Series: Eurovision Song Contest

Europe's most dubious cultural legacy.

Drag acts and bad acts,
and Terry Wogan's wig!
Mad acts and sad acts,
It was Johnny Logan's gig!
Irelande Douze Pointenote , Ireland's entry to the 2008 contest. "Sung" by Dustin the Turkey, a puppet.

Nul points!

For anyone who is in interested in seeing just how weird and eccentric the European continent can be, this is the show to look at first.

The European Broadcasting Union operates a network known as Eurovision, which is primarily used to distribute coverage of special events (such as sporting events, the Pope's Easter Mass, etc.) throughout its member broadcasters. It produces very few programmes in its own right, but this is far and away the best known. So much so, in fact, that many folks would be quite surprised to learn that "Eurovision" could refer to anything but the Song Contest.

The contest has run since 1956 and was quite well-respected in its early years, with established artists such as Cliff Richard and Serge Gainsbourg taking part, and others, such as Dana and Sandie Shaw, launching successful careers off the back of the show. The original idea was to foster post-World War II unity among European nations outside the communist bloc and showcase their varied musical talent. What's interesting to note that this contest is open not just to members of the European Union, nor just European countries, but to all countries which are active broadcasting members of the EBU, which also includes Israel, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan (As Graham Norton, current commentator for the United Kingdom via BBC, said on his show when explaining the premise, "We use 'European' very loosely."). With the contest taking a credibility dive in The Seventies, the last band to successfully launch an international career from the show were ABBA, who won in 1974 with "Waterloo", though several acts have remained popular in their own countries after entering the show.

These days, Eurovision is split into two main camps. The first is the Eastern/Central European bloc, who generally treat it as Serious Business, seeing it as an important marker of newfound independence; they usually send in rock ballads with some sort of ethnic tinge. The other is from Western Europe, which made up the "traditional" entrants before the fall of Soviet Russia. They tend to view the contest as rather silly, camp fun, and enter either novelty acts, drag queens or camp pop (or sometimes both together)... then whine about political voting when they don't win.

The format of the show has changed over the years, but remains broadly the same: First a series of songs is performed, then voting takes place to determine a winner. The votes from each country are "telephoned" (now shown by live feed) in to the studio one at a time, providing dramatic tension. The traditional way to start this is to say "Hello, [host city], this is [capital of particular country] calling". The winner hosts the next show, which can do wonders for the tourist industry in obscure cities (though the contest itself can be ruinously expensive to host).

Songs must be original, no more than 3 minutes long and contain some lyrics (no Instrumentals). Between 1966 and 1972, and 1977 to 1998, songs had to be sung in one of the official languages of the country entering. However, this rule was removed after a long string of wins by Ireland, who were felt to have an unfair advantage by being one of only three countries able to sing in English (which was rapidly becoming the lingua franca of Europe).

Before 1997, all voting was done by panels of expert judges. However, following accusations of bloc voting, public phone votes were introduced. Some have argued that this has only made it worse (particularly as emigrants can vote for their home country); for example, UK's nul points in 2003 was alleged to be an expression of continental Europe's backlash over their involvement in the recent USA-led invasion of Iraq (although the real reason was probably Jemini's horrifying off-key singing), and by 2007, bloc voting had become so prevalent among former communist countries that Malta fixed their votes in protest. The situation in 2007, followed by a similar (but less prevalent) repeat the next year, prompted the EBU to change the voting rules to a hybrid system which give jury and popular votes a 50-50 footing in weighing the results, which contributed to leveling the contest for Western countries from 2009 onwards.

