Il regolamento ufficiale dell’Eurovision Song Contest è lungo, tecnico, e in continua evoluzione. Molte delle regole riguardano aspetti tecnici della trasmissione televisiva stessa. Ogni anno viene presentato un regolamento, che specifica in modo esplicito le date entro le quali devono essere svolti alcuni adempimenti, ad esempio il termine entro il quale tutte le emittenti partecipanti devono presentare la versione finale registrata della loro canzone. Molte norme riguardano questioni come accordi di sponsorizzazione e i diritti delle emittenti di ritrasmettere lo show entro un certo tempo. Le regole più importanti, che in realtà influenzano la formula e la presentazione del concorso, nel corso degli anni si sono modificate molte volte.
The contest is organised annually by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), together with the participating broadcaster of the host country. The event is monitored by an Executive Supervisor appointed by the EBU, and by the Reference Group which represents all participating broadcasters, who are each represented by a nominated Head of Delegation. The current Executive Supervisor as of 2021 is Martin Österdahl, who took over the role from Jon Ola Sand in May 2020. A detailed set of rules is written by the EBU for each contest and approved by the Reference Group. These rules have changed over time, and typically outline, among other points, the eligibility of the competing songs, the format of the contest, and the voting system to be used to determine the winner and how the results will be presented.
Formula: Nel corso degli anni il regolamento della manifestazione ha subito diverse modifiche. Di seguito sono qui riportate alcune delle regole attualmente in vigore.
I paesi che partecipano all’Eurovision Song Contest possono selezionare cantanti senza vincoli di nazionalità, ad esempio nel 1988 la Svizzera vinse con la cantante canadese Céline Dion, ma ovviamente le tv possono privilegiare artisti autoctoni. Anche la modalità di selezione è libera, così alcuni paesi optano per una selezione interna mentre in altri viene organizzato un festival apposito, come ad esempio lo storico Melodifestivalen svedese o il Melodi Grand Prix norvegese.
I cantanti devono avere almeno 16 anni di età, e sul palco non sono consentite più di 6 persone (neanche per i gruppi). Per quanto riguarda la canzone presentata queste sono alcune delle regole in vigore, valide per tutti i paesi:
- non deve durare più di 3 minuti;
- può essere di qualunque genere e cantata in qualunque lingua, anche inventata (e anche qui le tv possono imporre le lingue ufficiali dei loro paesi);
- non può essere cover o ispirata ad altro brano edito, pena la squalifica;
- deve essere pubblicata non prima di un certo periodo prima del festival (solitamente non prima del 1º settembre dell’anno precedente a quello dello svolgimento della gara), e deve essere presentata insieme ad un video;
- non deve avere una scenografia o una coreografia controversa (in particolare sono vietati gli animali);
- non deve avere contenuti politici, pubblicitari, o offensivi.
Dall’edizione del 2015 non vi saranno più penali per gli Stati che si iscrivono e poi si ritirano oltre il termine ultimo per iscriversi, come invece accadeva in passato.
Il festival si svolge rigorosamente in una settimana di maggio ed è introdotto e chiuso come tutti i programmi in Eurovisione dal Te Deum di Charpentier. La finale deve essere obbligatoriamente trasmessa in diretta, mentre per le semifinali è sufficiente dal 2008 la trasmissione in diretta di quella di competenza del paese, anche su canali minori. Dal 1999 sono previsti, per le televisioni che volessero introdurli, degli spazi per inserire gli annunci pubblicitari e si può anche non trasmettere l’Interval Act.
Fino all’edizione del 2003 la manifestazione si articolava in un’unica serata finale. Per limitare il numero di partecipanti l’UER ha in alcuni casi effettuato una preselezione, ma più spesso usava le “retrocessioni” (cioè la non partecipazione per un anno alle ultime classificate). Dal 2004 al 2007 compreso è stata introdotta una semifinale che si è svolta due (nel 2004 tre) giorni prima della finale. Alla finale avevano direttamente accesso i cosiddetti Big Four (Francia, Germania, Spagna e Regno Unito) per il loro maggiore contributo finanziario, il paese ospitante, i nove migliori paesi della precedente edizione e i dieci vincitori della semifinale, per una finale a 24. In entrambe le serate votavano tutti i paesi.
Dal 2008, visto l’alto numero di paesi, il regolamento prevede due semifinali a cui partecipano tutti i paesi ad eccezione dei Big (che diventano Five nel 2011 con il ritorno dell’Italia) e del paese ospitante che accedono direttamente alla finale, che passa a 26 (o 25 se l’ospitante è una Big).
Nel corso degli anni anche il sistema di votazione ha subito alcune modifiche. Dal 1975 è entrato in vigore l’attuale sistema di assegnazione dei punteggi: ogni paese assegna un certo numero di punti alle 10 canzoni preferite: da 1 a 7 punti rispettivamente dalla decima alla quarta, 8 punti alla terza, 10 alla seconda e 12 alla prima, da cui la famosa frase “douze points”. Ogni paese non può votare per la propria canzone.
Inizialmente la votazione era effettuata da giurie. Dal 1997 è stato sperimentato il televoto che è entrato ufficialmente in vigore l’anno successivo per tutte le nazioni. Esistono comunque giurie di riserva che assegnano i punti nel caso il televoto non dovesse funzionare. A seguito delle critiche sul sistema di votazione, nell’edizione 2009 sono state reintrodotte le giurie solo nella serata finale, il cui punteggio ha pesato per il 50% sul punteggio finale, mentre il 50% dei punti è stato assegnato in base al risultato del televoto; anche in questo caso se il secondo sistema non funziona un paese può usare solo il primo.
Al termine delle semifinali vengono annunciati senza un ordine particolare i paesi che in base ai punteggi ottenuti hanno avuto accesso alla finale. I punteggi e la classifica delle semifinali vengono resi noti solo dopo la serata finale. In queste due serate dal 2010 si usano come per la finale televoto e giurie, sempre con peso del 50%, e votano solo i paesi coinvolti in quella rispettiva, più due o tre qualificati di diritto sorteggiati. Ad esempio la Svezia e la Germania nel 2009 hanno potuto votare solo di martedì e non di giovedì.
Lo show televisivo della finale dura poco più di 3 ore (le semifinali 2), segue un rigido protocollo, e si usa come lingua l’inglese, con alcuni inserti di francese (lingue ufficiali dell’EBU-UER) e della lingua del paese ospitante. Tranne che nel 2010 e 2011 (dove si è votato fin dalla prima canzone), è possibile televotare in uno spazio di 15′ poco dopo l’ultima canzone, annunciato dalla frase “Europe, start voting now!”. Nella finale tutti i paesi partecipanti hanno diritto di voto, compresi quelli che sono stati eliminati nelle semifinali. L’ordine di presentazione dei voti dal 2006 al 2010 è stato deciso per sorteggio: dopo l’esibizione di tutti i cantanti e scaduto il tempo per la votazione i presentatori della manifestazione si collegano ad uno ad uno con tutti i paesi partecipanti, che dichiarano il risultato delle votazioni nel proprio paese. Inizialmente il collegamento era telefonico, attualmente è in video.
Anche la dichiarazione dei voti ha subito delle modifiche dovute all’alto numero di paesi partecipanti. Inizialmente ogni paese dichiarava tutti i punteggi partendo dal basso e ogni punteggio doveva essere ripetuto per regolamento dal presentatore in inglese e francese, ma dal 2004 viene ripetuto il punteggio solo nella lingua non usata da chi si collegava (es. la Francia usa il francese e i voti sono ripetuti solo in inglese); dal 2006, per sveltire la procedura, i primi sette voti vengono mostrati in video e solo i tre punteggi massimi (8, 10 e 12) vengono dichiarati. Dal 2011, l’ordine in cui vengono chiamate le nazioni è basato su un particolare algoritmo sviluppato dalla tv norvegese NRK che tiene conto dei voti delle giurie, cercando di mantenere il più possibile in bilico il risultato finale.
Il paese che ottiene più punti vince l’Eurovision Song Contest e acquisisce l’invito a organizzare l’edizione successiva. In alcune edizioni il paese vincitore ha rinunciato all’organizzazione.
Il regolamento inizialmente non prevedeva il caso di parità. A causa del pareggio a quattro nell’edizione del 1969 e le critiche successive (alcuni paesi non parteciparono per protesta all’edizione successiva) il regolamento fu modificato e fu deciso che in caso di parità il paese con il maggior numero di 12 punti ricevuti sarebbe stato il vincitore. In caso di ulteriore parità si sarebbe deciso in base al numero di 10 punti ricevuti, eventualmente 8, 7 e così via fino a dichiarare il paese vincitore. Questa regola fu applicata nel 1991 in Italia assegnando la vittoria alla Svezia, che si trovava a pari punteggio con la Francia. Il regolamento fu successivamente modificato e la vittoria viene assegnata al paese che ha ricevuto punti dal maggior numero di paesi. Solo in caso di parità si procede al conteggio dei 12 punti, eventualmente dei 10 punti e così via. Con l’attuale regolamento la vittoria del 1991 sarebbe stata assegnata alla Francia.
Song eligibility and languages. All competing songs must have a duration of three minutes or less. This rule applies only to the version performed during the live shows. In order to be considered eligible, competing songs in a given year’s contest must not have been released commercially before the first day of September of the previous year. All competing entries must include vocals and lyrics of some kind and purely instrumental pieces are not allowed. Competing entries may be performed in any language, be that natural or constructed, and participating broadcasters are free to decide the language in which their entry may be performed.
Rules specifying in which language a song may be performed have changed over time. No restrictions were originally enacted when the contest was first founded, however following criticism over the 1965 Swedish entry being performed in English, a new rule was introduced for the 1966 contest restricting songs to be performed only in an official language of the country it represented. This rule was first abolished in 1973, and subsequently reinstated for most countries in 1977, with only Belgium and Germany permitted freedom of language as their selection processes for that year’s contest had already commenced. The language rule was once again abolished ahead of the 1999 contest.
Artist eligibility and performances. The rules for the first contest specified that only solo performers were permitted to enter; this criterion was changed the following year to permit duos to compete, and groups were subsequently permitted for the first time in 1971. Currently the number of people permitted on stage during competing performances is limited to a maximum of six, and no live animals are allowed. Since 1990 all contestants must be aged 16 or over on the day of the live show in which they perform. With this rule’s introduction Sandra Kim, the winner in 1986 at the age of 13, shall remain the contest’s youngest winner in perpetuity. There is no limit on the nationality or country of birth of the competing artists, and participating broadcasters are free to select an artist from any country; several winning artists have subsequently held a different nationality or were born in a different country to that which they represented. No performer may compete for more than one country in a given year.
The orchestra was a prominent aspect of the contest from 1956 to 1998. Pre-recorded backing tracks were first allowed for competing acts in 1973, but any pre-recorded instruments were required to be seen being “performed” on stage; in 1997, all instrumental music was allowed to be pre-recorded, however the host country was still required to provide an orchestra. In 1999 the rules were changed again, making the orchestra an optional requirement; the host broadcaster of that year’s contest, Israel’s IBA, subsequently decided not to provide an orchestra, resulting in all entries using backing tracks for the first time. Currently all instrumental music for competing entries must now be pre-recorded, and no live instrumentation is allowed during performances.
