What is the Eurovision Song Contest?
It's a singing competition held annually since 1956 in which each European country sends a performer - either a singer or group - and a song. Each song is performed, scored and a winner is declared. Though the contest has produced some icons, notably ABBA, it is often derided for camp or cheesy songs and performances.
So, just Europe?
Not quite. The contest is not actually defined by geography, though there are some geographic boundaries in the rules in the form of membership in the European Broadcasting Union, the region's television industry body. This is why, for example, a country like Israel is allowed to participate. Australia's SBS, along with the ABC and Freeview, is an associate member of the EBU.
How is the competition scored?
All countries compete in one of two semi-finals except the "big five" - France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom - who automatically place in the final. Each country can award one through eight, ten and twelve points to any other country; the country (and song) with the most points wins.
Points are given in the second half of the grand final, during which the host country crosses live to each participating country for their scores. For Australia, our scores will be announced by newsreader Lee Lin Chin.
Isn't that a bit slow?
Yes, but it's also one of the most appealing aspects of the competition. In the face of modernity, Eurovision still scores using an almost analog methodology. Think of it as the musical version of the Brownlow.
Why do Eurovision fans say "nul pwa"?
Nul points, pronounced "nul pwa", means no score. It is a joke aimed at low-scoring countries and the French tendency to award their points, during the live cross, in their own language. As a result, "douze points" (twelve points) and "dix points" (ten points) have also become commonly-used phrases, as they are the highest scores on offer. Most other countries will announce scores in English.
If it's a European contest, why is Australia in it?
To mark the 60th anniversary of the contest, and also in acknowledgement of the popularity of the telecast in Australia, we've been offered a "wild card" into the final. That effectively makes us the equal of the "big five".
Has Australia competed at Eurovision before?
Officially, no. Technically, yes. Australian-born Johnny Logan won twice representing Ireland in 1980 and 1987, and took a third win when he wrote the winning song Why Me for Linda Martin in 1992.
How many countries participate?
It varies from year to year, though the largest number of participating countries was 43, in 2008 and 2011.
Which country is the most successful?
Ireland has won seven times; France, Luxembourg, Sweden and the United Kingdom have won five times.
Which country is the least successful?
On view, it appears to be Norway, which was the lowest-scoring country on some 11 occasions: 1963, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1990, 1997, 2001, 2004 and 2012. (They also won in 1985, 1995 and 2009.)
What is the most famous winning song?
Though ABBA's Waterloo might be the default answer here, in truth it is more likely to be Domenico Modugno's Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu. Better known as "Volare", it came third in 1958's Eurovision Song Contest.
In competition, which language is the most successful?
English, with 26 wins in Eurovision history. That's largely because of a curious tendency to sing in English, even though the contest's participants are mostly from non-English-speaking countries. ABBA famously performed Waterloo in Swedish at the Swedish Eurovision qualifier, and then in English at the Eurovision final.
Next most successful language: French, with 14 wins.
How many people watch?
Like most "global" television audience figures, it is the subject of some conjecture. The officially quoted figure is approximately 180 million people.
SBS will screen the two semi-finals on Wednesday and Friday at 5am (repeated on Friday and Saturday at 7.30pm); the grand final will air Sunday at 5am (repeated at 7.30pm)
Play our bingo game during the Eurovision Song Contest