Hit the high notes with Eurovision Song Contest 2019 - Reuters News Agency

Hit the high notes with Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Prepare to celebrate Eurovision!

REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

By Clare Cavanagh | May 13, 2019

Warm up those vocal chords and have your dancing shoes at the ready… It’s Eurovision Song Contest time!

This popular annual event best-known as Eurovision will take place in Tel Aviv this year and is expected to attract more than 180 million viewers. Following tradition, Israel will host the awards having won in 2018 with Netta Barzilai gaining the top spot with her elated and entertaining performance of ‘TOY’. This year, semi-finals will begin on May 14th and the grand final is on May 18th.

REUTERS/Corinna Kern

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) have been the organizers of this event since its inauguration in 1956. This contest welcomes 56 countries and their various broadcasters who are members of the EBU across Europe and beyond to participate by submitting an original song. This year, 41 countries are taking part including singer Kate Miller-Heidke from Australia which was granted a guest entrant in 2015.

REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

The singer representing Israel has qualified automatically as the host country, along with the ‘big five’ participant countries – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom – whose broadcasters are the biggest financial contributors to the EBU. After a voting process taking place in the semi-finals, the most popular 20 countries will perform at the final.

So what can audiences look forward to during Eurovision this year?

1. Special guest performances:

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

In April, it was confirmed that Madonna will sing two songs and give a “historical and hysterical” $1million performance, funded by Canadian billionaire Sylvan Adams. He reputably invests in huge events such as Eurovision to support Israel and hope to prevent boycott movements.

Reuters/Reuters Photographer

Israel won Eurovision for the fourth time in 2018 but it was 20 years after their last win. Dana International won with her song ‘Diva’ in 1998 and remains one of the most memorable performances in the event’s history. Dana will grace the stage to open the final event on May 18th.

2. Extravagant costumes and stage sets

REUTERS/John Kolesidis

Eurovision has a reputation for eccentric and whimsical performances – with costumes and stage sets to match. Year after year, singers compete for the winning song (voted for by the public) but also for the most memorable performance. Over the years, various music genres have inspired bizarre and creative themes, from rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s to funk punk and everything in between.

3. International celebrations

Eurovision is a well-known source of entertainment that garners large audiences beyond Europe – especially the United States, China and New Zealand. Audiences use it as an excuse to dress in costumes, gather together and sing and dance along while they watch. Reuters captured street parties in Tel Aviv last year after Israel won, we can’t wait to see the merriment this event induces for audiences year after year.