The main vocals of competing songs must be performed live during the contest. Previously live backing vocals were also required; for the 2021 contest these may optionally be pre-recorded – this change has been implemented on a trial basis in an effort to introduce flexibility following the cancellation of the 2020 edition and to facilitate modernisation.
Running order. Since 2013 the order in which the competing countries perform has been determined by the contest’s producers, and submitted to the EBU Executive Supervisor and Reference Group for approval before public announcement. This was changed from a random draw used in previous years in order to provide a better experience for television viewers and ensure all countries stand out by avoiding instances where songs of a similar style or tempo are performed in sequence.
Since the creation of a second semi-final in 2008, a semi-final allocation draw is held each year. Countries are placed into pots based on their geographical location and voting history in recent contests, and are assigned to compete in one of the two semi-finals through a random draw. Countries are then randomly assigned to compete in either the first or second half of their respective semi-final, and once all competing songs have been selected the producers then determine the running order for the semi-finals. The automatic qualifiers are assigned at random to a semi-final for the purposes of voting rights.
Semi-final qualifiers make a draw at random during the winners’ press conference to determine whether they will perform during the first or second half of the final; the automatic finalists then randomly draw their competing half in the run-up to the grand final, except for the host country, whose exact performance position is determined in a separate draw. The running order for the final is then decided following the second semi-final by the producers, taking into consideration both the competing songs’ musical qualities as well as stage performance, to best work around the set up of any props, lighting requirements and other production considerations.
Voting. In place since 2016, the current voting system used to determine the results of the contest works on the basis of positional voting. Each country awards two sets of points: one set is based on the votes of each country’s professional jury, comprising five music professionals from that country; and a second set is based on the votes of the general public in the competing countries through telephone, SMS or the official Eurovision app. Each set of points consists of 1–8, 10 and 12 points to the jury and public’s ten favourite songs, with the most preferred song receiving 12 points. This system is a modification of that used since 1975, when the “12 points” system was first introduced but with each country providing one set of points. National juries and the public in each country are not allowed to vote for their own country, a rule first introduced in 1957.
Historically, each country’s points were determined by a jury, consisting at various times of members of the public, music professionals, or both in combination. With advances in telecommunication technology, televoting was first introduced to the contest in 1997 on a trial basis, with broadcasters in five countries allowing the viewing public to determine their votes for the first time. From 1998 televoting was extended to almost all competing countries, and subsequently became mandatory from 2004. A jury was reintroduced for the grand final in 2009, with each country’s points comprising both the votes of the jury and public in an equal split; this mix of jury and public voting was expanded into the semi-finals from 2010.
Should two or more countries finish with the same number of points, a tie-break procedure is employed to determine the final placings. As of 2016, a combined national televoting and jury result is calculated for each country, and the country which has obtained points from the most countries following this calculation is deemed to have placed higher.
Presentation of the votes: Since 1957 each country’s votes have been announced during a special voting segment as part of the contest’s broadcast, with a selected spokesperson assigned to announce the results of their country’s vote. This spokesperson is typically well known in their country; previous spokespersons have included former Eurovision artists and hosts] Historically the announcements were made through telephone lines from the countries of origin, with satellite links employed for the first time in 1994, allowing the spokespersons to be seen visually by the audience and TV spectators.
Scoring is done by both a national jury and a national televote. Each country’s jury votes are consecutively added to the totals scoreboard as they are called upon by the contest presenter(s). The scoreboard was historically placed at the side of the stage and updated manually as each country gave their votes; in 1988 a computer graphics scoreboard was introduced. The jury points from 1–8 and 10 are displayed on screen and added automatically to the scoreboard, then the country’s spokesperson announces which country will receive the 12 points. Once jury points from all countries have been announced, the presenter(s) announce the total public points received for each finalist, with the votes for each country being consolidated and announced as a single value. The public points are revealed in ascending order based on the jury vote, with the country that received the fewest points from the jury being the first to receive their public points. A full breakdown of the results across all shows is published on the official Eurovision website after the final, including each country’s televoting ranking and the votes of its jury and individual jury members. Each country’s individual televoting points in the final are typically displayed on-screen by that country’s broadcaster following the announcement of the winner.
Broadcasting: Participating broadcasters are required to air live the semi-final in which they compete, or in the case of the automatic finalists the semi-final in which they are required to vote, and the grand final, in its entirety; this includes all competing songs, the voting recap containing short clips of the performances, the voting procedure or semi-final qualification reveal, and the reprise of the winning song in the grand final. Since 1999 broadcasters who wished to do so were given the opportunity to provide advertising during short, non-essential hiatuses in the show’s schedule. In exceptional circumstances, such as due to developing emergency situations, participating broadcasters may delay or postpone broadcast of the event. Should a broadcaster fail to air a show as expected in any other scenario they may be subject to sanctions by the EBU. Several broadcasters in countries that are unable to compete have previously aired the contest in their markets.
As national broadcasters join and leave the Eurovision feed transmitted by the EBU, the EBU/Eurovision network logo ident (not to be confused with the logo of the song contest itself) is displayed. The accompanying music (used on other Eurovision broadcasts) is the Prelude (Marche en rondeau) to Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Te Deum. Originally, the same logo was used for both the Eurovision network and the European Broadcasting Union, however, they now have two different logos; the latest Eurovision network logo was introduced in 2012, and when the ident is transmitted at the start and end of programmes it is this Eurovision network logo that appears.
The EBU now holds recording of all but two editions of the contest in its archives following a project initiated in 2011 to collate footage and related materials of all editions ahead of the event’s 60th anniversary in 2015. The first contest in 1956 was primarily a radio show, and although cameras were present to broadcast the show for the few Europeans who had television sets no video footage of the contest is known to have survived. No known footage of the 1964 contest exists either, with conflicting reports of the fate of any copies that may have survived.Audio recordings of both contests do however exist, and some short pieces of footage from both events have survived.
Number of songs: Each country in the Eurovision Song Contest is entitled to enter just one song. The Contest final is limited to 26 songs (only exception being in 2015 when Australia participated in the contest and 27 songs competed in the final). They consist of the following:
- The “Big 5” countries (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy) as they are the 5 largest economic contributors to the contest, and are rewarded with automatic spots in the final.
- The host country.
- 10 qualifiers from Semi-final 1 – held on the Tuesday before the contest.
- 10 qualifiers from Semi-final 2 – held on the Thursday before the contest.
At the first Contest, each country was allowed to submit two songs each with a maximum duration of three minutes. Nowadays, it is still required that each song not exceed three minutes in length, although many artists record the song in a longer version, simply performing a shorter version at the Contest. The number of participating countries has grown throughout the Contest’s history, and since 1993 the rules have been changed several times to both limit the number of finalists and to allow for participation by former Soviet and Yugoslav republics, Warsaw Pact nations and others.
No previously published music The entering song is also not allowed to be a cover version, and is not allowed to sample another artist’s work. All songs must be completely original in terms of songwriting and instrumentation, and may not have been released publicly before 1 September of the year preceding. If released publicly, it may only be released in the entrant country’s market until after the contest.
Voices and instruments Artists shall perform live on stage, accompanied by a recorded backing-track which contains no vocals of any kind or any vocal imitations aiming at replacing or assisting the live/original voice of the Contestant(s). The Host Broadcaster shall verify respect for this rule.
No entirely instrumental composition has ever been allowed in Eurovision contests. Norway won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1995 with a song focused on its instrumentals, but was eligible for participation because some lyrics (22 words in total) were added. Latvia performed their act a cappella in 2006, as did Belgium in 2011. Norway’s entry in the 2010 Contest, and Austria’s 2011 in the contest started a cappella but then the instruments started as well. Live music has been banned in Eurovision performances since 1998. This rule remains to this day.
Performers: Current rules state that countries are allowed to have up to six performers on stage. Performers must be aged 16 or older, on the day of the semi-final in the year of the Contest. This rule was introduced in 1990, as two contestants the year before had been 11 and 12 years. The introduction of this rule means that Sandra Kim, who was 13 when she won for Belgium in 1986, will remain the youngest winner unless the age limit is lowered. No restriction on the nationality of the performers exists, which has resulted in countries being represented by artists who are not nationals of that country. One of the most well-known winning artists, Canadian Céline Dionrepresented Switzerland in 1988. It should also be noted that the performer only needs to be 16 when the event takes place, and not when they are selected, as proven in 2001 and 2005 whenLindsay Dracass and Triinu Kivilaan respectively were selected to represent United Kingdom and Switzerland, despite only being 15 at the time. In Dracass’ case a special visa had to be issued to Dracass to enable her to travel to Copenhagen.
Musica dal vivo / Live music: Tutte le parti vocali devono essere cantate dal vivo: non sono ammesse voci su basi musicali. Nel 1999, la canzone croata conteneva suoni sulla sua base musicale che suonavano sospettosamente come voci umane. La delegazione croata dichiarò che non vi erano voci umane, ma che erano stati solo sintetizzati digitalmente i suoni che replicavano le voci. L’EBU-UER decise comunque che si era rotto lo spirito delle regole, e tolse il 33% dei loro punti totali quell’anno, influenzano il calcolo della media dei punti della Croazia, nei cinque anni.
Dal 1956 fino al 1998, era necessario che il paese ospitante offrisse un’orchestra dal vivo. Prima del 1973, tutta la musica doveva essere suonata dall’orchestra. Dal 1973 in poi, furono autorizzate le basi musicali pre-registrate, anche se il paese ospitante era ancora tenuto a fornire un’orchestra, in modo da consentire ai partecipanti una scelta. Se veniva utilizzata una base musicale, tutti gli strumenti presenti nella traccia dovevano essere presenti sul palco. Nel 1997 questo requisito fu eliminato.
Nel 1999 le regole furono modificate abolendo l’obbligo da parte della TV organizzatrice di fornire un’orchestra dal vivo, lasciando la scelta facoltativa. Il padrone di casa di quell’anno, la TV IBA di Israele, decise di non utilizzare un’orchestra al fine di risparmiare sulle spese, e il 1999 divenne il primo anno in cui tutte le canzoni furono eseguite su basi musicali pre-registrate (in combinazione con tutte le voci dal vivo). L’orchestra, da llora, non ha più fatto la sua comparsa al concorso, l’ultima volta fu nel 1998, quando la BBC ospitò lo show a Birmingham.
All vocals must be sung live; no voices are permitted on the backing tracks. In 1999, the Croatian song performed by Doris Dragović and composed by Tonči Huljić featured sounds on their backing track which sounded suspiciously like human voices. The Croatian delegation stated that there were no human voices, but only digitally synthesised sounds which replicated vocals. The EBU nevertheless decided that they had broken the spirit of the rules, and docked them 33% of their points total that year for the purpose of calculating their five-year points average for future qualification.
