To some, it’s a gloriously camp celebration of global diversity. To others, it’s a naff cringe-fest with more cheese than a ploughman’s.
Whatever your views on the Eurovision Song Contest, you’re bound to hear a lot about it this weekend when Liverpool hosts the final.
The city famed for its musical heritage is staging the event as last year’s winner, Ukraine, is unable to do so due to the war.
We’ve compiled some fun facts from Eurovision’s history to mark the occasion.
- The first ever Eurovision in Lugano, Switzerland, in 1956 was a tame affair. Only seven countries competed in what was primarily a radio show.
- The luck of the Irish has prevailed many times over the years – with the Emerald Isle winning on seven occasions – more than any other country.
- However, things went downhill for Ireland in 2008 when its entry, a creepy muppet-on-acid puppet called Dustin the Turkey, failed to make the final.
- Celine Dion won for Switzerland in 1988. Many people were baffled by her victory, as Celine is a proud Canadian. But it’s a little-known rule that only the song’s writer needs to be from the country they’re representing.
- Despite its name, countries such as Australia and Israel compete in Eurovision.
- Sam Ryder, the chippy TikToker who represented the UK last year and finished second, used to own a vegan café in Essex called Lone Wolf Organics.
- The UK’s entry this year, Mae Muller, was born in 1997 – the last time that we prevailed at Eurovision, thanks to a performance by Katrina and the Waves.
- The UK’s 2000 entry, Nicki French, scored zero points with the prophetically titled tune Don’t Play the Song Again.
- The worlds of sport and singing collided in 2008 when the Russian entry featured gold medal-winning figure skater Evgeni Plushenko (with a rather striking mullet) pirouetting around singer Dima Bilan. Russia won.
- When the UK hosted the contest in 1968, Cliff Richard was pipped at the post by just one point, losing out to Spain. The result sparked allegations of a fix.
If you’re a Eurovision fan, message us on facebook or insta to tell us where you’ll be watching the contest this year.