Leandros, Johnny Logan, Rosa López, Ani Lorak, Lordi, Lulu, Madcon (as an interlude act), Madonna (as an interlude act), Shiri Maimon, maNga, Marco Mengoni, Jessica Mauboy, Dino Merlin, Lena Meyer-Landrut, Mocedades, Domenico Modugno, Azúcar Moreno, Nana Mouskouri, Marie Myriam, New Seekers, Olivia Newton-John, Noa, No Angels, Paul Oscar, Olsen Brothers, Anna Oxa, Helena Paparizou, Ajda Pekkan, Charlotte Perrelli, Evgeni Plushenko (as part of performance), Dulce Pontes, Toše Proeski, Alla Pugacheva, Esma Redžepova, Sir Cliff Richard, Riverdance (as an interlude act), Sakis Rouvas, Ruslana, Kate Ryan, Alexander Rybak, Natasha St-Pier, Sandie Shaw, The Shadows, Kseniya Simonova (as part of performance), Salvador Sobral, Pastora Soler, t.A.T.u., Teach-In, Sébastien Tellier, Justin Timberlake (as an interlude act), Bonnie Tyler, Vanessa-Mae (as an interlude act), Vanilla Ninja, Caetano Veloso (as an interlude act), Anna Vissi, Dita Von Teese (as part of performance), Conchita Wurst, Måns Zelmerlöw, Ira Losco, Laura Põldvere, Elina Nechayeva.

La trasmissione di tutte le edizioni dell’Eurovision nel mondo

Anni cinquanta: La prima edizione si tenne il 24 Maggio 1956 a Lugano in Svizzera. Vi parteciparono solamente sette paesi europei, i Paesi Bassi, la Svizzera, il Belgio, la Germania Ovest, la Francia, il Lussemburgo e l’Italia portando due cantanti (e di conseguenza due canzoni a testa). A trionfare furono i padroni di casa con ‘Refrain’ di Lys Assia. L’anno successivo, visto che non vigeva ancora la regola che dice che è il paese vincitore a dover ospitare l’evento l’anno successivo, il concorso si tenne a Francoforte sul Meno il 3 Maggio ed entrarono per la prima volta in gara il Regno Unito, la Danimarca e l’Austria. Corry Brokken portò la vittoria ai Paesi Bassi con ‘Net als toen’. Ad Hilversum (Paesi Bassi) nel 1958 entrò per la prima volta in gara la Svezia mentre a trionfare fu la Francia con Andrè Claveau. Celebre partecipazione per l’Italia che mandò a difendere i suoi colori Domenico Modugno con il successone dell’anno, ‘Volare’. Ancora Modugno a rappresentare l’Italia, questa volta a Cannes, nel 1959 con ‘Piove’. In quest’anno i Paesi Bassi bissano il successo del 57 con Teddy Scholten; da sottolineare l’ingresso in gara di Monaco per la prima volta.