From 1956 until 1998, the host country was required to provide a live orchestra. Before 1973, all music had to be played by the host orchestra. From 1973 onwards, pre-recorded, non-vocal backing tracks were permitted—although the host country was still obliged to provide a live orchestra to give participants a choice. If a backing track was used, then all the instruments heard on the track were required to be present on the stage. In 1997 this requirement was dropped.
In 1999 the requirement for a live orchestra was removed: it was left as an optional contribution. The host that year, Israel’s IBA, decided not to use an orchestra to save expenses, and thus 1999 was the first year when all the songs were played as pre-recorded backing tracks (in conjunction with live vocals).
Lingue nazionali / Language: Le norme relative alle lingue nazionali, sono state modificate più volte nel corso degli anni.
Dal 1956 fino al 1964 ogni nazione ha partecipato con brani in lingua nazionale. Dopo che la Svezia presentò nel 1965 un brano in inglese, nel 1966 fu imposta una regola che indicava che le canzoni dovevano essere eseguite in una delle lingue ufficiali del paese partecipante .
La restrizione sulla lingua nazionale continuò fino al 1973, quando si permise agli artisti di cantare in qualsiasi lingua volevano. Diversi vincitori nella metà degli anni ’70 hanno usufruito della nuova regola, infatti artisti provenienti da paesi non anglofoni decisero di cantare in inglese, tra questi, gli ABBA nel 1974.
Nel 1977, l’EBU-UER decise di tornare alla restrizione sulla lingua nazionale. Una dispensa speciale fu data alla Germania e al Belgio poiché le loro selezioni nazionali avevano già avuto luogo, prima della decisione dell’EBU-UER. Entrambi i paesi si esibirono con brani in inglese.
Nel 1999 si ritornò alla scelta della lingua libera. Grazie a questo, il Belgio partecipò al concorso 2003 con ‘Sanomi’, una canzone cantata in una lingua immaginaria. Nel 2006 la canzone dei Paesi Bassi, ‘Amambanda’, fu cantata in parte in inglese e in parte in una lingua immaginaria. Nel 2008 il Belgio scelse ancora una lingua fittizia per il brano ‘O Julissi’. Nel 2011 la canzone norvegese, ‘Haba Haba’, fu cantata in inglese e swahili, ed è stata la prima canzone ad essere cantata in una lingua africana.
Non sono consentiti brani esclusivamente strumentali.
Each submission must have vocals; purely instrumental music has never been allowed. In the past, competitors have been required to sing in one of their own national languages, but this rule has been changed several times over the years. From 1956 until 1965, there was no rule restricting the languages in which the songs could be sung. In 1966, a rule was imposed stating that the songs must be performed in one of the official languages of the country participating, after Sweden was the first country to not sing in their own language, with opera singer Ingvar Wixell performing Sweden’s 1965 entry in English. The Swedish-language version of the song was originally selected at Melodifestivalen 1965, but it was later translated into English for the Eurovision contest.
The language restriction continued until 1973, when performers were again allowed to sing in any language they wished. Several winners in the mid-1970s took advantage of this: performers from non-English-speaking countries sang in English, including ABBA in 1974. In 1977, the EBU decided to revert to the national language restriction. However, special dispensation was given to Germany and Belgium as their national selections had already taken place before the decision was made; both countries’ entries that year were in English. In 1999, the rule was changed again to allow the choice of language once more, which resulted in 12 out of 23 countries, including the United Kingdom, singing in English that year. Belgium entered the 2003 contest with “Sanomi”, a song sung in a constructed language, finishing in second place. In 2006, the Dutch entry, “Amambanda”, was sung partly in English and partly in an artificial language. In 2008, the Belgian entry, “O Julissi”, was sung in an artificial language. In 2011, the Norwegian entry, “Haba Haba”, which was sung in English and Swahili, was the second song to be sung in an African language, after Arabic.
Since the language rule was abolished in 1999, songs in English have become increasingly common. In 2016, all but three out of 36 semi-finalists had songs in English, with only two (Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia) performing songs in their native languages, as Austria sent a song in French. In the final, all but three out of 26 contestants had songs in English. After Salvador Sobral’s win in 2017 with a Portuguese-language song, the 2018 edition saw a significant increase in the use of native languages, with twelve of 43 participants singing in their country’s native language (not including Estonia, whose representative opted to sing in Italian). In 2019, nine of the songs were performed totally in different languages, while four others mixed English with their native languages.
There is a language rule for the hosts also. At least one of them must be able to speak French.
The following is a list of languages used in the Eurovision Song Contest since its inception in 1956, including songs (as) performed in finals and, since 2004, semi-finals.
The rules concerning the language of the entries have been changed several times. In the past, the Contest’s organizers have sometimes compelled countries to only sing in their own languages, but since 1999 no such restriction has existed.
From the first Contest in 1956 until 1965, and again from 1973 until 1976 there was no restriction on language. From 1966 until 1972, and again from 1978 until 1998, songs were required to be performed in a national language. The national language rule was actually instituted shortly before the 1977 Contest, but some countries had already selected non-national language entries, and they were allowed to enter without any changes.
As of the 1999 Contest, the restriction was again lifted, and songs may be performed in any language. As a result, many of the songs are performed partially or completely in English. In 2003, Belgium made full use of the so-termed free language rule, and entered a song, “Sanomi”, in an artificial language created especially for the song. This proved successful as the country finished second, only two points behind Turkey. The same tactic was used in 2006 by the Dutch entry Treble which is partially sung in an artificial language and once again by Belgium with their 2008 entry “O Julissi”.
Dialects and regional languages notes per year On some occasions, dialects of a language or a very rare language have been used in a song entry:
- 1971, 1996, 2003 & 2012 – Austria sang in various dialects of German (Viennese in 1971, Vorarlbergischin 1996, Styrian in 2003 and Mühlviertel dialect in 2012)
- 1972 – Ireland sang in Irish, one of the two official languages of Ireland
- 1980 – The title of Norway’s entry was in the national minority Sami language
- 1982 – Germany sang in German but after winning performed the reprise in five different languages: German, English, French, Italian and Dutch
- 1989 – Switzerland sang in Romansh, the fourth language of Switzerland
- 1990 and 2012 – Finland sang in Swedish, which is the country’s second official language.
- 1991 – Italy sang in Neapolitan, an Italo-Dalmatian language spoken in Naples and surrounding areas.
- 1992, 1993, 1996 and 2011 – France sang in the languages of Antillean Creole (1992), Corsican (1993 and 2011) and Breton (1996).
- 1995 – The introduction of Greece’s entry was in Ancient Greek.
- 1999 – Lithuania sang in Samogitian, a dialect of Lithuanian
- 2004 – Estonia sang in Võro, which is considered by some to be a dialect of Estonian, and others, a separate language
- 2003, 2006 and 2008 – In 2003, Belgium’s Urban Trad sang “Sanomi” in a completely made-up language, while the Dutch participants in 2006, Treble, sang half of their song “Amambanda” in a fictional language. In 2008, Ishtar performed their song, “O Julissi” in a fictional language as well.
- 2006 – Monaco sang partially in Tahitian.
- 2009 – The Czech Republic sang partially in Romani, the language of the Romani people.
- 2009 – Israel sang partially in Hebrew and in Arabic.
- 2011 – Norway introduces lyrics in Swahili.
- 2012 – Most of the lyrics of Russia’s entry were in the Udmurt language (which, alongside Russian, is the official language in Udmurtia).
- 2012 – “Love Unlimited”, although mostly in Bulgarian, contains a line in Turkish, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, French, Romani, Italian , Greek, Arabic, English and the Azerbaijani which has never been present in the contest.
- 2016 – Ukraine decided to send Jamala, a Crimean singer, with her song “1944” which featured lyrics in the Crimean Tatar language, which sparked controversy between Russia and Ukraine because of the Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation.
- 2016 – The same year Greece sent Argo with a song in Pontic Greek. Only the refrain of the song was in English.
- 2018 – Israel sang a line in Hebrew.
- 2018 – Serbia sang a few lines in Torlakian dialect.
- 2019 – San Marino sang three words in Turkish.
- 2019 – Norway sang in there song partially in the native minority language, Sámi languages
Language issues and English-language prevalence. Many European countries were founded on ideas of linguistic unity and, because of the sometimes unwelcome dominance of the English language in modern pop music, the language of a country’s Eurovision entry can be a contentious issue. Some entries are performed in English to reach broader audiences, though this is sometimes looked upon as unpatriotic and likewise criticised by the British people for their country not doing well in the contest. From 1999 to 2007, the number of non-English language entrants decreased, with mostly Israel, Ex-Yugoslavia (mainly Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) and French language countries, Italy, Spain and Portugal performing in their native language. Until 2007, the last wholly non-English language winner was Israel’s Dana International, who performed Diva in Hebrew in 1998. The 2004 winner, Wild Dances performed by Ruslana, was partially sung in Ukrainian. After 2007, when Marija Šerifović won performing Molitva in Serbian, the number of non-English contestants increased again in 2008 – almost half of the performers contested in a native language of their country. The next non-English language winner, Amar pelos dois, performed in 2017 by Salvador Sobral, was sung entirely in Portuguese.
In some cases, the lyrics are written and recorded in two different versions (usually English and a national language) or a single multi-language version. Examples include:
- Albania – Albania only allows songs performed in Albanian at Festivali i Këngës, the competition used to select their entry for the contest. They have often translated the lyrics of their entrant into English, as in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2020.
- Denmark – the Danish national selection procedure allows freedom of language, but if the winning song from their national competition is in Danish, it must be re-written in English for the competition.
- France – The French entry in 2008 caused controversy as it was performed mostly in English, and many people were unhappy about being represented with an English song. Since then, 2012, 2016, 2017 and 2019 entries have been performed in both French and English.
- Iceland – Iceland requires their artists to sing in Icelandic in the semi-finals of Söngvakeppnin, the Icelandic selection process, but they may translate the song in the final.
- Italy – in the Sanremo Music Festival, used to select their entry for the contest, the song must be sung in Italian. The artist theoretically can choose to perform the song in English at Eurovision, but as of 2020, no artist has chosen to perform their song at Eurovision entirely in English – at maximum, some stanzas were translated into English.
- Macedonia – Macedonia held a vote to decide whether their 2005 entry should be in English or Macedonian. The song was performed in English.
- Portugal – Though since 2017 different languages are allowed to compete in their national selection, as of 2020, all of their entries have been performed in Portuguese.
- Serbia – after failing to qualify in 2017 with a song in English, since 2018 artists must sing in Serbian at their national selection.
- Sweden – while it is not required for the winning entry of Melodifestivalen, the Swedish selection process, to be translated into English for Eurovision, it has usually been done so (if allowed in the rules), as in 1965, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, and 2006.
Rule changes by year:
- 1956 First contest – each of the seven competing countries were obliged to hold a national selection final to choose their entries.
