EDITORIAL : Myths of Eurovision Debunked – PART 2

myths header

Well, it seems like yesterday’s piece about some of the myths that surround our beloved ESC got some of you talking so I thought I’d have a look at a few more…

It’s only for amateur musicians


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to have this conversation, especially a few weeks ago when the UK were making their selection. So many people in the UK seem to think that the BBC aren’t allowed to send someone like Adele, Ellie Golding, Sam Smith (whoever their favourite artist is) because you’re only allowed to enter if you don’t have a music contract. I’m really not sure where this myth came from, maybe it’s because the BBC started using their ‘BBC Introducing’ to source artists/singers/songwriters for the competition but it’s probably fair to say that the BBC are now entwined in a vicious circle of not being able to attract big name artists to the show because they very often send unsigned artists.

Whilst it maybe true that lots of the contestants have come through casting and talent shows like The Voice, X Factor, Pop Idol kind of shows, many of the people we see on stage are major recording artists and very well established musicians in their countries and to me that’s what makes it great an unsigned artist can perform on the same stage as someone who has sold millions of albums, there’s nowhere else where that can happen.

In 2014, Molly Smitten-Downes came to the competition through ‘BBC Introducing’…

Whilst Sanna Nielson from Sweden had 7 albums in her back pocket when she performed on the same stage…


Half the countries aren’t even in Europe


Well technically of the 43 countries competing this year only 6 are not geographically in Europe. Don’t be fooled by the ‘Euro’ in Eurovision it is the countries who are active members of the European Broadcasting Union that are eligible to enter ESC. Let’s just look at those 6 countries, Israel has been in the contest since 1973 and although they lie outside the geographical boundaries of the continent Israel is firmly within the European Broadcasting Area the same is true of Cyprus (technically in Asia) but no one ever really questions their participation in the show.

Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia also lie outside of the geography of Europe but are active members of the EBU and since the widening of the EBA in 2007 are now eligible for ESC participation. And then there’s Australia, love it or hate it, it would seem that Australia are here to stay. There’s no way to argue them geographically into Europe, most definitely outside of the EBA but they are associate members of the EBU. Certainly a country with a European identity even if it is on the other side of the world, and they’ve been coming to ESC for years so why not have them in the competition?

Guy Sebastian debut’s for Australia in 2015..

Elnur & Samir kicked off Azerbaijan’s participation in 2008, with this high drama number ‘Day After Day’ and they’ve never missed a final yet…


It’s always the same countries that win


I imagine people who say this haven’t watched since the 90’s when yes you could argue that Ireland did do quite a lot of winning! But it’s been 20 years since Ireland lifted the trophy and since then there has been quite a diversity in winning nations, in fact there have only been two multiple winners in the last twenty years with Denmark winning in 2000 and 2013, and Sweden in 1999, 2012 & 2015. And it’s not as if it’s been a block of countries that have won either. East and Western Europe have featured on the winners list in pretty equal measure and we’ve seen a number of first time wins too from Estonia, Latvia, Russia, Serbia, Azerbaijan and even Austria after a 47 year absence from the winners list!

So no, it’s fair to say that although Sweden have done well the past few years really going into the contest it is anyone’s for the taking, surprises happen on the night and that’s one of the things I love about ESC, even if the voting doesn’t go the way I want it to, it’s definitely entertaining – it will be interesting to see how the new voting system plays out in the big arena of Eurovision.

Denmark’s first win of the past 20 years was ‘Fly on the Wings of Love’ by The Olsen Brothers…

First time winners Serbia took the title in 2007 thanks to Marija Šerifović and ‘Molitva’ interestingly the last non-English song to win.

In writing this and re-watching the video I had actually forgotten just how good that song is!

So there  you have it three more myths’ hopefully debunked about Eurovision, I do feel though that I am very much preaching to the choir here! What myths do you hear from your non-Eurovision friends that you’d like help answering? I’ll do my best to provide some good hard evidence for you!


Author: Lisa-Jayne Lewis
Source: Eurovision Ireland


3 replies »

  1. Explaining the concept of Eurovision not being just European is quite tedious sometimes! Football fans are more likely to accept that idea as a lot of ‘European’ football all of the countries you mentioned, apart from Australia of course…

  2. Successful artists in the UK are not interested in Eurovision. They don’t have to prove themselves. Once they make in big in the UK, their sights are set on USA not Europe. Why would they want to be in Eurovision, and most likely fail. Whereas artists in Europe want to make it big in the UK, and they feel that winning Eurovision can help them achieve that. To be honest, in the past ten or fifteen years, I’ve never heard of any of the winning artists in Eurovision, before they actually won, and I’ve not heard a lot of them since. So why would a successful, established UK artist want to be part of that?

    • Good point John. I guess the only reason UK fans can cling to is that a major artist will do it for the glory of it and win the equivalent of the World Cup (or at the very least, the European Championships.)

      A Robbie Williams, One Direction,Adele or Ellie Goulding would probably change the profile and perception of ESC in this country overnight if they entered. Cliff Richard, Oliver Newton John, Sandie Shaw have all participated for UK in the past when they were established acts.

      There was notable excitement when both Jedward (Ireland) and Blue took part in 2011 – can you imagine if a true A-list act took part?

      It’s unlikely we’ll get top grade current acts to perform for UK again but maybe one day.

      That said, part of my enjoyment of ESC is discovering brand new acts each year and in some cases then finding their back catalogue (Elina Born from Estonia from last year was one who I ddiscovered had a number of good songs previously,) so even if UK never competes at the top end again, I’ll still come back for more every year.

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