Recap


  • 1956 — Lugano, Switzerland
    Date: May 24
    Venue: Teatro Kursaal (now Casinò Lugano)
    Presenter: Lohengrin Filipello
    Broadcaster: Radiotelevisione Svizzera di Lingua Italiana (RSLI)
    Participating Countries: 7 (2 entries each) — Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Switzerland
    Winner: Switzerland — "Refrain" by Lys Assia
    The inaugural season, featuring 7 countries submitting 2 entries each. In a case of Early Installment Weirdness, Lugano 1956 featured a closed-doors voting system, double voting of the jury, and the results being released such that the other 13 entries were given 2nd place.
  • 1957 — Frankfurt, West Germany
    Date: March 3
    Venue: Großer Sendesaal des hessischen Rundfunks
    Presenter: Anaid Iplicjian
    Broadcaster: Arbeitsgemeinschaft der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (ARD)
    Participating Countries: 10 — Austria, Denmark and United Kingdom debut
    Winner: Netherlands — "Net als toen" ("Just Like Then") by Corry Brokken
    Like last year, Frankfurt 1957 was still radio-oriented, though TV viewership has seen an increase. Because of the disparate length of songs — Italy had 5:09, while UK only had 1:52, a rule was later set up restricting songs to 3 minutes. Frankfurt 1957 also established the concept of phone-in juries and barring participating countries from voting for their own entries. Third-placers Denmark are notable for having their performers kiss for 11 seconds, a kiss that caused an outcry in some countries.
  • 1958 — Hilversum, Netherlands
    Date: March 12
    Venue: Algemene Vereniging Radio Omroep (AVRO) Studios
    Presenter: Hannie Lips
    Broadcaster: Nederlandse Televisie Stichting (NTS), now Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS)
    Participating Countries: 10 — Sweden debuts; United Kingdom withdraws
    Winner: France — "Dors, mon amour" ("Sleep, My Love") by André Claveau
    Hilversum 1958 introduced the convention of last year's winning country hosting the current edition. Italy's third-placing "Nel blu dipinto di blu" ("In the Blue Painted Blue") by Domenico Modugno became a global hit after the contest, peaking at #1 on Billboard and winning the two big Grammys (the only Eurovision song to do so) in 1959.
  • 1959 — Cannes, France
    Date: March 11
    Venue: Palais des Festivals et des Congrès
    Presenter: Jacqueline Joubert
    Broadcaster: Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (RTF)
    Participating Countries: 11 — Monaco debuts; United Kingdom returns; Luxembourg withdraws
    Winner: Netherlands — "Een beetje" ("A Little Bit") by Teddy Scholten
    A new rule was established this year ensuring that no professional publishers or composers can be in the national juries. Like 1957, the Netherlands' winning entry was written by Willy Van Hemert, making him the first person to win Eurovision twice. This is the only year where the second and third placed entries were reprised at the end of the show along with the winner.
  • 1960 — London, England, United Kingdom
    Date: March 29
    Venue: Royal Festival Hall
    Presenter: Katie Boyle
    Broadcaster: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
    Participating Countries: 13 — Norway debuts; Luxembourg returns
    Winner: France — "Tom Pillibi" by Jacqueline Boyer
    In a break from convention, the Netherlands declined hosting rights this year, having already hosted the event two years prior, thus the honors went to the runner-up nation.
  • 1961 — Cannes, France
    Date: March 18
    Venue: Palais des Festivals et des Congrès
    Presenter: Jacqueline Joubert
    Broadcaster: Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (RTF)
    Participating Countries: 16 — Finland, Spain and Yugoslavia debut
    Winner: Luxembourg — "Nous les amoureux" ("We the Lovers") by Jean-Claude Pascal
    Cannes 1961 was the first held on Saturday evening, another convention continued to this day. The city also became the first two-time host. Due to the show overrunning, the United Kingdom never aired the winning song's reprise.
  • 1962 — Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
    Date: March 18
    Venue: Villa Louvigny
    Presenter: Mireille Delannoy
    Broadcaster: Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Télédiffusion (CLT) [now RTL Group]
    Participating Countries: 16 — no changes
    Winner: France — "Un premier amour" ("A First Love") by Isabelle Aubret
    This edition saw the first time countries ended up with nul points (i.e., Austria, Belgium, Netherlands and Spain). After France performed, there was a technical error rendering the screens dark. A shorter technical error occurred during the Dutch entry.
  • 1963 — London, England, United Kingdom
    Date: March 23
    Venue: BBC Broadcasting Centre
    Presenter: Katie Boyle
    Broadcaster: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
    Participating Countries: 16 — no changes
    Winner: Denmark — "Dansevise" ("Dance Ballad") by Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann
    Like three years ago, the United Kingdom had to host after last year's winner (i.e., France) declined due to financial troubles (though this time, Britain volunteered). Host broadcaster BBC wanted to give this year's contest a distinct feel by having the audience and entrants located in different stages with a boom mike in between, leading to rumors that the entries were prerecorded. In contrast to winning Denmark, its Nordic neighbors all received nul points, as did the Netherlands (second in a row).
  • 1964 — Copenhagen, Denmark
    Date: March 21
    Venue: Tivolis Koncertsal
    Presenter: Lotte Wæver
    Broadcaster: Danmarks Radio (DR)
    Participating Countries: 16 — Portugal debuts; Sweden withdraws
    Winner: Italy — "Non ho l'età" ("I'm Not Old Enough") by Gigliola Cinquetti
    Sweden withdrew due to a singers' boycott, while Portugal's debut saw it off with nul points, as did Germany, Switzerland and Yugoslavia (their first time). The Netherlands sent the ESC's first entrant without a pure European ancestry (i.e., Indonesian-blooded Anneke Grönloh), while Spain's Los TNT was the first entry with at least three members. Italy won via Curb-Stomp Battle, being 30 points ahead of the next-best-placed song. Gigiola was 16 at the time of victory, the youngest Eurovision winner at the time.
  • 1965 — Naples, Italy
    Date: March 20
    Venue: RAI Production Centre of Naples
    Presenter: Renata Mauro
    Broadcaster: Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI)
    Participating Countries: 18 — Ireland debuts; Sweden returns
    Winner: Luxembourg — "Poupée de cire, poupée de son" ("Wax Doll, Sawdust Doll") by France Gall
    Naples 1965 saw the debut of Ireland, which would dominate the series for many years, while Finland, Germany and Spain suffer nul points for the second time, and Belgium their first. The winning song was written by Serge Gainsbourg and was the first winner to not be a ballad. This was the first Eurovision to be broadcast to Eastern Europe.
  • 1966 — Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
    Date: March 5
    Venue: Villa Louvigny
    Presenter: Josiane Chen
    Broadcaster: Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Télédiffusion (CLT)
    Participating Countries: 18 — no changes
    Winner: Austria — "Merci, Chérie" ("Thank You, Darling") by Udo Jürgens
    Luxembourg 1966 saw the establishment of a rule restricting entries to their home country's languages (after Sweden sung in English last year). This would also be Austria's first and only win until 2014. The Netherlands' Milly Scott was the first black person to compete in the contest, as well as the first to use a portable microphone.
  • 1967 — Vienna, Austria
    Date: April 8
    Venue: Hofburg Palace
    Presenter: Erica Vaal
    Broadcaster: Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF)
    Participating Countries: 17 — Denmark withdraws
    Winner: United Kingdom — "Puppet on a String" by Sandie Shaw
    Like three years ago, the UK wins with a wide berth, this time 25 points ahead of Ireland. Luxembourg's entry would be later covered by Paul Mauriat as an instrumental. Portugal's singer, Angolan-born Eduardo Nascimento, was the first black male entrant in Eurovision, and was supposedly chosen by then-prime minister António de Oliveira Salazar to prove that he wasn't racist.
  • 1968 — London, England, United Kingdom
    Date: April 6
    Venue: Royal Albert Hall
    Presenter: Katie Boyle
    Broadcaster: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
    Participating Countries: 17 — no changes
    Winner: Spain — "La, la, la" by Massiel
    London 1968 was the first Eurovision to be broadcast in color. The winning entry was originally to be sung by Joan Manuel Serrat in Catalan, but due to the Franco regime's crackdown on any perceived insurgent activity, he was replaced with the slightly more politically-correct Massiel. The song ended up winning over the UK's Cliff Richard by a margin of one point. A 2008 documentary suggested that the votes were rigged by the Spanish dictator.
  • 1969 — Madrid, Spain
    Date: March 29
    Venue: Teatro Real
    Presenter: Laurita Valenzuela
    Broadcaster: Televisión Española (TVE)
    Participating Countries: 16 — Austria withdraws
    Winners: France — "Un jour, un enfant" ("A Day, a Child") by Frida Boccara; Netherlands — "De troubadour" ("The Troubadour") by Lenny Kuhr; Spain — "Vivo cantando" ("I Live Singing") by Salomé; and United Kingdom — "Boom Bang-a-Bang" by Lulu
    Salvador Dali (he of the wacky moustache and melting clocks fame) helped with the stage design. This edition also saw great controversy, being the only time more than one country won the title, due to lack of rules regarding a tie.
  • 1970 — Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Date: March 21
    Venue: RAI Congrescentrum (now Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre)
    Presenter: Willy Dobbe
    Broadcaster: Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS)
    Participating Countries: 12 — Finland, Norway, Portugal and Sweden withdraw
    Winner: Ireland — "All Kinds of Everything" by Dana
    Amsterdam 1970 was hit by a four-nation boycott due to protests over last year's results, prompting the EBU to set up a one-round tiebreaker. This edition also saw the appearance of then-unknown Julio Iglesias for Spain. Ireland's win, however, would presage the country's domination of the series for years to come.
  • 1971 — Dublin, Ireland
    Date: April 3
    Venue: Gaiety Theatre
    Presenter: Bernadette Ní Ghallchóir
    Broadcaster: Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTE)
    Participating Countries: 18 — Malta debuts; Austria, Finland, Norway, Portugal and Sweden return
    Winner: Monaco — "Un banc, un arbre, une rue" ("A Bench, A Tree, A Steet") by Séverine
    Dublin 1971 saw the voting system hit a big problem, as some judges score less than others. This is also Monaco's only win, while the EBU abolished a rule restricting entries to two performers. With The Troubles ongoing, the UK sent Clodagh Rodgers, a Northern Irish singer popular throughout the British Isles, to ease the Dublin audience (she finished fourth). This edition also saw the debut of BBC's Terry Wogan and his penchant for snide remarks.
  • 1972 — Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
    Date: March 25
    Venue: Usher Hall
    Presenter: Moira Shearer, world-renowned ballerina and actress
    Broadcaster: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
    Participating Countries: 18 — no changes
    Winner: Luxembourg — "Après toi" ("After You") by Vicky Leandros
    Monaco declined hosting rights due to lack of funds, thus marking the Eurovision's first British foray outside England. Songwriter Yves Dessca became the second to win the tournament twice, the first for two different countries (having also written Monaco's winning entry last year), and the first twice-in-a-row.
  • 1973 — Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
    Date: April 7
    Venue: Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg
    Presenter: Helga Guitton
    Broadcaster: Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Télédiffusion (CLT)
    Participating Countries: 17 — Israel debuts; Austria and Malta withdraw
    Winner: Luxembourg — "Tu te reconnaîtras" ("You Will Recognise Yourself") by Anne-Marie David
    Luxembourg 1973, saw the first time entries can now be sung in any other language than their national tongue, tournament extending its reach beyond Europe proper with the debut of Israel, an increase in security following the tragic events of the 1972 Summer Olympics not a few months earlier in Munich (which also involved Israel), and also saw Wogan's TV debut, which allows for more snarking watched by millions. Spain was accused of plagiarizing Yugoslavia's 1966 entry, but was not disqualified. Nevertheless, their entry, "Eres tu" ("It's You") by Mocedades, went on to become a huge hit despite placing second.
  • 1974 — Brighton, England, United Kingdom
    Date: April 6
    Venue: Brighton Dome
    Presenter: Katie Boyle
    Broadcaster: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
    Participating Countries: 17 — Greece debuts; France withdraws
    Winner: Sweden — "Waterloo" by ABBA
    Luxembourg declines hosting back-to-back, so Britain once again steps up to the plate and elected the port city of Brighton to host the event. France withdrew from the final as a sign of mourning over the death of President Georges Pompidou during the week (and whose funeral coincided with the final), and Dani, their entrant, was seen in the audience at the part where she would have performed. Brighton 1974, however, would be forever associated with ABBA, who would use their Eurovision victory as a springboard for international stardom. Meanwhile, Italy's "Si" ("Yes") by 1964 winner Gigliola Cinquetti (which placed second) was thought as a tool to get people to vote "yes" in the then-upcoming national referendum on divorce, while Portugal's "E depois do adeus" ("And After the Goodbye") by Paulo de Carvalho was used as a signal for the Carnation Revolution.
  • 1975 — Stockholm, Sweden
    Date: March 22
    Venue: Stockholm International Fairs
    Presenter: Karin Falck
    Broadcaster: Sveriges Radio (SR)
    Participating Countries: 19 — Turkey debuts; France and Malta return; Greece withdraws
    Winner: Netherlands — "Ding-a-Dong" by Teach-In
    The first contest to utilize the current voting matrix of 1-8, 10, and 12-point scores. Greece withdrew in protest over the introduction of Turkey, which staged the invasion of Cyprus the previous year, while Portugal's "Madrugada" ("Dawn") by Duarte Mendes was an unabashed celebration of the aforementioned Carnation Revolution.
  • 1976 — The Hague, Netherlands
    Date: April 3
    Venue: Nederlands Congres Centrum (now World Forum)
    Presenter: Corry Brokken, 1957 winner
    Broadcaster: Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS)
    Participating Countries: 18 — Austria and Greece return; Malta, Sweden and Turkey withdraw
    Winner: United Kingdom — "Save Your Kisses for Me" by Brotherhood of Man
    Sweden, last year's host, withdrew due to the potential cost of hosting another edition, prompting the EBU to pass a stipulation demanding all participating broadcasters to contribute to the cost of staging the contests, while Turkey withdrew in response to Greece last year. "Save Your Kisses For Me" became another huge hit sparked by the ESC, while Greece's "Panagia Mou, Panagia Mou" ("O Virgin Mary, O Virgin Mary") by Mariza Koch drew controversy for being about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The Hague 1976 was presented by Corry Brokken, winner of Frankfurt 1957.
  • 1977 — London, England, United Kingdom
    Date: May 7
    Venue: Wembley Conference Centre
    Presenter: Angela Rippon, BBC newscaster
    Broadcaster: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
    Participating Countries: 18 — Sweden returns; Yugoslavia withdraws
    Winner: France — "L'oiseau et l'enfant" ("The Bird and the Child") by Marie Myriam
    London 1977 marks France's second victory on British soil and so far their very last Eurovision title. However, it was the runner-up, the UK's "Rock Bottom" by Lynsey De Paul and Mike Moran, that was the most commercially successful. Germany sent globally popular disco group Silver Convention, while Dream Express from Belgium caused some flak because the three female members were reported to be wearing transparent tops for the event (they didn't eventually). The contest was going to be held in April, but was pushed back due to a strike involving BBC cameramen and technicians.
  • 1978 — Paris, France
    Date: April 22
    Venue: Palais des congrès de Paris
    Presenters: Denise Fabre and Léon Zitrone
    Broadcaster: Télévision Française 1 (TF 1)
    Participating Countries: 20 — Denmark and Turkey return
    Winner: Israel — "A-Ba-Ni-Bi" ("I Love You") by Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta
    Israel's win (with a dozen consecutive douze points — a contest record that stands to this day) naturally never sat well with broadcasters from the Arab World, with Jordan prematurely ending its broadcast and passing up second-placed Belgium for winner the next day. Denmark returns after a long absence, while Greece's entry (competing together with Turkey for the first time) is a tribute to Charlie Chaplin, who died the previous year (the German national final also had a song called "Charlie Chaplin"). Norway suffers the series' first nul points under the 1975 voting system.
  • 1979 — Jerusalem, Israel
    Date: March 31
    Venue: International Convention Center