- 1957 After Italy’s song lasted 5 minutes and 9 seconds, rule changes were introduced to limit maximum song times to three minutes – which still operates. The voting was made public for the first time. Each of the ten jurors awards a single point to their favourite song – so in theory a country could be awarded all 10 points, although the highest tally allocated under this system was 9 by the Danish jury for France’s winning song in 1958 and the Belgian jury for Ireland’s winning song in 1970.
- 1958 The convention of the winning country being invited to host the following year’s contest is introduced. However, several countries declined the opportunity in subsequent years.
- 1959 Professional publishers or composers were no longer allowed in the national juries.
- 1962 The voting system changes. Each country had 10 jury members who awarded their three favourite songs 3, 2, and 1 points in order. Previously each of the ten jury members awarded 1 point to their favourite song.
- 1963 The jury size is doubled to 20 and the points awarded were 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1.
- 1964 The jury size reverts to 10, and points are now 5, 3 and 1. It becomes possible for a unanimous jury to award all 9 points to one song – but this never occurred. It was also possible to give 6 and 3 points to two songs; this happened only in 1965, when the Belgian jury gave 6 points to the United Kingdom and 3 points to Italy.
- 1966 Countries must now sing in one of their national languages.
- 1967 The scoring system reverts to the one used between 1957 and 1961.
- 1970 Following a four-way tie in the 1969 contest, a tie-break rule was introduced with provision for a sing-off and a show of hands from the juries to elect a winner.
- 1971 Another voting system change is introduced. Each country had two jury members, one under 25 and one over 25. They each awarded 1 to 5 points for each song. This created an issue where some juries gave fewer points out than others. The rule permitting groups of up to six performers on stage was introduced. Previously, entrants could only perform solo or as a duet.
- 1973 The rule forcing countries to sing in one of their national languages is relaxed – however this is only in place for four years.
- 1974 The scoring system used between 1957 and 1961 and between 1967 and 1970 is restored for a third time.
- 1975 A scoring system reminiscent of the current system is introduced. Each jury would now give 12 points to the best song, 10 to the second best, then 8 to the third, 7 to the fourth, 6 to the fifth and so forth until the tenth best song received a single point. Unlike today, the points were not announced in order (from 1 up to 12), but in the order the songs were performed.
- 1976 As the cost of staging the contest increases, a new rule was introduced that, in future, each participating broadcaster would have to pay a part of the cost of staging the contest.
- 1977 Countries must again revert to singing in their own national languages.
- 1980 The jury spokesperson now read the points out in numerical order (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12) rather than in song order.
- 1987 As the number of countries reached a record of 22, the EBU imposed a limit on the number of countries competing. Although set at 22, this limit has varied slightly over the years.
- 1989 Following the closeness of the result at the 1988 contest, the tie break rule was amended. If a tie was to occur the winner would be declared by whichever received the most 12 points; if that still failed to separate them, the one with the most 10 points would be declared the winner. If there is still a tie, the same process is used with the 8 points, and so on until there is no longer a tie.
- 1990 Following Sandra Kim’s 1986 win for Belgium at the age of just 13 and controversy over two performers in 1989 being just 11 and 12 years old, a restriction on the competitors’ ages was introduced. The minimum age is now 16 at the time of the event.
- 1993 After the breakup of Yugoslavia, a pre-qualifying round was introduced.
- 1994 Relegation had to be introduced to accommodate the ever-increasing number of countries wishing to compete. Initially the bottom five countries from 1993 would not be relegated from 1994 contest. The relegation rules would change slightly over subsequent years.
- 1997 After controversy over a 1996 pre-selection procedure (similar to 1993) which resulted in Germany being omitted from the contest, the selection procedure changed to allow only the countries with the best average scores over the previous four years.
- 1997 Televoting was trialled in five countries and would become the preferred method of voting from 1998.
- 1999 Restrictions are lifted again allowing countries to sing in any language.
- 1999 The use of a live orchestra was dropped as a way to conserve money for the show; since then, all songs have used pre-recorded backing tracks.
- 2000 The “Big Four” rule is introduced giving France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom automatic entry in the contest regardless of previous performance. In 2011, Italy returned to the competition, becoming a “Big Five” member.
- 2004 Relegation rules, which had varied slightly since 1994, were dropped and a semi-final was introduced. Countries eliminated in the semi-final were still allowed to vote on the final, so the convention of reading the scores in both French and English was dropped. The spokesperson would now read the score in one language with presenters repeating in the other language.
- 2006 Jury spokespersons no longer read out all the points from 1 up to 12. Instead the scores up to 7 points are displayed briefly before the spokesperson reads out their 8, 10 and 12 point allocations.
- 2008 With a record entry of 43, a second semi-final was introduced. Juries were used to allocate a wild-card place in the final from each of the semi-finals. 25 countries now compete in the final.
- 2009 After criticism of the voting system after the 2007 contest, changes in the voting procedure were made with the re-introduction of a national jury alongside televoting (split 50/50). This format would be extended to the semi-finals in 2010.
- 2010 Televoting is open from the first song until the end of the voting.
- 2012 The 15-minute televoting window is restored due to criticism of the voting method after the 2011 contest. 26 countries now compete in the final, due to Italy’s return in 2011.
- 2013 The format of the jury/televoting result is changed slightly in that all songs are now ranked instead of being given a score in each method. This is then merged and the ten highest ranked songs receive points in the usual manner. Also, for the first time, the running order in all three shows is determined by producers of the show instead of a random draw, which is supposed to give each song competing a fair chance of success.
- 2015 The EBU considers the possibility of inviting countries outside of the European Broadcasting Area or the Council of Europe to participate in future editions of the contest. The first of such “guest nations” was Australia in 2015. This also increases the number of countries competing in the final to 27.
- 2016 A new voting system is introduced. Entries now receive one set of points from the jury and one set of points from televoting. First, the jury votes are announced in the usual way, giving 1 up to 12 points but with only the 12 points being read by the spokesperson. Then, the televotes are read by the presenters, starting with the country receiving the fewest televote points and ending with the country that received the most televote points, so the winner is not known until the end of the show. In addition, the number of countries competing in the final is reduced back to 26 as Australia now competes in the semi-final.
- 2019 The voting system changes slightly, as now the order of the televoting changes. Instead of giving the televoting results in order of fewest to most points, the points are given in the order of the final jury voting ranking, meaning the country with the fewest jury points receives its televote points first, and the winner of the jury votes hears its final score last.
Criticism: French legislator François-Michel Gonnot criticized French television and launched an official complaint in the French Parliament, as the song which represented France in 2008, “Divine”, was sung in English. A similar incident occurred again in 2014, when Spanish artist Ruth Lorenzo was criticized by the Royal Spanish Academy after the Spanish national selection for singing her entry, Dancing in the Rain, with some lyrics in English.
Lingue e la loro prima apparizione Languages are fully counted below when they are used in at least an entire verse or chorus of a song. First brief uses of a language are also noted.
|Country||First performer||First song|
|1||Dutch||1956||Netherlands||Jetty Paerl||“De vogels van Holland”|
|2||German||1956||Switzerland||Lys Assia||“Das alte Karussell”|
|3||French||1956||Belgium||Fud Leclerc||“Messieurs les noyés de la Seine”|
|4||Italian||1956||Italy||Franca Raimondi||“Aprite le finestre”|
|5||English||1957||United Kingdom||Patricia Bredin||“All”|
|–||phrases in Spanish||1957||Germany||Margot Hielscher||“Telefon, Telefon”|
|6||Danish||1957||Denmark||Birthe Wilke & Gustav Winckler||“Skibet skal sejle i nat”|
|7||Swedish||1958||Sweden||Alice Babs||“Lilla stjärna”|
|8||Luxembourgish||1960||Luxembourg||Camillo Felgen||“So laang we’s du do bast”|
|9||Norwegian||1960||Norway||Nora Brockstedt||“Voi Voi”|
|–||phrases in Sámi||1960||Norway||Nora Brockstedt||“Voi Voi”|
|10||Spanish||1961||Spain||Conchita Bautista||“Estando contigo”|
|11||Finnish||1961||Finland||Laila Kinnunen||“Valoa ikkunassa”|
|12||Serbian (variety of Serbo-Croatian)||1961||Yugoslavia||Ljiljana Petrović||“Neke davne zvezde” (Неке давне звезде)|
|13||Croatian (variety of Serbo-Croatian)||1963||Yugoslavia||Vice Vukov||“Brodovi”|
|15||Bosnian (variety of Serbo-Croatian)||1964||Yugoslavia||Sabahudin Kurt||“Život je sklopio krug”|
|16||Slovene||1966||Yugoslavia||Berta Ambrož||“Brez besed”|
|–||phrases in Russian||1969||Yugoslavia||Ivan & M’s||“Pozdrav svijetu”|
|17||Viennese (dialect of German)||1971||Austria||Marianne Mendt||“Musik”|
|18||Maltese||1971||Malta||Joe Grech||“Marija l-Maltija”|
|19||Irish||1972||Ireland||Sandie Jones||“Ceol an Ghrá”|
|20||Hebrew||1973||Israel||Ilanit||“Ey Sham” (אי שם)|
|21||Greek||1974||Greece||Marinella||“Krasi, thalassa kai t’ agori mou”
(Κρασί, θάλασσα και τ’ αγόρι μου)
|22||Turkish||1975||Turkey||Semiha Yankı||“Seninle Bir Dakika”|
|23||Arabic||1980||Morocco||Samira Bensaid||“Bitaqat Hub” (بطاقة حب)|
|–||phrases in Northern Sámi||1980||Norway||Sverre Kjelsberg& Mattis Hætta||“Sámiid ædnan”|
|24||Montenegrin (variety ofSerbo-Croatian)||1983||Yugoslavia||Daniel Popović||“Džuli”|
|26||Romansh||1989||Switzerland||Furbaz||“Viver senza tei”|
|27||Neapolitan||1991||Italy||Peppino di Capri||“Comme è ddoce ‘o mare”|
|28||Antillean Creole||1992||France||Kali||“Monté la riviè”|
|–||phrases in Corsican||1993||France||Patrick Fiori||“Mama Corsica”|
|29||Estonian||1994||Estonia||Silvi Vrait||“Nagu merelaine”|
|30||Romanian||1994||Romania||Dan Bittman||“Dincolo de nori”|
|32||Lithuanian||1994||Lithuania||Ovidijus Vyšniauskas||“Lopšinė mylimai”|
|33||Hungarian||1994||Hungary||Friderika Bayer||“Kinek mondjam el vétkeimet?”|
|34||Russian||1994||Russia||Youddiph||“Vyechniy stranik” (Вечный стрaнник)|
|35||Polish||1994||Poland||Edyta Górniak||“To nie ja”|
|–||phrases in Ancient Greek||1995||Greece||Elina Konstantopoulou||“Pia Prosefhi” (Ποιά προσευχή)|
|36||Vorarlbergish (dialect ofGerman)||1996||Austria||George Nussbaumer||“Weil’s dr guat got”|
|37||Breton||1996||France||Dan Ar Braz||“Diwanit Bugale”|
|38||Macedonian||1998||Macedonia||Vlado Janevski||“Ne zori, zoro” (Не зори, зоро)|
|39||Samogitian (dialect ofLithuanian)||1999||Lithuania||Aistė||“Strazdas”|
|40||Styrian (dialect of German)||2003||Austria||Alf Poier||“Weil der Mensch zählt”|
|41||Imaginary language||2003||Belgium||Urban Trad||“Sanomi”|
|42||Latvian||2004||Latvia||Fomins & Kleins||“Dziesma par laimi”|
|43||Catalan||2004||Andorra||Marta Roure||“Jugarem a estimar-nos”|
|46||Latvian Sign Language||2005||Latvia||Valters and Kaža||“The War Is Not Over”|
|47||Albanian||2006||Albania||Luiz Ejlli||“Zjarr e ftohtë”|
|–||phrases in Tahitian||2006||Monaco||Séverine Ferrer||“La Coco-Dance”|
|48||Bulgarian||2007||Bulgaria||Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankoulov||“Water”|
|49||Czech||2007||Czech Republic||Kabát||“Malá dáma”|
|50||Armenian||2007||Armenia||Hayko||“Anytime You Need”|
|–||phrases in Romani||2009||Czech Republic||Gipsy.cz||“Aven Romale”|
|–||phrases in Swahili||2011||Norway||Stella Mwangi||“Haba Haba”|
|–||title in Latin||2012||Albania||Rona Nishliu||“Suus”|
|52||Udmurt||2012||Russia||Buranovskiye Babushki||“Party for Everybody”|
|53||Mühlviertlerisch (dialect ofGerman)||2012||Austria||Trackshittaz||“Woki mit deim Popo”|
|–||phrases in Azerbaijani||2012||Bulgaria||Sofi Marinova||“Love Unlimited”|
|54||Georgian||2012||Georgia||Anri Jokhadze||“I’m a Joker”|
|55||Romani||2013||Macedonia||Esma & Lozano||“Pred da se razdeni” (Пред да се раздени)|
|–||phrases in Pontic Greek||2016||Greece||Argo||“Utopian Land”|
|57||Belarusian||2017||Belarus||Naviband||“Story of My Life”|
|–||phrases in Sanskrit||2017||Italy||Francesco Gabbani||“Occidentali’s Karma”|
|–||phrases in Japanese||2018||Israel||Netta Barzilai||“Toy”|
|–||phrases in Torlakian (dialect of Serbo-Croatian)||2018||Serbia||Sanja Ilić & Balkanika||“Nova deca” (Нова деца)|
|–||phrases in Abkhaz||2019||Georgia||Oto Nemsadze||“Sul tsin iare” (სულ წინ იარე)|
Some languages that appeared in songs that didn’t manage to represent their countries at Eurovision include Greenlandic, Basque, Lombard, Sardinian, Emilian, Ligurian, Pitjantjatjara, Tagalog and various Sámi languages used in Sweden and Finland.
