EUROPE
Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision Song Contest ()

Rehearsals have begun and are live streaming now! Join your European neighbors and jump into the world of Eurovision.

In 2024, the Eurovision Song Contest will be held May 7, 9 and 11.

What is Eurovision?

Eurovision is a massive Europe-wide song contest that is held yearly in May. The contest is intended to give exposure to rising stars in music. It is organized by the European Broadcasting Union, and each country submits one artist and song to perform.

Eurovision has three live shows: A First Semi-Final, A Second Semi-Final, and a Grand Final.

The first Eurovision Song Contest was held in 1956, only six years after the formation of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The EBU is an alliance of public media outlets across Europe that share content and co-operate on public media campaigns. Any country that has a member station that is active in the EBU can send a contestant to Eurovision.

Ready to watch? Visit the Eurovision website for streaming options. You can also have your TV scan for the local public television station. In Germany, that is ARD1. In Italy, it is RAI. In the U.K., it is the BBC. In Poland, tune in to TVP.

Aiko (Czechia) rehearsing “Pedestal”

Aiko (Czechia) rehearsing “Pedestal” (Alma Bengtsson / EBU)

Where is Eurovision?

In 2024, Eurovision is in Malmö, Sweden.

The contest begins two weeks prior to the Grand Final when all the acts show up to the “Eurovision Village.” This free space is a place for the local host nation to present other arts and performances throughout the week and a place for fans to meet the contestants.

During those two weeks, performers get the chance to rehearse twice on the official stage. There is also a dress rehearsal the night prior to each Semi-Final and the Grand Final, which gives audiences another chance to see their favorite acts.

You can expect the host city to be overrun with fans, city events and all-things Eurovision during those two weeks in May.

Eden Golan (Isreal) rehearsing “Hurricane”

Eden Golan (Isreal) rehearsing “Hurricane” (Corinne Cumming / EBU)

Who gets to perform?

Each country sends a sing act to perform a single song. It is up to the country to decide how their representative artist is selected. Some have selection boards while others run contests.

  • Any EBU member country can submit an act.

  • One act from each country.

  • The lead vocal must be over 18 years old.

  • The song must be an original composition.

  • The song must be new, and not publicly released.

  • The performance (lead vocals) must be sung live.

  • Songs are limited to 3 minutes.

  • One act cannot have more than 6 performers on stage.

There is no rule preventing ‘famous’ acts from performing, but the heart of the contest is to bring new voices and sounds into the mainstream. Plenty of countries have sent locally famous singers who can potentially gain some international exposure.

Windows95man (Finland) Rehearsing “No Rules”

Windows95man (Finland) Rehearsing “No Rules” (Corinne Cumming / EBU)

How does voting work?

To be honest, it is a bit complex, and has been updated for 2024. First, you need to know that the host country – this year that is Sweden- and the ‘big five’ countries of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. are guaranteed entry to the Grand Final.

SEMI-FINALS: ONLY PUBLIC VOTING

The rest of the participating countries get to perform at one of the two televised semi-finals. They are divided evenly and randomly across the two days. The public determines who goes on from these to the Grand Final.

Voters in member countries can vote during the live Semi-Final Shows via text, app or online. Your location and that of who is performing determines your method, but the app and voting website will automatically choose.

Voters from the rest of the world (non-EBU countries) can only vote in the 24 hours before the show. Essentially, the rest of the world needs to be watching the dress rehearsals and vote via the website after they end and before the semi-finals begin.

Eurovision Semi-Finals

Eurovision Semi-Finals (EBU)

GRAND FINAL: JURY AND PUBLIC VOTING

It’s important to know that all the votes are converted into points, which are essentially a ranking of the performers from 1-8 and then 10 and 12.

Just over 50 percent of the count is from public votes: Public voting works the same way as with the Semi-Final voting system. Member countries vote during the show, while the rest of the world must vote in the 24 hours prior to the show.

Almost 50 percent of the count is from the Jury: Each member country has a jury of five people that attend the competition, with one spokesperson presenting their results live. These are usually musical professionals sent to vote, comment and critique during the competition. Juries do not cast votes for their own country.

Visit the Eurovision website for even more details and a video on voting.

LUNA (Poland) rehearsing “The Tower”

LUNA (Poland) rehearsing “The Tower” (Sarah Louise Bennett / EBU)

author picture
Kat is a travel and lifestyle writer based in Kaiserslautern, Germany with a special interest in anything outdoorsy or ancient. She has a bachelor’s degree in geography from Penn State University and has been a travel writer for about 10 years. Currently, she is in the depths of dissertation research for an archaeology degree at the University of the Highlands and Islands. 

The best stories from EUROPE, in your inbox

Sign up to receive travel tips, local event details, restaurant reviews, recipes, community news, and more every week from Stripes Europe.

Sign Up Now