Hungary has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 12 times since making its debut in 1994. Hungary attempted to participate in 1993 but failed to qualify from a special qualifying competition set up for seven former eastern bloc countries.
Hungary's first contest in 1994 remains its most successful, with Friderika Bayer finishing in fourth place. Hungary would not return to the top ten for 13 years, until Magdi Rúzsa finished ninth in 2007. In 2013, ByeAlex finished tenth. This was followed in 2014 by András Kállay-Saunders, who gave Hungary its fourth top ten placement and best result since 1994, when he finished fifth.
The country's first entry would have been Andrea Szulák's in 1993 but a qualification round was installed just for former Eastern Bloc countries and she did not manage to qualify to the Grand Final. The first real participation was of Friderika Bayer in 1994. After three rounds of voting the Hungarian entry had taken the top marks each time and was in contention to win. However, as the competition progressed it attracted fewer votes, though it still ended up in a credible fourth place. This made Hungary the only debuting nation to lead the voting.
The 1995 entry was not as successful, garnering only 3 points, narrowly beating last placed Germany. In 1996 Hungary suffered another qualification lost when Gjon Delhusa's song didn't make it through the pre-qualification round.
Hungary began a hiatus from the competition after the 1998 contest, returning in 2005 when they reached a 12th place in the final with NOX. Hungary however announced not to participate again in 2006, although it returned to the contest in 2007 with Magdi Rúzsa, the winner of the 3rd season of the Hungarian talent show Megasztár. She came 9th in Helsinki with her song "Unsubstantial Blues", the first Hungarian entry in English, receiving 128 points in the final.
After coming last in the semi-final in the 2008 contest, Magyar Televízió (MTV), the Hungarian broadcaster, confirmed Hungary's participation at the 2009 contest in Russia. After MTV's original choice was revealed to have been released before 1 October 2008, breaking contest rules, it was decided that Zoltán Ádok would be Hungary's next Eurovision entrant, performing "Dance with Me", after MTV's second choice to represent Hungary declined. Ádok eventually finished 15th in the second semi-final, failing to qualify Hungary to the grand final for the second time.
On 22 October 2009, MTV confirmed that they would withdraw from the 2010 Eurovision due to financial limitations in the company which prevent them from sending a Hungarian entry to the contest in Bærum, Norway. Duna TV broadcast the event live in 2010 and applied for EBU membership to send a representative to Germany in 2011, however during the EBU's 65th conference they rejected Duna TV's bid to become an active member.
On 27 December 2010, it was confirmed that MTV had agreed to return to the 2011 edition. On 22 May 2011, MTV confirmed their 2012 participation.
In 2013, Hungary made it to the Top 10, when ByeAlex reached the 10th place with "Kedvesem". They achieved even more success in 2014, when András Kállay-Saunders reached the 5th place with his song "Running", achieving the best result Hungary has had since their first participation in 1994.
a. ^ Hungary attempted to qualify in 1993 when there was a pre-qualifying round for seven countries hoping to make their debut in the contest and in 1996 when there was an audio-only pre-qualifier for all countries (excluding hosts Norway). Hungary is one of only two countries (along with Romania) to have unsuccessfully attempted to participate in both 1993 and 1996. The official Eurovision site does not count either year in Hungary's list of appearances.
Hungary is statistically the second-best country at predicting the winner of the contest. Out of 11 occasions since its debut in 1994 (excluding years in which Hungary did not participate, and therefore did not vote), Hungary has awarded an average of 9.4 points to the winning song, and has given its "12 points" to the winning song five times (1997, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2012). Only once, in 1998, did Hungary fail to give any points to the winning song.