    Presenter: Daniel Pe'er and Yardena Arazi
    Broadcaster: Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA)
    Participating Countries: 19 — Turkey withdraws
    Winner: Israel — "Hallelujah" by Gali Atari and Milk and Honey
    Unlike previous years, Turkey withdrew not due to its traditional feud with Greece, but due to pressure from Arab countries objecting to its participation alongside host Israel, which won back-to-back. Yugoslavia did not broadcast the show for this same reason. Fourth-placers Dschinghis Khan of West Germany later achieve success with the song "Moskau".
  • 1980 — The Hague, Netherlands
    Date: April 19
    Venue: Nederlands Congres Centrum (now World Forum)
    Presenters: Marlous Fluitsma (Stage) and Hans van Willigenburg (Green Room)
    Broadcaster: Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS)
    Participating Countries: 19 — Morocco debuts; Turkey returns; Israel and Monaco withdraw
    Winner: Ireland — "What's Another Year" by Johnny Logan
    Israel withdrew due to the final clashing with "Yom Hazikaron" ("Day of Remembrance"), a major Israeli holiday commemorating its fallen soldiers, while Monaco did so due to dissatisfaction with their performance last year (and would not return until the 2004 semifinals), Morocco joins for their only Eurovision to date, and Ireland won through Australian import Johnny Logan.
  • 1981 — Dublin, Ireland
    Date: April 4
    Venue: Royal Dublin Society (RDS) Simmonscourt Pavilion
    Presenter: Doireann Ní Bhriain
    Broadcaster: Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ)
    Participating Countries: 20 — Cyprus debuts; Israel and Yugoslavia return; Italy and Morocco withdraw
    Winner: United Kingdom — "Making Your Mind Up" by Bucks Fizz
    Best-known for the UK's winning act featuring its two male members ripping off the skirts of its two female members, only to reveal miniskirts underneath, Foreshadowing the stripping acts that would become a staple for years to come. Norway would repeat the indignity of scoring nul points from three years ago, while Turkey's points disappeared from the scoreboard due to a glitch. The interval act was "Timedance" by Bill Whelan, said to be a precursor to Riverdance.
  • 1982 — Harrogate, England, United Kingdom
    Date: April 24
    Venue: Harrogate International Centre
    Presenter: Jan Leeming
    Broadcaster: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
    Participating Countries: 18 — France and Greece withdraw
    Winner: West Germany — "Ein bißchen Frieden" ("A Little Peace") by Nicole
    West Germany's winning entry was 1.61 times as much as that of Israel, a Eurovision record that stood until 2009, while the entry's songwriters, Ralph Siegel and Bernd Meinunger, would become German Eurovision mainstays with 18 songs between them, and West Germany (later Germany as a whole, with the assimilation of communist East Germany in 1990) has since (except 1996) become a perennial finals contender. Finland's anti-nuclear entry failed to reverberate throughout Europe, and thus took over Norway's indignity of scoring nul points from last year. As a show of support for Argentina during The Falklands War against host UK, Spain sent a tango number and placed tenth.
  • 1983 — Munich, West Germany
    Date: April 23
    Venue: Rudi-Sedlmayer-Halle (now Audi Dome)
    Presenter: Marlene Charell
    Broadcaster: Arbeitsgemeinschaft Rundfunkanstalten Deutschland (ARD)
    Participating Countries: 20 — France, Greece and Italy return; Ireland withdraws
    Winner: Luxembourg — "Si la vie est cadeau" ("If Life is a Gift") by Corinne Hermès
    Munich 1983 was the first Eurovision broadcast in Australia, whose keen interest in the contest inspired the EBU to invite it as a semifinals interval act for 2014 and an entry proper the next year. Israel's Ofra Haza placed second and later gained recognition for her contributions to the soundtack for The Prince of Egypt. Spain and Turkey shared the dishonor of scoring nul points for this year, while Ireland withdrew due to its broadcaster RTE going on strike. The votes were read out in three languages instead of two, stretching the contest to three hours.
  • 1984 — Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
    Date: May 5
    Venue: Grand Theatre
    Presenter: Désirée Nosbusch, singer
    Broadcaster: RTL Télévision (RTL) [now RTL9]
    Participating Countries: 19 — Ireland returns; Greece and Israel withdraw
    Winner: Sweden — "Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley" by Herreys
    Like four years ago, Israel withdrew due to the final clashing with Yom Hazikaron (a movable holiday, set in Iyar 4 of the Hebrew calendar), while UK's entry was met with boos due to Football Hooligans causing a ruckus there last year after failing to qualify for the 1984 Euro Championships. Sweden's winning entry was the first sung in Swedish by the Herrey brothers Per, Richard and Louis, then based in the United States.
  • 1985 — Gothenburg, Sweden
    Date: May 4
    Venue: Scandinavium
    Presenter: Lill Lindfors, 1966 runner-up
    Broadcaster: Sveriges Television (SVT)
    Participating Countries: 19 — Greece and Israel return; Netherlands and Yugoslavia withdraw
    Winner: Norway — "La det swinge" ("Let it Swing") by Bobbysocks!
    Norway, perennial Eurovision whipping-boy with six last-place finishes, three of which with nul points, surprised the tournament by winning their first contest courtesy of the pairing of Eurovision veterans Hanne Krogh and Elisabeth Andreassen, a fact not lost on presenter Lindfors, whose faux-Wardrobe Malfunction act during the interval remains a highlight to this day. The Netherlands and Yugoslavia withdrew due to their Remembrance Day and the anniversary of the death of Josip Broz Tito, respectively. The first Eurovision winner, Lys Assia, was a guest of honor.
  • 1986 — Bergen, Norway
    Date: May 3
    Venue: Grieg Hall
    Presenter: Åse Kleveland
    Broadcaster: Norsk rikskringkasting (NRK)
    Participating Countries: 20 — Iceland debuts; Netherlands and Yugoslavia return; Greece and Italy withdraw
    Winner: Belgium — "J'aime la vie" ("I Love Life") by Sandra Kim
    13-year-old Sandra Kim stood out as the youngest Eurovision winner (by faking her age as 15; today Eurovision restricts the minimum age to 16), while Norway enjoyed every moment of its very first Eurovision hosting duties. Greece withdrew because the contest conflicted with Holy Saturday. The interval was performed by Steinar Ofsdal and soprano superstar Sissel Kyrkjebø.
  • 1987 — Brussels, Belgium
    Date: May 9
    Venue: Palais de Centenair, Heysel Plateau
    Presenter: Viktor Lazlo
    Broadcaster: Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF)
    Participating Countries: 22 — Greece and Italy return
    Winner: Ireland — "Hold Me Now" by Johnny Logan
    The largest edition at the time, which made the EBU put the cap on participating countries to 22. Johnny Logan becomes the first performer to win twice, while Turkey gets the nul points axe this year. Israel's "Shir Habatlanim" ("The Lazy Bums Show") by Datner & Kushnir was largely comedic and the country's culture minister threatened to resign if they went to Brussels. He never went through with this, and the song placed eighth.
  • 1988 — Dublin, Ireland
    Date: April 30
    Venue: Royal Dublin Society (RDS) Simmonscourt Pavilion
    Presenter: Pat Kenny, RTÉ broadcaster, and Michelle Rocca, 1980 Miss Ireland
    Broadcaster: Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ)
    Participating Countries: 21 — Cyprus withdraws
    Winner: Switzerland — "Ne partez pas sans moi" ("Do Not Leave Without Me") by Céline Dion
    In an incredibly tight race, Switzerland narrowly beat UK by one point, in the process introducing the world to Dion, their then-unknown Francophone Canadian guest singer. The field was reduced to 21 after Cyprus was forced to withdraw for trying to reenter a song meant for a prior edition, while Austria this time gets nul points.
  • 1989 — Lausanne, Switzerland
    Date: May 6
    Venue: Salle Lys Assia, Palais de Beaulieu
    Presenters: Jacques Deschenaux and Lolita Morena, 1982 Miss Switzerland
    Broadcaster: SRG SSR
    Participating Countries: 22 — Cyprus returns
    Winner: Yugoslavia — "Rock Me" by Riva
    Lausanne 1989 featured the youngest singers in Eurovision history: 11-year-old Nathalie Pâque of France and 12-year-old Gili Natanael of Israel. Bad publicity regarding their presence forced the EBU to set the minimum participating age at 16. A new tiebreaker rule was set, where the entry with the most 12 points wins (if that doesn't suffice, the number of 10 points would also be taken into account). The winning song was performed by a Croatian, while the show was opened by reigning winner Dion performing her first English song, "Where Does My Heart Beat Now", in the process catapulting her to international stardom.
  • 1990 — Zagreb, Yugoslavia (now Croatia)
    Date: May 5
    Venue: Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall
    Presenters: Helga Vlahović and Oliver Mlakar
    Broadcaster: Yugoslav Radio Television (YRT)
    Participating Countries: 22 — no changes
    Winner: Italy — "Insieme: 1992" ("Together: 1992") by Toto Cutugno
    Many entries reflected the profound changes brought by the fall of communism, while Italy's winning entry looked further, in anticipation of the unified European market by 1992. Malta wanted to return, but was barred due to the 22-nation cap (though they still held their own national finals).
  • 1991 — Rome, Italy
    Date: May 4
    Venue: Studio 15, Cinecittà
    Presenters: Gigliola Cinquetti and Toto Cutugno, 1964 and 1990 winners, respectively
    Broadcaster: Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI)
    Participating Countries: 22 — Malta returns; Netherlands withdraws
    Winner: Sweden — "Fångad av en stormvind" ("Captured by a Stormwind") by Carola
    The Netherlands backed out due to the final coinciding with Remembrance of the Dead, a holiday commemorating all Dutch casualties since World War II, allowing Malta to return. Sweden wins out over France under the 1989 tiebreaker rules (both had four twelve-pointers, but Sweden had five ten-pointers against France's two). Rome 1991 was hosted by Italy's only Eurovision winners to date.
  • 1992 — Malmö, Sweden
    Date: May 9
    Venue: Malmö Ice Stadium
    Presenters: Lydia Cappolicchio and Harald Treutiger
    Broadcaster: Sveriges Television (SVT)
    Participating Countries: 23 — Netherlands returns
    Winner: Ireland — "Why Me?" by Linda Martin
    The EBU eschews the 22-nation cap by allowing the Netherlands to return. The winning entry was written by Johnny Logan, becoming the first three-time winner, in the process beating hot favorite "One Step Out of Time" by the UK's Michael Ball. Presenter Treutiger would later host the first season of Expedition Robinson, precursor to the Survivor franchise.
  • 1993 — Millstreet, Ireland
    Date: May 15
    Venue: Green Glens Arena
    Presenter: Fionnuala Sweeney, CNN newscaster
    Broadcaster: Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ)
    Participating Countries: 25 — Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia debut; Yugoslavia withdraws
    Winner: Ireland — "In Your Eyes" by Niamh Kavanagh
    With an explosion of aspiring Eurovision entrants, the EBU staged a preliminary round in Ljubljana pitting seven former communist states — Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia — against each other, from which only the former two and the latter would emerge to join in the final, while Yugoslavia was banned from the contest (until 2004) for its role in The Balkan Wars. Millstreet is unusual in that this is the smallest host city in Eurovision history, with the venue actually being a hall used for horse auctions. Like last year, Ireland narrowly held down UK with narrow votes.
  • 1994 — Dublin, Ireland
    Date: April 30
    Venue: Point Theatre
    Presenters: Cynthia Ní Mhurchú and Gerry Ryan, eminent RTÉ radio broadcaster
    Broadcaster: Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ)
    Participating Countries: 25 — Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia and Slovakia debut; Belgium, Denmark, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Turkey withdraw
    Winner: Ireland — "Rock and Roll Kids" by Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan
    To cope with increasing numbers of aspirants, the EBU set up a relegation system, where the five lowest-ranking nations from last year would be forced to sit out of this year, but with Italy and Luxembourg voluntarily withdrawing (indefinitely, in the case of the latter), seven slots were left open for former Eastern bloc countries to occupy. Once again, Ireland dominated the field, with their 60-point lead over runner-up Poland being the greatest in Eurovision history to date. Ironically, the biggest success from Dublin 1994 was an interval act, courtesy of Riverdance.
  • 1995 — Dublin, Ireland
    Date: May 13
    Venue: Point Theatre
    Presenter: Mary Kennedy
    Broadcaster: Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ)
    Participating Countries: 23 — Belgium, Denmark, Israel, Slovenia and Turkey return; Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia and Switzerland withdraw
    Winner: Norway — "Nocturne" by Secret Garden
    Ireland was apparently too good for RTÉ, who expressed to the EBU that, should Ireland win this one, they couldn't be expected to host yet again. The field was cut down to 23 to reduce airtime, thus relegating last year's bottom seven while reinstating 1993's bottom five (as Italy declined to join). While the host had a disappointing 14th-place finish, they at least took heart in the fact that Norway's winning entry had an Irish violinist, Fionnuala Sherry.
  • 1996 — Oslo, Norway
    Date: May 18
    Venue: Oslo Spektrum
    Presenters: Ingvild Bryn and Morten Harket, vocalist of a-ha
    Broadcaster: Norsk rikskringkasting (NRK)
    Participating Countries: 23 — Estonia, Finland, Netherlands, Slovakia and Switzerland return; Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Israel and Russia withdraw
    Winner: Ireland — "The Voice" by Eimear Quinn
    The EBU experimented again with an audio-only qualifier where all 29 entrants are involved (as host, Norway is exempt), which saw perennial finalist Germany getting axed and prospective entrants Macedonia and Romania being denied their debut. The edition saw Ireland win its record seventh trophy.
  • 1997 — Dublin, Ireland
    Date: May 3
    Venue: Point Theatre
    Presenter: Carrie Crowley and Ronan Keating, vocalist of Boyzone
    Broadcaster: Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ)
    Participating Countries: 25 — Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Russia return; Belgium, Finland and Slovakia withdraw
    Winner: United Kingdom — "Love Shine a Light" by Katrina And The Waves
    Due to negative reception of the 1996 qualifiers, the EBU implemented a new relegation system where the five nations with the lowest average scores for the last five years are to be forced to sit out, allowing last year's sit-outs to fill the gaps — in this case, however, Israel turned down the opportunity as the final clashed with Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day, a movable holiday set in Nisan 27 of the Hebrew calendar), thus granting a reprieve for Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Italy returns after a long hiatus. Norway and Portugal jointly share nul points, while for the second time, UK wins in Irish soil, with five 10-pointers and a dozen 12-pointers — records matched only in 2005.
  • 1998 — Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
    Date: May 9
    Venue: National Indoor Arena (now Barclaycard Arena)
    Presenters: Ulrika Johnson, Swedish-born TV star, and Terry Wogan, long-time Eurovision commentator
    Broadcaster: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
    Participating Countries: 25 — Macedonia debuts; Belgium, Finland, Israel, Romania and Slovakia returns; Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Iceland, Italy and Russia withdraw
    Winner: Israel — "Diva" by Dana International
    Italy's RAI relinquishes hosting rights and thus joins last year's bottom five in the bench, thus allowing incoming Macedonia to join the 1996 bottom five's return. Birmingham 1998 was the last Eurovision with an in-house orchestra and language restrictions, while also introducing phone-in voting. Switzerland earns the indignity of leaving with nul points, while the final was decided by the last vote, which went in favor of Israel's Dana International — the first transgender winner in Eurovision history.
  • 1999 — Jerusalem, Israel
    Date: May 29
    Venue: International Convention Center
    Presenters: Dafna Dekel, 1992 sixth-placer, Yigal Ravid and Sigal Shahamon
    Broadcaster: Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA)
    Participating Countries: 23 — Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Iceland and Lithuania return; Finland, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia and Switzerland withdraw
    Winner: Sweden — "Take Me to Your Heaven" by Charlotte Nilsson
    This edition made orchestras optional, while aspirant Latvia backed out at the last minute, and in turn Hungary voluntarily withdrew, allowing Portugal, then at risk from relegation, to stay in the game. Unlike recent years, voters went retro, voting in Sweden's ABBA-esque entry.
  • 2000 — Stockholm, Sweden
    Date: May 13
    Venue: Globe Arena (now Ericsson Globe)
    Presenters: Kattis Ahlström and Anders Lundin
    Broadcaster: Sveriges Television (SVT)