FROM 1956 TO 1959: Inspired by Italy’s Sanremo Music I Festival, the idea of organizing a pan-European competition for light music was born at a meeting of the European Broadcasting Union held on 19 October 1955. It was decided that the first Eurovision Song Contest would be hosted the following year in the Swiss resort of Lugano on Thursday 24 May. Although Marcel Bezençon is credited with creating the Eurovision Song Contest, much of the format that we recognize today came from British actor Michael Brennan, who in March 1954 came up with the idea of a song contest that featured regional juries and a scoreboard. This idea eventually became the Festival Of British Popular Songs, which was first screened on 7 May 1956. Seven countries took part in the first Contest – Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg and Italy – with each country presenting two songs. It was the second Swiss song of the evening, Refrain by Lys Assia that became the first ever winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. It was chosen by a jury, comprising just two members from each of the seven countries taking part, but the scores of the voting have never been made public, leaving room for lots of speculation throughout the years. Lys Assia continues to this day to be associated with the contest, making guest appearances in recent contests, as well as trying to represent Switzerland again in 2012. In the first few years the Eurovision Song Contest was mostly a radio show due to the fact that not many European families had a television set at that time. The first show lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes, with subsequent events in the 1950s running to around just over an hour. Nowadays the Grand Final is around three and half hours long. The contest in the 1950s was still finding its way in terms of the rules, and the 1957 Italian entry, Corda Della Mia Chitarra, performed by Nuzio Gallo, lasted for a total of 5’09”. This led to the introduction a three minute maximum duration for any entry. A recording of the fifth heat of the Festival Of British Popular Songs was shown to the EBU in the autumn of 1956, and the idea of using juries and a scoreboard was incorporated into the 1957 contest, and has remained ever since. Another rule was that only solo artists or duets could take part. A few groups managed to get around this rule by having one (or two) of their singers named, while the remaining members of the group became backing vocalists. The next few years brought more participants, increasing the number from the original seven countries to twelve, with United Kingdom, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Monaco joining the event, adding to the excitement. Although some of the songs did not win, they nevertheless became worldwide hits: the Italian entries Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (better known as Volare) by Domenico Modugno and his Piove (famous as Ciao Ciao Bambina), are two examples.

Anni sessantaCominciano gli anni ’60 e a Londra si impone per la seconda volta la Francia con Tom Pillibi di Jacqueline Boyer mentre entra per la prima volta in gara la Norvegia. La Francia sceglie ancora una volta Cannes come sede dell’evento e il 18 Marzo 1961 Jean-Claude Pascal porta la vittoria a Lussemburgo: da sottolineare l’ingresso nella competizione di Spagna, Finlandia e Jugoslavia. A Lussemburgo nel ’62 la Francia si riprende il titolo grazie a Isabelle Aubret. Arriva il 1963 e alla BBC Television Centre di Londra questa volta a trionfare è la Danimarca di Grethe & Jørgen Ingman. Copenaghen fortunata per l’Italia nel 1964 che, con la giovane Gigliola Cinquetti, strappa la sua prima vittoria al festival. Il titolo del brano vincitore era ‘Non ho l’età (Per amarti)’ e per la prima volta entra in gara il Portogallo. Napoli capitale della musica europea nel 1965 vede il trionfo di France Gall per il Lussemburgo ed ospita la prima apparizione al festival dell’Irlanda. Villa Louvigny è stata la sede dell’ESC nel 1966, per la 3º volta in gara per l’Italia c’è Domenico Modugno che canta ‘Dio come ti amo’ ma a vincere sarà l’Austria con Udo Jürgens. A Vienna l’anno successivo Sandie Shaw regala una grande emozione al Regno Unito portando la vittoria a casa propria ed ancora Londra nel ’68 funge da capitale della musica europea e con Massiel arriva il primo successo spagnolo che spalanca a Madrid l’organizzazione dell’evento per l’anno successivo. Al Teatro Real di Madrid non c’è stata l’Austria che si è rifiutata di partecipare alla competizione in un paese governato da dittatura fascista. Alla fine delle votazioni per la prima ed unica volta si classificarono al primo posto con 18 punti ben quattro nazioni. Visto che non è contemplata nel regolamento questa eventualità si procedette a premiare i quattro paesi creando scompiglio visto che mancavano fisicamente i trofei e le medaglie per premiare tutti i cantanti e gli autori delle canzoni vincitrici.

