On Saturday (18 May) approximately 100 million people around the world will watch the Eurovision Song Contest. First launched in Switzerland in 1956, Eurovision is not just a musical fixture but a continent-wide institution Europeans love and sometimes love to mock.
For those who have never heard of the competition – think of it as a hybrid of American Idol with original songs and the World Cup or Olympics.
Over 1,300 songs have competed to claim victory, with perhaps the most famous being a then-unknown Abba who represented Sweden in 1974 and won the competition with their song Waterloo.
Other globally famous past participants include Celine Dion, Olivia Newton-John, Cliff Richard, Engelbert Humperdink, and Julio Iglesias. This year famous entries include Bonnie Tyler (representing the UK) and dance music act Cascada (representing Germany).
Over the years the show has developed a huge LGBT following, probably because of its large array of camp acts, fabulous costumes, and melodramatic pop songs.
If you are looking to impress your friends and co-workers, here are six useless pieces of trivia that are sure to make you sound like an expert!
- Ireland has been the top the most times (7), followed by France, Luxembourg, Sweden, and the United Kingdom (each with 5 wins). Norway has been the bottom 10 times!
- The highest ratings for Eurovision were in 2009 when 124 million people watched the live shows on televion.
- This year the show has 1,283 lighting fixtures, 24km of signal cables, 3,500 meters of truss, and all the equipment weights about 400 tons.
- The Eurovision Song Contest channel on YouTube gets more viewers than the channels of the White House and the Obama campaign combined.
- Volareis the most-covered song from the competition, with famous versions by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Cliff Richard, and David Bowie.
- Loreen from Sweden won the competition last year with her song “Euphoria”, which became a chart hit in over 20 countries.
This year 39 countries will compete, with two semi-finals on Tuesday (14 May) and Thursday (16 May), followed by the final on Saturday.
Gay Star News are reporting live from Eurovision again this year. We will provide you with in-depth coverage and interviews, and will be tweeting live from the final in Malmö, Sweden.