14 Eurovision facts to keep you in the singing spirit – test your knowledge

Eurovision 2020 may be cancelled, but it doesn't mean you can't swot up for next year

Credit: Getty Images

Although Eurovision fans may be mourning 2020’s contest, which was cancelled due to the coronavirus, there’s still lots of Eurovision-themed fun to be had this weekend, with BBC One airing Eurovision: Come Together and Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light this weekend.

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In the meantime, here’s some trivia about the long-running singing competition to get you excited for next year…

How many counties take part in Eurovision?

There 41 countries due to participate in Eurovision 2020, while 52 countries in total have participated since 1956.

To take part, a county must be a member of the EBU and register their intention to compete before deadline and pay a fee. If a county was to withdraw from contest, they may incur a fine the equivalent of £15,000 or temporary ban. In 2006, Serbia-Montenegro withdrew from contest after the two countries failed to agree on which contestant to send to Eurovision.

Which country won the most?

Ireland is the county with the most Eurovision wins, having placed first a total of seven times – 1970, 1980, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996.

In those years, Ireland was represented by Dana, Johnny Logan (twice), Linda Martin, Niamh Kavanagh, duo Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan and Eimear Quinn.

While the UK has placed second more than any other country – a total of 15 times.

Which act has scored the highest number of points?

Salvador Sobral winning Eurovision 2017
Salvador Sobral winning Eurovision 2017

Across the last six decades, the highest number of points was scored by Portugal’s act Salvador Sobral, who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2017 held in Kiev, Ukraine with his song Amar pelos dois.

He scored 758 points in total, beating Alexander Rybak’s previous record of 387 points in 2009.

Which country has come in the last place the most?

Norway has found itself at bottom of scoreboard 11 times – the most out of any participating county.

The country scored the least points in 1963, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1990, 1997, 2001, 2004 and in the Grand Final of 2012.

However, Norway has also won Eurovision three times so – swings and roundabouts?

Which country won with its debut entry?

Serbia is the only county so far to have won Eurovision on its very first try.

Although the county had previously competing as pat of Yugoslavia and as Serbia and Montenegro, its solo debut in 2007 with act Marija Šerifović won it the Eurovision title.

Most popular Eurovision song?

Although the UK will be voting during this weekend’s Eurovision: Come Together to decide which Eurovision song is their favourite, in 2005, ABBA’s Waterloo was voted the most popular song of the contest’s first fifty years during Eurovision’s 50th anniversary concert.

Swedish entry ABBA won Eurovision in 1974 with Waterloo, and went on to become international sensations. As a result of ABBA’s performance at Eurovision, Waterloo became a number one hit in several counties.

Which language is the most common among the winning songs?

English language songs have won the most across the Eurovision contests – 33 winning song have been in English.

However, French-language songs have won 14 times, while songs in Hebrew have won three times – 1978, 1979 and 1998.

Who are the most famous acts that took part in Eurovision?

Celine Dion
Celine Dion

Eurovision has launched various musical career during its time, most notably ABBA, UK band Katrina and the Waves (1997), Bucks Fizz (1981) and Cliff Richard in 1973, who placed in second place.

Celine Dion gained international recognition when she represented Switzerland in 1988 and won the competition with Ne partez pas sans moi.

Lulu also won Eurovision in 1969 with Boom Bang-a-Bang, however she had already established a singing and presenting career for herself in the UK by this point.

No live animals!

If you’ve ever wondered about the lack of animal involvement in Eurovision performances across the last six decades, it’s all down to the rules. Eurovision forbids the use of live animals in any country’s act.

Which famous interval acts have appeared on Eurovision?

Eurovision has hosted a range of talented contestants over the years, but what about interval performers?

Various famous artists have performed during the Eurovision interval including Madonna (2019), Justin Timberlake (2016), Aqua (2001) and Cirque du Soleil (2009) to name a few.

What did Eurovision used to be called?

The Eurovision Song Contest did not always go by that name. It was first known as the Eurovision Grand Prix, a name adopted by Germany, Denmark, Norway and other Francophile countries. However, in 1973, those counties dropped the Grand Prix and replaced it with Concous (concert).

Who has presented Eurovision over the years?

Terry Wogan (BBC, EH)
Terry Wogan (BBC, EH)

While Graham Norton currently commentates Eurovision, he’s never had a chance to physically present the show as the UK has not won during his time presenting.

A few famous presenters who have been the faces of the competition over the years when the contest was held in the UK or Ireland have included Ulrika Jonsson, Terry Wogan, Ronan Keating, Carrie Crowley, Angela Rippon, Jan Leeming and Katie Boyle.

Which country has won multiple times with the same act?

Ireland's Johnny Logan winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1980, with his song 'What's Another Year?'. (Credit: Getty Images)
Ireland’s Johnny Logan winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1980, with his song ‘What’s Another Year?’. (Credit: Getty Images)

Johnny Logan has competed for Ireland in Eurovision twice and won both times. In 19880, he performed ‘What’s Another Year’, written by Shay Healy, while in 1987, he wrote and performed Hold Me Now.

Logan also wrote Ireland’s 1984 song performed by Linda Martin, who placed second that year.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it I guess.

When were there multiple winners?

There have been 67 winners of Eurovision despite only 64 contests taking place.

In 1969, 4 counties topped the scoreboard with an equal amount of points – the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands and France. As no tie-break rules were in place at the time, all four countries were declared the winner.

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As the UK had hosted in 1968 and Spain in 1969, the Netherlands and France tossed a coin to decide who should host the following year – the Netherlands won. Shortly afterwards, tie-break rules were introduced.

The BBC’s alternative Eurovision coverage begins on BBC One on Saturday night at 6.25pm. To find out what else is on, check out our TV Guide.
Eurovision Europe Shine a Light will on Saturday, 16th May on BBC One. Eurovision Come Together also airs on Saturday 16th May at 6.25pm with classic Eurovision acts performing. While you wait for Eurovision 2021 check out the full list of Eurovision winners, the Eurovision 2020 acts.