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You either love the Eurovision Song Contest or hate it. Some just laugh at it especially if being paid by the BBC to commentate on it.

The Eurovision Song Contest is a yearly competition that takes place in May. The first contest took place in 1956 and to take part you need to be a member of the European Broadcasting Union. The initial idea of the contest was to rebuild bridges after the Second World War.

What Eurovision bets can I place?

There are plenty of opportunities to use free bets when it comes to the Eurovision Song Contest especially as there are now two semi-finals. There's betting available on who will win those and who will qualify. When it comes to the final, you can bet on outright winners, a top 5 or top 10 finish. Also available is match betting between various nations, whether any country will receive the legendary null points, whether the winner will come from Eastern or Western Europe and how high the UK entry will finish.

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In 2015 Australia were invited to take place to celebrate the fact this is the 60th contest. This was due to be a one-off invitation but such was the popularity of their debut they are now set to be a permanent fixture.

Viewing figures for the Eurovision Song Contest are over 100 million and it's also possible to watch the contest live on the internet.

When the Eurovision Song Contest first took place there were just seven competing countries with each nation submitting two songs. This has grown over the years especially since the break-up of the Soviet Union. The highest numbers of competitors was 43 in both 2008 and 2011. With so many countries competing it was decided to introduce two semi-finals. These take place earlier in the week with the Final taking place on the following Saturday.

France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK gain automatic entry into the Final plus the host nation.

The contest is hosted by the winning country from the previous year. This isn't always a popular occurrence as it's an expensive event to stage.

The competition was based upon the existing Sanremo Music Festival in Italy and was something of a live television test, as it was still the early days of TV and hooking all the countries up to the same network was risky.

The name "Eurovision" had previously been used by British journalist George Campey in the London Evening Standard in 1951 in relation to the EBU's network - and later stuck as a name for the contest.

2019 Eurovision Song Contest

After the success of Israel in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, the 2019 event was held at the Expo in Tel Aviv. The semi-finals were held on May 14 and 16 and the final on MAY 18. I

First Eurovision Semi-Final

This took place on Tuesday May 14 with the top ten qualifying for Saturday's final. Here's the list of qualifiers.

  1. Greece - Better Love - Katerina Diske - Born in Canada.
  2. Cyprus - Replay sung by Tamta - reality TV veteran both as a contestant and mentor. Was due to represent them last year but finally makes it in 2019.
  3. Belarus - Like It by ZENA - Only 16 yeas old and is a voice actress having performed in films such as 'Moana' and 'Raph Breaks the Internet.'
  4. Slovenia - Sebi b Zala Kralj and Gasper Santi - already been a top ten hit in Slovenia.
  5. Czech Republic - Friend of a Friend Lake Malawi - their name comes from the Bon Iver song 'Calgary' you know.
  6. Serbia - Kruna by Nevena Bozovic - performed in the 2007 Junior Eurovision Song Contest (yes that really exists) and now the first singer to appear in both the junior and adult contests.
  7. Australia - Zero Gravity by Kate Miller-Hedke - previously a member of the wonderfully named group Fatty Gets a Stylist.
  8. Iceland - Hatrio Mun Signa by Hatari - a group previously dissolved by their bosses because they had failed to topple capitalism! One of the band members is the son of the Icelandic ambassador to the UK.
  9. Estonia - Storm by Victor Crone - Looking to give Estonia their first win in the Eurovision Song Contest since 2001.
  10. San Marino - Say Na Na Na - Serhat - a Eurovision song title if ever there was one. Represented San Marino in 2016 but failed to make the final.

Second Eurovision Semi Final

This took place on Thursday May 16 with another ten places in the final up for grabs. Qualifying countries were:

  • Switzerland - She Got Me - Luca Hanni - a former bricklayer.
  • Denmark - Love is Forever - Leonova - this singer has previously been an award-winning figure skater, will she be on thin ice here?
  • Sweden - Too Late for Love - John Lundvik - previously composed a song for the wedding of Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden. Was born in London, so if he wins, the UK are claiming it.
  • Malta - Chameleon - Michele - winner of the first ever series of Malta's X-Factor.
  • Russia - Scream - Sergey Lazarev - Scream isn't about what the Russians thought of that same-sex kiss. Sergey finished third in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest but won the televote.
  • Albania - Ktheju Tokes - Jonida Maliqi - previously appeared in that well known classic - 'The Ten Commandments -The Musical.' Is also a recognised style icon.
  • Norway - Spirit in the Sky - KEiino - no not that one, this is in fact a song inspired by historical struggles for equality, though you probably guessed that already.
  • Netherlands - Arcade - Duncan Laurence -Looking to win the Eurovision Song Contest for the fifth time in their history.
  • North Macedonia - Proud by Tamara Todevska - previously represented her country in 2008 and lost in the semi-final, can she go one better this year?
  • Azerbaijan - Truth by Chingiz - Won their version of Pop Idol 12 years ago.

The 20 qualifiers joined 'The Big Five' who make the largest financial contributions to the contest and the host nation. These were:

  • Israel - Home by Kobi Marimi - no sign of any chicken noises in this song. Kobi used to work as a cashier in a cinema.
  • France - Roi by Bilal Hassani- an LGBT icon in France who it was claimed had accused Israel of crimes against humanity but then said a relative made the comments. After another controversial video there were calls for him to be replaced but he's on his way to Israel.
  • Germany - Sister by Sisters - The Germans have competed in Eurovision more times than any other country but only won twice, the last win being in 2010.
  • Italy - Soldi by Mahmood - Won qualifying competition despite losing the public vote.
  • Spain - Lavenda by Miki - 2019 marks 50 years since the Spaniards last won Eurovision.
  • United Kingdom - Bigger Than Us - Michael Rice - Won 'Altogether Now' last year. UK last finished in the top ten in 2009 with no win since 1997.

Result of 2018 Eurovision

  1. The Netherlands 498 points
  2. Italy 472
  3. Russia 370
  4. Switzerland 364
  5. Sweden 334
  6. Norway 331
  7. North Macedonia 305
  8. Azerbaijan 302
  9. Australia 284
  10. Iceland 232
  11. Czech Republic 157
  12. Denmark 120
  13. Cyprus 109
  14. Malta 107
  15. Slovenia 105
  16. France 105
  17. Albania 90
  18. Serbia 89
  19. San Marino 77
  20. Estonia 76
  21. Greece 74
  22. Spain 54
  23. Israel 35
  24. Belarus 31
  25. Germany 24
  26. United Kingdom 11

It was another miserable night for the United Kingdom who finished bottom with only 16 points. Only three of those came from the public vote. They didn't finish last in that section though as Germany didn't get a single point. However, there was even worse news to come later in the week.

The points totals were updated after problems with the Belarus voting. This resulted in the UK losing five of their points to end on an even more dismal 11. The changes also saw Sweden move up to fifth and North Macedonia to seventh.

Previous winners

There have been some notable winners of the Eurovision Song Contest. These include:

  • 1974: Abba
  • 1980 and 1987: Johnny Logan
  • 1981: Bucks Fizz
  • 1988: Celine Dion

It's not been a great time for Salvador Sobrai since his big win this year and recently he announced he's taking a break from his musical career due to ill health and recently performed a farewell concert.

Most Eurovision Wins

  • 7 - Ireland (but none since 1996)
  • 6 - Sweden
  • 5 - France (last won in 1977), United Kingdom, Luxembourg and Netherlands

United Kingdom Past Glories

The United Kingdom used to enjoy a great deal of success with a record 15 runner-up places. They first won the contest in 1967 with Sandie Shaw. Lulu was one of four joint winners two years later. The Brotherhood of Man won in 1976 with 'Save All Your Kisses For Me' and Bucks Fizz with 'Making Your Mind up' in 1981. The last UK Winners were Katrina and the Waves in 1997.

In the first 30 years of the contest the UK only failed to make the top ten once and even then they finished 11th. However of their last 13 entries only once have they made the top ten. In 2003 Jemini finished last with 0 points who sang off key claiing they couldn't hear the backing track. On three other occasions the UK finished 25th. Last year Electro Velvet came 24th scoring just five points. In 2016 UK hopes were in the hands of Joe & Jake who finished a lowly 24th but Lucie Jones performed better in 2017 finishing 15th. 2018 saw Surie finish 24th and this year Michael Rice ended in last position.

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