The history of the ESC began with a composers’ competition for the Schlager Festival in San Remo.
And even today, the Eurovision Song Contest is a music competition for composers and songwriters. However, the content is presented by singers.
The next Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) will take place from May 10th to 14th, 2022 at the Pala Olimpico in the Italian city of Turin. It will be the 66th time!
Here is a brief overview of the history and development of the ESC.
The idea of the ESC
During a conference of the program committee at the end of January 1955 in Monaco, the then head of Swiss broadcasting, Marcel-Bezençon, proposed a European hit song competition and his idea was successful.
Just one year later it was held in Lugano, Switzerland. The first winner: Lys Assia for Switzerland with the title “Refrain” by Géo Voumard and Émile Gardaz.
Each participating country even had two titles in the competition back then. As the number of participants increased, it finally became one song per country in 1957.
Since 2002, the Marcel Bezençon Prize for Best Song, Best Artistic Presentation and Best Composition has been awarded during the Eurovision Song Contest.
The name ESC
The European singing competition has changed names a few times since its inception. First it was called Gran Premio Eurovisione Della Canzone Europea, or in Germany until 2001 Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson. Since then, the same thing has applied throughout Europe: the Eurovision Song Contest.
What has always remained: the great excitement and commitment with which the contributions and the votes are followed by the fans. The following applies to all countries: the main thing is to be there!
Facts about the Eurovision Song Contest
☞ So far the ESC has only failed once. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 in the Netherlands had to be cancelled.
☞ From 1966 to 1972 and from 1977 to 1998 all participants were required to sing in the national language. From 1999 they can again choose the language in which they sing.
☞ In the meantime, the original seven participating countries have become 52. That’s why there has been a semi-final since 2004. Previously, due to the large number of participants, individual countries had to suspend the event again and again according to a cumbersome system.
☞ The participation record of 43 countries was reached in 2008 in Belgrade. Since then there have even been two semi-finals.
☞ In 1996, the German contribution “Planet of The Blue” failed due to an internal qualifying round. Suddenly Germany was no longer able to take part in the ESC final.
☞ That is why the Big Four regulation was created a year later. This states that Germany, France, Spain and the United Kingdom automatically qualify.
☞ Since the ESC in Düsseldorf in 2011, the rule has also applied to Italy and is called the Big Five.
☞ Since 1964, a so-called scrutineer has been monitoring the correct allocation of votes.
How the ESC participants are determined today
Each country may determine its own participant. Some countries have their own festivals for this, such as the Melodifestival in Sweden or the Festival da Canção in Portugal. There are also radio and television stations that nominate their candidates directly.
The Germany winners Nicole (1982) and Lena (2010) were found in national preliminary shows.