Eurovision: A Brief History Of The World-Famous Song Contest
For almost 70 years, the Eurovision Song Contest has been showcasing the best in European popular music to a global audience. Since its humble beginnings as an afterthought of World War II in 1956, it’s grown into a huge spectacle that draws millions of fans from around the world.
The contest has been uniting people of very different interests – fans of popular culture and its haters, serious business people as well as simple workers, etc. Even gamblers, like those that play Zodiac Casino here, can’t escape the songs that are presented at the yearly competition. So how did it get started? And why does it matter? Here's a brief history of this beloved cultural event.
The first Eurovision Song Contest was held in 1956, and it has since become one of the world's most recognized music competitions. The contest was originally created by Swiss television producer Marcel Bezencenet as an international alternative to other song contests, such as Italian Sanremo Music Festival. It was held in Lugano, Switzerland for its first two years before moving to various European countries throughout its history.
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The 1960s were a time of change. The first color broadcasts of the Eurovision Song Contest were held in 1968 and between 16 and 18 countries competed in the contest in this period.
1970s and 1980s
The 1970s and 1980s saw new participants in the contest from North Africa as well as Central and Eastern Europe as the Cold War ended. Satellite broadcasts of Eurovision began in 1985, which allowed viewers from all over Europe to see it live on television.
In the 1990s, Eurovision was changing to accommodate the new participants. Starting in 1993, a pre-qualifying round was introduced for some new countries. A relegation system was implemented in 1994 for managing the entries.
The 2000s saw a rise in interest and quality of the broadcast. From 2004, all interested countries could compete, and a second semi-final was introduced to each edition starting in 2008.
The Eurovision Song Contest saw a total of 52 countries-participants mainly from Europe. Australia became the first non-EBU member country to compete following an invitation by the EBU ahead of the contest in 2015.
The only year in which the contest was not held was 2020 when the whole world stayed on lockdown due to the pandemic. Eurovision was renewed in 2021, and the 2023 edition will take place in Liverpool, UK, breaking the tradition of the winning country hosting the next year's show. The winner of the 2022 edition was Ukraine, but the country cannot hold the contest due to the war.
In conclusion, Eurovision is a great example of how popular culture can be used as a way to unite people across borders. It has had many highs and lows over the years, but it remains strong today because of its unique ability to bring people together through songs.