- [N 1]This song was partially sung in Ukrainian.
- [N 2] This song was partially sung in Crimean Tatar.
- This song contained phrases in Hebrew and Japanese.
Naming: The programme was first known as the “Eurovision Grand Prix” (in English). This “Grand Prix” name was adopted by Denmark, Norway and the Francophone countries, with the French designation being “Le Grand-Prix Eurovision de la Chanson Européenne”. The “Grand Prix” has since been dropped and replaced with “Concours” (contest) in French, but not in Danish or Norwegian. The Eurovision Network is used to carry many news and sports programmes internationally, among other specialised events organised by the EBU. However, in the minds of the public, the name “Eurovision” is most closely associated with the Song Contest.
|Year(s)||English||French||Other language||Official logo language|
|1956–64||Eurovision Song Contest Grand Prix||Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson Européenne||N/A||French|
|1965||Gran Premio Eurovisione della Canzone||Italian|
|1967||Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson||French|
|1968–72||Eurovision Song Contest||Grand Prix de la Chanson||English|
|1973||Concours Eurovision de la Chanson||French|
The Contest’s name in national languages: This is what the “Eurovision Song Contest” is called in the official languages of current and past participant countries of the contest.
|Language||Countries which language has official status in||Name in language|
|Albanian||Albania||Festivali Evropian i Këngës|
|Arabic||Israel, Morocco||مسابقة يوروفيجن للأغاني|
|Armenian||Armenia||Եվրատեսիլ երգի մրցույթ|
|Azerbaijani||Azerbaijan||Avroviziya Mahnı Müsabiqəsi|
|Belarusian||Belarus||Конкурс песні Еўрабачанне or Конкурс песьні Эўрабачаньня|
|Bosnian||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Pjesma Evrovizije|
|Bulgarian||Bulgaria||Песенен конкурс Евровизия|
|Catalan||Andorra, Spain||Festival de la Cançó d’Eurovisió|
|Croatian||Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia||Pjesma Eurovizije|
|Czech||Czech Republic||Velká cena Eurovize|
|Danish||Denmark||Europæisk Melodi Grand Prix|
|English||Australia, Ireland, Malta, United Kingdom||Eurovision Song Contest|
|French||Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland||Concours Eurovision de la Chanson|
|Galician||Spain||Festival da Canción de Eurovisión|
|Georgian||Georgia||ევროვიზიის სიმღერის კონკურსი|
|German||Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland||Eurovision Song Contest, often “Grand Prix”|
|Greek||Cyprus, Greece||Διαγωνισμός Τραγουδιού Eurovision|
|Hebrew||Israel||תחרות הזמר של האירוויזיון|
|Icelandic||Iceland||Söngvakeppni evrópskra sjónvarpsstöðva|
|Irish||Ireland||Comórtas Amhránaíochta na hEoraifíse|
|Italian||Italy, San Marino, Switzerland||Eurofestival or Concorso della canzone dell’Eurovisione|
|Latvian||Latvia||Eirovīzijas dziesmu konkurss|
|Lithuanian||Lithuania||Eurovizijos dainų konkursas|
|Luxembourgish||Luxembourg||Eurovision Song Contest|
|Norwegian (Bokmål)||Norway||Eurovisjonens musikkonkurranse|
|Polish||Poland||Konkurs Piosenki Eurowizji|
|Portuguese||Portugal||Festival Eurovisão da Canção|
|Romanian||Moldova, Romania||Concursul Muzical Eurovision|
|Romansh||Switzerland||Eurovision Song Contest|
|Russian||Belarus, Russia||Конкурс песни Евровидение|
|Serbian||Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia||Песма Евровизије|
|Slovak||Slovakia||Veľká cena Eurovízie, often “Eurovízia”|
|Spanish||Spain||Festival de la Canción de Eurovisión|
|Swedish||Finland, Sweden||Eurovision Song Contest or Eurovision Melodifestivalen|
|Turkish||Cyprus, Turkey||Eurovision Şarkı Yarışması or Avrovizyon Şarkı Yarışması|
|Ukrainian||Ukraine||Пісенний конкурс Євробачення|
Entries in artificial (constructed) languages: Three times in the history of the contest, songs have been sung in invented languages.
Winners by language Between 1966 and 1973, and again between 1977 and 1998, countries were only permitted to perform in their own language; see the main Eurovision Song Contest article. In 2017 “Amar pelos dois” became the first Portuguese-language song to win the contest, the first winner since 2007 to both be in a language that had never produced a winning song before and be entirely in a language other than English. Among all Eurovision winning entries, only Ukraine’s were performed in more than one language.
|32||English||1967, 1969, 1970, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004,[N 1]2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,[N 2]2018[N 3], 2019||United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Turkey, Ukraine, Greece, Finland, Russia, Norway, Germany, Azerbaijan, Austria, Israel|
|14||French||1956, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1983, 1986, 1988||Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Monaco, Belgium|
|3||Dutch||1957, 1959, 1969||Netherlands|
|Hebrew||1978, 1979, 1998||Israel|
|2||German||1966, 1982||Austria, Germany|
|Ukrainian||2004[N 1]||Ukraine[N 1]|
|Crimean Tatar||2016[N 2]||Ukraine[N 2]|
- English (46.3%)
- French (20.9%)
- Dutch (4.5%)
- Hebrew (4.5%)
- German (3.0%)
- Norwegian (3.0%)
- Swedish (3.0%)
- Italian (3.0%)
- Spanish (3.0%)
- Danish (1.5%)
- Croatian (1.5%)
- Ukrainian (1.5%)
- Serbian (1.5%)
- Crimean Tatar (1.5%)
- Portuguese (1.5%)
Voting: The voting system used in the contest has changed over the years. The current system has been in place since 2016, and is a positional voting system. Each country awards two sets of 12, 10, 8–1 points to their 10 favourite songs: one from their professional jury of votes of five music professionals and the other from televoting.
Historically, a country’s votes were decided by an internal jury, but in 1997 five countries (Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom) 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 onwards all countries were encouraged to use televoting wherever possible. Back-up juries are still used by each country, in the event of a televoting failure. Nowadays members of the public may also vote by SMS, in addition to televoting. In every case, every country cannot vote for its own song From 2013, the public may also vote via a mobile app.
The current method for ranking entries, introduced in 2016, is to sum together the points calculated from the telephone vote and the jury separately. Prior to this, the jury and televoting rankings were combined 50/50 before the number of points were calculated. It was first used in the final of the 2009 edition, and extended the following year to the semi-finals. According to one study of Eurovision voting patterns, certain countries tend to form “clusters” or “cliques” by frequently voting in the same way.
Scrutineers and executive supervisors – Since 1964 the voting has been presided over by the EBU scrutineer, who is responsible for ensuring that all points are allocated correctly and in turn. Since 2011, the Executive Supervisor was supported by an Event Supervisor, to oversee and coordinate all event-related matters on behalf of the EBU. Sietse Bakker served in the role for the first six years, replaced by Nadja Burkhardt.
The following are the scrutineers and Executive Supervisors of the Eurovision Song Contest appointed by the EBU:
|United Kingdom||Clifford Brown||1966–1977||12|
|United Kingdom||Sarah Yuen||2003||1|
|Norway||Jon Ola Sand||2011–2020||9 (1 cancelled)|
Presentation of votes: After the interval act is over, when all the points have been calculated, the presenter(s) of the show call upon each voting country in turn to invite them to announce the results of their vote. Prior to 1994 the announcements were made over telephone lines; with the audio being piped into the auditorium for the audience to hear, and over the television transmission. However, since and including 1994 the announcements have been presented visually. Often the opportunity is taken by each country to show their spokesperson standing in front of a backdrop which includes a famous place in that country. For example, the French spokesperson might be seen standing in front of the Eiffel Tower or an Italian presenter might be seen with the Colosseum in the background.
From 1994 to 1999, some countries did not have their spokesperson in front of a backdrop of a famous place, instead opting to show the spokesperson in the studio or in a famous building, for example when Malta presented their votes from a hotel in the country in 1995, or have them standing behind a blurred image of the famous building or skyline. From the 2000s, new technology meant that the spokespersons could be standing behind a live video of a famous place in that country. There have also been occasions where the backdrop of the spokesperson is not a still image or video, but instead is a slideshow of multiple shots of many of that country’s famous buildings.