FROM 1960 TO 1969: The Eurovision Song Contest T grew more glamourous and exciting in the 1960s as more countries became involved and European superstars, including Cliff Richard, Françoise Hardy and Nana Mouskouri, took to the stage. Early Contests had been held on various weekdays but, from 1963, one Saturday every year became the day when families sit down to cheer for their own country, watch and finally see which song takes the Grand Prix. The presenter who holds the record for presenting the most finals is Katie Boyle for the United Kingdom, undertaking the task in 1960, 1963, 1968 and 1974. Postcards were scripted, and filmed for the 1963 Contest featuring two puppet pigs, called Pinky and Perky. Ultimately though the idea was dropped during rehearsals. In Vienna this year the postcard films will feature the artists filmed in their own country. This was first done for the 1970 contest, although then, the artists representing Luxembourg and Monaco were actually filmed in Paris. The list of participating countries grew to 18, with Norway, Spain, Finland, Yugoslavia, Portugal and Ireland swelling the ranks. This also resulted in more popular hits, such as Congratulations and Puppet On A String, both representing the United Kingdom. The latter, sung barefoot by Sandie Shaw, won with one of the largest margins ever seen in the history of the Contest. The song garnered more than twice as many votes as the runner-up from Ireland. But not only were the juries charmed by Sandie Shaw’s song, it became a huge success all over Europe and is nowadays remembered as one of the biggest successes from the Eurovision Song Contest. The Eurovision Song Contest also saw technical improvements this decade, with the 1968 contest being the first to be produced and broadcast in colour by the BBC, despite the fact that very few viewers across Europe owned colour TV sets. Even in the United Kingdom just over half a million viewers saw the colour transmission when it was repeated on the only colour channel the following afternoon. However, colour was here to stay and all Contests since then have been broadcast in colour. Growing competition between participants led to the record-breaking four winners in 1969, when France, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom all got 18 points. Since there was no solution for this unforeseen situation, all four countries were declared winners. Luckily, there were enough medals available for the winning singers – medals had been intended for the winning singer and three winning songwriters. However, having four winners caused lots of criticism from the media and several TV stations reconsidered participating in the following Eurovision Song Contest.

Anni settanta: Arrivano gli anni ’70 e ad Amsterdam a vincere è Dana per l’Irlanda: ritiro a sorpresa per il Portogallo che doveva partecipare con ‘Onde vais rio que eu canto’ cantata da Sérgio Borges. A Dublino l’anno successivo entrerà in gara per la prima volta Malta, mentre a vincere sarà Sèverine per Monaco. L’anno successivo ad Edimburgo si riafferma per la terza volta il Lussemburgo con Vicky Léandros. Dunque è ancora Lussemburgo ad ospitare l’evento il 7 Aprile del 1973 trionfando ancora, questa volta con il capolavoro di Anne-Marie David, ‘Tu te reconnaîtras’. Nel 1974 l’evento fu ospitato dalla città di Brighton (Regno Unito) e vide il ritiro della Francia per l’improvvisa morte dell’allora presidente della Repubblica. A vincere fu per la prima volta la Svezia con gli ABBA che precedettero la vincitrice del ’64, Gigliola Cinquetti, che presentava il brano ‘Sì’: in quest’anno inoltre debutta la Grecia. A Stoccolma è invece la prima volta della Turchia e a vincere sono i pluri-vincitori dei Paesi Bassi con ‘Ding-a-dong’. Al Congresgebouw dell’Aia, nel ’76, importante vittoria dei Brotherhood of Man per il Regno Unito. L’Italia viene rappresentata in quest’anno da Al Bano e Romina Power. Il 7 Maggio ’77 è ancora una volta Londra la capitale della musica europea e vede trionfare la Francia: la Tunisia si ritira dall’evento prima ancora della partenza senza aver scelto né la canzone, né il cantante. Nel 1978, per la prima volta, è Parigi ad ospitare l’evento e Izhar Cohen & The Alpha Beta portano la prima vittoria ad Israele che si ripete l’anno successivo a Gerusalemme con Gali Atari & Milk & Honey.

