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Music > Did you know this? May 20, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life.

The Eurovision Song Contest, which launched the careers of Abba and Celine Dion, was broadcast live across Europe to an estimated audience of more than 100 million.

Since 1956, it has pitted European nations against one another in pursuit of pop music glory. Previous winners include ’60s chanteuse Lulu, Sweden’s ABBA – victors in 1974 with “Waterloo” – and Canada’s Celine Dion, who won for Switzerland in 1988.

Saturday’s showdown was broadcast live in 38 countries to a TV audience estimated at more than 100 million. 

Athens is staging the event because Greece won last year in Kiev, Ukraine.

This year’s winner receives a trophy shaped like an ancient Greek column, and the show opened with a musical number inspired by Greece’s rich history, mythology and sparkling seas.

The hosts , Greek pop singer Sakis Rouvas and “Access Hollywood” correspondent Maria Menounos made their entrance by “flying” onto the set, which resembled an ancient theater.

Last night’s show in Athens was the 51st Eurovision song contest. A continental tradition since 1956, it has fanatical fans, who point to the global success of past winners such as Abba and Celine Dion, and bitter foes who say performers are competing in eccentricity. 

First contest took place in Lugano, Switzerland, with the aim of “stimulating the output of original, high-quality songs in the field of popular music”. It has given the world such memorable songs as Abba’s Waterloo. But it has also served up such naffness as La La La.

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