What Is The Eurovision Song Contest?
The Eurovision Song Contest is a television song competition that has been airing since 1956. The show receives some of the highest viewer ratings of any non-sporting television event in the world. The majority of the countries in the European Union participate in this contest that takes place. Each country submits one song and artist; after its live performance, viewers and a panel of judges cast their votes for the winner. This happens in May of every year. Popular throughout Europe and even in North America, China, and Australia, some famous singers got their start on this show like ABBA and Celine Dion. This article takes a look at the recent winner and top winning countries.
Top Winning Countries
In 2016, Ukraine won the contest with artist Jamala’s song “1944”. While this was not the first win for the country, it was significant because they had canceled participation in 2015 due to internal conflict. Jamala sang the song in the Crimean Tatar language which was the first time for that language in the contest. Her song was based on the true story of her great-grandmother, a Crimean Tatar. Under Joseph Stalin, the ethnic group was forcefully deported from the country in 1944. International media grabbed ahold of the story suggesting it would be, or should be, disqualified due to its political message. Instead, the Eurovision Reference Group said that was not the case and permitted its presentation.
With seven wins under its belt, Ireland takes first place in the history of the show. Forty-nine of its 50 submissions were made in English, one in Gaelic. Three of these wins were consecutive: 1992, 1993, and 1994. In 1992, Linda Martin won with Johnny Logan’s song “Why Me?”. Niamh Kavanagh won in 1993 with “In Your Eyes” and in 1994, duo Charlie McGettigan and Paul Harrington won with “Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids”.
The second top Eurovision song winner goes to Sweden with six different times in first place. Their first victory in 1974 was thanks to ABBA’s presentation of “Waterloo”. In 1984, “Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley” by the Herreys was the second first place win for the country. They won twice in the 1990’s and twice in the 2010’s making Sweden one of two countries to win in 4 separate decades.
France, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom
France, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom tie for third most successful Eurovision participators, each with a total of 5 wins. France has only missed two competitions since its beginning. Their first win was in 1958 with André Claveau’s “”Dors Mon Amour”. Luxembourg has participated a total of 37 times, none of which has occurred after 1994. Their first victory was with “Nous les Amoureux” performed by Jean-Claude Pascal in 1961. The United Kingdom did not participate in the very first Eurovision competition. Of the 59 times they have participated, only twice did they place outside of the top ten finalists. Their first win came in 1967 with Sandie Shaw’s “Puppet on a String”.
A complete list of top performing Eurovision Song Contest countries can be found below.
Making it Big
As previously mentioned, several artists have gotten their professional performing careers started thanks to the Eurovision Song Contest. Celine Dion, ABBA, and Bucks Fizz are a few of these performers. ABBA won for Sweden in 1974, utilizing the competition as a means of catching the attention of the music industry. Their plan was successful. Celine Dion also successfully grabbed international attention with her win in 1988 when she represented Switzerland. Additionally, Bucks Fizz from the UK won in 1981 with the song, “Making Your Mind Up”. The song was the number 1 hit in 9 countries and sold approximately 4 million copies globally. As the show continues to unite the European Union through music, it will be interesting to see which new artists gain their start through Eurovision wins as well.