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Trivia / Eurovision Song Contest

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  • Ascended Fanon: In 2008, a popular late show in Spain presented the comedian Rodolfo Chikilicuatre singing, in his own words, "the most ridiculous song it is possible to sing". He actually got to go to Eurovision. Enjoy.
  • Banned in China: Chinese station Mango TV cut Albania and Ireland's performances from its broadcast of the first semi-final in 2018. The decision didn't sit well with the EBU, who promptly stripped the channel of the broadcasting rights.
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  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: "Nul points", the phrase where a country gets no points is a popular term in the British populist media and Eurovision fans, but the phrase actually doesn't translate to "no points" in French (French for "no points" is actually "pas de points" or "zéro points") and is not used as an official term in the contest or is announced by the presenters. Terry Wogan who co-hosted in 1998 and popularized the term had a golden chance to actually mention this when Switzerland got "nul points", but this was not to be. Changes to the voting system in 2016 meant that countries with no points from the public vote do get announced. However, the presenters have so far used the term "zero points".
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Some people will have participated for their country (or for a different country as backing vocals, a dancer, writer, composer, or musician in one year, and then return as the competing artist themselves). Similarly, the inverse happens, an artist who competes one year will return in a reduced capacity. Sometimes they do this many times.
    • United Kingdom's Blue competed in 2011.
    • People like Cascada (Germany) and Bonnie Tyler (United Kingdom) competed in 2013. Anouk (The Netherlands) counts too, although she's more famous in her home-country than in the rest of Europe. Darude of "Sandstorm" is representing his home country in 2019.
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    • Perhaps one of the most famous examples of a famous local act taking the prize: The UK's Katrina and the Waves won in 1997, with an entry almost universally considered the greatest the UK ever submitted.
    • Inverted with ABBA (Winner 1974 Sweden) and Céline Dion (Winner 1988 Switzerland), who got famous because of Eurovision.
    • Israel has been a rare country to submit many of its top artists as Eurovision contestants; names like Ofra Haza (second place in 1983, who you'd probably know for singing as Moses' mother in The Prince of Egypt), David D'Or, Kaveret/Poogy (who are considered the Israeli Beatles), and Shlomo Artzi have all participated. In addition, while he never participated himself, noted singer/songwriter Svika Pik co-wrote Dana International's winning "Diva."
    • Some famous artists who previously competed before scoring a win include Linda Martin (who came second in 1984 before winning in 1992 note ), Vicky Leandros (who performed the famous "L'amour est bleu" in 1967 before winning for Luxembourg in 1972), Carola (who competed in 1983 before winning in 1991), Cheryl Baker (who performed with Co-Co on behalf of the UK in 1978 before winning with Bucks Fizz in 1981), Dima Bilan (who came in second in 2006 before winning in 2008 for Russia), and the individual members of Bobbysocks! (who performed individually before winning together for Norway in 1985). In a reverse case, several artists have returned to attempt to re-claim gold after winning (including Ireland's Niamh Kavanagh, Anne-Marie David note , Israel's Izhar Cohen and Dana International, Germany's Lena, Switzerland's Lys Assia, Italy's Gigliola Cinquetti, France's Isabelle Aubret, Sweden's Charlotte Perelli [nee Nilsson], Norway's Alex Rybak, and the aforementioned Carola); the only person to do so successfully being Ireland's Johnny Logan, who scored a second win in 1987, seven years after his first (before going on to co-write another winner in 1992). note 
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    • According to co-writer Bill Martin, the demo recording of Cliff Richard's "Congratulations" featured playing by - wait for it - John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page. Don't think too hard about what could have been had Led Zeppelin represented the UK.
    • Cesár Sampson twice served as backing vocalist for Bulgaria before being chosen to represent his native Austria in 2018. UK's entry that year SuRie did the like for Belgium over the prior 3. Cesar and SuRie had a combined 4 top 5 places over the 3 years before they both competed in 2018.
  • Follow the Leader:
    • One of the most successful spinoffs outside Europe was the OTI Festival in Latin America (and also the U.S., Equatorial Guinea, Portugal and Spain, the latter two also regular constestants in the ECS) who last from 1972 to 2000, which was canceled due to the questioning of the voting system of the last shows, the lack of sponsors, the low quality of the entrants and the withdrawal of some of the most iconic countries such as Brazil, Colombia and Spain.
    • An American version, named American Song Contest, is planned to debut in 2021, this time it will limited to the United States for now, likely to avoid the same problems that affected the OTI Festival.note 
    • There was a Communist version during the Cold War era named Intervision Song Contest, which only members of the Eastern Bloc participated and iit did last shorter than the Latin American version, from 1977 to 1980.
    • Subverted with the Asia Song Festival in South Korea: While inspired in their European counterpart, it less a song contest and more a series of concerts from singers from the Sinosphere (aka countries heavily influenced by either Chinese culture or Confucionism, such as South Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, etc)
  • In Memoriam:
    • The opening to the 2015 final in Vienna included a short tribute to Udo Jürgens, Austria's first Eurovision winner (and the only one before Conchita), who died the previous December, by way of a violin rendition of his winning song, "Merci, chérie" ("Thank You, Darling").
