Tonight is the first semi finals of the annual circus called the Eurovision Song contest. I have to be honest though, I do like it. It basically goes against everything I like,music wise, the whole bizarre circus and the politics behind it I do find entertaining.
In case you are in doubt it is political you only have to look at last year’s winner. Ukraine;Jamala-1944.
Let’s just look at the history of probably the biggest Television event in the world.
The history of the Eurovision Song Contest began with an idea of Sergio Pugliese, of the Italian television RAI, and then approved by Marcel Bezençon of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
The contest was based on the Italian Sanremo Music Festival and was designed to test the limits of live television broadcast technology.
.The first contest took place on 24 May 1956, where seven nations participated. It was won by Lys Assia for Switzerland, with the song refrain.
As the Contest progressed, the rules grew increasingly complex and participation levels rose to pass forty nations at the end of the 20th century. As more countries came on board over subsequent decades and technology advanced, the EBU attempted to keep up with national and international trends.
Ireland won the contest 7 times, followed by Sweden 6 times.France, Luxembourg, United Kingdom 5 times and the Netherlands 4 times.
Of the 7 times Ireland won it, 3 times were by Johnny Logan.
Twice as a performer and in 1992 as the composer with the song Why me? sung by Linda Martin.
Ireland also had one of the most bizarre contestants, a Turkey called Dustin. It was really as a protest against the geographical bloc voting which became evident at the end of the 1990’s and early 21st century,after the introduction of tele-voting and the removal of the jury votes.
Finland who mostly got 0 points or at the most just a few points was the surprise winner in 2006 with a Heavy Metal band called Lordi. Although many people complaint about this, it does show the diversity of popular music on display at the Eurovision.
In general the winners do not enjoy too much success or longevity in the music industry, however there were 2 acts that were able to build a career on the back of their wins at the Eurovision
In 1988 Canadian born Celine Dion entered the contest for Switzerland with the song “Ne partez pas sans moi” she became a global mega star afterwards.
The band that really is associated with the Song contest is of course ABBA, in 1974 they won with their song Waterloo, this catapulted their career into the stratosphere. Their fame was at par with bands like Queen, the Beatles and the Rolling stones.
Going back to the diversity of the Eurovision in 1998 and in 2014 the contest was won by transgender/sexual contestsants, 1998 Dana International for Israel with the song”Diva” and 2014 Conchita Wurst for Austria with the song “Rise like a Phoenix”
In 2009 the contest was won by Norway’s Alexander Rybak with his self-penned “Fairytale”, which received a record-breaking 387 points out of 492, at the time the highest total score in the history of the contest.
Finishing up with the song that won the last time for the Netherlands. In 1975 Teach In won the contest with the song”Ding A Dong” (hey it was the seventies)