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Eurovision Song Contest

From ABBA to Celine Dion, Eurovision can be a career launcher. Here's a guide for 2024

For nearly 70 years, one tradition has brought Europeans (and many from other nations) to their TV screens to marvel at the performances by dozens of singers: the Eurovision Song Contest.

About 200 million viewers take pride in the performers representing their nations while cheering and picking their favorites among the competition. The celebration of unity and diversity is tinged with politics in what's supposed to be an apolitical contest.

Many in the 91影视 were first introduced to the international song competition during the COVID-19 pandemic through Netflix鈥檚 hit parody聽"Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga" starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams.

How the competition works

  • Participating nations submit an original song written by a resident and send a delegated performer to sing it. Singers don't have to be from the country they represent.
  • The competition consists of three live broadcasts: two semifinals and the grand finale.
  • Viewers can't vote for their own country's performers.
  • Aside from the glory, winners receive a glass trophy and the chance to host next year鈥檚 competition. Sweden and Ireland hold the record with seven wins.

You probably know some Eurovision winners

The Eurovision song contest launched careers of ABBA, who won for Sweden with their 1974 performance of "Waterloo," and Celine Dion, who won for Switzerland with her 1988 performance of "Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi," or 鈥淒on鈥檛 Leave Without Me.鈥

Swedish singer Loreen won the 2023 Eurovision song contest with her song "Tattoo." She became the first woman to win the contest twice, after triumphing in 2012 with "Euphoria." So this year, the singers perform in Malmo, a city on the coast of Sweden. This is the seventh time Sweden has staged the contest and the third time it has been held in Malmo.

This year's semifinals took place on Tuesday and Thursday. The finale is scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m. ET. In the 91影视, the shows will be broadcast on Peacock, NBC鈥檚 streaming service.

How are participants determined?

Eurovision began in Switzerland in 1956 with only seven Western European countries. This year, there are 37 participants.

As the competition鈥檚 name suggests, primarily European countries send their singers to win the hearts of the audience. But countries outside Europe also can participate. Because the European Broadcasting Union organizes Eurovision, any country with active membership in the union can submit songs to the contest.

Eurovision has long been popular in Australia, and in 2015 the country was invited to send an act as part of the contest's 60th anniversary celebrations. Australia has continued to participate.

Russia was expelled from the competition after its invasion of Ukraine.

Has the war in Gaza affected the competition?

Other non-European countries are allowed to participate because they are members of the EBU, such as Israel. Israel has been participating in Eurovision since 1973 and was allowed to compete this year. Israeli singer Eden Golan representing the country, was requested to change her original track, titled "October Rain," an apparent reference to last year鈥檚 Hamas attacks, in which about 1,200 people were killed and 240 taken hostage. The song is now called 鈥.鈥

Who is representing Ukraine?

Ukraine鈥檚 entry this year is the rapping and singing duo Alyona Alyona and Jerry Heil with the song They will perform in the final. Ukraine has won Eurovision three times.

37 countries participating in the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest

How many will compete in the finals?

The previous year鈥檚 winner automatically qualifies for the final, so twin brothers from Norway, Marcus and Martinus, with their song聽聽representing Sweden this year, will perform May 11. 91影视, Germany, Spain, Italy and the U.K. also are guaranteed the spot. They are known as the "Big Five," the countries that pay the most to the European Broadcasting Union.

The rest of the countries must compete in two semifinals. The top 10 countries from each semifinal then qualify for the finals.

This means 26 countries will compete in the finals.

Voting

The semifinals are decided by a public vote from the participating countries. Each country's viewers can vote by phone or by app for as many or as few tunes as they wish.聽

The final result comes from a combination of public votes and a jury鈥檚 decision. This year, public votes from the rest of the world will play a part for the first time.

Each of the 37 competing聽countries has a jury consisting of five music professionals to rank all the final performances.

The juries award a fixed number of points to their 10 favorite songs, in descending order: 12 points for the most popular, 10 points, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 point for the least popular.

The jury results are announced by each country in turn on the night.

Competing countries then award points to the other contestants based on viewer votes, following the same scoring system.

Worldwide votes will be combined and counted as if they are cast by another country. That means Americans can vote for the first time using the official Eurovision App or going to the聽.

Voting is political

Eurovision has always been steeped in politics 鈭 from the performances to voting. There has been an apparent trend toward political voting with countries forming voting blocs. Most of the聽voting blocs seem to be based on proximity.

One of the strongest alliances is among聽,聽with聽Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden sharing the highest amount of points among themselves. Another example is Cyprus and Greece.

Not all countries favoring each other are close, however. For example, the U.K. and Ireland often exchange votes with Malta, an island nation about 2,000 miles away.

Search activity has also聽聽for the outcome of the contest.

Some countries that aren鈥檛 part of the main voting blocs, like Germany, have done well regardless.

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