From 1957 to 1962, the participating countries were called in reverse order of the presentation of their songs, and from 1963 to 2003, they were called in the same order in which their songs had been presented (except for 1974). Since 2004, when semi-finals were introduced, the order of the countries’ announcements of votes has changed; and the countries that did not make it to the final each year could also vote. In 2004, the countries were called in alphabetical order (according to their ISO codes). In 2005, the votes from the non-qualifying semi-finalists were announced first, in their running order on the Thursday night; then the finalists gave their votes in their own order of performance. Between 2006 and 2010, like in 1974, a separate draw was held to determine the order in which countries would present their votes. From 2011 to 2015, the voting order was determined by the results of a jury the day before the final so as to create as much suspense as possible when the votes were revealed. Since 2016, the first country to announce their votes is the country that hosted the previous year, while the last country to announce their votes is the current host.
From 1971 to 1973, each country sent two jurors, who were present at the contest venue (though the juries in 1972 were locked away in the Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle) and announced their votes as the camera was trained on them. In 1973 one of the Swiss jurors presented his votes with flamboyant gestures. This system was retired the next year.
In 1956 no public votes were presented: a closed jury simply announced that Switzerland had won. From 1957 to 1987, the points were displayed on a physical scoreboard to the side of the stage. As digital graphic technology progressed, the physical scoreboards were superseded in 1988 by an electronic representation which could be displayed on the TV screen at the will of the programme’s director.
In 2006 the EBU decided to save time during the broadcast—much of which had been taken up with the announcement of every single point—because there was an ever-increasing number of countries voting. Since then, votes from 1 to 7 from each country have been displayed automatically on screen and the remaining points (8, 10 and 12) are read out in ascending order by the spokesperson, culminating with the maximum 12 points. Countries must announce the country names and points in either English or French and the scores are repeated by the contest’s presenters in the other language. For this reason, the expression douze points when the host or spokesperson states the top score in French is popularly associated with the contest throughout the continent. Since 2016, only the name of the top jury votegetter is announced, with the points awarded to the other nine countries shown in an on-screen scoreboard during the announcement. In addition, only the jury points are announced by country. The televoting results are announced in aggregate, from the lowest-scoring country to the highest. In the 2019 contest the televoting results were announced in aggregate in inverse standing order based on the jury votes; starting with Spain (7 points from the juries) and culminating in Sweden (239 points from the juries). After the winner has been announced, the televoting points from the country where the contest is watched from are briefly seen on screen.
Ties for first place: In 1969, four of the sixteen countries taking part, France, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, all tied for first place with 18 points each. There was nothing in the rules to decide an outright winner, so all four were declared joint winners. This caused much discontent among most of the other participating countries, and mass walkouts were threatened. Finland, Norway, Sweden and Portugal did not participate in the 1970 Contest as a protest against the results of the previous year. This prompted the EBU to introduce a tie-break rule.
The current tie-break procedure was implemented in the 2016 contest. In the procedure, sometimes known as a countback, if two (or more) countries tie, the song receiving more points from the televote is the winner. If the songs received the same number of televote points, the song that received at least one televote point from the greatest number of countries is the winner. If there is still a tie, a second tie-breaker counts the number of countries who assigned twelve televote points to each entry in the tie. Tie-breaks continue with ten points, eight points, and so on until the tie is resolved. If the tie cannot be resolved after the number of countries which assigned one point to the song is equal, the song performed earlier in the running order is declared the winner, unless the host country performed earlier (in which case the song performed later would be the winner). The tie-break procedure originally applied only to first place ties, but since 2008 has been applied to all places.
As of 2020, the only time since 1969 when two or more countries have tied for first place on total points alone was in 1991, when France and Sweden both totalled 146 points. At that time, there was no televote, and the tie break was to determine which country had received the most sets of twelve points, then ten points, and so on. Both France and Sweden had received four sets of 12 points, but Sweden had received more sets of 10-point scores, they were declared the winners. Had the current predominant tiebreaker been in play, France would have won instead by virtue of receiving points from more overall countries.
Trasmissione dello show / Broadcasting: Ogni emittente partecipante è tenuta a trasmettere lo show nella sua interezza: inclusi i brani, il recap con in codici di televoto, la fase di voto e la ripresa finale. Se si desidera è possibile non trasmettere l’Interval Act fra la fine del televoto e l’inizio delle votazioni. A partire dal 1999, le emittenti che vogliono, hanno la possibilità di inserire brevi spazi pubblicitari in momenti non considerati essenziali ai fini della gara. Dal 1999 sono state concesse solo tre eccezioni. La televisione di stato dei Paesi Bassi non trasmise la Finale del 2000 a causa di un grave incidente, una disastrosa esplosione in un deposito di fuochi d’artificio della città di Enschede. La RTVE in Spagna ha ritardato la trasmissione in diretta della Seconda Semifinale del 2009, per il torneo di tennis di Madrid. La televisione di Stato albanese ha trasmesso in differita la Prima Semifinale del concorso 2012 per un grave incidente d’autobus. Sebbene, tecnicamente queste fossero violazioni al regolamento, l’EBU-UER permise queste eccezioni vista l’importanza degli accadimenti.
Each participating broadcaster is required to broadcast the show in its entirety: including all songs, recap, voting and reprise, skipping only the interval act for advertising breaks if they wish. From 1999 onwards, broadcasters who wished to do so were given the opportunity to take more advertising breaks as short, non-essential hiatuses were introduced into the programme. Four major interruptions or preemptions of the contest broadcast have taken place since 1999. The Dutch state broadcaster pulled their broadcast of the 2000 final to provide emergency news coverage of a major incident, the Enschede fireworks disaster. Spain’s RTVE delayed their broadcast of the second semi-final in the 2009 Contest, due to the Madrid Open tennis tournament. The Albanian state broadcaster deferred their broadcast of the first semi-final in 2012 to provide emergency news coverage of the Qafa e Vishës bus accident.
In 2018, Chinese broadcaster Mango TV edited the Albanian and Irish songs out of their broadcast of the first semi-final for violations of Chinese broadcast regulations. The Albanian performer had visible tattoos, and the Irish song featured a storyline showing vignettes of a homosexual couple. Eurovision terminated Mango’s broadcasting rights when the broadcaster refused to agree to air the second semi-final and the grand final unedited.
Archive status – The first edition ever of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956 was broadcast live, but not recorded, so only a sound recording of the radio transmission has survived from the original broadcast. The ninth edition in 1964 hosted by Danmarks Radio is said to have been recorded on tape, but a fire reportedly destroyed the recording, although the French TV archives holds a copy of the contest. Only small portions of the original broadcast and audio from the radio transmission have survived.
In late 2011, the EBU had begun archiving all the contests since the first edition in 1956 to be finalised before the 2015 Contest, for the 60th anniversary. It was later reported that the archive is ready and will be released on the 60th anniversary with making the content available to journalists in broadcast-ready formats while also giving public accessibility to “selected content” through the official Eurovision website.
Questioni politiche / Political recognition issues: Nel 1978, durante l’esecuzione israeliana, l’emittente giordana JRTV sospese la trasmissione mandò in onda immagini di fiori. Quando divenne evidente, durante le fasi di voto, che Israele stava per vincere il concorso, la JRTV interruppe bruscamente la trasmissione. In seguito, i media giordani rifiutarono di riconoscere la vittoria di Israele e annunciarono il Belgio come vincitore (che era in realtà arrivato al 2° posto). Nel 1981 la JRTV non trasmise il voto perché il nome di Israele appariva sul tabellone.
Nel 2005, il Libano intendeva partecipare al concorso. Tuttavia, la legge libanese non permette il riconoscimento di Israele, e di conseguenza la televisione libanese non aveva intenzione di trasmettere la canzone israeliana. L’EBU-UER li informò che un atto del genere avrebbe violato le regole del concorso, e il Libano successivamente fu costretto a ritirarsi dalla competizione. Il loro ritiro in ritardo causò il pagamento di una multa, in quanto avevano già confermato la loro partecipazione e la scadenza era passata. Tuttavia finoa l 2009, gli album dell’ESC erano ancora venduti nei negozi di musica libanese, con la parola Israele cancellata dalla quarta di copertina . A partire dal 2010, gli album sono stati banditi completamente dalla vendita.
In 1978, hosted in Paris only a month after the 1978 South Lebanon conflict, during the performance of the Israeli entry, the Jordanian broadcaster JRTV suspended the broadcast and showed pictures of flowers. When it became apparent during the later stages of the voting sequence that Israel’s song “A-Ba-Ni-Bi” was going to win the contest, JRTV abruptly ended the transmission. Afterwards, the Jordanian news media refused to acknowledge that Israel had won and announced that the winner was Belgium (who had actually come in 2nd place). In 1981 JRTV did not broadcast the voting because the name of Israel appeared on the scoreboard.
In 2005, Lebanon intended to participate in the contest. However, Lebanese law does not allow recognition of Israel, and consequently Lebanese broadcaster Télé Liban did not intend to transmit the Israeli entry. The EBU informed them that such an act would breach the rules of the contest, and Lebanon was subsequently forced to withdraw from the competition. Their late withdrawal incurred a fine, since they had already confirmed their participation and the deadline had passed However, the Eurovision Song Contest albums were still being sold in Lebanese music stores until 2009, with the word Israel erased from the back cover. As of 2010, the albums were banned completely from sale.
In 2009, the song “We Don’t Wanna Put In” was selected to represent Georgia. However, the song text was banned by Eurovision as it was interpreted as criticism against Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin after the Russo-Georgian War the previous year. When asked to change the lyrics of the song, the Georgian broadcaster GPB withdrew from the 2009 contest.
In the 1998 contest, Dana International was sent to compete to represent Israel to perform the song “Diva”. International is a transgender woman and her victory displayed the notion that Eurovision was a place where it was safe to be openly LGBTQ. Eurovision created a queer identity for itself by embracing non-heteronormative performers and their performances. Although most of the European public are accepting of this identity, Russian media has had negative reactions to some of the openly queer productions.
Altre / Other:
- Nel primo concorso del 1956, per ogni brano c’era un limite di tempo consigliato di 3 minuti e mezzo. Nel 1957, nonostante le proteste, la canzone italiana era della durata di 5′ e 09″. Ciò ha portato alla regola che prevede che ogni brano non possa superare i tre minuti. Dal momento che il limite di tempo di tre minuti fu adottato nel 1960, alcuni artisti hanno presentato canzoni più lunghe che, quindi, devono essere modificati per vincoli di tempo, anche se alcune canzoni superano tale lunghezza da pochi secondi.
- Non vi è alcuna restrizione imposta dall’EBU-UER sulla nazionalità degli interpreti o dei cantautori. Le TV sono però autorizzate ad imporre propri limiti, a loro discrezione.
- Dal 1957 al 1970, furono ammessi sul palco solo solisti e duo. Dal 1963 si permise la presenza di un coro di un massimo di tre persone. Dal 1971, si ammettono al massimo sei artisti sul palco
- Non sono ammesse coreografie o scenografie controverse.
- Non sono ammessi testi con contenuti politici, pubblicitari, confessionali o offensivi.
- Dal 1990 in poi, tutte le persone sul palco devono avere almeno 16 anni di età.
La musica e il testo devono essere pubblicate o registrate dopo il 1° Settembre dell’anno prima che il concorso si svolga. Molti paesi hanno anche la regola aggiuntiva che prevede che la canzone non debba mai essere stata eseguita prima del relativo concorso nazionale. Cover, versioni rielaborate o campionamenti di canzoni già note non sono ammessi.
- In the first contest, 1956, there was a recommended time limit of 31⁄2 minutes per song. In 1957, despite protests, Italy’s song was 5:09 minutes in duration. This led to a stricter time limit of 3 minutes precisely. Since the three-minute time limit was adopted in 1960, some artists have had songs longer than three minutes, which must be edited down to 3 minutes, though some songs exceed that time by a few seconds. Many of the entries also have longer versions (including different languages) for commercial release, and since the 1990s, some are released in additional remixed versions.
- The EBU imposes no restrictions on the nationalities of the performers or songwriters. Individual broadcasters are, however, permitted to impose their own restrictions at their discretion. About a dozen artists have performed more than once in the Contest representing different countries, and some of the winners were not born in the country they represented.
- From 1957 to 1970 (in 1956 there was no restriction at all) only soloists and duos were allowed on stage. From 1963, a chorus of up to three people was permitted. Since 1971, a maximum of six performers have been permitted on the stage.
- The performance and/or lyrics of a song “must not bring the Contest into disrepute”. No lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political or similar nature are permitted. No swearing or unacceptable language is allowed, neither are commercial messages.
- Prior to 1990, there was no performer age limit. From 1990 to 2003, all performers were required to be at least 16 years of age by the end of the year in which the contest was held. In 2004, this was amended to the current rule, which requires all performers to be at least 16 years of age by the time of the contest.
- Live animals are prohibited.
- Each artist may perform for only one country per year.
- The music and text must not have been published or performed before 1 September of the year before the contest is held. Many countries also have the additional rule that the song shall never have been performed before the relevant national Eurovision Contest. Covers, reworked or sampled versions of older songs are not allowed.
Critiche e controversie / Criticism and controversy: L’Eurovision Song Contest è soggetto a diverse critiche riguardanti soprattutto il meccanismo di votazione.
Il meccanismo di votazione si basa al 50% sul televoto (ma alcuni paesi usano la giuria, ritenuta più equa) e tende a favorire paesi con cui si intrattengono buone relazioni politiche, soprattutto quelli confinanti, piuttosto che valutare la qualità artistica delle canzoni, dei cantanti, della performance o degli autori. Con la recente apertura ai paesi dell’est Europa, frammentata in molte realtà una volta ben coese, questo ha portato a una intensificazione del fenomeno. Ciò accadde soprattutto nei paesi dell’ex Urss, nell’ex Jugoslavia (che partecipò per anni come unico paese), nei paesi nordici (Svezia, Norvegia, Danimarca, Islanda, Finlandia, Estonia, Lettonia ) e tra le coppie Grecia-Cipro, Romania-Moldavia, Azerbaigian-Turchia che da anni si scambiano quando possibile i 10-12 punti. I difensori della formula sostengono che paesi vicini condividono cultura e quindi gusti musicali e che dunque appare naturale che siano portati a favorire nel voto i paesi vicini. Frequente è però anche il voto “diaspora”, cioè degli emigranti che vivono lontano dal loro paese e lo votano in massa, i casi più evidenti sono quelli di Germania e Francia che hanno quasi sempre assegnato non meno di 10 punti alla Turchia. Per limitare questi fenomeni, dal 2009 televoto e giurie contano alla pari.
Altre critiche vengono mosse circa la partecipazione al televoto di Paesi che non appartengono fisicamente all’Europa (Israele, parte asiatica della Turchia, paesi caucasici). Altra regola controversa è l’esistenza dei cosiddetti Big Five (Regno Unito, Germania, Francia, Spagna e dal 2011 Italia) che hanno in ogni caso diritto alla finale, vantaggio non sempre ben visto, anche se tali Paesi danno contributi finanziari maggiori all’EBU-UER per le sue attività.
Un tentativo di falsare il televoto dell’edizione del 2013 ha portato l’EBU-UER a varare regole più restrittive, che possono portare anche all’allontanamento per tre anni del o delle reti partecipanti che dovessero avere anche solo tratto vantaggio dal tentativo di falsare le votazioni, sia che accada prima, durante o dopo la gara.
The contest has been the subject of criticism regarding both its musical and political content. For example, on rare occasions, certain countries have been booed when performing or receiving points, especially when being given by a neighbour country. Most recently in 2014 and 2015, Russia was heavily booed when it qualified for the final and received high points. The reason for the booing is considered to be due to the Russian annexation of Crimea and opposition to the country’s policy on LGBT rights. Fraser Nelson wrote: “I can’t remember the last time I heard a Eurovision audience boo anyone; during the Iraq war in 2003, no one booed Britain.” Due to the 2019 Contest being held in Israel, some people called on their national broadcasters to boycott the competition over the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Peter Gabriel was among 50 artists who urged the BBC to ask for the contest to be moved out of Israel. In response, the BBC said it was not appropriate “to use the BBC’s participation for political reasons”.
China’s broadcaster Mango TV, which broadcast 2018 Contest for Chinese audiences, was banned from broadcasting Eurovision after it was revealed that Mango TV censored Ireland’s same sex dance performance, along with censoring LGBT symbols and tattoos.
Musical style and presentation – Because the songs play to such a diverse international audience with contrasting musical tastes, and countries want to be able to appeal to as many people as possible to gain votes, this has led to the music of the contest being characterised as a “mishmash of power ballads, ethnic rhythms and bubblegum pop”. This well-established pattern, however, was broken in 2006 with Finnish metal band Lordi’s victory. As Eurovision is a visual show, many performances attempt to attract the attention of the voters through means other than the music, notably elaborate lighting sequences and pyrotechnics; sometimes leading to bizarre on-stage theatrics and costumes, including the use of revealing dress.
Political and geographical voting –The contest has long been accused by some of political bias; the perception is that judges and televoters allocate points based on their nation’s relationship to the other countries, rather than the musical merits of the songs. According to one study of Eurovision voting patterns, certain countries tend to form “clusters” or “cliques” by frequently voting in the same way. Another study concludes that as of 2006, voting blocs have, on at least two occasions, crucially affected the outcome of the contest. On the other hand, others argue that certain countries allocate disproportionately high points to others because of similar musical tastes and cultures and because they speak similar languages, and are therefore more likely to appreciate each other’s music. A recent study in the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation presents a new approach which allows an analysis of the whole time-line of the contest (from 1957 to 2017) to investigate collusion and the cluster blocks which have been changing. It allows the analysis to find collusive associations over time periods where the voting scheme is non-homogeneous. The results show a changing pattern in the collusive tendencies previously discussed. The current research into the analysis of the voting patterns has been used in notable sources, such as the Economist, for investigating whether over 10-year periods such collusion is increasing or decreasing.
The collusion between countries in Eurovision 1997 to 2017
Mutual neglect of score allocations in the Eurovision 2010 to 2015. Produced using the methods presented in and a network of the significant score deviations can be viewed over a time period of interest.
As an example, Terry Wogan, the United Kingdom’s presenter of Eurovision since 1980 and one of the only three presenters mentioned by name during the contest proper stood down from BBC One’s broadcast in 2008 saying “The voting used to be about the songs. Now it’s about national prejudices. We [the United Kingdom] are on our own. We had a very good song, a very good singer, we came joint last. I don’t want to be presiding over another debacle.”
Another influential factor is the high proportion of expatriates and ethnic minorities living in certain countries. Although judges and televoters cannot vote for their own country’s entry, expatriates can vote for their country of origin.
The total numbers of points to be distributed by each country are equal, irrespective of the country’s population. Thus voters in countries with larger populations have less power as individuals to influence the result of the contest than those voting in smaller countries. For example, San Marino holds the same voting power as Russia despite the vast geographic and population differences between them.
To try to reduce the effect of voting blocs, national juries were re-introduced alongside televoting in the final in 2009: each contributing 50% of the vote. This hybrid system was expanded in 2010 to also be implemented in the semi-finals. However, since 1994 no country has won two years in a row, and semi-finals have also been won by different countries, until 2012 when Sweden won the second semi-final in 2011 and 2012. Although many of them used to give their 12 points to the same country each year, like Turkey and Azerbaijan, it has been noticed that factors such as the sets of other high votes received (7, 8 or 10 points) and the number of countries giving points to a specific entry, also highly affect the final positions.
An overview of the overall preference between countries that exhibits patterns of high score allocations is a question that appears frequently and recently a new study investigates the question of ‘neglect’ in the competition. The concept of ‘neglect’ here is represented by countries which produce patterns of biased low score allocations to certain countries. Together these two patterns provide a better view of the competition’s intrinsic country pair biases. Result of such a study are presented in this paper. From the analysis it can be seen that countries which exhibit these biases do not receive a penalization from other participants and it presents itself as a means to accumulate more points by establishing these partnerships.
Running order of the participating songs – From 2013 onwards, the final and the semi-finals running order of the competing performances at the semi-finals and the final has been decided by the show’s producers and then approved by the EBU Executive Supervisor and the Reference Group. An “allocation draw” occurs for the final and the semi-finals with each nation drawing to perform in the first or second half. Prior to 2013, the order was decided at random (though when the host nation performs is still decided at random, to ensure fairness). There is some statistical evidence that the contest’s results were positively related to the running number in 2009–2012. The change in procedure was aimed to make the show more exciting and ensure that all contestants had a chance to stand out, preventing entries that are too similar from cancelling each other out. The decision elicited mixed reactions from both fans and participating broadcasters. Some fans have alleged that there is a risk of corruption and that the order can be manipulated to benefit certain countries, since the running order is considered to be of importance to the result. As of the 2019 contest, the only regularly contested positions in the running order that have never won the contest are numbers 2 and 16, with position number 21 winning for the first time in 2016. Position 17 has the most victories, with 7. Positions 25, 26 and 27 have not won either, but there have been very few finals with that many participants.
Regolamento: Il regolamento negli anni e nei suoi vari ambiti è stato rivisto più volte. Di seguito sono indicate le attuali regole:
Per i cantanti:
- Devono avere almeno 16 anni di età;
- sul palco non possono essere presenti più di 6 persone (sono inclusi i gruppi e gli eventuali ballerini o coristi).
Per le canzoni:
- Non deve durare più di 3 minuti;*
- può essere di qualunque genere e cantata in qualunque lingua, anche inventata;
- non può essere cover o ispirata ad altro brano edito;**
- deve essere pubblicata non prima di un certo periodo (solitamente non prima del 1º settembre dell’anno precedente allo svolgimento della gara), e deve essere presentata con un video;**
- non deve avere una scenografia o una coreografia controversa (in particolare sono vietati gli animali);
- non deve avere contenuti politici, pubblicitari, o offensivi.***
*Questa regola è stata inserita nel 1962 (con un limite di 3 minuti e 30 secondi) in seguito all’esibizione di Corde della mia chitarra, che si è protratta per 5 minuti e 9 secondi.
**Nel 1988 Yiannis Demetriou, rappresentante cipriota, è stato squalificato poiché la sua canzone era già edita.
***Nel 2012 Valentina Monetta, rappresentante sammarinese, ha dovuto modificare titolo e contenuto della sua canzone a causa del riferimento esplicito al social network Facebook
Per il televoto:
Il televoto è l’insieme di voti assegnato dal pubblico attraverso un messaggio di testo con il numero della canzone, una chiamata (entrambi a numeri presentati durante lo show) o tramite l’app ufficiale dell’evento.
Le regole principali sono:
- bisogna aver compiuto 18 anni;
- non si può votare per il proprio paese.
Per le emittenti:
- È necessario che l’emittente sia un membro effettivo dell’unione europea di radiodiffusione;
- è necessario che l’emittente si iscriva o si ritiri entro un determinato termine, tuttavia dall’edizione del 2015 non ci sono più penali per le nazioni che si iscrivono e poi si ritirano oltre il termine ultimo;
- la serata finale deve essere trasmessa integralmente e obbligatoriamente su canali principali, mentre per le semifinali è sufficiente, dal 2008, la trasmissione in diretta di quella di competenza del paese, anche su canali minori. Per quanto riguarda i Big 5, anche se non si esibiscono nelle finali dalla loro istituzione, hanno diritto di voto in una delle due semifinali, dove vengono inoltre presentate parti delle prove delle canzoni sul palco;*
- è severamente vietato non trasmettere o trasmettere solo parzialmente una o più esibizioni dei rappresentanti di altre nazioni;
- per le emittenti organizzatrici è necessario ospitare la manifestazione in un luogo provvisto di copertura e dotato di una capacità adeguata.
*Dal 1999 sono previsti, per le televisioni che volessero introdurli, degli spazi per inserire gli annunci pubblicitari, e si può omettere la trasmissione dell’interval act.
Organizzazione ed articolazione:
Selezione dei partecipanti: La selezione dei partecipanti all’Eurovision Song Contest spetta alle emittenti televisive competenti dei singoli stati, ed esse decidono la modalità di selezione: una scelta interna (quindi cantante e/o brano vengono scelti dall’emittente stessa), organizzare un festival musicale (il pubblico e/o una giuria scelgono un vincitore che viene invitato a partecipare all’Eurovision), o un misto. Il vincitore dell’eventuale festival però non è obbligato a partecipare all’Eurovision né tanto meno è obbligato ad esibirsi con la canzone vincitrice, ad esempio Iva Zanicchi ha vinto il Festival di Sanremo nel 1969, in coppia con Bobby Solo, con la canzone Zingara, ma all’Eurovision si presentò da sola con il brano Due grosse lacrime bianche.
I partecipanti non devono obbligatoriamente avere vincoli di nazionalità (ad esempio nel 1988 la Svizzera vinse con la cantante canadese Céline Dion) e le canzoni non hanno restrizioni riguardanti la lingua (anche se nelle prime edizioni vigeva un obbligo di cantare in una delle lingue ufficiali del proprio paese).
• Semifinali: Fino all’edizione del 2003 la manifestazione si è articolata in un’unica serata finale e alcune volte, dato il numero di partecipanti, l’UER ha effettuato o una preselezione o le cosiddette “retrocessioni” (cioè la non partecipazione per un anno alle ultime classificate).
Dal 2004 al 2007 è stata introdotta una semifinale che si è svolta pochi giorni prima della finale, alla quale avevano direttamente accesso i cosiddetti Big Four (Francia, Germania, Spagna e Regno Unito), il paese ospitante, i nove migliori paesi della precedente edizione e i dieci vincitori della semifinale, per una finale a 24. In entrambe le serate votavano tutti i paesi.
Dal 2008, visto l’alto numero di partecipanti, il regolamento prevede due semifinali a cui partecipano tutti i paesi con l’eccezione dei Big (che diventano Five nel 2011 con il ritorno dell’Italia) e del paese ospitante che accedono direttamente alla finale, che raggiunge perciò i 26 partecipanti (25 se l’ospitante è uno dei Big Five). Nelle semifinali però, votano solo i paesi che gareggiano in tale serata più tre nazioni qualificate
Le semifinali durano normalmente 2 ore e si svolgono il martedì e il giovedì di una settimana di maggio.
I paesi che si qualificano per la finale vengono annunciati in ordine casuale e i risultati vengono divulgati a fine concorso. I vincitori inoltre partecipano ad una conferenza stampa dove, dopo aver risposto alle domande dei partecipanti alla conferenza, si viene a sapere in quale metà della finale si esibiranno.
• Finale: Lo show televisivo della finale, che si svolge normalmente di sabato, dura poco più di 3 ore e, come nelle semifinali, le lingue utilizzate dai presentatori sono l’inglese e il francese (lingue ufficiali dell’UER), spesso affiancate dalla lingua ufficiale del paese ospitante. Inoltre, dal 2013 vi è una parata dei finalisti che apre la serata.
Buona parte della serata finale è occupata dall’annuncio e conteggio dei voti, che, contrariamente alle semifinali, avviene in diretta: i presentatori videochiamano i corrispondenti di ogni nazione partecipante, incluse quelle uscite nelle semifinali, che danno i risultati del voto delle giurie (annunciando solo il punteggio più alto). Al voto delle giurie viene affiancato, partendo dal più basso, il risultato del televoto.
Finito il conteggio dei voti il vincitore viene premiato, solitamente dal vincitore dell’anno precedente, con un trofeo di vetro a forma di microfono e viene invitato ad esibirsi nuovamente con la canzone vincitrice.
Come ogni programma dell’UER è introdotto e chiuso dal Te Deum di Charpentier.
Vittoria: Il paese che ottiene più punti vince l’Eurovision Song Contest e acquisisce l’invito non vincolante a organizzare l’edizione successiva. Infatti il paese o l’emittente televisiva possono rinunciare all’organizzazione dell’evento, in tal caso viene scelto un altro paese tra i candidati.
Il regolamento inizialmente non prevedeva spareggi, ma a causa del pareggio a quattro nell’edizione del 1969 e le critiche successive (alcuni paesi non parteciparono per protesta all’edizione successiva), il regolamento fu modificato e fu deciso che in caso di parità il paese con il maggior numero di 12 punti ricevuti sarebbe stato il vincitore (in caso di ulteriore parità si sarebbe deciso in base al numero di 10 punti ricevuti e così via). Questa regola fu applicata nel 1991 in Italia assegnando la vittoria alla Svezia, che si trovava a pari punteggio con la Francia. Il regolamento fu successivamente modificato e la vittoria viene assegnata al paese che ha ricevuto punti dal maggior numero di paesi e solo in caso di ulteriore parità si procede al conteggio dei 12 punti, eventualmente dei 10 punti e così via. Con l’attuale regolamento la vittoria del 1991 sarebbe stata assegnata alla Francia.
Dal 2016 giurie e televoto sono considerati separatamente, e i presentatori in video per le varie nazioni rivelano solamente i 12 punti assegnati dalle giurie (mostrando gli altri in video), per poi annunciare i punti del televoto, dicendo, stato per stato concorrente, il numero dei punti, partendo dalle nazioni che ricevono i punteggi più bassi a quelle che hanno ricevuto i punteggi più alti.
Sistema di votazione: Nel corso degli anni anche il sistema di votazione ha subito alcune modifiche. Nel 1975 è entrato in vigore l’attuale sistema di assegnazione dei punteggi: ogni paese assegna un certo numero di punti alle 10 canzoni preferite: da 1 a 7 punti rispettivamente dalla decima alla quarta, 8 punti alla terza, 10 alla seconda e 12 alla prima, da cui la famosa locuzione francese douze points.
Inizialmente la votazione era effettuata dalle sole giurie, ma dal 1997 è stato sperimentato il televoto che è entrato ufficialmente in vigore l’anno successivo per tutte le nazioni. Nel caso in cui il televoto non dovesse funzionare, si conterebbe il solo voto della giuria.
Solitamente le giurie nazionali sono composte da cantanti e autori, che spesso hanno già partecipato all’Eurovision. In seguito alle critiche sul sistema di votazione, nell’edizione 2009 sono state reintrodotte solo nella serata finale, dove il punteggio ha pesato per il 50%.
Modalità: Tranne che nel 2010 e 2011 (dove si è votato fin dalla prima canzone), è possibile votare, sia nelle semifinali che nella finale, in uno spazio di 15 minuti dopo l’esibizione dell’ultima canzone. Questo momento viene annunciato dai presentatori con l’altra celebre frase Europe start voting now!.
Nelle semifinali votano solo i paesi coinvolti più due o tre Big Five (anche il paese ospitante vota in una delle due semifinali), mentre in finale tutti i paesi partecipanti hanno diritto di voto, compresi quelli che sono stati eliminati nelle semifinali.
Dichiarazione dei voti: Al termine delle semifinali vengono annunciati senza un ordine particolare i paesi che hanno avuto accesso alla finale, ma i punteggi e la classifica delle semifinali vengono resi noti solo dopo la serata finale.
Anche la dichiarazione finale dei voti ha subito delle modifiche: inizialmente ogni paese dichiarava tutti i punteggi partendo dal più basso e ogni punteggio doveva essere ripetuto per regolamento dal presentatore in inglese e francese (dal 2004 solo in francese o inglese). Dal 2006 al 2015, dopo l’esibizione di tutti i cantanti e scaduto il tempo per la votazione, i presentatori della manifestazione si collegavano a uno a uno con tutti i paesi partecipanti, che dichiaravano le nazioni che avevano ricevuto 8, 10 e 12 punti. Dal 2016 i presentatori videochiamano i corrispondenti di ogni paese votante che danno solo il punteggio più alto assegnato dalle giurie (i punti da 1 a 10 vengono aggiunti automaticamente sullo schermo), mentre il punteggio del televoto viene aggiunto, partendo dal più basso, dagli stessi presentatori. L’ordine in cui vengono chiamate le nazioni in principio era basato sull’ordine di uscita delle canzoni, nel 2004 sulla sigla internazionale delle nazioni in ordine alfabetico, nel 2005 partendo dalle nazioni fermatesi in semifinale e poi quelle finaliste, dal 2006 al 2010 tramite sorteggio, dal 2011 è basato su un particolare algoritmo sviluppato dall’emittente televisiva norvegese NRK che tiene conto dei voti delle giurie, cercando di mantenere il più possibile in bilico il risultato finale. Con il nuovo sistema di voto, il primo paese che presenta il risultato delle giurie è quello che aveva ospitato l’ESC l’anno prima, l’ultimo quello ospitante.