Expand your UK IQ: Eurovision Song Contest
March 25, 2009
Without the "Eurovision Song Contest," the world may have never known ABBA or Celine Dion. The horror.
But, thankfully, since 1956 members of the European Broadcasting Union have competed annually to win the hearts and ears of the continent through Eurovision. Each year, the 42 member countries, competing through their national EBU-member television station, submit original songs that are performed on live TV. Votes for the best are cast by viewers and professional judges, each affecting 50 percent of the vote.
The show has become one of the world’s most watched broadcasts, according to the Eurovision Web site.
ABBA began its ascent in the disco-pop annals after winning Eurovision on behalf of Sweden in 1974 with "Waterloo." Celine Dion gained popularity outside the French-speaking world when she took home the top prize in 1988 on behalf of Switzerland for "Ne Partez pas Sans Moi."
This year’s contest, which takes place in Moscow in May, is not without controversy.
Georgia has pulled out of the contest after the EBU asked the song writers to change a few words in their tune, "We Don’t Wanna Put In."
The song, by Stephane and 3G, breaks the rules of the competition, which bans political lyrics, speeches and gestures. The chorus of the Georgian song — "We don’t wanna put in the negative move, it’s killing the groove" — has been widely interpreted as a jab at Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, according to The Telegraph.