FROM 1970 TO 1979: The 1970s started with a major T drop in the participants – only 12 delegations decided to take part in 1970 due to the “voting scandal” from the previous year that resulted in four winners. A new rule was devised: if two or more songs gained the same number of points, each song had to be performed once more and all the other juries had to select their favourite song. If entries were still to tie, both of them would share the first position. The rule of performing either solo or as a duet was abolished in 1971: now groups of up to six persons were allowed to perform at the Contest and this has since led to many groups winning the contest. More changes were in the air between 1971 and 1973 there was a short-lived voting system, involving just two jurors from each participating country, awarding between 1 and 5 votes to each song. This resulted in some countries awarding more votes than others, and the system was quickly discredited. Another important rule change for the 1973 Eurovision Song Contest was that participants could choose the language in which they wanted to sing their songs. This rule remained until 1976, although exceptions were permitted for the 1977 contest, and was reintroduced in 1999. In 1975, (when the Contest was first staged in Sweden), another voting system was introduced and is still in use today. Juries in every country would give 1–12 points to their 10 favourite songs, with the famous 12 (douze) points going to their top favourite, then 10 to the second favourite, 8 to their third choice, 7 to their fourth and so on down to 1 point for their tenth favourite. For the rest of the decade the votes were cast in the order the songs were performed. The 1970s saw many hits from the contest, including entries such as All Kinds Of Everything by Dana, Beg, Steal Or Borrow by The New Seekers, Après Toi by Vicky Leandros, Teach-In’s Ding-A-Dong, Save Your Kisses For Me by Brotherhood of Man and the song that was chosen to be the best Eurovision Song Contest entry of all time (in 2005) Waterloo by the Swedish foursome ABBA. ABBA had actually already tried to enter the 1973 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Ring Ring, which later became a hit for them in many European countries, but they only managed third place in the Swedish national selection. Malta, Israel, Greece and Turkey also entered the contest for the first time in the 1970s. More and more countries all over the world decided to broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest, including Brazil, Chile, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Dubai and Thailand.

Anni ottantaLa prima edizione degli anni ’80 avrebbe dovuto essere ospitata da Israele che però si ritirò e non partecipò alla manifestazione perché la manifestazione cadeva il giorno della Giornata Nazionale del Ricordo dell’Olocausto. Allora si decise di organizzare ancora una volta la manifestazione nei Paesi Bassi, all’Aia. Debutta il Marocco e vince Johnny Logan per l’Irlanda. L’anno successivo l’evento si tiene a Dublino ed è la prima volta che l’Italia non partecipa alla competizione. ‘Making Your Mind Up’ è la canzone vincitrice di questa edizione targata Regno Unito ed entra per la prima volta in gara Cipro. Nel 1982 ad Harrogate per il secondo anno consecutivo l’Italia è assente: vince l’edizione ‘Ein bißchen Frieden’, cantata da Nicole per la Germania. Nel 1983 l’Eurovision si tiene in Germania, a Monaco di Baviera, e l’Italia ritorna in gara. Corinne Hermès vince la manifestazione per il Lussemburgo. Proprio a Lussemburgo l’anno successivo gli Herreys bissano il successo per la Svezia che nel 1985 ospita l’evento a Göteborg che viene vinto dalla Norvegia con le Bobbysocks!. L’anno successivo, a Bergen, si compie il debutto dell’Islanda e la vittoria tanto attesa del Belgio ad opera di Sandra Kim. Il 9 Maggio 1987 a Bruxelles festeggiano gli irlandesi ancora grazie a Logan. Nel 1988 è ancora Dublino la capitale della musica europea, dove la canzone di Cipro, ‘Thimame’, cantata da Yiannis Demetriou viene squalificata prima della manifestazione. A vincere fu la Svizzera con Céline Dion e l’anno dopo, a Losanna, vince Riva con Rock Me per la Jugoslavia.