    Participating Countries: 24 — Latvia debuts; Finland, Macedonia, Romania, Russia and Switzerland return; Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia withdraw
    Winner: Denmark — "Fly on the Wings of Love" by the Olsen Brothers
    Fitting the first Eurovision of the new millennium, Stockholm 2000 set a record attendance of 13,000 (which was broken next year), while Latvia becomes the last of the Baltic States to enter the fray, joining the 1999 bottom five's return in lieu of last year's bottom five, where it managed to finish at third-place. Israel's entry drew some flak from its own government after its members flew a flag of Syria, with which Israel is officially at war, as a gesture of peace. Predictions of Estonia winning were overturned by Denmark winning with a 40-point lead over Russia, courtesy of veteran musicians and brothers Jørgen and Niels "Noller" Olsen. This edition also saw the EBU give the "Big Four" — France, Germany, Spain and UK, the largest financial contributors to Eurovision — an automatic bye into the finals regardless of average standings. Stockholm 2000 was also the first edition to release a compilation CD of all the entries.
  • 2001 — Copenhagen, Denmark
    Date: May 12
    Venue: Parken Stadium (now Telia Parken)
    Presenters: Natasja Crone Back and Søren Pilmark
    Broadcaster: Danmarks Radio (DR)
    Participating Countries: 23 — Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia return; Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Macedonia, Romania and Switzerland withdraw
    Winner: Estonia — "Everybody" by Tanel Padar, Dave Benton and 2XL
    Copenhagen 2001 broke attendance records with 33,000 viewers, as the venue is the home turf of Denmark's national football team. This was also the first time since Lausanne 1989 where all the acts are entirely new to the contest. This was also said to be the year Terry Wogan went so far with his snarks the BBC was forced to apologize to the Danish hosts. The field was also cut down to 23, with last year's bottom seven forced to sit out and be replaced with 1999's bottom five, alongside returning Greece. Estonia surprised Europe with its first Eurovision victory, in the process making one of their members, Aruba-born David Benton, aged 50, the first black and oldest winner of the contest.
  • 2002 — Tallinn, Estonia
    Slogan: "A Modern Fairytale"
    Date: May 25
    Venue: Saku Suurhall Arena
    Presenters: Annely Peebo and Marko Matvere
    Broadcaster: Eesti Televisioon (ETV)
    Participating Countries: 24 — Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Macedonia, Romania and Switzerland return; Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Portugal withdraw
    Winner: Latvia — "I Wanna" by Marie N
    For this year, the EBU changed the qualification rules such that only the "Big Four", last year's top 15, and last year's sit-outs are qualified. Originally the slots were limited to 22, but the addition of two slots granted a reprieve for Israel and Portugal — the latter, however, withdrew due to problems in their broadcaster RTP, thus saving Latvia from getting axed... which led to a wild Dark Horse Victory courtesy of Marie N.
  • 2003 — Riga, Latvia
    Slogan: "Magical Rendezvous"
    Date: May 24
    Venue: Skonto Hall
    Presenters: Marija "Marie N" Naumova, 2002 winner, and Renārs Kaupers, 2000 third-placer
    Broadcaster: Latvijas Televīzija (LTV)
    Participating Countries: 26 — Ukraine debuts; Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Portugal return; Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Macedonia and Switzerland withdraw
    Winner: Turkey — "Everyway That I Can" by Sertab Erener
    The field extended to 26 with the return of Portugal and Ukraine's debut, featuring pop star Oleksandr Ponomaryov. Predictions that Russia's faux-lesbian duo Ta Tu would win were subverted by Erener, already a star in her native Turkey. Belgium's entry, also considered an outsider before landing second-place, was notable for being sung in a made-up language. UK, meanwhile, suffers its worst result — last place with nul points — which Terry Wogan blames on continental Europe's backlash against its involvement in the Iraq War (though the real reason may have been Jemini's terrible singing).
  • 2004 — Istanbul, Turkey
    Slogan: "Under the Same Sky"
    Dates: May 12 (semifinal) and 15 (final)
    Venue: Abdi İpekçi Arena
    Presenters: Korhan Abay and Meltem Cumbul
    Broadcaster: Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT)
    Participating Countries: 36 — Albania, Andorra, Belarus and Serbia and Montenegro debut; Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Macedonia, Monaco and Switzerland return
    Winner: Ukraine — "Wild Dances" by Ruslana
    To accommodate the growing numbers of Eurovision aspirants, the EBU eschewed the relegation system in favor of a semifinal phase, from which its top ten will join the "Big Four" and last year's top ten into the final, which saw Ukraine emerge victorious after a three-way battle with Russia and Greece, while Serbia and Montenegro made an impressive second-place finish for a debutant. This edition also saw the first use of the generic Eurovision logo: the contest's name with the first "O" replaced with a heart containing the host nation's flag, with unique designs added for every subsequent edition. Istanbul 2004 was the first to have a DVD of the semifinal and final. Starting every year, compilation discs would also include entries that never made it past the semifinal.
  • 2005 — Kiev, Ukraine
    Slogan: "Awakening"
    Dates: May 19 (semifinal) and 21 (final)
    Venue: Palace of Sports
    Presenters: Maria Efrosinina and DJ Pasha
    Broadcaster: National Television Company of Ukraine (NTU)
    Participating Countries: 39 — Bulgaria and Moldova debut; Hungary returns
    Winner: Greece — "My Number One" by Helena Paparizou
    With "Big Four" countries Germany and Spain making it into last year's top ten, Russia and Malta were given the remaining byes. Unlike last year, however, the competition was wide-open, with Greece winning its first Eurovision contest (and to date the only automatically-qualified finalist outside the "Big Four" countries to win the title), while the "Big Four" languished at the cellar. The voting was opened by brothers and boxing superstars Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko.
  • 2006 — Athens, Greece
    Slogan: "Feel the Rhythm"
    Dates: May 18 (semifinal) and 20 (final)
    Venue: OAKA Olympic Indoor Hall
    Presenters: Maria Menounos and Sakis Rouvas
    Broadcaster: Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT)
    Participating Countries: 37 — Armenia debuts; Austria, Hungary and Serbia and Montenegro withdraw
    Winner: Finland — "Hard Rock Hallelujah" by Lordi
    Finland's Lordi made Eurovision history by becoming the first (and so far the only) hard rock band to win the trophy with a record-breaking 292 points (curiously, they also led the semifinal with 292 points). Also, to cut airtime, broadcasting the votes was streamlined such that only the 8-, 10- and 12-point scores were announced, while the lower scores were immediately beamed onscreen.
  • 2007 — Helsinki, Finland
    Slogan: "True Fantasy"
    Dates: May 10 (semifinal) and 12 (final)
    Venue: Hartwall Arena
    Presenters: Jaana Pelkonen, Mikko Leppilampi (Stage) and Krisse Salminen (Green Room)
    Broadcaster: Yle
    Participating Countries: 42 — Czech Republic, Georgia, Montenegro and Serbia debut; Austria and Hungary return; Monaco withdraws
    Winner: Serbia — "Molitva" ("Prayer") by Marija Šerifović
    The first edition broadcast on HD. Debutant Serbia took Helsinki 2007 by storm by becoming the first ex-Yugoslav nation to win the trophy, much to some consternation from Western European media.
  • 2008 — Belgrade, Serbia
    Slogan: "Confluence of Sound"
    Dates: May 20 (first semifinal), 22 (second semifinal) and 24 (final)
    Venue: Belgrade Arena
    Presenters: Jovana Janković and Željko Joksimović, 2004 runner-up and 2012 third-placer
    Broadcaster: Radio Television of Serbia (RTS)
    Participating Countries: 43 — Azerbaijan and San Marino debut; Austria withdraws
    Winner: Russia — "Believe" by Dima Bilan
    This edition introduced two semifinal rounds, where the top 9 countries and one Wild Card from each side are to join the "Big Four" and the host. Belgrade 2008 was accused of being rife with political voting, which Austria boycotted in protest, and saw Russia win with a lot of douze points from ex-Soviet states, while UK, Germany and Poland languished. This edition also saw a lot of entries in the weird category: Ireland sent a puppet turkey vulture that is actually an extremely famous (children's) TV character, Latvia had pirates, Azerbaijan flaunted thong-clad succubi, and France had noted electronica artist Sebastien Tellier perform alongside female backing singers that performed with fake beards. This is Wogan's last season as UK commentator.
  • 2009 — Moscow, Russia
    Dates: May 12 (first semifinal), 14 (second semifinal) and 16 (final)
    Venue: Olympic Indoor Stadium
    Presenters: Natalia Vodianova and Andrey Malakhov (semifinal); Ivan Urgant and Alsou, 2000 runner-up (final)
    Broadcaster: Channel One Russia
    Participating Countries: 42 — Slovakia returns; Georgia and San Marino withdraw
    Winner: Norway — "Fairytale" by Alexander Rybak
    Moscow 2009 saw Norwegian violinist-singer Rybak break Lordi's record with 387 points, with its 95-point lead over second-placed Iceland also setting another record. Following criticism over bloc voting, the EBU changed the voting system to its current form, where both the jury and phone-in votes are given an equal footing in weighing the scores. This pretty much helped change the pattern of Western entries getting axed by Eastern callers — for example, UK won its best placing yet, fifth with 173 points (it also helped that Andrew Lloyd Webber was the pianist). On the other hand, this edition also saw Georgia being forced to withdraw over their entry being interpreted as an attack on then-prime minister Vladimir Putin and the bitter rivalry between Armenia and Azerbaijan rearing its head into Eurovision, when Armenia put in a picture of a pro-Armenian statue from hotly-contested Nagorno-Karabakh on their postcard and Azerbaijan censored Armenia's entry. This season also featured the debut of current British commentator, Graham Norton, who proudly continued Wogan's penchant for alcohol-induced snarking.
  • 2010 — Oslo, Norway
    Slogan: "Share the Moment"
    Dates: May 25 (first semifinal), 27 (second semifinal) and 29 (final)
    Venue: Telenor Arena
    Presenters: Erik Solbakken, Haddy N'jie and Nadia Hasnaoui
    Broadcaster: Norsk rikskringkasting (NRK)
    Participating Countries: 39 — Georgia returns; Andorra, Czech Republic, Hungary and Montenegro withdraw
    Winner: Germany — "Satellite" by Lena
    This year, the semifinal stages were changed such that only the top ten from each side will join the "Big Four" and the host. Germany becomes the first "Big Four" winner since the UK thirteen years ago, which this time ended at the bottom (it also helped that the song was already a hit in Germany weeks prior to the contest), while Spain had to do their song again after someone invaded the stage.
  • 2011 — Düsseldorf, Germany
    Slogan: "Feel Your Heart Beat!"
    Dates: May 10 (first semifinal), 12 (second semifinal) and 14 (final)
    Venue: Esprit Arena
    Presenters: Anke Engelke, Judith Rakers and Stefan Raab
    Broadcaster: Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) [an ADR Group member]
    Participating Countries: 43 — Austria, Hungary, Italy and San Marino return
    Winner: Azerbaijan — "Running Scared" by Eli & Nikki
    Germany's first Eurovision hosting duty as a unified nation saw Italy return after a decade and Azerbaijan become the first Transcaucasian state to win the contest after a rather narrow voting process — at one point, even the UK was on top for all of sixty seconds. The finale had gotten an unusually strong selection this year with up to five or six favouritesnote but Azerbaijan was barely a blip on the radarnote . The performances in the finale included a unicycle, sand art, exploding glass and a pair of hyperactive Irish twins whose hair became a running joke when the votes were to be cast.
  • 2012 — Baku, Azerbaijan
    Slogan: "Light Your Fire!"
    Dates: May 22 (first semifinal), 24 (second semifinal) and 26 (final)
    Venue: Baku Crystal Hall
    Presenters: Leyla Aliyeva, Eldar Gasimov, one half of of 2011's winning act Eli & Nikki, and Nargiz Birk-Petersen
    Broadcaster: İctimai Television (İTV)
    Participating Countries: 42 — Montengro returns; Armenia and Poland withdraw
    Winner: Sweden — "Euphoria" by Loreen
    With Italy becoming a major financial contributor, the "Big Four" becomes the "Big Five", allowing it to gain a bye into the final. Nevertheless, fan-favorite Sweden took the title for the fifth time with 372 points, and while Loreen failed to beat Rybak's record points-wise, she nevertheless set new records in terms of most douze points awarded (18) and margin of victory (118 points over Russia). Loreen also eschewed the usual bright and elaborate stage show in favor of subtle lighting, outfit and choreography. Baku 2012 was also notable for the top 3 countries (Sweden, Russia, and Serbia) earning their positions largely without bloc voting: Sweden and Russia both got points from 40 of 42 countries, and Serbia got points from 30 of 42. Albania achieved their best-ever result, 5th place with 146 points as well as second in the first semifinal, while Norway saved the United Kingdom from last place, making for Norway's eleventh time in the bottom of the rankings. As usual, the host's rivalry with Armenia figured again when the latter opted out of this edition for "security reasons", not to mention that the host faced scrutiny over its human rights records and pressure from Iran condemning the event.
  • 2013 — Malmö, Sweden
    Slogan: "We Are One"
    Dates: May 14 (first semifinal), 16 (second semifinal) and 18 (final)
    Venue: Malmö Arena
    Presenter: Petra Mede
    Broadcaster: Sveriges Television (SVT)
    Participating Countries: 39 — Armenia returns; Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portugal, Slovakia and Turkey withdraw
    Winner: Denmark — "Only Teardrops" by Emmelie de Forest
    Emphasizing its theme, Malmö 2013 introduced a tradition from the Junior Eurovision of flags of the nations marching in and all the acts performing together at least once. Repeating history, Denmark won for the second time on Swedish soil, with its entry being a favourite going into the final, and faced neck and neck competition with Ukraine and Azerbaijan for most of the voting phase (who were later exposed by Lithuanian media attempting to buy votes). Other notable entries included the United Kingdom dusting off Bonnie Tyler (of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" fame) and finishing badly as usual (but not in last, thankfully), Germany's Cascada performing (virtually) last year's winning song, and Romania's Cezar, an operatic dubstep vampire. With Sweden hosting, there were a record number of references to ABBA, and also had Swedish football superstar Zlatan Ibrahimović welcoming the crowd to his hometown.
  • 2014 — Copenhagen, Denmark
    Slogan: "#JoinUs" (so far the only slogan deliberately designed to double as a hashtag)
    Dates: May 6 (first semifinal), 8 (second semifinal) and 10 (final)
    Venue: B&W Hallerne
    Presenters: Lise Rønne, Nikolaj Koppel and Pilou Asbæk
    Broadcaster: DR
    Participating Countries: 37 — Poland and Portugal return; Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Serbia withdraw
    Winner: Austria — "Rise Like a Phoenix" by Conchita Wurst
    Copenhagen 2014 is one of the more politically-charged editions, with Russia getting most of the heat (as it was held weeks after its military incursion into Crimea and a year after it instituted laws restricting free expression of homosexuality), with their performers, 17-year-old twin sisters Anastasiya and Maria Tolmachevy (winners of the 2006 Junior contest), being booed whenever they received high votes. Early indications that pop star Sanna Nielsen would hand Sweden its sixth trophy were overturned when bearded Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst charmed the entire continent to victory, while the Netherlands' country act The Common Linnets snuck into second place, the nation's highest placing since winning Stockholm 1975. Of the "Big Five", UK, Italy and Germany settled into the middle of the scoreboard, while Spain fared better with a tenth-place finish courtesy of Ruth Lorenzo, fifth-placer at the 2008 edition of The X Factor UK, and France finished last, with their song about wanting to have moustaches performed by a group composed of a Weird Al lookalike, a guy dressed and painted like an African tribesman and three other guys. They did not have any moustaches per se.
  • 2015 — Vienna, Austria
    Slogan: "Building Bridges"
    Dates: May 19 (first semifinal), 21 (second semifinal) and 23 (final)
    Venue: Wiener Stadthalle
    Presenters: Mirjam Weichselbraun, Alice Tumler, Arabella Kiesbauer (Stage), and Conchita Wurst, 2014 winner (Green Room)
    Broadcaster: Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF)
    Participating Countries: 40 — Australia debuts as a guest entry; Cyprus, Czech Republic and Serbia return; Ukraine withdraws
    The upcoming edition, already making waves with the introduction of Australia, a non-European EBU subscriber with a strong interest in the contest, sending in 2003 Australian Idol champion Guy Sebastian, and Ukraine withdrawing over both financial issues and current events.

