The Eurovision Song Contest (French: Concours Eurovision de la Chanson) is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
Each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the most popular song in the competition. The Contest has been broadcast every year since its inauguration in 1956 and is one of the longest-running television programmes in the world. It is also one of the most watched non-sporting events in the world, with audience figures having been quoted in recent years as anything between 100 million and 600 million internationally. Eurovision has also been broadcast outside Europe to such places 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. Since 2000, the Contest has also been broadcast over the Internet, with more than 74,000 people in almost 140 countries having watched the 2006 edition online.
Melodifestivalen is an annual music competition organised by Sveriges Television and Sveriges Radio to determine the song and artist that will represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest. It has been staged under various formats almost every year since the first public competition in 1959. The competition is a considerably popular live television and radio event—it is the most popular television programme in Sweden, a title it has held since 2000, at times eclipsing even Eurovision itself. In 2007, an estimated four million people—almost 44% of Sweden's population—watched the final, while the semifinals averaged around 3.1 million viewers. The winner is chosen by a number of regional juries and a national televote. Until 2001 the competition was normally limited to between eight and twelve songs, but since the introduction of semifinals in 2002 that number has risen to thirty-two. The event is often seen as being dominated by light orchestrated pop songs, known locally as schlager music—so much so that it is sometimes referred to as Schlagerfestivalen by the Swedish media—but other styles of music such as rap, reggae and glam rock have made an appearance since the competition's expansion.
Place your cursor over a country on the map image below and click on it to access that country's Eurovision article. Or alternatively, see the flag icons below the map for a full list of participating countries.
21 May 2012: The BBC airs a controversial edition of Panorama over human rights abuses in host country; Azerbaijan as buildings are allegedly demolished to make way for the building of the venue, the Baku Crystal Hall.