    • The 2018 final featured a brief tribute to Lys Assia, the first ever Eurovision contest in 1956, who had passed away two months prior.
  • Missing Episode: The 1964 ESC in Copenhagen has either been lost or shut away, depending on who you ask. The most prevalent theory is that the Danish broadcaster taped over or lost their only copy. Video of the winner's reprise exists, as does audio of the whole show. The first contest in Lugano (1956) is also lost, although there is newsreel footage of the winning song and an audio recording (with 20 minutes missing) also exists.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • In 1999, Rosario "Chayo" Mohedano, niece of all-time great Rocío Jurado, was initially announced by many media outlets as the Spanish entrant with Lere lele, the lead single of her debut album Agua de sal. However, TVE backed down and went with Lydia in what developed into a no-win scenario in the long run: Lydia finished last in Jerusalem with one solitary point (and took home the Barbara Dex award as the worst dressed in the contest), while Mohedano's musical career tanked and she only found relevance thanks to longstanding Mohedano family drama.
    • Comedian Bill Bailey has considered entering for Britain; whether he has attempted or been knocked back or whether he hasn't gotten round to doing it yet is unknown. He is indeed a talented musician (he has absolute pitch, ie. he is able to identify a note just by its sound), but we still have to remember that he's known mostly for his surreal comedy and bizarre musical interludes during his show, including a tribute to the music in Starsky and Hutch. Still, considering they're unlikely to win in the future anyway, they've got nothing to lose. Bill Bailey himself said as much on his twitter page.
    • Back in 2007, it was a strong possibility that a song written (and possibly performed) by Alternative Rock hero Morrissey would be the United Kingdom's entry in the contest. Eventually the word came down that it wasn't going to happen. The UK's Eurovision entry that year finished near the bottom the pile.
      • Another artist who campaigned to represent the UK that year was Justin Hawkins of The Darkness. Logically, he was more than a little resentful to lose the gig to Scooch.
    • There was a persistent rumor in 2004 that the UK was going to try and do some damage control after Jemini's... less than stellar performance the previous year and send former Spice Girl Emma Bunton. Emma has said a few times that she'd like to do the show, but it's never came to be.
    • Conchita Wurst tried to represent Austria back in 2012, only to lose out to the Trackshittaz, a crude Austrian Terrence and Phillip meets LMFAO, by a mere one percent of the vote. Of course, two years later, Austria decided to give her a chance, perhaps taking this trope to heart, and she went on to win it all.
    • Similarly, Jamala was one of the hopefuls to represent Ukraine in 2011, with the song "Smile", and placed third in the original final, but dropped out of the race due to the preselection's skewed voting process. Five years later, she decided to give it another go with "1944", and of course won it all in Stockholm.
      • That year Zlata Ognevich was another potential candidate with "The Kukushka". She placed second, in between Mika Newton and Jamala, but she too decided to withdraw from the new final. Just two years later she represented Ukraine in Malmö, and finished in a respectable third place, behind Azerbaijan and Denmark.
    • Swedish-Greek singer Helena Paparizou (winner for Greece in 2005) could have represented Sweden in 2014, but she was outvoted in favor of Sanna Nielsen, Ace Wilder and Alcazar.
      • And, once again, Loreen could have been representing Sweden in 2017, but got eliminated in Andra Chansen. Imagine the Broken Base and outcry this caused among European fans. On second thought, don't.
      • Papariozou was considered for a song to represent Cyprus penned by Greek-Swedish Alex Papaconstantiniou in 2018, after it was decided to internally choose the act. Papariozou and second choice, Georgian-Greek Tamta (who would represent Cyprus the next year with another song penned by him), were both rejected, so 3rd choice Eleni Foureira was chosen instead to sing Papaconstantiniou's song, called Fuego. And having been a complete outsider she went on to place 2nd, by far a national best, win a Besencon prize, and commercial success. Who knows how Papariozou would have done?
      • In 2016, Foureira had a submitted entry to Greek returning broadcaster ERT written by Doron Medalie (who would of course write the only song to place above hers two years later, ie Toy by Netta) rejected - this particular year saw Greece fail to qualify with an entry for the first time ever.
    • This video goes into detail of entries that were disqualified, withdrawn due to circumstances etc. at any rate, would have represented their respective countries but ended up not. These examples go back as far as 1967.
    • Apparently, Portuguese-Canadian singer Nelly Furtado was considered to represent Portugal in the 2004 contest with her song "Força". However, it didn't happen since RTP decided not to do an internal selection. In spite of this and due to European Championship being held in the country, it became a number one hit in Portugal and a Top 40 hit in continental Europe.
    • In 2009, it transpired that the Soviet Union were planning to enter in 1987 but never materialised as neither the Communist Party of the Soviet Union nor Mikhail Gorbachov were interested.
    • ABBA actually tried to participate in Eurovision in 1973, but their submission wasn't picked. They also had an alternate song for '74 which was more Eurovision-appropriate, but decided to take a risk with "Waterloo" and made Eurovision history.
    • In 2018, former RTVE director Ramón Colom revealed in a book about Alejandro Sanz that he tried to convince him to represent Spain in 1992, but he wasn't interested.
    • Netta of Israel being in a play off round in the Rising Star selection in 2018, where a judges reprive lead her on the way to victory.

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