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The History of the Eurovision Song Contest

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Benjamin Long

on 3 March 2014

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Transcript of The History of the Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision Song Contest
Thomas Nguyen
Benjamin Long

What is Eurovision?
Eurovision is an annual song contest held in Europe. It's participants include the many active members of the European Broadcasting Union. Eurovision has also been broadcast outside Europe to such places as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, Uruguay and Venezuela despite the fact that they are ineligible to compete. Audience figures have been quoted from anywhere between 100 million and 600 million viewers internationally. Notable winners of the contest include the pop group, ABBA whom won the contest in 1974 representing Sweden with the song "Waterloo".
The first Eurovision Song Contest was held in 1956 in Switzerland and won by Switzerland. During the 1950s, following World War II, the European Broadcasting Union (based in Switzerland at the time) attempted to search for ways to bring countries in the EBU together around a light entertainment program. They formed the idea of one television program that would see multiple countries participate in after a meeting in Monaco in 1955. The competition was based off the already existing Sanremo Music Festival held in Italy which eventually led to the idea of an international song contest within Europe.
Eligible Countries for Participation
Must be active members of the European Broadcasting Union
Within the European Broadcasting Area as defined by the International Telecommunication Union:
The "European Broadcasting Area" is bounded on the west by the western boundary of Region 1, on the east by the meridian 40° East of Greenwich and on the south by the parallel 30° North so as to include the northern part of Saudi Arabia and that part of those countries bordering the Mediterranean within these limits. In addition, Azerbaijan and those parts of the territories of Iraq, Jordan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey and Ukraine lying outside the above limits are included in the European Broadcasting Area."

This broad definition by the International Telecommunication Union means that countries that are not geographically in Europe are allowed to participate. As of 2014, 51 countries have participated in the contest at least once.

Eligible Countries
Voting in Eurovision has undergone drastic changes since the beginning. The present voting system is made up of 50% telephone voting and 50% jury voting although this has caused some problems with Turkey citing the new voting system as one of its reasons for withdrawing from the contest. Each country will award points to their 10 favourite songs with points 1-8 followed by 10 and 12. After the interval acts, the presenters will call upon every country that participated in the semi finals and finals for their votes. Currently, points 1-7 are automatically displayed on the screens while points 8, 10 and 12 are read out by a spokesperson. In the event of a tie, the country awarded with the most 12 points receives the better placing. If there is still a tie, then the country awarded with the most 10 points wins and in the event of another tie, then the country awarded with the most 8 points wins etc. This tie breaker rule was introduced as a result of a 4-way tie between France, Spain, Netherlands and the United Kingdom for first place.
'Bloc' Voting
There are several rules in place to stop cheating etc. These rules include:
Performers must be at least above the age of 16
All vocals must be sung live - no prerecorded vocals are allowed to be used.
Submitted songs must have vocals - no purely instrumental music.
Your choice of language
Broadcasters must broadcast the entire show - including all songs, recap, voting and reprise. This rule causes issues with the Vatican City and countries part of the Arab Springs.
Performance and lyrics must not 'bring the contest into disrepute'.
Music and text must be published after 1st September of the year before the contest is held.
Each participating country's national broadcaster will submit a song which is to be performed on live television. A 50/50 televote and jury system then occurs to order their favourite songs. When all the songs have been performed, they reveal the results. In the semi finals this involves reading out the 10 countries who have qualified while in the final, it involves having a representative from each country revealing their votes. Recently, there have been 2 semi finals on Tuesday and Thursday night (10 from each semi qualify to the final) and a final on Saturday night. 6 countries have automatic qualification (the Big 5 and the host) as they contribute the most financially to the contest.
Selection of Songs
National broadcasters have different ways of selecting their songs for May. The period between December-March is commonly remarked as "National Final Season" as it is the duration of which broadcasters select their songs.

Types of Selection Methods
Internal Selection
National Final
Internal Artist, National Final
Azerbaijan - Armenia
Azerbaijan and Armenia are one pair of countries that are in political conflict. Others include Turkey - Greece and Israel - All Arab Spring countries. Azerbaijan and Armenia have recently been at war with each other over Nagorno-Karabakh which is currently under Armenian control and this conflict is currently unresolved. This has caused a lot of tension between the two countries with an incident in 2009 where the Armenian 'postcard', the introductory clip leading into the performance depicted pictures of monuments and a statue called 'We Are Our Mountains' which is in the capital of the Nagorno - Karabakh republic. As a result, Azerbaijan sent a formal complaint to the EBU and the 'postcard' was edited out in time for the final broadcast. Armenia retaliated by, as you will see in the next slide, pasting a photo of the monument onto the back of the clipboard that the presenter reads the votes off. Another picture of the monument was also raised in Yerevan's main square. In August 2009, a number Azerbaijanis that voted for the Armenian entry were detained and interrogated at the Ministry of National Security in Baku. They were accused of being 'unpatriotic' and for being 'a potential security threat'. The EBU looked into this matter and revised the rules for broadcasters where they put a rule for protecting voter's privacy. Following Azerbaijan's win in 2011, it was unknown over Armenia's participation as Azerbaijan bans all Armenians from entering Azerbaijan. Despite the efforts of the EBU, Armenia withdrew from the contest citing 'security issues' as one of it's main reasons.
Selected Artists 2014
Full transcript