Thought you knew it all? Here are 10 facts that will surprise you
Alright, we’re all aware of the glitter and smoke machines – but here are 10 things that you probably didn’t know about the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in the titillating run-up to one of the most loved and hated shows held in May.
It started out as an experiment
The first edition was held in Switzerland back in 1956 and had only seven entrants. The ‘Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson Europeenne’ was created with the intention of uniting a post-war Europe and test the limits of a live TV show. Today, it is one of the largest live entertainment shows on the planet and receives an audience of around half a billion viewers every year.
Three is the magic number
As per festival regulations, all songs must not be longer than three minutes, and must include a vocal piece – even though at times, it certainly doesn’t seem that way!
There’s a rule of numbers
Up to 1971, there couldn’t be more than three people on stage at the same time, however, today the festival allows a maximum of six people, which include both backing singers and dancers. Interestingly, live animals are banned from stage – which is probably a good idea; for the animals anyway.
Not all countries are equal
The UK, along with Spain, France and Germany don’t need to qualify to pass onto the finals – mostly because they are the largest event sponsors.
May the most colourful win
According to voices on the Internet – the most colourful costume generally tends to get ahead in this festival. White has also proved immensely successful with Denmark’s winner dressed as a white elf in 2013 and Russia’s heartthrob Dima Bilan dressed as a snow prince in 2008.
The ‘Euro’ in Eurovision is meaningless
In this case, Euro has absolutely nothing to do with Europe or the European Union but actually refers to an older organisation known as the European Broadcasting Union. This is why countries outside Europe such as Lebanon, Egypt, Israel, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and more recently honorary country Australia are able to compete if they really want to.
Malta desperately wants to win
We pretend not to care – we’re too musically sophisticated – yet every year we agonise about our failed success for weeks (or months!) to follow the show. Local sweetheart Ira Losco, who landed second place back in 2002 with the song “7th Wonder”, shall represent Malta this year with “Walk on Water” – the excitement is on!
The Eurovision Song Contest has acted as a springboard for a number of pop stars over the years. First examples that come to mind include ABBA in 1974, Udo Jürgens who represented Austria three times before coveting the winner’s title in 1996, as well as Celine Dion who represented Switzerland and claimed victory in 1988 with ‘Ne partez pas sans moi”.
Brunettes do it better
Statistically, a dark-haired woman singing in English is most likely to win the Eurovision. This comes from the fact that acts featuring brunettes have won six out of the last 10 contests. Despite the fact that 30% of the songs will be sung in another language apart from English, statistics point towards the fact that they only have a 10% chance of winning.
If Malta actually wins, the whole island will party
The Maltese are known for their love of laughter and revelry – and what better opportunity to celebrate than to commemorate the victory of the country’s undoubtedly most closely-followed international contest? Expect carcading and street parties around the St Julians area should Ira Losco snag this year’s first place…or second, or third for that matter.