Eurovision Song Contest
Contest for the most Popular Song in Europe
The idea of creating a European song contest emerged for the first time in 1950s as the countries of Europe attempted to rebuild and reintegrate following World War II. Marcel Bezencon, director general of Swiss television and the chairman of the European Broadcasting Union, proposed to establish a TV song contest that would be broadcast to all European countries. The first Eurovision contest took place in 1956, in Lugano, Switzerland; it consisted of only seven countries, performing two songs each. From such optimistic beginnings however, Eurovision rapidly expanded, to the extent that 2014's Eurovision will contain over 30 different participants. Amongst the numerous rules of the contest one of the most important, from a Cultural Diplomacy standpoint, is that it is not possible to vote for an artist originating from the same country as the voter. This leads to an emphasis on appreciating songs from other cultures, rather than simply inciting competition between representatives of particular countries.