year’s Eurovision Song Contest has been won by a singer from Serbia with a
powerful ballad about an estranged lover. But it was a
disappointing night for the UK, whose team tied with France in joint
The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition between
more than 40 European countries, which is broadcast live on television
throughout Europe and the rest of the world.
Each participating country sends one musical act to
the competition to sing a song. Once all the acts have performed, each country
awards points to the singers they liked best – these points are usually based on
phone and text message votes sent in by viewers in the various
However, the contest has faced mounting
criticism in recent years as countries have tended to vote for their
neighbours and "friends" rather than judging each entrant on their
This process, known as "block voting", often sees
Scandinavian, Baltic and Balkan countries voting for each
other while other countries receive few votes or even no points at all – the
dreaded "nul points".
But some commentators say the competition should not be taken
too seriously and that national partisanship is all part of the fun.
Whatever the result, the Eurovision Song Contest is always a
spectacle featuring camp acts, baffling lyrics and
incomprehensible titles such as "Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley" and "Ding-A-Dong".
The competition has acted as the springboard for a few
successful musical careers and many failed ones.
Eurovision winners who have gone on to superstardom
include Abba, who won the competition in 1974 with the hit song "Waterloo", and
Celine Dion, who won the competition in 1988 representing Switzerland despite
being a French–Canadian.