The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). There are also organised official groups in each country (OGAE) where they hold Second Chance contests, and various others as well.
Countries must be in the European Broadcasting Area and have active membership with the EBU to compete. Associate members, most notably Australia, can participate only via an invitation from the EBU and/or the host broadcaster of a particular year's contest.
Each member country submits a song to be performed on live television (via a televised national final voted on by the public, juries or a combination of both, or an entry selected internally by the country's broadcaster) and then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the most popular song in the competition. The contest has been broadcast every year since its inauguration in 1956 and is one of the longest-running television programs in the world.
It is also one of the most watched non-sporting events in the world, with audience figures having been quoted in recent years as anything between 100 million and 600 million internationally. The contest has also been broadcast outside Europe to such places as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, Uruguay and Venezuela despite the fact that that they do not compete. Since 2000, the contest has also been broadcast over the Internet, with more than 74,000 people in almost 140 countries having watched the 2006 edition online.
- The Eurovision Song Contest made its debut in Lugano, Switzerland on 24 May 1956. Seven nations took part performing two songs each.
- The contest was initially developed as a way to not only introduce new broadcasting techniques, but also as a way to bring the countries of Europe closer together through music as the continent continued to rebuild after World War II.
- In 65 years, over 1,600 songs have competed in the Eurovision Song Contest.
- The first contest to be broadcast in color was in 1968. The first contest to be broadcast in high definition was in 2007.
- In its history, the contest has only been cancelled once: the 2020 contest was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Live vocals have always been mandatory since the very first contest, and from 1956 until 1998, so was live music by an orchestra. By 1999, instrumental backing tracks replaced all live orchestral music in the contest. Pre-recorded vocals on backing tracks were tested in 2021.
- Noel Kelehan conducted five winners (1980, 1987, 1992, 1993 and 1996), all for the same country - Ireland.
- Dutch conductor Dolf van der Linden conducted for seven different countries (Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland).
- Three women conducted a combined 4 entries between 1973 and 1985. Nurit Hirsh conducted two of them, both for Israel (its debut entry in 1973 and the winning song in 1978, both of which she composed).
- Johnny Logan won the Eurovision Song Contest three times. In 1980 and 1987 he represented Ireland as performer and won both times, in 1992 he wrote Linda Martin's winning entry Why Me?.
- Johnny Logan is also a part of a group of five people who have written two winning songs (1987 and 1992). The other four are Willy van Hemert (1957 and 1959), Yves Dessca (1971 and 1972), Rolf Løvland (1985 and 1995) and Brendan Graham (1994 and 1996).
- Sandra Kim was 13 years old when she won for Belgium in 1986, making her the youngest Eurovision winner ever. With the introduction of the age rule in 1990 and the Junior Eurovision contest, this record can never be broken.
- Duncan Laurence is the longest-reigning Eurovision winner due to the cancellation of the 2020 contest. As of the 2021 contest grand final, he held the title for over 2 years.
- Lys Assia, Gigliola Cinquetti, Linda Martin, Elisabeth Andreassen and Dima Bilan are the only five artists to win one year and finish second another year.
- Linda and Dima are the only two of these five to win on their second try, having finished second on their first.
- Additionally, Dima is the only male in this group.
- Poland made the most impressive debut in 1994, when Edyta Gorniak came 2nd with To nie ja, closely followed by Serbia's victory in 2007. Latvia were the third most impressive in 2000, finishing in third place.
- Although Serbia & Montenegro had been represented twice before, and before again as part of SFR Yugoslavia, 2007 was the first time that both Serbia and Montenegro took part as independent countries (Serbia won in its debut in 2007, while Montenegro qualified for the final for the first time in 2014).
- Four artists have presented the show in the year following their win. They are Toto Cutugno (won 1990, presented 1991), Marie N (won 2002, presented 2003), Eldar Gasimov (won 2011, presented 2012) and Måns Zelmerlöw (won 2015, presented 2016).
- Katie Boyle presented the contest 4 times: 1960, 1963, 1968 and 1974. She is one of three to present the contest more than once, along with Jacqueline Joubert (1959 and 1961) and Petra Mede (2013 and 2016).
- Andorra is the only country to have never participated in the grand final, with Czech Republic finally qualifying in 2016.
- Only Ukraine holds a perfect qualification record since the introduction of the semifinals in 2004. Greece and Bosnia & Herzegovina broke their streaks in 2016, while Romania, Russia and Azerbaijan broke theirs in 2018 and Australia's streak was snapped in 2021.
- Germany holds the longevity record, missing only 1 contest in its history when it failed to advance from the audio-only qualifier in 1996 (it would have been relegated due to a last-place finish in 1995).
- The United Kingdom has the longest uninterrupted streak of participation dating back to 1959.
- Norway could be found at the bottom of the list as many as eleven times! Sometimes with the infamous Nul Points! The unfortunates came last in 1963, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1990, 1997, 2001, 2004 and 2012. Nevertheless, they also won three times (in 1985, 1995 and 2009).
- Ireland won a record seven times. Sweden has won 6 times, Luxembourg, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands 5 times, and Israel 4 times. 27 different countries have won the contest at least once.
- ABBA is the most successful Eurovision winner. The Swedish pop band won the contest in 1974.
- Portugal took the longest to achieve its first win in 2017, waiting 53 years.
- Austria waited the longest to get its second victory, a 48-year gap between 1966 and 2014.
- Spain has been waiting over 50 years to get another victory, their last win was in 1969.
- Malta has been waiting the longest for its first win, over 50 years since its debut in 1971.
- The most countries taking part in the contest at one time is 43, set in 2008, 2011 and 2018.
- The most covered Eurovision entry is Domenico Modugno's Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu, also known as Volare. The song has been covered by famous stars such as Frank Sinatra, Cliff Richard, David Bowie and many more. One of the best known is a 1989 flamenco-style cover by French band Gipsy Kings.
- Televoting was introduced in Dublin in 1997 and was tested in five countries. Since 2009, it has been part of a 50:50 split vote alongside professional juries.
- No song has ever won from the second spot in the running order, leading people to believe that this particular performing spot is "cursed".
- Additionally, no song has won from the #16 spot either.
- In 1993, a pre-qualifier round was held in Ljubljana to accommodate the interest of of the ex-Soviet and ex-Yugoslavian countries that wanted to join the contest.
- In 2004, the first televised Semi-Final was held. In 2008, a second Semi-Final was introduced due to the growing number of participating countries.
- In 2009, some 124 million people watched the three live shows on television. In 2011, over 105 million people tuned in for the shows. In 2016, an estimated 204 million people watched the shows live.
- Australia has been broadcasting the contest on their public channel SBS since 1983. 2009 was the first year they sent its own commentators, and in 2014 DR rewarded the country's loyalty and enthusiasm by inviting them to participate in the second semi-final's interval act in Copenhagen. In 2015, they were invited to compete in Vienna to celebrate the contest's 60th anniversary, finishing in 5th place and receiving 2 sets of 12-point scores.
- Due to positive feedback from fans and the media, Australia was invited back to participate in 2016, only this time they would have to try and advance from the semifinal round. They succeeded, finishing in second place overall in the final.
- During the Grand Final of 2012, more than 1.5 million tweets were posted with the hashtag #Eurovision, peaking already 20 minutes into the live broadcast. Over 7 million tweets were posted during the final of the 2016 contest