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Eurovision Song Contest Format

Each country that would like to enter must submit a song to represent them, this song must not have been performed in public nor have been commercially available this is to ensure that only new songs are entered into the contest.

To participate in the contest a country does not have to a member of the European Union nor be geographically located in Europe. Israel has been involved since 1973 and Morocco in North Africa participated in 1980. Instead it covers an area called Region 1 which EBU covers this encompasses Europe, Africa, the Middle East west of the Persian Gulf and including Iraq, the former Soviet Union and Mongolia, in all Fifty-one countries have participated at least once in the contest.

From 1998 onwards, four countries were given automatic qualification to the contest regardless of where they finished the previous year this was due to them being the four biggest contributors to the EBU (without whom there would be no show). These countries have become known as the "Big Four" and are the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain. Italy gained this privilege in 2010, so they are now known as the "BID Five". The other countries have to endure pre selection, relegation and semi-finals to get their song on the show.

Pre-selections and Relegation

Since 1993 there have been too many countries wanting to enter the contest then there is not enough reasonable time available to show in single night. To combat this several methods have been tried to limit the amount of countries appearing. First of all a pre-selection was held in which 7 countries fought for 3 available places. Then a relegation system was used whereby the 6 lowest placed counties in the 1993 score table were forced to skip the next years contest.

This continued until 1996 when all countries (except the host) had to submit tapes of their songs to see who would be included in the international broadcast, this led to Germany being excluded in 1996 and as they were one of the largest financial contributors and largest TV audience for the show it caused some embarrassment to the EBU. Therefore from 1998 the four main contributors (France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom) to the EBU were given automatic qualification to the event regardless to where they came on the scoreboard.

Semi Finals

During Eurovision 2004 the semi final was introduced and held on the Wednesday during Eurovision Week (this moved to Thursday in following years). The semi final included countries who did rank high enough on the scoreboard to gain automatic qualification. Those countries that appear in the semi final are do not qualify are still able to vote in the grand final. The ten highest scoring countries then are guaranteed a place in the following years final, without needing to participate in next year's semi final. If however one of the big four came in the top ten the next country on scoreboard (i.e. 11th place) will qualify as well.


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New location and format changes revealed for Eurovision: You Decide 2019
Monday 3rd December 2018

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Think you can write a hit song? BBC opens public submissions for Eurovision 2019
Wednesday 19th September 2018

UK Eurovision entries are being welcomed from songwriters who think they have what it takes to write an arena-sized hit. Like last year, songs are being accepted from the general public for the annual song contest—specifically "melodic…

Ellis Hillon REMOVED from Big Brother for ‘offensive’ and ‘unacceptable’ tweets

Ellis Hillon has been REMOVED from the Big Brother house for posting ‘offensive’ and ‘unacceptable’ tweets on social media in 2014 relating to 9/11.

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Eurovision Song Contest 2019: Location and dates of semis and grand final revealed
Thursday 13th September 2018

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Robbie Williams reveals secret ambition to perform in the Eurovision Song Contest
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Wednesday 16th May 2018

The man who invaded the Eurovision stage while UK entry SuRie was singing has been bailed pending charges, the contest’s operator has confirmed. The singer, real name Susanna Marie Cork, was performing her song Storm live from Lisbon,…

UK Eurovision entry SuRie 'so proud' of her performance despite stage invader
Sunday 13th May 2018

UK Eurovision act SuRie said she was "so proud" of her performance despite the unwelcome stage invader snatching her microphone off her while she was singing ‘Storm’. The 29-year-old said she “gave it my very best”,…

Israel win Eurovision while UK entry SuRie battles stage invader

Israel's Netta Barzilai has won the Eurovision Song Contest with her quirky offering 'Toy'.

The singer was awarded 529 points after a nail biting finish, beating favourites Cyprus into second place.

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SuRie finished third from bottom with 48 points.

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Saturday 12th May 2018

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Friday 11th May 2018

She may be small.. but SuRie will be the first to tell you she ain’t no pushover. And this year’s UK entry into Eurovision is out to prove that she’s also a damn good performer as she steps onto the stage for the song contest’s…

Russia break qualifying streak after Julia Samoylova fails to make Eurovision final
Thursday 10th May 2018

Russia have failed to get through to the Eurovision grand final— ending their 100 per cent qualifying streak. Julia Samoylova’s ‘I Won’t Break’ failed to make the grade to go through to Saturday’s song contest.…

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