INTRODUCTION Annuan music competition held among active members countries of EBU. It is one of the most watched television programmes in the world, with views between 100 million and 600 million people every year.
Marcel Bezencon gave the idea in 1955, next year, the first contest took placein Lugano, Switzerland It was based on the famous San Remo festival. HISTORY (Marcel Bezencon – the founder of ESC)
Participant countries submit songs, which are performed live on live television. A country can send only one entry. After the songs are presented, the voting starts. All countries vote, except in the semi-finals. The most voted song wins. (Lyss Asia – the first ESC winner ever for Switzerland with the song “Refrain”) FORMAT
(Bucks Fizz – 1981 winner for United Kingdom with the song “Making Your Mind Up”) The contest started only with 1 night (final) but in 2004, a semi-final has been introduced; in 2008, 2 semi-finals have been introduced. They take place 2 & 4 before. The final now usually takes place on Saturday.
It started with 7, now there are 42 countries. Fifty-one countries participated at least once. Mostly, only European countries can take part, but in 1980, Morocco participated and in 2005 Lebanon wanted to participate, but later withdrew. However, from this year, a new rule was invented, which prevents non- European countries to participate. An exception was made with Israel, because of it’s long ESC history and tradition. PARTICIPATION
Countries in green participated once, countries in pink wanted to participate, but later withdrew.
Countries select their representives by so called national competitions (EMA in Slovenia, DORA in Croatia etc.) or by an internal Choice that is made by the broadcaster. SELECTIONS
(In 2003, Urban Trad for Belgium, sang in an imaginary language) LANGUAGE: From 1956 – 1965 & 1996 – 1999 there was a rule that said that every country must sing in it’s own language. However, in 1999, that rule was deleted, and from then on, every country can sing in the language that it wants. RULES
HOSTING: In 1958 it was decided that from then on, the winning country would host the Contest next year. LIVE MUSIC:All vocals must be sung live: no voices are permitted on backing tracks. From 1956 until 1998, it was necessary for the host country to provide a live orchestra for the use of the participants. Prior to 1973, all music was required to be played by the host orchestra. From 1973 onwards, pre recorded backing tracks were permitted.
The voting systems used in the Contest have changed throughout the years. The modern system has been in place since 1975, and is positional voting system. From 2004-2008, only televoting was used.Before that, a mix of a professional jury and televoting or only the jury decided the winner. (Johnny Logan announcing the 2004 Irish votes) VOTING
Countries award a set of points from 1 to 8, then 10 and finally 12 to other songs in the competition — with the favourite song being awarded 12 points. However, this year, a mix of professional jury and televoting was introduced.
The contest has been critised in many different ways. The first critics come from years 1999-2005, when critics proclaimed the ESC genre for unpopular and called it middle-of-the-road pop. However, this well-established pattern, was notably broken in 2006, when Finland won with a hard-rock band Lordi and their song Hard Rock Hallelujah. CRITICISMS
The other criticism has been the political and national voting or the so-called “diaspora”. The diaspora happens, because the countries have the same culture, the same music or speak a similar orthe same language. Many of them, spent a while under the same country. THE DIASPORAS ARE : - Ex-Yugoslavia (BiH, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia & Slovenia) - The Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania) - Greece & Cyprus
- The Scandinavian Block (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway & Sweden) - The Emigré Voting (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Israel, The Netherlands, Switzerland & Turkey) - Ex-Soviet Countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia & Ukraine) Dominico Modugno, 3rd place for Italy in 1958 with the song Nel blu dipinto di blu.
Many worldwide famous stars competed in ESC, including: Celine Dion, victory for Switzerland in 1988 with the song Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi. STARS IN ESC
ABBA, victory for Sweden in 1974, with the song Waterloo. Julio Iglesias, 4th place for Spain in 1970, with the song Gwendolyne.
t.A.T.u., 3rd place for Russia in 2003 with the song Ne Ver’, Ne Boysia. Vicky Leandros, victory for Luxembourg in 1972 with the song Apres Toi & 4th place in 1967 L’amour Esr Bleu.
Nana Mouskouri, 8th place for Luxembourg in 1963 with the song A Force De Prier. Cliff Richard, 2nd place for United Kingdom in 1968 with the song Congratulations & 3rd place in 1973 with the song Power To All Our Friends.