The contest has run since 1956 and was quite well respected in its early years, with established artists such as Cliff Richard and Serge Gainsbourg taking part, and others, such as Dana and Sandie Shaw, launching successful careers off the back of the show. The original idea was to foster post World War II unity among European nations outside the communist bloc and showcase their varied musical talent. What’s interesting to note that this contest is open not just to members of the European Union, nor just European countries, but to all countries which are active broadcasting members of the EBU, which also includes Israel, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan (As Graham Norton, current commentator for the United Kingdom via BBC, said on his show when explaining the premise, “We use ‘European’ very loosely.”). With the contest taking a credibility dive in The ’70s, the only acts to become international stars since then were ABBA and Cline Dionnote Performers do not have to be citizens of the country they represent, hence how the Canadian diva was able to represent Switzerland, though several performers have remained popular in their home countries after entering the show.
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