FROM 1980 TO 1989: The 1980 Contest, the 25th Tevent of its kind, had a last minute organizer, Dutch broadcaster NOS stepped in after Israel decided not to host the competition twice in a row. In fact, Israel didn’t even take part in the year after winning with Hallelujah as the selected date clashed with a national holiday. The first and so far last time this has happened. One innovation at that contest was that each song was introduced by the TV presenter that country, although the real silver wedding anniversary took place the year after in Norway where most winners performed at a special concert in Momarkedet in Mysen. The 1980s brought more up-tempo winners than in the past, such as Norway’s first victory with La Det Swinge in 1985. Another first-time winner was Germany with Ein Bißchen Frieden, composed by the legendary Ralph Siegel and performed by Nicole who finally brought home victory in 1982. Belgium also won the Eurovision Song Contest in this decade with 13 year-old Sandra Kim and singing J’aime La Vie. Shortly before breaking up, Yugoslavia won in 1989 with Rock Me by Croatian group Riva. Writing himself into Eurovision history was Australian-born Irish artist Johnny Logan, who secured Ireland’s second victory in 1980 with What’s Another Year and again in 1987 with Hold Me Now. From then on he’d be known as ‘Mr Eurovision’, especially after Linda Martin won the contest with another Johnny Logan song Why Me? in 1992, making Logan the only person to have won the contest three times. More superstars were launched at the Eurovision Song Contest in the 1980s. For Céline Dion, winning the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest was another step on her way to global superstardom. Germany’s and Austria’s entries in 1989 were both written by German pop titan Dieter Bohlen, who became famous in Germany in the 1980s as one half of the duo Modern Talking. As acts became more visual, the organizers also had some tricks up their sleeves. The Contest in 1985 was hosted by former participant Lill Lindfors who surprised the audience with an act in which it appeared that she had her skirt torn off. This was of course well rehearsed, and remains one of the most remembered highlights in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest. The number of Eurovision Song Contest participants grew once again. In 1980, for the first time in the history of the Contest an African country, Morocco, took part with Samira, a star in all the Arabic-speaking countries, but her entry Bitakat Hob ended up in 18th position with just 7 points. The islands of Cyprus and Iceland also joined the Eurovision party in the 1980s.

Anni novanta: Gli anni ’90 si aprono con una vittoria eccezionale di Toto Cutugno con Insieme: 1992 a Zagabria. Nel 1991 l’evento fu ospitato da Roma che vide trionfare Carola per la Svezia. L’Italia partecipò con una canzone in lingua napoletana, Comme è ddoce o mare’, di Peppino di Capri. L’evento fu condotto dai due vincitori italiani della storia, Toto Cutugno e Gigliola Cinquetti. A Malmö l’anno successivo Linda Martin riporta la vittoria in Irlanda e nel 1993 alla Green Glens Arena di ‘Millstreet il Lussemburgo parteciperà per l’ultima volta all’Eurovision Song Contest. A causa del grande numero di partecipanti di questa edizione, il 3 Aprile si svolse a Lubiana una preselezione, ‘Kvalifikacija za Millstreet’, presentata da Tajda Lecse per la tv slovena, dove sette nuovi paesi si contesero l’accesso alla manifestazione tenutasi poi in Irlanda: Bosnia-Erzegovina, Croazia e Slovenia arrivarono nei primi tre posti. Vinse il festival ancora una volta l’Irlanda con la canzone ‘In Your Eyes’. L’egemonia irlandese non finisce e, nel 1994, a Dublino trionfano ancora loro con Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids. In questa edizione entrano per la prima volta in gara Estonia, Lituania, Polonia, Romania, Russia, Slovacchia ed Ungheria. Nel 1995, a Dublino, la Norvegia vince grazie ai Secret Garden ma nel 1996 ad Oslo ritorna alla vittoria ancora una volta l’Irlanda. In questa edizione, essendo ritenuto il numero di richieste di partecipazione troppo elevato, l’EBU-UER decise di effettuare una preselezione delle canzoni candidate. Delle 30 canzoni presentate quella della Norvegia fu ammessa di diritto alla manifestazione in quanto paese ospitante, mentre delle restanti 29 ne furono selezionate 22 da giurie nazionali che espressero i loro voti sulla base di registrazioni audio delle canzoni. Nei siparietti che intercorrono tra una canzone e un’altra, al posto delle cartoline, vennero mandati dei messaggi di augurio da parte di un importante personalità per ogni nazione, per lo più del mondo della politica. Nel 1997 a Dublino ritorna l’Italia con i Jalisse e la loro ‘Fiumi di parole’. Vince la manifestazione il Regno Unito con Katrina and the Waves e la loro ‘Love Shine a Light’. A Birmingham nel ’98 vittoria a sorpresa di Israele con Dana International e la sua ‘Diva’ e per la prima volta entra in gara la Rep. di Macedonia. Il 29 Maggio 1999 a Gerusalemme la Svezia vince grazie a Charlotte Nilsson.