See also the Wikipedia article.

In 2007, the Eurovision Dance Contest started, essentially featuring a lot of people from the Strictly Come Dancing franchise. Few of the freestyle dances had the supposed national connection and about a dozen involved the removal of clothing. The first winner was Finland, with Poland winning the 2008 contest.

Eurovision tropes

  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: The definitive recurring element in entries, the last chorus of a song often cranks up a key or two. Why? Because they can. This is often combined with any of the following:
  • Switch Into English: Even if you start singing in your native Bulgarian or Hebrew, switching into English for the final chorus (or for every chorus) will guarantee international appeal. Also known as Gratuitous English. Compare International Pop Song English.
    • Averted for most of Eurovision's history (from 1958 to 1972 and from 1977 to 1998) because each song had to be sung in the country's language. The winners would often, however, reprise their songs with a Switch Into English. This trope was played most spectacularly by Nicole's Ein bißchen Frieden for Germany in 1982 when she sang in German, French, English, and Dutch, eliciting an applause at each switch.
    • Israel's entries have a weird on-off kind of thing for this. Boaz Mauda's entry, "HaEsh B'Einaiyich" was half-Hebrew, half-English and placed 9th. Shiri Maimon's entry did that, too and it nearly won. David D'Or's "L'haamin", though, didn't even make the finals. Izabo's "Time" also has a language switch, switching from English to Hebrew in the chorus rather than the verse.
    • The "native-language-only" policy was cancelled in 1998 because of a massive streak of winners that were either in English (Ireland winning in 1992, '93, '94 and '96, plus a United Kingdom victory in 1997, with Ireland finishing second) or had as little text as remotely possible (Norway in 1995 and Israel in 1998). Since then, the only winner not sung in English was 2007's "Molitva" from Serbia.
    • Played disappointingly straight in 2011, where the grand majority of songs were partially or completely in English. 2011 was also notable for being the first time that nobody sang in French (save for one sentence in the chorus of Evelina Saenko's entry for Lithuania, "C'est ma vie", the rest of which was in English.). This is even stranger considering not only was it the Lithuanian entry that used bits of French, but to top it off she's actually ethnically Polish.
    • Looks to be played disappointingly straight in the 2015 contest as well. Of 40 participating countries, only 7 entries (Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Montenegro, Finland, and Romania) include lyrics in a language other than English. Serbia will be entering their first English-language entry since debuting as an independent entity. Most notably, Israel, whose broadcaster used to require at least half of the lyrics of their entries be in Hebrew, is sending an entirely English song in light of their poor qualification record in recent years. When the Romanian entry toyed with the idea of sending their song "De la capăt" in English (they performed entirely in Romanian in the national final), the backlash was so great they instead opted for a bilingual version.
  • Stock Rhymes: It comes with the Gratuitous English. Many lyricists who speak English as a second language (or not even at all) choose stock rhyming words (or don't even bother with rhyming at all!). The worst offending couplet is fire/desire, with some songs completing the trifecta with fire/desire/higher (Romania 2010, Greece 2005)
  • Intentional Costume Malfunction: Ever since Bucks Fizz won the contest in 1981 with a dance routine involving the girls whipping off their skirts to reveal shorter skirts underneath, the on-stage striptease has become a standard ingredient (4 out of 25 finalists in 2008, plus Serbia's show opener).
    • tATu threatened to go all the way in 2003. They didn't ultimately, sang badly and Turkey won. This was the year where the UK ended up with no points whatsoever.
    • While not a striptease per se, Germany tried to get the male vote in 2009 by including burlesque model Dita von Teese. The baffling part of all this was that two-thirds of the way into the performance, they stop to announce her ("Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Dita Von Teese!"), even though she was already on the stage and had been stripping throughout the song. And after that she just poses a bit. Ultimately, it didn't work, and they finished twentieth out of twenty-five.
    • In 1985, the Swedish host Lill Lindfors lost her skirt when it snagged on some scenery. This was quickly revealed as intentional when she unfastened part of her top to make a dress. This routine had been kept secret and was a surprise even to most of the crew (a man was placed in the mixing room to make sure the camera stayed on Lill). It led to the addition of a rule that the aired show cannot contain elements that haven't been a part of rehearsals beforehand.note 
  • Elaborate Stage Show: This has essentially become more important than the song itself.
    • In fact, aversions of this will nearly always hit a soft spot among certain fans of the contest, who have seen it all when it comes to Elaborate Stage Shows. France 2009, Belgium 2010 and (not to the same extent) Italy 2011 are the most recent examples.
    • 2012 largely averted this: most of the entries (including Sweden, the winner) opted for more reserved clothing and limited and simple choreography, if they used it at all.
  • Predictable Voting: Especially since the 90's, there has been a tendency for nations to give their highest points to their neighboring countries. It is a matter of debate whether it is primarily explained by conscious political alliances or by a tendency for culturally close countries to have similar musical tastes. Here are a few such examples:
    • A common Eurovision joke is that There are only three things certain in life: Death, Taxes, and Greece and Cyprus exchanging maximum votes at Eurovision - provided they are allowed to vote for each other.
    • The Scandinavian and Easter European blocks all vote for their fellow block countries. The Eastern European phenomenon has given rise to a popular joke: "The West may have won the Cold War, but the East won Eurovision."
    • While folks can’t vote for the country they presently live in, that doesn’t stop emigrants from voting for the countries they originated from, especially in regards to Eastern Europeans that moved to Western European nations whose natives have seemed to have stopped taking the contest seriously. For instance, because of the large diaspora of Turkish immigrants, Germany and the Netherlands have had a tendency to be giving their 12 points to Turkey, while Ireland has been giving high marks to the Baltics and Poland, due to the high dispora of immigrants from those regions.
    • Sure, there's issues between most countries in the Balkan region and amongst the former Soviet countries since their respective breakups, but the one time they can count on one another is when they need Eurovision votes.
    • Ireland usually gets a high vote from the UK, helped by the many Irish in Britain and the fact that Northern Ireland is part of the UK. In return Irish almost always give a few points to the UK, though generally fewer than the other way around. The only notable exception being when Ireland entered Jedward for the second time, at which point they gave the UK twelve, and got 6 in return.
      • The 2013 Eurovision also averted this trope. Ireland gave the UK 7 points, while they gave Ireland 1 point. The Irish were not even slightly happy.
    • Malta normally gives twelve to the UK, and in 2007 admitted they fixed their results as a protest against bloc voting.
    • Spain and Portugal usually interchange high votes and, since Andorra's first appearance, both countries receive the highest votes from this little principate. France also got high points from Andorra, but didn't give any in return.
    • This problem seems to have finally been ended with the 50/50 split of votes (a professional jury counts for 50% and the popular vote counts for 50%) in 2010.
      • You still can check if you know the border countries of the one giving the votes by saying who gets the maximum votes.
      • In fact Spanish long-time commentator José Luís Uribarri became famous for announcing the votes from each country before the jury actually told the results (and he gets them right most of the time). People enjoy it especially when he fails. This is one of the main reasons Spaniards don't take the contest seriously anymore.
    • Another pair of countries that exchange maximum votes predictably has arisen in recent years: Turkey and Azerbaijan. Similar to Greece and Cyprus, this is in large part due to the cultural connection between the two.
    • Israel, when they do vote, give the UK and Turkey points. Moldova and the Ukraine are your next bets; in fact, you could say everywhere but Germany.
    • On the flip side of this, there are also countries who won't give each other the time of day, much less points at Eurovision. The classical example is Greece/Turkey; another that has arisen in recent years is Armenia/Azerbaijan (although, rather surprisingly given the history of the two countries, Turkey and Armenia are not averse to giving each other a few points)
      • Considering their reputation as not voting for each other, Greece and Turkey have given surprisingly many points to each other over the years. Turkey and Cyprus on the other hand, have only given points to each other in 2 occasions, in 2003 and in 2004.
  • Questionable Choreography
  • Tourist Office Inserts: Between each song (to give the TV audience something to look at while the set is being changed), the next act are shown in a silent vignette enjoying the delights of the host country.
    • Serbia did something slightly different in 2008, with performers in the colours of the next performing country's flag.
    • In 2010 a clip from the next act's home country was shown instead.
    • In 2011, the vignettes showed people from the next performing country who live in Germany enjoying famous German sights.
    • 2012 featured on things around Azerbaijan, ending with the LED lighting on the outside of the Baku Crystal Hall lighting up with a pattern of the performing country's flag.
    • 2013 featured clips of the artists in their home country, in preparation for their trip to Sweden.
    • 2014 featured clips of the artists using different media (such as paint, jigsaw puzzle pieces or even flowers) to make up their country's flag, before taking a photograph of the result.
  • Interval Act: while the panels were deliberating or the phone votes are coming in, an interval act is arranged. This used to be very dull until in 1994 the Irish hosts gave the world "Riverdance" and launched Michael Flatley's career. Following that, each subsequent host has tried to up the ante and hopefully launch another international hit. None have yet succeeded.
  • Ralph Siegel: aka Mr. Eurovision. He has written a whopping nineteen songs that participated in the Contest, ranging from Nicole's 1982 German winner "Ein bisschen Frieden" to Montenegro's 2009 song "Just get out of my life", which failed to qualify for the finals.
  • Terry Wogan: For viewers in the UK (and many in Ireland and some other European countries, where British TV channels are commonly available), an integral part of the experience was the dry, acerbic commentary by veteran radio presenter Sir Terry Wogan who openly mocked the hosts, the costumes, the songs, the Tourist Office Inserts, the Interval Act. He generally seemed to spend the contest getting progressively more squiffy on Bailey's, so tends to become more and more entertaining as the evening draws on. The worse the contest, the quicker it happens. He was once banned from Denmark for referring to their hosts as "Doctor Death and the Tooth Fairy". Commentated the show in 1978 and from 1980 to 2008, where he left due to being unhappy with the political voting and the UK's lack of effort. He has since been replaced by Graham Norton, another sardonic Irishman.
  • Bad Hosts: It must be tradition for the hosts to fill the competition with bad, bad jokes, poor acting and worthless delivery. Not helped that they are speaking in English, not their first tongue (unless Ireland have won ... again).
    • First played horribly straight in the semifinals of 2009, and then completely averted in the final. It was a good year.
  • Over-enthusiastic other hosts: Finland's "Eurovision's biggest fan" took the proverbial biscuit. Serbia had some ridiculous woman in a square in Belgrade (this was during other countries' ad breaks) and some woman who looked like Avril Lavigne in "The Green Room".
    • For the record, the said "biggest fan" was a comedy actress whose thing is to play a hyper naïve,simple-minded blonde with pieces of sharp sarcasm.
    • During the voting in 2006, the Netherlands' spokesperson Paul de Leeuw seemed to ignore the live element of the show, unsubtly hitting on the male host and giving out his mobile number on live TV before proceeding to name the country awarded 12 points. Terry Wogan called him an "eejit" in his commentary. invoked
  • Wind Machines. Lots of them.

