The Eurovision Song Contest is Europe’s favourite TV-show. It has also been Europe’s – if not the world’s – most famous music competition for the last 54 years. During the show, the hosts will speak equal amounts of French and English, and often interspersed with the host country’s language as well. Say Les Pay-Bas – huit points to any European, and he will reply The Netherlands – 8 points, practically on autopilot.
Many singers and bands have become famous as a result of winning the Eurovision Song Contest. In Brighton in 1974, an unknown Swedish band called ABBA won with Waterloo, thereby launching a major career in pop music.
Another famous contestant, Celine Dion, won for Switzerland in 1988:
At last year’s event, held in Moscow, Norway’s Alexander Rybak won (and yes, we’re still in love with a fairytale).
That means Oslo will host this year’s event. Semifinals have been taking place this week and the grand finale is set for Saturday 29 May at Telenor Arena with 39 participating countries. 1.2 billion people will be watching worldwide. From Iceland to Azerbaijan, groups of friends and families will gather in front of the TV-screens for this most collectively European of events.
Photo by plasmatik (Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images) on flickr’s Creative Commons