Eurovision has been around since 1956, and through its fabled history, it may now present itself in quite a different manner than first intended. Upon introduction, it was seen as a way of connecting European nations after World War II, strengthening ties and relationships.
The competition began relatively small with seven counties but has now ballooned to 26 nations in the grand final. The competition has produced stars likes ABBA, Celine Dion, and Bonnie Tyler. Contemporary Eurovision doesn’t seem to unearth world-renowned pop stars like it used to, but it has evolved into an all-around elaborate performance spectacle.
The feeling around the competition now is that it’s not just about the singing anymore. A myriad of factors seems to play a role in deciding the champion, which, in fairness, has seen more parity. There were periods of dominance, like Ireland in the 90s, where it seemed easy to predict a winner. This year, Malta are the favourites at 11/4, followed by France at 9/2, and Switzerland at 5/1. If you were to have a guess at who will win Eurovision 2021, it might be more complicated than ever before, but you get plenty of countries with fantastic odds.
The parity seems to be affected by the performances. People may have heard the song before the contest and known which is better before; in modern Eurovision, the live performance affects the decision just as much. For example, Loreen’s dance routine for ‘Euphoria’ or the menacing Lordi performing ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’.
Celebration of Diversity
What has become prevalent in recent additions of Eurovision is diversity. Although intended to celebrate each other’s difference initially, the modern contest has truly become a melting pop due to the number of different cultures competing.
The competition removed rules to allow countries to perform in their native language, and it broadcasts in many languages. Performances are often heavily influenced by the culture of their home nation, and it seems that countries that do this are the most popular. Transgender woman Dana International won back in 1998 for Israel, and drag queen Conchita Wurst won for Austria in 2014.
These celebrations of countries, cultures, and LGBTQ+ communities show admiration and respect for the many differences seen in contemporary society.
What is astounding is the relevance that Eurovision still has today. The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest had 182 million viewers. It shows that people today still care about the competition and want to see the celebration of cultures. The competition has a rich history that seems to be continuing today by broadening its reach and appeal to modern viewers. The Eurovision Song Contest is the longest-running annual international televised music competition, and it doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing down.
Eurovision has blossomed since its humble beginnings. In fact, the contest sometimes hosts nations that aren’t even in Europe. What is interesting to see is how it continues to grow and reach a new generation of audiences by being at the forefront of inclusivity and togetherness.