This event contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Every now and then, but the clearest example is Ruslana, the winner in 2004.
  • Affectionate Parody:
    • Swedish Eurodance performer Markoolio wrote a parody of typical Eurovision music, "Värsta Schlagern".note . And of course, it lampshades all the clichés. The third verse? Translated into English it goes: "Now it gets difficult to figure out/ something new to say, but so what?/ This is just padding/ which people will soon forget about." He actually tried to enter it into the Swedish selection competition Melodifestivalen with a different singer. but it was turned down for obvious reasons.
    • Markoolio got into Melodifestivalen as a wild card in 2009 with another song, "Kärlekssång från mig"; a ballad whose live performance parodied elements of Dima Bilan's two appearances at Eurovision. It featured a Funny Background Event involving a man emerging from the piano, who then failed at ice skating, almost got hit by a violinist, and then got set on fire by the pyrotechnics.
  • All Issues Are Political Issues: Usually averted. On paper, Eurovision's meant to be an apolitical, borderless celebration of diversity and harmony; in fact, explicitly political entries are intentionally banned. In practice, there have been times when the contest becomes politically charged, reflecting current events.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Serbia's entries in 2007 and 2010, Ukraine in 2007, and the Queen of Europe — Conchita Wurst — in 2014.
  • Audience Participation: 2010 Eurovision's Flash Mob.
  • Bald of Awesome:
    • Steve Bender from West Germany entry in 1979, "Dschinghis Khan".
    • The dancing bald guy in Lithuania's entry in 2006.
  • Balkanize Me: Perhaps due to the voting blocs spawned by the breakups of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, as well as the lack of effort of the United Kingdom in the 21st century as a united nation, there have been calls for the UK to split themselves up into separate nations much like they do in most sports, and make their own voting block with Ireland, which could happen pending if Scotland declares independence. Wales in particular even have gone as far as creating a national contest show long in advance dating back to 1969 in preparation if the split up were to happen. Of course if it did happen, it would pose several problems:
    • Since much of the UK's economic power comes from England, they would be the only nation that could possibly keep their "Big 5" status, meaning that Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland would most likely have to compete in the semifinals much like Ireland does. Then of course, there's the financial issues that would come with hosting if one of these nations were to win, especially since they wouldn't have the full financial support of the UK anymore.
    • There's The Irish Question of whether Northern Ireland should join up with Ireland or compete separately as they do in soccer.
    • Finally the voting block these nations would have could easily backfire as not only that they have to compete against one another, there could be vendettas between these nations as along with the issue of nationality, the fact they had to resort to doing this because of the lack of effort back when they participated as a united nation. That said, the spawned rivalries could lead to these nations sending a better quality of entrants as a result, pending they start taking the contest seriously again.
  • Belly Dancer: Turkey often combines this with a Regional Riff.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • Reports indicate that for 2013, Azerbaijan did just that, literally. It appears to have backfired, since they only managed to get 2nd place.
    • Not exactly "bribing your way to victory" in the traditional sense, but if you are a "Big 5" country note  who are the highest financial contributors to the EBU, or are hosting the contest (and have to spend a boatload of money to make the contest possible), you get to automatically qualify for the final, regardless of previous results. These countries haven't really used this to their advantage in the final however, with Germany in 2010 being the only time someone from the "Big 5" has won, with these countries being known for having a tendency for not taking the contest seriously, and in the case of the host, fear of having to pay to host the contest again. Not to mention, even when these nations do send credible songs, some argue that the bye is more of a disadvantage, as said artists have to wait until the final for their songs to be performed, thus having less exposure compared to the semi-finalists as a result.
  • Butt Monkey: Since around 2003 the UK has held this status, regularly finishing in the bottom five and more often than not coming dead last. Initially this was largely due to other countries protesting against their involvement in the invasion of Iraq, but this led to a vicious cycle in which talented singers refused to participate due to the likelihood of a bad Eurovision performance destroying their career note , leading to the country being forced to send legitimately terrible acts to the contest, with a predictable lack of success each time.
    • Lampshaded in the 2014 semi-finals when in a tongue-in-cheek interval act, Australia were told to move to Europe to participate in the contest, prompting them to lift the country out with helicopters and dumping themselves on top of the UK.
    • Could also apply to The Netherlands, who holds the record for failing to qualify for the final in 8 consecutive years. This was even exploited in 2013, when the Dutch had high hopes for their act performed by A-list star Anouk to break this string. Their announcement of reaching the final was saved to the last. The Netherlands did recover well from this negative streak by reaching 9th place in 2013 and even 2nd in 2014, their best placing since their last win in 1975.
    • The Polish audience was so accustomed to failing yet another contestnote , it was a massive surprise for everyone (even for Donatan and Cleo, the year's Polish representatives, themselves!) that in 2014 we actually scored enough points to get to the finals. And "We are Slavic" didn't even come dead last in the finals - actually, the 14th place was one of the best places in the whole history of Polish performances on Eurovision.
    • Countries like Finland were accustomed to finishing lastnote  or on the right side of the scoreboard, that when Lordi won Eurovision, it came as a cause of celebration. Even today, no Finnish entry has come close to matching their success.
    • Andorra and the Czech Republic have only participated 6 times and 3 times respectively, but have never gathered enough points to qualify for the final. Neither country has returned to the contest since 2009, though the Czech Republic will try again in 2015.
  • Camp: Several dozens of acts. Likely at least a dozen of them every year.
  • Catch Phrase: Douze points! Twelve points goes to... (SIC) Royaume Uni dix points!
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The individual members of Iceland's 2014 entry, Pollapönk. Whether in tracksuits, suit and tie, dresses, or bathrobes, they would wear the same colors. They even painted their [finger]nails for you!
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Lordi, a silly curiosity act, positively annihilated the competition as the votes came in in 2006, getting top-level votes (usually 8-12 points) from almost every country. At the time, their points total of 292 was a Eurovision record. It has since been broken twice over, by Norway in 2009 with 387 points (169 more than second-placed Iceland) and Sweden in 2012 with 372 points (113 more than second-placed Russia).
    • In 1994, the winner Ireland was the first country to break the 200-point barrier with 226 points and a healthy lead of 60 points over the runner-up Poland. Three years later in 1997, Katrina and the Waves, representing the United Kingdom, beat their record with 227 points, a 70 point lead over the Irish runner-ups, and racked up 10 sets of douze points. To date, three winners have had larger winning margins, the aforementioned Norway in 2009 with a 169 point lead and Sweden in 2012 with a 113 point lead, as well as Germany in 2010 with a 76 point lead.
  • Curse: While nations performing later in the contest tends to have a better chance of winning, as most viewers remember the song more when it’s time to vote, a nation having to perform 2nd in the final running order is known to be a kiss of death to one's chances of winning the contest. Not only that nobody has won performing there, it has produced the most last place finishes and many pre-contest favorites have found themselves bombing in the scorecard from having to perform 2nd. Notable victims to the curse include Vicky Leandros (1967), Olivia Newton-John (1974), Matia Bazaar (1979), Gili & Galit (1989) and Gina G (1996).
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • The BBC seems to be developing a tradition of having a snarky presenter from the Republic of Ireland do its Eurovision commentary. BBC commentary was provided until 2008 by Terry Wogan, who spent the entire broadcasts drinking Bailey's and snarking about how terrible the acts were, how terrible the hosts were, and how shamelessly political the voting became. Wogan has since been replaced by Graham Norton, who proudly continued the tradition of snark in 2009 and 2010 (including snarking over his own interview during half-time).
    Graham: (about Greece recieving a lot of points in 2012) The Greek finance minister has just died.
    • The Swedish commentator of 2007-2008, Kristian Luuk, would throw sarcastic remarks at pretty much everything, some of which were pretty irrelevant to the entries and the voting, doubled with a hoot he often used, even during Andorra's performance. Predictably, he got warnings from the broadcast channel to stop his behavior immediately, but he ignored them.
    Luuk: (about one of the spokesmen) Look at that guy's fat chin!
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Conflicts between Azerbaijan and Armenia took centre-stage at the 2009 contest due to continuing conflicts over the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic: during the semi-finals, a statue ("We Are Our Mountains") located in the republic appeared in the Armenian postcard. After Azerbaijan promptly complained, since it recognizes the republic as its property, the status was edited out for the final... where the Armenian vote presenter promptly pulled a Take That by having the aforementioned statue be her backdrop, and taped a picture of it to her clipboard. Following the finals, Azerbaijan's Ministry of National Security proceeded to interrogate the 43 people who voted for Armenia, considering them to be a "a potential security threat". The EBU ultimately fined Azerbaijan over its misconduct, alongside allegations that they tried to censor the Armenian entry during the final.
    • Predictably, when Azerbaijan won in 2011, Armenia pulled out for 2012.
    • It is also interesting that for such a gay-friendly event, it was held in a country with draconian anti-homosexual laws inherited from the old Soviet Union, where being gay earned a stay in The Gulag. British TV commentator Graham Norton, an out gay man, defended his role against criticism from gay rights groups by saying he was "unaware" of Azerbaijan's institutional homophobia and draconian laws.
  • Does Not Like Shoes / Unkempt Beauty: Both Sweden's Loreen and Denmark's Emilie de Forrest, the winners of 2012 and 2013 respectively, sported the barefoot-and-messy-hair look.
  • Dreadful Musician
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first Contest in 1956 was mostly broadcast for TV and radio, though mostly for radio as television was an expensive luxury back in the mid-50's and had 7 countries (there were more planned, but they didn't get the paperwork done in time) providing two songs each, presumably to pad it out. There was one winner - Switzerland, who didn't win again until Céline Dion gave them a hand - and everyone else came "second", with the point allocation being secret. Also, one song was just some guy whistling to a band. invoked
  • Europop: Although it's more of an example of how weird Europop can get.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles - Lithuania's 2010 entry that features sparkle shorts.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning
  • Failure Hero: The country that has participated the longest without any win is Portugal, which made its debut in 1964 and has never finished in the top five.
  • Fanservice: Even in the least successful songs, performances with strip teasing and wardrobe malfunctions tend to be quite well remembered.
  • Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics: The 1968 winning song used to have lyrics, but they were censored. The chorus ended up being: "la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la."
  • Funny Background Event: This.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The band behind Switzerland's 2013 entry, Heilsarmee (Salvation Army, since its performers are members of said charity) were forced to change their name because of the "no politics" rule. They re-named themselves Takasa, which pretty much stands for "The artists (formally) known as Salvation Army"
  • Girl Next Door: Lena Meyer-Landrut, the winner of Eurovision 2010, may or may not be trying to invoke this with her style of dress (if not her songs). It works for some.
  • Golden Snitch: Has been known to happen in the national selections, notably the Ukrainian entry in 2005. Having played out the preselection over the course of 15 knockout rounds, the broadcaster bizarrely added Razom nas bahato, an anthem of the previous year's Orange Revolution, as a "wildcard" entry in the final. It won the vote (and promptly had to be rewritten to remove the political content, in accordance with Eurovision rules).
    • The Maltese national final for 2013 had televoting giving one to twelve points, and six juries... each of which gave up to twelve points, so the power of televote was drastically reduced.
  • Gratuitous English: Many acts.
    • The French entries have always been in French, except for the 1996 entry (in Breton) and the 2011 entry (in Corsican, which was also one of the languages of the 1993 entry), although the 2008 entry, "Divine" by Sébastien Tellier, was sung in French and English. And the 2007 entry from France was in Franglais, a creole-like mix of the two languages (which was strange and disorientating to French and British viewers alike).
    • The Spaniards have not sung in English. Yet. (With just one exception in 1968 - in which Spain won the contest - when, during the reprise of "La, La, La", Massiel sang the second chorus in English.)
    • The Portuguese lasted longer than the French in staying in their native tongue. Their entry in 2003, "Deixa-me sonhar (só mais uma vez)", was the first of four entries to be sung partially in English; every other Portuguese entry has only been presented in Portuguese.
  • Guest Fighter: In 2015, in honor of the 60th anniversary, Australia, a country nowhere near Europe but known for it's enthusiasm for the contest, will be invited to compete in the finale. No, really!
  • I Can't Believe A Continent Like You Would Notice Me: To put in perspective how seriously the "Big 5" takes the contest in the 21st century, portions of the German press were extremely pleasantly surprised at their 2010 win. The newspaper Die Welt carried a headline which basically said "Europe likes us. When did that happen?"
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes
  • Long Runners
  • The Mean Brit: Terry Wogan. Even though he is Irish, he did commentate for Britain.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • In 2000 the Dutch live broadcast was stopped halfway through. A fireworks storage had gone up in flames, so those watching the dopey-happy show were treated to a special bulletin of an entire city block having been incinerated. The rest of the European watching public learned about this from the Dutch spokeswoman - that fireworks explosion was the reason that the Dutch had to give the points by jury that year.
    • In 2012, Albania was allowed to delay their broadcast of the first semifinal (in which they were performing) and only use jury votes due to a serious bus accident which had occurred the day before and led the government to declare a day of mourning on the date of the semifinal.
  • The Movie: The Junior Eurovision did get a documentary about it, "Sounds Like Teen Spirit: A Popumentary"
  • Nice Hat: Did you see the HUGE hats that the 2011 Moldovan performers wore?!
  • Overly Long Gag: Mr. Lordi returned to present Finland's votes on the 2012 edition. And then this happened.
  • Panty Shot: If the show includes a recap of memorable moments from past contests, expect at least a few of these. Mostly when someone tripped or suffered a Wardrobe Malfunction.
  • Poe's Law: Dustin the Turkey, singing a deliberately terrible dance song about how terrible Eurovision has gotten and how Ireland have gone from being the group-to-beat to being also-rans. It might have gone over a little better if the lyrics had been a little more coherent and had Dustin had a less annoying voice. Most people thought it was simply a shit song.
  • Really Seventeen Years Old: Belgium in 1986 sent Sandra Kim, at the tender age of 13.5 years old. She pretended to be 14.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: France's 2007 entry, Amour à la Francaise by Les Fatal Picards.
  • Refuge in Audacity
  • Regional Riff: Frequently. Spain and Turkey are among the most prolific (ab/)users of the trope.
  • Rule of Three: 2011 had three judges. The result? Three consecutive reminders that you cannot vote for your own country.
  • Rummage Sale Rejects
  • The Scapegoat:
    • People from the UK tend to blame the poor scores their songs generally receive on politics. This can at times take on an edge of Hypocritical Humour, since the UK is also notable for not taking the contest particularly seriously, as can often be reflected in the entries they submit. Claims of neighborly voting among Eastern European countries are also rendered null when they give and receive points from Ireland.
    • The Swedes are even worse. Every year has sparked an outcry against political or bugged voting and since we started to slip from getting to the top five every year to finally being eliminated in the semi-finals, a demand to boycott or shut down the entire competition has become something of a tradition. We're talking about the biggest newspapers here, not just individual grumbling. Beats the UK in Hypocritical Humor as well, since they have a tendency to make points rain on their fellow Scandinavian countries. Fortunately for the Swedes, they would clinch a victory in 2012.
    • Same thing in Poland. Every single year our reason for not getting to the finals was that "Nobody likes us in Europe". After which, hundreds of declaration that we won't sent a contestant next year can be heard. But we do send them anyway. Averted somehow in 2014 - this time we are blaming our score on the judges who gave us a lot less points that the viewers (if only the viewers points counted, Poland would have a 5th place instead of 14th!) and on Conchita Wurst who stole our spotlight with the help of her Badass Beard, Pimped-Out Dress and a way better song than "We are Slavic". One political party even announced that (if they will be elected of course) they have a plan to change the Eurovision voting system so we won't be cheated out by judges ever again. Well, they said exactly the same words before 2009, when only viewers votes were taken into account and Polish songs were always getting low (or very low) scores. And again, it was because of "politics".
  • Scenery Porn: There is a lot of gratuitous tourism adverts for the host country.
    • Azerbaijan combined this with Food Porn in one of the pre-performance vignettes in 2012.
  • Serious Business: For the Swedish Media at least.
  • Shout-Out: A presenter noted in 2011 that the voting process was "the same procedure as every year." The reference probably flew over the heads of the British though.
  • Silly Love Songs - Extremely numerous!
    • This trope reached its apotheosis in 2014 with host country Denmark's entry Cliche Love Song (also a CMOF for Denmark).
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis - Greece and Cyprus versus Turkey for example.
    • A country that doesn't make it to the finals will usually feel better about it if their rival doesn't make it either.
    • Notably, Armenia pulled out of the contest in 2012 because it was being held in Azerbaijan, its arch-rival (partly in protest of ceasefire violations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, partly because of the strong possibility that whatever performer it sent to Azerbaijan would be in great danger).
  • Sixth Ranger: In less than 20 years the number of countries that have participated has more than doubled. Of the 26 countries that have joined in the last 20 years, the vast majority hadn't taken part before because they hadn't existed beyond being parts of Yugoslavia or the Soviet Union.
    • The earliest instance of a semifinal occurred in 1993, in the form of a special entitled "Kvalifikacija za Millstreet" ("Qualification for Millstreet). Held after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, it featured seven countries new to Eurovision: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia. Sadly, none of the 3 countries that went to the 1993 contest (Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia) placed in the top 10, though Bosnia got 12 points from Turkey. The whole semi can be viewed here.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Russia's Alexey Vorobyov accused Sweden's Eric Saade of being a cheap rip-off of him. Despite not being famous in Sweden(he wouldn't have heard about him), having Swedish dancers, an Swedish choreographer, and a Swedish songwriter..
  • Spin-Off: There have been two major spin-offs of the competition.
    • Firstly, there's the Eurovision Dance Contest, which was essentially a pan-European version of Dancing with the Stars (especially in the 2008 edition, which switched to celebrity/professional pairings, much like said show). It did not fair well at all; only two editions occurred (2007 and 2008, both hosted by the BBC in London and Glasgow, Scotland). A 2009 edition in Azerbaijan was planned, but the entire idea got canned due to a "serious lack of interest." Thankfully, Azerbaijan did get to host the real thing.
    • And then, there's the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Going meta, it originated as a junior spin-off of Denmark's Dansk Melodi Grand Prix competition, which then gained a spin-off of its own known as MGP Nordic (held between Denmark, Norway and Sweden in 2002). The success of this then expanded the idea into a pan-European version, much like its adult counterpart. However, MGP Nordic did return from 2006 to 2009 when the Nordic countries jointly pulled out due to allegations that the JESC was treating contestants unethically. Each country who participates starts with 12 points already instead of 0 in the voting, just to keep the kids happy. In 2011, these free twelves were delivered by a teenaged presenter in Australia (Yes, they watch it there too!). invoked
    • In 2005, German comedian, musician and Eurovision veteran Stefan Raab started the "Bundesvision (Federal Vision) Song Contest" featuring contestants representing the 16 German states. So far, all five winners were already very big in Germany - three rock and two reggae acts, actually.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Since the nation whose entrant wins has to host it the next year at its own expense, an undertaking that might oblige less prosperous countries to sell their national monuments on eBay, it's probable that many of the participants aren't playing to win. In fact the winner doesn't have to host it the next year, though turning it down would involve a certain loss of face. Apparently for some nations, looking like complete fools is the lesser of two evils.
    • In 1972 Monaco was unable to host due to lack of resources, so the contest was held in the UK instead.
    • Since Sweden withdrew from the 1976 competition in fear of winning and having to host the Contest again, the rules changed so all participants have to pay an entry fee which goes to the hosting country.
    • Norwegian state broadcaster NRK had to sell its broadcast rights to The World Cup in order to finance the 2010 edition of the event in Oslo.
    • Parodied in an episode of the defining Irish comedy show, Father Ted, where Ireland deliberately had Ted and Dougal represent Ireland in the Eurovision with their terrible song "My Lovely Horse", in order to save on the costs of having to host it again (the episode itself having been aired during the 90's, when Ireland won the contest more frequently).
  • Stripperiffic: Many acts. Of both genders.
  • Troll: No, we aren't talking about entries with So Bad, It's Good quality, we mean entries performed by artists who outright insults the show itself for it's voting system and clichés with heavy satire, usually going by the "vote for us!" message. So far there have been three notable examples:
    • In 2006, there was Lithuania's "We are The Winners (of Eurovision)", which consist of 30-year old men doing baby-like chanting of the title. Really. Given how hilariously bad it is, it was most certainly intentional.
    • The same year, 2006, has Iceland's "Congratulations", performed by fictional character Silvia Night. While baring slightly better in melody, it doubles in offense, as the lyrics contains "I'm no eurotrash freak", and making fun of "golden showers" and other clichés in Eurovision. The over the top acting is what gives the satire away, however, back then it wasn't recognized as such, and was only booed.
    • In 2008, there's Ireland's Dustin the Turkey, Douze Pointe. Do we even need to say anything here? Just look at it!
  • Turn Coat: The contest has no rules or restrictions on the nationalities of a performing country’s performers or songwriters, so it’s not rare to see someone abandoning its native country to be represented in the contest. A few examples incude:
    • The most notable example, Céline Dion, represented Switzerland in 1988 and won (over the UK by a single point) despite being Canadian in origin.
    • While 1997 winners Katrina and the Waves were formed in Cambridge, England, Katrina was born and raised in Kansas. While some Britons might have been unamused that Katrina is American in origin, considering the UK's history of 2nd place finishes and uneventful results since, they'll take what they can get.
    • Adding to the fact of Eurovision's popularity in Australia, while they themselves can't be represented in Eurovision, they have nevertheless sent their own stars to the contest, with Olivia Newton John and Gina G representing the UK in 1972 and 1996 respectively.
    • Elena Paparizou, who won it for Greece in 2005, is of Greek ethnicity, however she was born and raised in Sweden. Indeed, she even tried to represent Sweden in 2014, but she came in 4th in the national qualifiers.
    • 2009 winner Alexander Rybak was born in Belarus, but moved to Norway at the age of 4. He has gained and maintained popularity in Eastern Europe regardless in addition to Scandinavia, which was exemplified when even the infamous Eastern European voting blocs were all shown giving high votes to Norway.
    • While 2011's winners, Ell and Nikki, are Azerbaijani natives (though Nikki presently lives in London), both the backup singers and the songwriters are either British or Swedish in origin. The backup singers in particular even tried to represent Sweden earlier in that year's Eurovision before joining up with Azerbaijan when things didn't work out.
    • Rona Nishliu, Albania’s representative in 2012, is Kosovar in origin, but Kosovo’s international recognition issues presently prevents the nation from participating in such international events, so it is not uncommon and justifiable for Kosovarians in general to be represented by Albania in international events.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Alexander Rybak, the winner of 2009, so much that sometimes it seems he doesn't own any other clothes.
  • Watch It Stoned: For some viewers, drinking games are a big part of their Eurovision viewing experience.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Seriously, Lena is the most Cockney-sounding German ever. This could be Justified as her English teacher had a hard Cockney accent that stuck.
    • This Trope comes up a lot in the contest when non-native English speakers try very hard to mask their accents.
  • Widget Series: The commentary in the UK and Ireland is very British.
  • Witty Banter: Particularly painful when the ones doing it are expressing themselves in a tongue which is not their native one and are not gifted at acting. One notable example of this was when Ukraine hosted it, and the most internationally famous locals they could dredge up were the Klitschko brothers (a pair of very good boxers)
    • Once, there were rhyming couplets.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: With many countries wishing to have their songs in English, it's an inevitability that songs whose writers and artists aren't very fluent in English will show up.

