Eurovision: An Essential Guide for Newcomers

Eurovision Song ContestFor the very first occasion, Canadians have the opportunity to cast their vote and choose the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. Comprehensive details about the event are presented below.

Martin Meissner/The Associated Press

The Eurovision Song Contest distinguishes itself as an unconventional and flamboyant singing competition, often prompting curiosity from newcomers.

At long last, Canadians are invited to be part of the vast European obsession that has endured for years. As a novelty this year, Canadian viewers have the privilege to participate in the contest's voting process. A compelling incentive for Canadians to engage is the entry of Montreal-born artist La Zarra, who stands as a strong contender representing France.

For those unfamiliar with this event, here is a comprehensive overview.

The Eurovision Song Contest: What is it?

Three performers from Croatia singing Mama ŠČ!PHIL NOBLE/ReutersThe Eurovision Song Contest accurately describes itself as more than a simple singing competition.

Although singing is an indispensable element defined by the current regulations, victories are determined by far more than vocal abilities alone. Theatricality, earworm quality, and even the language chosen by the artists all play crucial roles. Each participating country must present an original song (no covers allowed) that has been released within a few months preceding the contest.

The entries encompass a wide array of musical genres, some unexpected, such as folktronica exemplified by 2021's Shum, and folk-rap displayed in last year's Stefania. Additionally, the inclusion of humorous entries, often dubbed "joke entries," can also be found in the contest, as with this year's Mama ŠČ!.

This year, a total of 37 countries from various parts of Europe, including Australia and Israel, are participating in the Eurovision Song Contest. It's worth noting that Russia is still ineligible to compete due to its involvement in the Ukraine conflict, while Montenegro and North Macedonia have decided not to participate due to increased participation fees.

What is the process for voting in Eurovision?

One of the most captivating aspects of Eurovision is its thrilling voting segment. The winner is determined by two factors: points awarded by national juries in each competing country and points given by the public.

The announcement of scores by each national jury is done live on television, creating an exhilarating moment for the artists as they witness their overall ranking fluctuate.

These jury scores establish an initial ranking, but everything can change when the hosts reveal the public scores for each act. Starting from the bottom, the hosts announce the public points, which can range from zero to nearly 500.

During the voting, geographic proximity and cultural similarities often play a role, as noted by Paul David Flood, a PhD candidate at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. It is important to mention that countries cannot vote for themselves, though some are accused of showing favoritism towards each other. For example, Scandinavian countries tend to support each other, as do Cyprus and Greece (despite facing occasional backlash for it).

If you wish to vote from home, you have the opportunity to rank your top 10 acts. The bottom eight will receive one to eight points each, while the top two will be awarded 10 and 12 points respectively. Canadians can use the Eurovision mobile app to cast their votes, which will be included in the "Rest of The World" category.

Is Eurovision influenced by politics?

Eurovision was established in the 1950s after the Second World War with the goal of reuniting a war-torn Europe, according to Flood. It served as a means to bring harmony and unity to the continent.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, Eurovision continued to play a political and cultural role for newly independent nations. Flood explains that it became a platform for these countries to shape their national identity and demonstrate their cultural relevance in Western Europe.

In the previous year, Ukraine received an impressive number of points from the public, which was widely interpreted as a display of support not only for their song but also for the country itself, which has faced adversity due to ongoing conflicts.

What is the prize for winning Eurovision?

The victor of Eurovision secures ultimate bragging rights but does not receive any monetary reward. The winning performance is given the opportunity to grace the stage once more for a second televised appearance, and the triumphant country earns the honor of hosting the subsequent year's competition. Italy's Maneskin, the acclaimed winners of Eurovision 2021, proudly laid hands on the prestigious glass microphone trophy, exemplifying their triumph. Peter Dejong captivated the moment in an iconic photograph.

Instead of Ukraine, who emerged victorious with Kalush Orchestra in 2022, fulfilling their dream of hosting Eurovision would prove impossible due to the ongoing war with Russia. Subsequently, the United Kingdom, the runner-up, assumed responsibility for hosting the event.

When and where can Canadians witness Eurovision?

The inception of Eurovision as an experiment in 1956 has blossomed into an enduring sensation, captivating audiences across generations. Last year's broadcast enthralled 161 million viewers worldwide, extending its reach beyond Europe to encompass the United States and Canada.

To conclude this grand extravaganza, the final will captivate viewers on Saturday, May 13, at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. The official Eurovision YouTube and TikTok channels will offer the live broadcast without commentary, delivering an unfiltered experience. However, Canadian viewers seeking the delightful accompaniment of English commentary must rely on the BBC, utilizing a VPN to access their broadcast.

Who emerged victorious in Eurovision 2023?

Loreen from Sweden soared to victory in Eurovision 2023 with her enchanting anthem, "Tattoo."

Which remarkable acts have triumphed in Eurovision throughout history?

The true essence of Eurovision is best comprehended through the mesmerizing performances it showcases. Let us delve into the illustrious trajectory of some of the legendary winners spanning the seven decades of this remarkable show.

Maneskin - Zitti e buoni, 2021

This Italian rock band catapulted to astounding fame and became a global sensation on TikTok, cementing their spot on the music charts. Remarkably, less than a year after their Eurovision triumph, they graced the prestigious Coachella stage, solidifying their meteoric rise.

Conchita Wurst - Rise Like a Phoenix, 2014

Eurovision stands as a beacon of LGBTQ representation, with numerous members of the community excelling and conquering the competition over the years. Conchita Wurst from Austria, a captivating drag performer, emerged victorious in 2014 with her soul-stirring masterpiece, "Rise Like a Phoenix."

Lordi - Hard Rock Hallelujah, 2006

Against the backdrop of Eurovision's diverse musical offerings, a few valiant acts brave the realms of hard rock, metal, and industrial punk genres. A Finnish band by the name of Lordi, renowned for their monstrous cosplays and spine-chilling aesthetic, etched their names into Eurovision history in 2006 with their iconic anthem, "Hard Rock Hallelujah.

Celine Dion - Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi, 1988

In mere 20 years, Celine Dion achieved worldwide recognition by emerging victorious in Eurovision on behalf of Switzerland. By a single point, she outshone her United Kingdom counterpart, leading to a nerve-wracking culmination.

ABBA - Waterloo, 1974

Prior to becoming one of the most revered bands of their era, ABBA experienced a breakthrough moment during the Eurovision stage. Their entry piece, Waterloo, swiftly ascended the global music charts following their triumph, propelling them to the realm of international stardom.

Reporting provided by Samantha Edwards.

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