The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest location is Tel Aviv, Israel, after Israel stormed to victory with the song Toy, performed by Netta, in 2018. Excitement is already building for the 2019 event, which will be the 64th in the annual music event’s long-running history.
As a result of our love of all things language-related, Eurovision holds a special place in the hearts of the Tomedes team, though as we hail from a wide range of different countries, we can’t always agree on who we want to win! And we’re far from alone in our enjoyment of all things Eurovision – some 186 million people around the world watched the 2018 contest.
The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest will take place between Tuesday 14 May and Saturday 18 May at the Expo Tel Aviv International Convention Centre. The semi-finals will take place on 14 and 16 May, followed by the grand final on 18 May 2019.
If there’s one thing Eurovision is known for, it’s its unpredictability in terms of winners. However, there are certain patterns when it comes to winning songs, which may help to narrow down speculation as to the winning formula for 2019.
In terms of nationality, it is Ireland that has won the Eurovision Song Contest more times than any other country, enjoying a total of seven victories to date. Ireland is followed by Sweden, with six wins, then by Luxembourg, France and the UK, with five apiece.
When it comes to languages, English-language songs have resulted in an impressive 32 victories, followed by songs in French (14 wins) and then Hebrew (with four).
Netta won Eurovision 2018 with her song, Toy. She performed the song mainly in English, though there were a couple of words of Hebrew in there too: אני לא בובה (ani lo buba, "I am not a doll") and סטפה (stefa, a sland word meaning a pile of banknotes). The Japanese word for stupid (baka – バカ) also featured.
Eurovision’s organisers have chopped and changed their minds a number of times over the years when it comes to the languages in which entrants can perform. Originally, singers sang only in their country’s official language.
Then in 1965, at the tenth contest, Swedish singer Ingar Wixell broke with tradition by singing in English, hoping that his Swedish to English translation would win over the judges (sadly for him, it did not).
The following year, Eurovision decreed that singers could only use the official language(s) of their countries for their entries. In 1973, they reversed the decision, allowing singers to use any language. Then, in 1977, Eurovision reversed the reversal, meaning that singers once more had to stick to their country’s national tongue(s).
It was not until 1999 that countries were once more given free choice over the language they used for their entries. This rule remains in force to the present day – entrants can sing in any language they wish, even if that language is made up.
These days, English has become increasingly prevalent when it comes to Eurovision entries. 17out of the 26 songs in 2018 were sung in English. It is a subject that divides opinion. Some feel that, by signing in English, their songs are more likely to appeal to those voting as they will be more widely understood. Others feel that the widespread use of English is to the detriment of the inclusive spirit of Eurovision and its celebration of a multitude of different cultures.
What are your views on the prevalence of English in Eurovision songs? And who do you think will be the Eurovision 2019 winner? Leave a comment below to share your views.