• 8 April 2022

Once a year, all of Europe gets together for Eurovision; the world’s biggest song contest! This musical extravaganza is an explosion of colour, glitz, glamour, eccentricities and, of course, talent! Countries from across Europe (and, somewhat confusingly, from further abroad) come together for the annual original song competition to perform and compete to win first place. From serious ballads and pop hits to acts on the more whimsical side, Eurovision is pure entertainment!

The Eurovision Song Contest rolls around annually to much fanfare and excitement. While many people are familiar with the competition, many outside of Europe might not know exactly what all the commotion is about. To help you get ready for Eurovision 2022, Expat Explore has put together a guide to the event. Take a look! 

What is Eurovision?

Eurovision is an annual original song contest where the countries of Europe (and several non-European countries including Australia, Israel, Azerbaijan and more) compete to win. The first event took place in 1956 on a much smaller scale with only seven countries taking part – Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Luxembourg and France. In fact, it was one of the first major broadcasting events in Europe and was pitched as a way for countries to come together in the post-war years. 

Since then, it has grown majorly in popularity. This year, there are 40 countries performing and millions of viewers from Europe and around the world will tune in to watch!

Eurovision Stage Kyiv Ukraine 2020
Watch music magic at Eurovision!

How does it work?

Each country enters an original song and performer (this can be a singer or a band). Each participating broadcaster that represents their country chooses a contestant. The selection takes place through a nationally TV contest or internal selection. The song must be original and under three minutes, performers sing live and a maximum of six people can be on stage. 

The winners are chosen through two Semi-finals and a Grand Final event that usually take place in May. There are 26 performers in the Grand Final; six of which automatically pre-qualify. These are the “Big Five” countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom (all of which are the biggest financial contributors), plus the host country.

The remaining countries take part in the two Semi-finals with the top ten competitors from each heading to the Grand Final. Once all of the singers or bands have performed, each country gets to allocate points to the performances they consider best! Points are allocated in two sets from each country: one from a jury of music industry professionals and one from the viewers at home. Viewers at home vote by phone, text and via the app. Sometimes, the viewers’ points can decide the win! Understandably, you can’t vote for your own country.

The winner is the country that receives the most points from its competitors. While there is no monetary prize, winners receive a trophy, accolades and the opportunity to host the competition the following year!  

Ausience watched Eurovision performance
Expert jury members from each country vote for their top performances.

Where is Eurovision taking place this year? 

Italian rock band Måneskin won Eurovision 2021 which was hosted in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Their winning song “Zitti E Buoni” rocketed up the charts and it was a huge honour for the rock genre, which rarely wins at Eurovision. Therefore, Italy gets to host this year! The 66th edition of Eurovision will take place in Turin, Italy, from 10 – 14 May 2022. The 2022 theme is “The Sound of Beauty” so you can look forward to impressive set designs and riveting performances! 

Take a listen to the full lineup of 40 entries here

Eurovision 2021 winners Maneskin on stage with trophy
Eurovision 2021 winners Måneskin celebrating the win for Italy!

Related: Have a look at our Italy tours for a taste of this unforgettable country. 

Who are the most famous winners of Eurovision?

Eurovision has brought us world-famous acts including ABBA and Céline Dion! ABBA won for Sweden in 1974 with their smash hit song “Waterloo”. Despite being Canadian, Céline Dion performed and won for Switzerland in 1988. Interestingly, singers do not have to be from the country they represent. 

Why we love Eurovision so much:


With 183 million viewers in 2021, Eurovision is undoubtedly a popular production! It’s a chance to sit back and enjoy entertainment from across the continent and even further abroad.

Did you know? The Aussies love Eurovision. So much so that their support earned their country a spot in the competition in 2015!  

Eurovision performance
Expect impressive stage designs during this year’s broadcast!

The annual competition is a showcase of talent, eccentricity, novelty and fun! What’s not to love? There are serious acts that move audiences emotionally as well as performers on the quirkier side… all of which have special places in viewers’ hearts. 

Some of Eurovisions quirkier acts include the Russian grannies Buranovskiye Babushki and their song “Party for Everybody”, Pirates of the Sea from Latvia, Lordi the Finnish Christian metal band who dress up as demons, Dustin the Turkey who is a puppet from Ireland, drag queen Verka Serduchka from Ukraine and many more! 

Jenkin from Germany performs a t Eurovision
Acts such as Jendrik from Germany veer on the quirkier side.

Fun facts about Eurovision!

  • Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is Will Farrel’s movie based on the competition! The Netflix production was a pandemic hit and introduced people around the world to Eurovision for the first time. Ferrel says he first saw the competition on TV when he was visiting Sweden over 20 years ago. He was completely captivated and inspired by the idea and years later, we have a movie full of comedic fun to enjoy! Watch the trailer here.  
  • If you’re wondering “Who has won the most Eurovision titles?” It’s Ireland! The Emerald Isle claims the top spot while Norway sits on the other end of the spectrum. The Scandinavian country has placed last a whopping 11 times over the years.
  • The USA will soon be joining in on the fun! In 2022, the American Song Contest launches. It will be the same set-up as Eurovision with all 50 states competing with original songs. 
  • The competition’s only debut winner is Serbia. The country entered independently, after performing as the state union Serbia and Montenegro, in 2007 and won! 
  • Finally, one of the most famous songs from the song contest is “Nel blu dipinto di blu” more commonly known as “Volare” which was performed by Italian singer Domenico Modugno in 1958. It has been covered by the likes of Dean Martin, Cliff Richard and David Bowie! 
Turin Italy prepares for Eurovision 2022
Turin, Italy, will host the competition next month!

Be sure to tune in for Eurovision 2022 for an experience of European music at its most weird and wonderful! In general, Europe is as diverse and captivating as Eurovision’s contestants! It is overflowing with incredible music, art and culture. Get a taste of the magic of European culture during your next trip to this incredible continent!

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