FROM 1990 TO 1999: This decade saw the biggest Tchanges in the competition since its beginning. Changes that led to the Eurovision Song Contest as we know it now. After the participation of two children in 1989 – Nathalie Pâque (11) for France and Gili (12) for Israel – caused some controversy, it was decided that from 1990 the minimum age limit for a performer would be 16 years old at some time during the year of participation. That’s why the young singer Emma could represent the United Kingdom in 1990, even though she was still only 15 by the date of the contest. This rule has been amended since then: now performers must be aged at least 16 on the day of the Final, while younger singers are able to take part in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. The enlargement of the Contest in this decade led to new issues. The show still needed to be around three hours long but this was hard to achieve when more than 25 countries decided to take part. Several possible solutions were put forward and tried out. Starting with seven countries from eastern Europe participating in a preliminary heat called Kvalifikacija za Millstreet in Ljubljana (1993) and continuing with an audio preselection (1996) in which 22 countries out of 29 were selected to go through to the Final. In 1997 the average results of all countries in the last five Contests were measured, and the 25 countries that had done best qualified for the final in Dublin. Joining the Eurovision family in this decade were Slovenia, BosniaHerzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Romania, Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary, Russia, Poland and FYR Macedonia. Malta would also return after an absence of 16 years. In 1999, the long-standing rule that each country had to sing in one of its own national languages was finally abolished. It was also decided that France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, as the highestpaying European Broadcasting Union subscribers, would automatically be allowed to take part every year, irrespective of their five-year point average. The orchestra was optional and since that time no orchestra has been on stage at the Eurovision Song Contest. Televoting was introduced in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and Germany in 1997 and would be extended to almost all participating countries the following year. Nowadays it is compulsory to use televoting. This decade was unbelievably successful for Ireland, which won four times in total including three times in a row, in 1992, 1993, 1994 and then again in 1996. Some big hits were also created in this decade, such as Gina G’s Ooh Ahh… Just A Little Bit representing the UK in 1996 or the 1998 winner Diva by Dana International, but the biggest commercial success of the 1990s was not one of the songs, however, but the interval act Riverdance in Dublin in 1994, which later became a worldwide hit.

Anni duemila: Il primo concorso degli anni 2000 si tiene alla Global Arena di Stoccolma che dà il benvenuto all’Eurovision alla Lettonia ed accoglie il trionfo danese ad opera degli Olsen Brothers con ‘Fly on the Wings of Love’. A Copenaghen l’Estonia di Tanel Padar, Dave Benton & 2XL con la loro ‘Everybody’ si aggiudica la vittoria e nel 2002 dopo appena due anni dall’ingresso in gara della Lettonia arriva la vittoria firmata Marie N che canta ‘I Wanna’. Nel 2003 debutta l’Ucraina e Sertab Erener firma il primo successo turco e dopo appena un anno, nel 2004, l’Ucraina si guadagna la prima affermazione nell’evento con Ruslana. Esordio per Albania, Andorra, Bielorussia e Serbia e Montenegro: viene inoltre introdotta la semifinale. A Kiev l’anno successivo a vincere sarà la Grecia con Helena Paparizou e la sua ‘My Number One’: esordio nella competizione per Bulgaria e Moldavia. Nel 2006 vincono a sorpresa i Lordi per la Finlandia e la stampa di tutta Europa, che aveva pronosticato la vittoria della Russia di Dima Bilan, resta spiazzata: il 2006 è poi l’anno del debutto armeno. Ad Helsinki, nel 2007, arriva la vittoria annunciata di Marija Šerifović per la Serbia con ‘Molitva’; partecipano per la prima volta Georgia, Montenegro e Repubblica Ceca. Nel 2008 viene introdotta una seconda semifinale e le canzoni in gara sono 43 con i debutti di San Marino ed Azerbaigian; a Belgrado tutti i riflettori sono puntati su Dima Bilan, il favoritissimo, che non delude le aspettative della vigilia e vince senza problemi con ‘Believe’. L’anno successivo, a Mosca, lo scettro passa al norvegese Alexander Rybak che con la sua ‘Fairytale’ scala le classifiche europee.

