For those unfamiliar with it, Eurovision began in 1956 and takes place every year. It’s similar to a musical Olympics, an attempt to bring the countries of Europe—and a few others nearby—together in perfect harmony. Competing countries submit a song for live performance and must survive a qualifying round and a semi-final. The winner is determined by judges and home viewers.
Some of the more famous winners—who went on to have extremely successful careers—are ABBA and Celine Dion. Julio Iglesias finished fourth in 1970 but afterwards sold a few hundred million albums. (As you can probably tell by the artists named, the contest tends to favor mainstream pop.)
It’s difficult to get an exact number, but the most recent estimates figure between 100 million and 600 million people watch Eurovision each year. So it’s kind of a big deal.
This is last year’s winner, Sweden’s Loreen, with her t’ai chi dance moves and the song “Euphoria”:
And here’s this year’s winner, Denmark’s Emmelie De Forest, sounding like Shakira covering ABBA with the song “Only Teardrops”: