The Eurovision Song Contest has been entertaining people for the last six decades. As reported by its website, the European television show which made its debut on May 24, 1956. It is not only one of the longest running in the world but also the most beloved.
According to the Eurovision website, the song contest is a brainchild of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). It was formed on Feb 12, 1950, at a conference in Devon, United Kingdom, by 23 broadcasting organizations belonging to Europe and the Mediterranean region. The logic was to “bring all the Europeans together after the trauma of the Second World War,” as reported by Vox World.
Interestingly, at a meeting held in Monaco in 1955, an EBU employee named Marcel Bezencon, suggested holding an international song contest between different European countries and broadcasting it via television show.
So much so, that today, the Eurovision Song Contest provides a common platform or battleground for the countries to “fight it out” with each other. Instead of using firearms and weapons, the artillery deployed is that of “insanely elaborate costumes (and nudity), glitter and fireworks,” according to Vox World. All of this is laced with star-studded musical performances, both bizarre and sometimes history-making.
This innovative idea, which was implemented the following year through a live telecast has already entertained many with more than 1400 songs. Most of the popular winning entries are in English, French, Dutch and Hebrew. The show has an annual viewership of roughly 180 million people worldwide and a global participation from around 50 countries over the last 54 years, as reported by its website.
One main reason for this, according to the “New York Post” is that the Eurovision Song Contest has launched many successful music careers, including that of singers like Celine Dion and the Swedish pop band ABBA. This also seems to have greatly impacted its viewership, giving a great impetus to it.
Consequently, as of now, the reality singing show’s existing broadcast is no longer confined to the host nation of Europe. It is currently beamed across the television channels of many non-participating countries including Canada, Jordan, Egypt, Australia, Hong Kong, India, Korea, New Zealand and the U.S.
Touted by many as Europe’s own “American Idol,” the Eurovision Song Contest, needless to mention, has often invited comparisons to its American counterpart, invoking mixed reviews most of the time.
Some consider its format to be much less complicated than “American Idol,” which also shows up in its no-frills process of talent hunting. According to the “New York Post,” a “singing sensation is born soon after a lengthy round of televoting for only one song per country gets over.”
While there are those who criticize the Eurovision Song Contest for following and promoting unfairness with regards to conducting the entire talent hunt process, including the voting system. Staunch critics of the show, according to GQ.com are quick to point out that Eurovision from the very beginning un-levels the playing field against the participating countries. The chances of winning are allegedly skewed in favor of the host country, along with Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the U.K., as the biggest sources of funding the show, which guarantees them a place in the finals.
Finally, some considering it to be relatively young, equate it with a rustic version of “American Idol” in its heyday, lacking sophistication. This, as reported by the Observer, is evident from the planted group of “techno dancers in drag providing a sort of visual orgasm of sequins and visual effects, normally difficult to understand without conducting prior YouTube searches of previously similar acts,” not even performances.
Regardless of this criticism the truth is that the Eurovision Song Contest is everyone’s beloved reality singing show that has entertained many and would continue doing so.
By Bashar Saajid
Edited by Cathy Milne
Eurovision: History of the Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision: Facts & Trivia
New York Post: Forget ‘American Idol’: This is the best singing show on TV
Vox World: The Eurovision Song Contest, explained
The Observer: The ‘Eurovision Song Contest’: A Primer for Dumb Americans
GQ.com: What the Hell is Eurovision, and Why Is It Coming to America?
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Daniel Aragay’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First and Second Inline Image Courtesy of Daniel Aragay’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License