FROM 2000 TO 2009: The new millennium saw a Tcontinuous rise in the popularity of the Eurovision Song Contest all over Europe, leading to various changes. With Latvia and Ukraine joining the competition in 2000 and 2003 respectively, and with Belarus, Serbia & Montenegro, Albania and Andorra on the waiting list, the relegation system was already overstretched. Therefore, for the first time in its history, a televised SemiFinal was introduced in 2004. The Big-4, the host country, and the 10 bestplaced countries from the previous contest would directly qualify for the Final, while all lower-ranking countries, as well as new participating broadcasters had to be in the top 10 in the Semi-Final to go through to the Final. This system was one big step forward, as it allowed all countries to take part every year, without taking a one-year break after a bad result. The Semi-Final system also introduced a new moment of suspense, and not only for TV viewers: at the end, the 10 qualifiers are announced by opening envelopes. Many artists, delegations, and fans have spent a tense moment of anticipation while waiting for the last country to be read out. While real envelopes were used initially, the ceremony has since gone digital, with an animated announcement on screen. While the unification of Europe came about in the 1990s, its impact on the Eurovision Song Contest only started to show after 2000. Estonia was the first ‘new’ country to win the competition with Tanel Padar, Dave Benton & 2XL and their captivating song Everybody in 2001. This seemed to kick off a whole series of first-time victories, with Marie N winning for Latvia, Sertab for Turkey, Ruslana for Ukraine, Helena Paparizou for Greece, Lordi for Finland, Marija Šerifovi for Serbia, and Dima Bilan for Russia. More and more countries expressed an interest in entering the Eurovision Song Contest: Bulgaria and Moldova joined the show in 2005, Armenia followed suit in 2006, with Montenegro, Serbia, Georgia and the Czech Republic in 2007 and Azerbaijan and San Marino in 2008. This resulted in a situation in 2007 where 27 countries were competing in the Semi-Final for only 10 available spots in the Final. The Second Semi-Final was therefore introduced in 2008. From then on, only the Big-4 and the host country would automatically qualify for the Final. All other countries had to gain a top-10 placing in one of the two Semi-Finals. After televoting had been the sole decisive force in the contest for 10 years, a gradual reinforcement of national juries with increasing impact on the final scores started in 2008, when only the top 9 countries in each of the two Semi-Finals qualified for the final. The tenth qualifier in each show was the highestranked entry in the jury vote that had not yet been part of the televoting qualifiers. The juries only had a say in the Final from 2009 when, in each country, a 50/50 46 FROM 2000 TO 2009 Year Winning country Winning artist Winning song 2000 2004 2001 2005 2002 2006 2008 2009 2003 2007 Denmark Ukraine Estonia Greece Latvia Finland Russia Norway Turkey Serbia The Olsen Brothers Ruslana Tanel, Dave & 2XL Helena Paparizou Marie N Lordi Dima Bilan Alexander Rybak Sertab Marija Šerifovic’ Fly On The Wings Of Love Wild Dances Everybody My Number One I Wanna Hard Rock Hallelujah Believe Fairytale Everyway That I Can Molitva combination of televoting scores and jury scores was calculated to get to the traditional Eurovision ranking, culminating in “douze points”.