For parodies of the contest, see Inept Talent Show Contestant.

References in other media:

  • In a 1970 episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus a sketch involving policemen morphs into the Europolice Song Contest, which is won for Monaco by Inspector Zatapathique with "Bing Tiddle Tiddle Bong", which mocked then-current entries like Massiel's "La La La" (1968) and Lulu's "Boom-Bang-a-Bang" (1969). In Monty Python's Big Red Book (1971), this was expanded into a four-page features - including notes - about the song, which here was credited to "Les Deux Hommes Célèbres". The top entries after Monaco were given thusly: 2. "Si si boing bang" (Italy); 3. "Nein Bong über tiddle" (Germany); 4. (equal) "Bang bang bang bang" (England), "Ay ay ay ay" (Ireland); "Och och och och" (Scotland), and "Oy oy oy oy" (Israel); 5. "Post coitum omnia animal tristes est" (France); 6. "Ding ding a dong" (Sweden). A mere four years later, in 1975, the group Teach-In won the real Eurovision Song Contest for the Netherlands with "Ding-a-Dong" (original Dutch title: "Ding Dinge Dong").
  • Father Ted has an episode where Ireland, desperate to lose so they don't have to host the contest again, select the title character's song 'My Lovely Horse' - a really horrible song - as their country's entry. For once, the Springtime for Hitler plan worked: it bombed.
  • Scandinavia and the World does annual comics on Eurovision:
    • For the 2009 contest, Denmark beats up Sweden for not giving him points, and Norway beats up everyone else because he won.
    • Between contests, there was a comic of a party held between the Nordic states where Finland (dressed up as Mr. Lordi) tries to stab everyone.
    • At the post-Eurovision 2010 party, Germany crushes everyone with a satellite (a reference to the title of the winning song).
    • The 2011 comic has King Europe declare Azerbaijan the winner... except no-one present even knows who Azerbaijan is (Norway knows, but is sitting watching the contest at home as he failed to qualify for the final).
    • In 2012, Sweden gloats over his victory after first kicking Mother Russia off the stage.
    • For the 2013 contest, Denmark throws a rock to shatter Azerbaijan's perspex box, while Sister Denmark gleefully says, "Lookit all them losers!" as she revels in her victory.
    • In the 2014 contest, Denmark, as the host, was a creep to all the contestants and commentators, giving them surprises and gave Sister England a childhood memory of hers as a gift (apparently, it's a Take That to Danes almost always having roles of villains in media according to Word of God). At the end he presents Austria as winner, as he tells the audience to worship her or he will come after you. Note that he keeps on smiling creepily in every panel of the comic strip.
  • The BBC's The Culture Show once got Neil Hannon to lightly take the piss out of the contest by breaking down the formula for a successful entry and then write his own mock-entry, "Trafalgar" — which was pretty good, actually. For the record, the key four elements he identified as being important were: (1) A good beat; (2) Frequent key changes; (3) Generally incomprehensible gibberish or random selections of words for lyrics; and finally, in light of Ireland's frequent victories in the contest, (4) A generous helping of Celtic-inspired schmaltz.
    Neil Hannon: By the nineties, we were so successful that rivals were unashamedly nicking our patented Irish mysticism... It is now rendered mysterious, like a mountain stream flowing across an ancient Irish bog.
    • This was not Hannon's first attempt at a Eurovision song. He wrote the music for the aforementioned Father Ted episode, not just the "catchy" version of "My Lovely Horse", but also their arch-rival's overblown point-magnet. He appears in the background of said act's choir (in the centre of the back row) and also sings the nonsense "Norwegian" lyrics of the 1976 original. His band, The Divine Comedy, later released it as a B-Side.
  • In the days before the internet most Americans knowledge of Eurovision was Benny Hill's parodies of it.
  • There are a lot of Axis Powers Hetalia fanfics focusing on ESC 2010 on fanfiction.net.
  • It's Only TV But I Like It, one of The BBC's less well known comedy Panel Games, had a round where the panel was shown three countries' Eurovision entries from the past and had to guess which one got 'nul points'. The round was titled "Let's All Laugh At Foreigners".
  • The Red Dwarf novel Better Than Life has the planets' governments voting on which planet will become Garbage World, using a system clearly based on the Eurovision Song Contest. Earth gets nul points.
  • The High Life, the episode "Dug" has the two air stewards entering with a song called "Piff Paff Poff" and the lyrics "Piff paff poff/I want to have it off". Unsurprisingly, they lose.
    Sebastian: Nul points. Nul points.
    Steve: Sebastian, you're no still going on about that, are you?
    Sebastian: Even Lynsey de Paul and Mike Moran in 1977 with "Rock Bottom" did better than that, and they were shite!
  • The Big Finish Doctor Who episode "Bang-Bang-a-Boom!", starring the Seventh Doctor and companion Mel, is a Eurovision Song Contest-themed Star Trek pastiche In the Style of... a panto whodunnit. No, really.
  • The Now Show had a song by Pippa Evans, the day before the 2014 contest, which combined classic Eurovision tropes with shameless sucking up and explaining that the UK didn't really hate being in Europe, honest.
  • Much less sucking up in Mitch Benn's "A Song for Europe" (not broadcast on The Now Show, possibly because of BBC rules regarding a Cluster F-Bomb that slags off every national stereotype in Europe, Britain included.)
  • In Derek Jarman's Jubilee, future England's current Eurovision entry is Amyl Nitrate singing a highly militaristic rendition of "Rule Britannia" that includes samples from one of Adolf Hitler's speeches. This is meant to demonstrate just how much of a Crapsack World future England is.

Notable Offbeat Eurovision Entries:

