Skip To Content
  • Eurovision 2016 badge

38 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Eurovision

No animals allowed.

1. The first Eurovision Song Contest took place in 1956 in Switzerland. The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, and Italy took part. Switzerland won.

2. Austria, Denmark, and the UK also wanted to compete, but they missed the entry deadline. They joined the following year.

3. In 1957, the Italian entry lasted 5 minutes and 9 seconds. As a result, the rules were changed and now entires cannot last longer than 3 minutes.

4. In 1969, Spain, the UK, the Netherlands, and France finished in joint first place, because there was no tie-break proceedure in place.

5. In protest Austria, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Portugal refused to take part the following year.

6. The current tie-break procedure is that if two songs get the same number of points, the song with votes from the highest number of countries wins.

7. In 1971, it was decided that a country may have up to six performers on stage at once. Until then, only solo and duets had been allowed.

8. In 1976, Sweden withdrew from the competition because they thought it had become too "commercial".

9. The contest was held outside Europe, in Jerusalem, for the first time in 1979.

10. In 1981, Italy boycotted the competition, because it was too "old-fashioned".

11. Belgium's entry in 1986, who won, was just 13-years old, despite assuring producers that she was 15. She remains the contest's youngest winner.

12. In 1989, the French entry was just 11-years old, and the Israeli entry was 12. The next year, it was decided that contestants have to be older than 16 on the date of the final.

13. The Irish Riverdance was first shown on TV in 1994's competition.

14. Televoting, as a means of determining the winner, started being phased in in 1997.

15. Until then, the outcome was decided by a national jury.

16. The national jury still exists. But nowadays, the winner is determined by a 50:50 combination of jury votes and televotes.

17. There are five people on the national jury. They are not allowed to be members of participating broadcasters, and they cannot have sat on the jury within the two last years.

18. They must also work in the music industry as radio DJs, artists, composers, lyricists, or producers.

19. If there is a tie among the national jury members' votes, the youngest member decides.

20. If there is a tie between the national jury's score and the televoting score, the country with the most televotes wins.

21. In 2004, Ukraine won. Ruslana, the winner, became an adviser to Ukraine's prime minister after the contest.

22. Australia will take part this year, for the first time. Its inclusion is a one-off celebration of the contest 60th anniversary.

23. But if they win, they will be allowed to compete again next year.

24. Animals are not allowed on stage.

25. Purely instrumental entries are also forbidden.

26. Political lyrics, speeches, and gestures are also banned.

27. A maximum of 26 entries are allowed to compete in the final.

28. However, a maximum of 40 countries can enter and compete in the semi-finals for a place in the final.

29. Six countries are guaranteed places in the final and do not have to compete in the semi finals. They are France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the UK, and the previous year's winner.

30. National selection for Eurovision entries is organised by individual public broadcasters.

31. Ireland have won the most times: 7.

32. And Norway have scored "nul points" the most times: 4.

33. They have also come last the most times: 10.

34. The show is always presented in both English and French.

35. The rules are also written in both English and French. If there were ever a linguistic dispute between the two versions of the rules, the English version wins.

36. British celebrities who have competed in the UK's regional finals but were not chosen to represent the UK include: Katie Price, Andy Scott-Lee, Kym Marsh, Anthony Costa, Big Brovaz, Justin Hawkins, Brian Harvey, and Liz McClarnon.

37. There is a UK-based Eurovision fan club who meet for an annual party. Last year, their party was at a Holiday Inn in Birmingham.

38. Eurovision is basically a celebration of powerful women. 18 female solo artists have won, compared with just 7 men lol.