The contest's name is originated from the Eurovision distribution network, run by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The countries, whose national television broadcasters are members of the European Broadcasting Union, may take part in the Eurovision song contest.
The first contest took place in May, 24, 1956 and included seven participants. These were France, West Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, and Switzerland. Today, it is a twenty four-twenty six nation show with a potential television audience of more than one billion people. This number is increased by the radio broadcast and recently, it has started the Internet broadcast.
Not only European countries participate in the contest, several countries of Africa and Asia, such as Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Algeria, Israel and Syria are enjoying full rights in the Eurovision song contest. Each country is allowed to present six performers, who must be aged sixteen and more. It is a vital issue that there is no restriction on the nationalities of the singers. The country, having performed with the greatest success, is the country, where the next contest will take place. If the country has a poor performance, it could be suspended for a year. The four biggest EBU contributors, which are France, the UK, Germany and Spain, qualify automatically regardless of the quality of their performance. Each country selects the winner of the contest by assigning points to their most favorite ten participants by means of the national telephone polls during the broadcast. The countries cannot take part in voting for themselves. However, there are small juries in each country, which exist as a reserve measure, when the telephone polls system suffers a malfunction.
The Eurovision contest is not only a song competition for adults. In 2000, Denmark organized a song contest for children and held the Nordic Children's Eurovision. The EBU approved the idea and decided to create an official Children's Eurovision. The first children's event took place in 2003 and was called the Junior Eurovision song contest. Denmark, as a creator of the concept, was accorded the honor to host the first children's competition.
It is worth saying that the Eurovision song contest is a great opportunity for the maintenance of the international unity and cooperation; it is the best way to plan an international cultural life and come to agreements rather than to argue and disagree on many international issues. It is also the best way for the nations to overcome different misunderstanding and the problem of nationalism. It is an opportunity for each host country to boost its image abroad and increase tourism.
Finally, for many pop singers and groups a win in the Eurovision song contest is the initial stage for the future fame and popularity. ABBA, Secret Gardens and Celine Dion started their international careers by participating in the contest. Among the other famous performers are Cliff Richard, Sandie Shaw, Nana Mouskouri, Olivia Newton John, The Shadow, etc. Sometimes, we come across negative attitudes to the contest; nevertheless, we still admit that it has become a constituent part of the European life.