The Eurovision song contest 2012 is hosted by Baku in Azerbaijan and this year’s contest marks the 57th show. The final is on Saturday 26th May.

The contest

The Eurovision song contest is an annual competition held amongst active members of the European Broadcasting Union.

The competition consists of the participating countries submitting a song to be performed on live television in a bid to gain the votes from the competing countries publics (You can’t vote for your own country). The winner is established by the vote count, whichever country gets the most votes wins.

Fifty one countries have participated at least once in the contest.

Eurovision’s roots

The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the longest running television shows in the world. It was on the 24th of May, 1956, that Europe saw the first ever Eurovision Song Contest. 56 years and 56 show’s later, the Eurovision song contest is a European institution.

The Eurovision languages

Several rules and regulations have been put in place over the years regarding the language the performers must sing in. In 1966 a rule was imposed stating that the songs must be performed in one of the official languages of the country participating. This enabled the rest of world to experience, not only their performance, but their mother tongue and get a glimpse of their culture.

In 1973 the restriction was lifted and again the competitors were able to choose which language they performed in, many countries adopting English; including ABBA’s winning performance in 1974. I wonder what would have come of ABBA if they hadn’t of been able to perform in English, would they be as successful as they are today?

In 1997 it reverted back to the original rule of performing in the official languages and once more it was changed so that contestants were allowed to sing in any language they preferred. This linguistic allowance has seen performances in constructed languages, artificial languages and the competition has seen its first performance sung in the African language, Swahili.

What will become of the language rule? I believe the restriction of performing in your countries official language/s should be imposed. It is what Eurovision is all about, representing YOUR country, your mother tongue, cultures and languages coming together to celebrate their style of music.

If all contending countries start to sing in the same language it will surely become repetitive and boring, it takes away the component that differentiates it from other contests.

Huge global audience

It is in fact, one of the worlds’ most watched non sporting events with audience figures estimated at 160million.

The contest is now been broadcasted outside Europe. Several international countries tune in such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, The United States, Uruguay and Venezuela despite the fact that that they do not compete.

Europe united

The Eurovision song contest really does bring together the countries of Europe; its fun, its often cheesy but it is the different languages, cultures and styles that makes it the ultimate international pop contest for all to enjoy.