Dal 2010 a oggiAd Oslo nel 2010 invece a trionfare è Lena Meyer-Landrut per la Germania con Satellite che, oltre a vincere l’Eurovision, batte nelle classifiche europee anche il tormentone mondiale Waka Waka di Shakira. Il rappresentante israeliano, Harel Skaat, stabilisce il record per vittorie dei Marcel Bezençon Awards. L’evento, nel 2011, si è tenuto a Düsseldorf, in Germania, e ha visto la vittoria per la prima volta dell’Azerbaigian con il duo Ell & Nikki con il brano Running Scared. A conquistarsi il secondo posto è l’italiano Raphael Gualazzi che, con Madness of Love, riporta l’Italia all’interno di questo concorso, da cui era assente da ben 13 anni. A Baku, nel 2012, la vittoria è della rappresentante svedese Loreen con il brano Euphoria che sbanca le classifiche europee ottenendo 9 dischi di platino. Nel Regno Unito (dove raggiunge la terza posizione) è ad oggi il singolo eurovisivo di maggior successo dopo Waterloodegli ABBA. Vende 180.000 copie in patria, 500.000 in Germania e 2 milioni in tutto il mondo. L’anno seguente, il 2013, all’evento svoltosi a Malmö, la spunta la danese Emmelie de Forest con la canzone Only Teardrops. Nel 2014 vince il contest Conchita Wurst, rappresentante dell’Austria. La manifestazione nel 2015 è stata vinta da Måns Zelmerlöw rappresentante della Svezia mentre Il Volo vince in questa edizione il premio della critica Press Award assegnato dalla sala stampa, e in gara conquista il terzo posto, dietro alla russa Polina Gagarina, totalizzando 292 punti, storicamente i più alti mai dati al nostro paese.

FROM 2010 TO 2014: Producers and executives of P Norwegian broadcaster NRK had looked at the 2009 contest in Moscow with awe. ‘How do you follow up on a spectacle of such gigantic dimensions?’ they must have asked themselves. Instead of going even bigger, the Norwegians decided to go for better. The contest in Norway was also one of the most interactive ones to date, as viewers were invited to join dancing flash-mobs all across Europe. They received instructions on the dance moves through videos on YouTube. From 2010, the same way of combining televotes and jury scores was also introduced in the Semi-Finals. 2010 winner Lena from Germany impressed millions with her simple, yet effective performance of the catchy song Satellite. She brought the contest to Germany 28 years after Nicole’s victory in 1982. In 2011, Italy re-joined the Eurovision Song Contest after thirteen years of absence and finished second, right behind Ell & Nikki’s Running Scared. who took victory for Azerbaijan for the first time. The following year, the contest would be held more east than ever before. In Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, the live shows would start at midnight local time! The 2012 edition of the contest didn’t just attract the attention of showbizz media and the fan community, but also from human rights activists and politicians who saw the event as an opportunity to voice their concerns over social and political developments in Azerbaijan. For the first time in many years, the contest in Baku brought forward a pan-European hit which would dominate the charts for months. Loreen’s Euphoria, Sweden’s entry to the competition, topped the charts in more than 20 countries, showed that the Eurovision Song Contest had not lost its potential to bring forward musical success. Swedish broadcaster SVT had been chasing the opportunity to host the Eurovision Song Contest for many years. In order to find the right song, SVT perfected its national selection format Melodifestivalen for nearly a decade. The experience of organising what many consider to be a mini-version of the Eurovision Song Contest, came in useful when SVT was given the challenge to host Europe’s favourite TV show. Just as the Norwegians had done in 2010, the Swedes decided to reduce scale in exchange for quality. Most notably, Benny and Bjorn from ABBA joined forces with DJ Aviici to pen the Final’s opening tune, We Write The Story. Just like in 2000, Denmark won the contest in Sweden. A nation-wide bid resulted in Copenhagen being picked as host city. Unlike in 2001, when the event took place at the Parken Stadium, the venue was not available for the 2015 contest and the city proposed to host the spectacle at the B&W Hallerne, an old shipyard in the city’s industrial area. The contest was won by Conchita Wurst, the bearded lady from Austria, who brought her song Rise Like A Phoenix with the same passion as her plea for tolerance, diversity and peace.

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