  • The first "gimmicky" entry goes all the way back to the second contest in 1957. The Danish entry, "Skibet Skal Sejle I Nat" ended with performers Birthe Wilke and Gustav Winckler engaging in a Big Damn Kiss which lasted 11 seconds and caused an outcry in some countries.
  • The most famous export of Eurovision is Abba - who according to That Other Wiki were peculiarly credited as "The Abba" in preview specials - with "Waterloo" in 1974.
  • "E Depois do Adeus", the Portuguese entry for 1974, was famously used as a secret signal for the start of the Carnation Revolution, a coup d'etat that overthrew Portugal's fascist regime in 1974. The song tied for last with Norway, Germany and Switzerland at the contest. Nowadays, it can be heard on a television program by the RTP television channel, also called Depois do Adeus.
    • Portugal's next entry, "Madrugada" by Duarte Mendes, was notably a celebration of the revolution. According to the book The Eurovision Song Contest - The Official History by John Kennedy O'Connor, the performer was going to appear in army uniform and carry a gun onstage(!), but had to be talked out of doing so.
  • In 1977, for reasons unknown to history, Austria selected Schmetterlinge, a left-leaning folk-rock band who hated Eurovision and all it stood for, as their entrants. Their song was "Boom Boom Boomerang," an acerbic parody of the sort of inane "Schlager" entries with nonsense lyrics that were popular at the time. The more coherent lyrics of the song suggested that such songs were only written to increase record company profit margins. The performance was rather unforgettable, too.
    • The jurors of 1977 must have been rather perplexed by 1977 at the beginning. Austria were fourth in performance order and their crazed performance came right after the Netherlands Heddy Lester, singing her tune while wearing the most outlandish pink satin dress, which appeared to be made from Venetian blinds and wedding cake frosting.
  • Norway in 1978 received zero points with "Mil etter mil" by Jahn Teigen, who sabotaged his own entry with affected vocals and stage antics because he disliked the song's brassy arrangement. His squawk at 1:30 sounds like a climaxing Muppet. Despite its utter failure at the contest, "Mil etter mil" wound up dominating Norway's charts and Teigen released it in an album titled This Year's Loser.
  • Dschinghis Khan, "Dschinghis Khan". 1979 West German entry (with Jerusalem as the host city). Imagine a German lovechild of ABBA and the Village People. That pretty much describes them. They went on to become a supergroup. See the video here. Their other hits include:
    • "Moskau." The unofficial song of the 1980 Olympics at Moscow. This subject of Memetic Mutation thanks to YTMND and one very, very unique dance - based on traditional Russian folk dancing, believe it or not. Please enjoy.
    • "Rocking Son of Dschinghis Khan." The dance and lyrics of this song must be seen and heard to believed. Watch this here.
    • Dschinghis Khan song changed Jewish weddings forever when an Israeli songwriter added Hebrew lyrics and the song become known as "Yidden." It has since became a standard for Jewish weddings.
    • Interestingly enough, some thought the song to be inappropriate. Think about it: Germans singing about Jenghis Khan in Jerusalem... And somehow, they got away with it.
  • Sophie & Magaly, "Le Papa Pingouin". Luxembourg's 1980 entry. It's a song in French about a penguin with wanderlust and features a grown man and backup signers in penguin suits.
  • Telex's "Euro-Vision", Belgium's 1980 entry. Telex - a quirky synthpop band known for not taking themselves seriously - they obviously didn't take the contest seriously either: "We had hoped to finish last, but Portugal decided otherwise." They finished 3rd last. Not that that prevents them from having towels around their necks and singer Michel Moers from throwing confetti on himself. Moers also snaps a tourist photo of the audience at the end. It's probably the first song in the final where Eurovision itself is the subject. And definitely the first song to be performed on synthesizers.
  • In 1985, The Bobbysocks gave Norway its first victory with "Let it Swing", a rocking tune with throwbacks to both 80's and 50's music, that is one of Norway's most recognizable songs, even to this day. It's also one of many songs (at least in the Nordic countries) during that era to be performed in this style; Sweden and Denmark had similar entries.
  • The 1989 contest got a bit of flak because the Israeli and French entrants were 12 and 11 respectively. This led to an age restriction being implemented starting with the 1990 contest in Zagreb, and indirectly led to the creation of the Junior Eurovision in 2003.
  • 1990 is the year that started another, broader trend in ESC. The French and Spanish entries were straightforward pop songs with heavy hints of calypso and flamenco respectively. Joelle Ursull's "White and Black Blues" and Azucar Moreno's "Bandido" placed 2nd and 5th respectively and both became big hits. While there were a few ethnically-flavored entries in the previous 35 years, it wasn't until these songs came out that they became popular, and to this day national music elements are quite common in the contest.
    • A third ethnic entry, "Gözlerinin Hapsindeyim" by Kayahan, represented Turkey that year as well. Unlike France and Spain, it didn't fare too well, and finished 17th.
    • France followed up "White and Black" with "Le dernier qui a parle", which was considered one of the favorites to win the 1991 contest. However, by the time the last jury voted, they were tied with Sweden - the first tie since the four-way win in 1969. This resulted in a "count back". It turned out that both received the same amount of 12-point scores, but Sweden got 5 10-point scores as opposed to France's two, giving Sweden its 3rd victory. This was the closest France came to winning since 1977.
  • Norway in 1995 won with "Nocturne" by Secret Garden, a slow Celtic-flavored piece with only thirty seconds of song. The rest is a lengthy, gorgeous violin intermezzo that has little in common with Eurovision's usual pop ballads and dances.
    • In a similar spirit, Croatia's entry "Nostalija".
    • That same year, the UK sent the contest's first ever rap song. This being Europe in The Nineties, it's fairly cheesy and just barely cracked the top 10.
  • Dana International, so far the first and only openly transsexual person to enter the competition, triumphed in 1998 amid strong competition from the UK, Malta, Netherlands and Croatia. In fact, up until the last moments, Malta was expected to get the last douze and win with a margin of 4 points, but the douze instead went to Croatia. Video here.
  • The 1998 German entry was performed by a keet named Guildo Horn. His spectacular performance climaxed with him climbing the scaffolding on the side of stage. Though initially criticized for lack of seriousness by the press, he became hugely popular in the weeks leading up to the contest, and placed 7th.
  • Germany in 1999 sent "Journey to Jerusalem", a rousing anthem with lines in German, Turkish, English and Hebrew (this was the first contest held after the "native language only" policy was dropped), and placed 3rd.
  • In 2000, Nightwish entered the contest with "Sleepwalker" (which is fairly atypical of their style, but worth a mention regardless). They won the public vote, but the jury eventually decided on Nina Åström.
  • Two years after Guido, that song's composer represented Germany in 2000 with the song "Wadde Hadde Dudde Da". The mere fact that it finished 5th is either proof of Stefan Raab's absolute awesomeness or the joke value of the entire show. To make it short: he competed with what was virtually a Voice Clip Song about a woman asking her dog in baby speech "what have you there" with full-on Narm Charm and made it work.
  • "Sanomi", Belgium's 2003 entry, was the first Eurovision song to be sung in a fictional language.
  • "Boonika Bate Doba"/"Grandma Beats The Drum" from 2005. With grandmother on stage.
  • Germany 2006, with the heavily old-country influenced "No No Never" by Texas Lightning.
  • In 2006, Lithuania entered "We Are The Winners", a cheesy football chant which basically just consisted of 6 middle-aged Lithuanian men (most of whom were not even musicians, but newsreaders and TV presenters) bellowing "We are the winners of Eurovision!" into a megaphone. Although it was only the fourth Eurovision entry ever to be booed while performing, it managed to come 6th with 162 points, and the president of Lithuania is reported to be a fan, inviting the band to his offices for a private performance.
  • Lordi, "Hard Rock Hallelujah" in 2006. Imagine a Finnish version of GWAR. And they won... with the highest point total ever at the time. Plus, that got Finland's first win at Eurovision.
    • Extra notable because the band never actually took off their costumes, or at least, not where anyone could see. They were even seen lounging by the pool in full monster regalia.
    • Part of Lordi's success could be attributed to Moral Guardians mounting a campaign to get them banned from entering the contest. It backfired spectacularly.
  • Iceland's 2006 entry, "Congratulations". The performer (a fictional character, no less) was, for lack of a better word, a troll, and the whole act was one big joke at the expense of the competition. The song is hella catchy, though.
  • Germany's entry in 2007, "Frauen Regier'n Die Welt". A swing song featuring a big band, real instruments, and Roger Cicero, a singer with a genuinely good voice. It even had a Switch Into English!! Naturally, due to it not being cheesy Europop, it went down like a lead balloon, finishing a lowly 19th.
    • Remember that the previous year they sent Texas Lightning (see above), so for a while it seemed like the German public had suddenly developed an odd obsession with American music styles.
  • The 2007 Serbian entry, "Molitva". Ignoring the factor of political voting, it won the competition despite featuring a homely lead singer, no revealing costumes, no dancers, no pyrotechnics and no gimmicks of any variety.
    • Although viewed in another light, many people inferred a tale of lesboromanticism from the performance.
  • Verka Serduchka "Dancing Lasha Tumbai", runner-up of the 2007 contest. Must be seen to be believed.
  • Britain resurrected camp pop collective Scooch for the 2007 contest (the one Terry Wogan famously didn't announce had been chosen as Britain's entry). The bridge of the song is a sexualised aircraft safety briefing. And it was one (male) group-member's exclusive task to stand at the side of the stage making smutty, airline-related innuendos such as "would you like to suck on something before landing?" and "salted nuts, sir?"
    • The commentator in the Finnish broadcast made a Freudian Slip which may or may not have been intentional:
    And next we have Britain performing their song "Flying the Fa"- I mean "Flag".
    • Croatia 2008's "Romanca" isn't eccentric Europop in English but a nostalgic ballad in Croatian. The old man's narration (not rap) is a bridge.
  • Belgium tried the fictional language again 5 years after the above-mentioned "Sanomi", but the song sadly didn't get to the final. What the entry "O Julissi" did accomplish was dressing the lead singer of Ishtar in a swirly dress that evoked Campino sweets.
  • The 2008 Bosnia & Herzegovina entry, Elvir Lakoviæ Laka - "Pokusaj". Knitting brides and lyrics that translate like "We wasted many years lying on our backs eating bananas."
  • The 2008 Spanish entry, "Baila el Chiki Chiki" is a parody of the reggaeton music genre, sung by an actor in an Elvis wig whose character started as a sketch in a comedy TV program, and with a toy guitar providing musical highlights. After not having won Eurovision since 1969, the Spaniards just can't take the contest seriously (it doesn't help they actually got their best place since 2004).
    • The chorus, "Perrea! Perrea!" translates, roughly, to "Be lazy! Be lazy!"
    • By the way, the dancer that falls over and in general messes up the choreography? Don't worry about her, it's all part of the show.
      • On the other side, the guy that jumped the stage in the 2010 contest was definitely not part of the show. When we don't send a joke entry on purpose, the joke jumps at us. The guy is called "Jimmy Jump" and apparently was already famous for jumping sports events around Europe.
  • Leto Svet, 2008. Estonian comedians parody the contest with a deliberately So Bad, It's Good entry, complete with Special Effects Failures and Word Salad Lyrics in three languages.invoked
  • Finland in 2008 with Teräsbetoni, a Power Metal band.
  • As already mentioned, Alexander Rybak's Fairytale from 2009. On the national charts it went on to cause a large portion of Norway to absolutely loathe it on account of over-exposure.
  • For ESC 2009 in Moscow, Georgia sent a song titled We Don't Wanna Put In. The entry was disqualified.
  • France's entry in 2009, Et s'il fallait le faire by leading chanson singer Patricia Kaas. Three minutes of one woman in a black dress singing, with barely any light or stage show (watch until the end for a bit of dancing, though) and no other people on stage. Only finished eighth, in what might have been a case of Too Good For Eurovision.
  • On a slightly different take of Take That from a former Soviet Republic, Lithuania's 2010 entry , "Eastern European Funk", once you get past the catchy tune and sparkle shorts uses lyrics that calls out Europe on its views of Eastern Europe.
  • Black Metal band Keep of Kalessin tried out to represent Norway in 2010 (though again the song they entered, "The Dragontower", was not typical of their style). They came in third place, and Didrik Solli-Tangen was selected to represent Norway.
  • Serbia in 2010: What's interesting to note are people's reactions to Marija Serfovic's (2007 entrant) gender (female), and three years later they sent an even more gender bamboozling entry by Milan Stankovic. Despite that incredibly effeminate appearance, yes, that's a man.
  • The Moldovan entry for the 2010 contest Run Away experienced Memetic Mutation with its hip thrusting saxophone player's choreography and gaining internet celebrity status as the Epic Sax Guy as a result.invoked
    • The 2011 contest, from the makers of Grandma Beats The Drum: a tale of dunce caps and unicycles, titled So Lucky.
  • The French entry in 2011, Sognu, a very beautiful Groban-esque piece sung by Amaury Vassili, a young opera singer. Finished in 15th place.
  • Italy's 2011 entry, Raphael Gualazzi's "Madness of Love", is in a similar musical style to the 2007 German entry (if quite a bit more uptempo). Counter to expectations, it finished second and actually won the jury vote.
  • For the 2012 edition, San Marino tried to send 37-year old Valentina Monetta with the song "Facebook Uh, Oh, Oh". However, they ran into two little problems: Firstly, everyone thought it was awful or reminded them too much of Rebecca Black. Then, they got in trouble for daring to mention a brand name. They did edit it to be in compliance though, resulting in "The Social Network Song (Oh-Oh, Uh, Uh, Oh)"
    • Many of those who think it's awful never realized that the song is very, very satirical.
    • She returned in 2013 with "Crisalide", a power ballad that was widely more apreciated. And she failed again to qualify.
    • She returned again in 2014 with "Maybe (Forse)" and managed to qualify for the Grand Final - third time's the charm it seems once again. She finished 24th.
  • Austria in 2012 has "Woki Mit Deim Popo", whose original performance in the national final (where they beat a certain lady by the name of Conchita Wurst) featured women in bodysuits with glow in the dark booty, and people commenting on YouTube producing disturbing mondegreens involving "poo-poo." Their performance got toned down for the first semi-final (but now also had LED lighting on the backup dancers and singers). Yet somehow, their song managed to leave the audience speechless, and they failed to advance.
  • Russia in 2012 sent Buranovskiye Babushki, six grandmothers from Udmurtia (near the Urals) in traditional dress, who pantomimed baking buns onstage and then sang "Party for Everybody". Amazingly, they came second.
  • The Russia entry in 2012 was not the only memorable one. Turkey's won't be easily forgotten, especially by those that love shipping characters.
  • Montenegro in 2012 with Euro Neuro, sung by Rambo Amadeus, a self-confessed 'media manipulator'. It didn't make it to the final. The performance features evil villain laughter, rhymes taken from a dictionary and it makes fun of the poor economical situation within the EU.
  • Romania in 2013, with the song It's My Life by Cezar, a performance which can only be described with the phrase "Vampire Dubstep Opera."
  • Finland's 2013 song "Marry Me" gave us the first girl/girl kiss on Eurovision. Sweden would later up the ante and give a male/male version in the interval performance.
  • Austria's 2014 performance of "Rise Like A Phoenix" by Conchita Wurst, a heartfelt Gender Bender act done in a completely gorgeous dress and a full beard. In a move that surprised no one, it ended up winning the competition that year.
  • Poland's 2014 entry ''My Slowianie - We Are Slavic'' got instantly famous for their hot Slavic girls hoping to achieve a Male Gaze from the audience out of their choreography accompanied with cameos from the official music video played on the screens behind. The song was not made for Eurovision in the first place and was making fun of Polish stereotypes who were portrayed as out-going and wearing Polish traditional dresses while performing Polish dancing. Some people must have gotten the joke, because it was qualified for the final. Unfortunately, their gimmicks didn't take them far and they ended up in 14th place that year. The split vote results revealed quite a difference between the public and the jury, with the low placing attributed to the latter. Countries like the UK and Ireland had the televote place it in first place while the jury placed it in last place, thus cancelling each other out and taking away any possible points given.
  • 2014 is also a year where there were no less than 3 country-type songs from the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Malta, although country is not new at the contest (the aforementioned German 2006 entry Texas Lightning is one such example). After the success of Anouk the previous year, ending an 8-year non-qualification streak, the Netherlands sent the duo The Common Linnets with the song "Calm After the Storm." Initially off the radar, it gained prominence after its semifinal performance (which it won), consisting of the two singers singing the song to each other strumming on their guitars with tight closeups, and had its odds slashed quite a lot. At the grand final they managed to come second place, the country's best placing since its last win in 1975. It was the only song from the year's contest to chart internationally on iTunes and even managed to win the Composer Award and the Artistic Award.
    • In that same year, Switzerland sent Sebalter, a former lawyer, with the song "Hunter of Stars," a folksy-er type song that features whistling, fiddling, drum-banging and some baffling lyrics in its performance. Malta sent the group Firelight, a band composed of four siblings and two of their friends, with the song "Coming Home," a tribute to economic migrants as well as those who lost their lives in the First World War (coinciding with the centennial of the War). The band asked Eurofans to send selfies which were featured in the background. Both of these songs were subject to critical dissonance - the former did really well among televoters but towards the bottom of the jury ranks, while the latter was adored by juries and finished second-to-last among televoters. Switzerland placed 13th, its best placing since 2005 after many years of failing to qualify from the semifinals and placing last in one contest. Malta, on the other hand, placed 23rd out of 26, receiving its worst placing since its 2006 last place.