How it works

Grand Final Opening 2019
Grand Final Opening 2019 Photo: Thomas Hanses

New to the Eurovision Song Contest, or feel the need to refresh your memory? Here we explain to you how it works. In a nutshell.

Each participating broadcaster that represents their country chooses their performer (maximum 6 people) and song (maximum 3 minutes, not released before) through a national televised selection, or through an internal selection. Each country is free to decide if they send their number-1 star or the best new talent they could find. They have to do so before mid-March, the official deadline to send in entries.

The winner of the Eurovision Song Contest will be chosen through 2 Semi-Finals and a Grand Final.

Traditionally, 6 countries are automatically pre-qualified for the Grand Final. The so-called 'Big 5' — France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom — and the host country.

The remaining countries will take part in one of the two Semi-Finals. From each Semi-Final, the best 10 will proceed to the Grand Final. This brings the total number of Grand Final participants to 26.

Each act must sing live, while no live instruments are allowed.

After all songs have been performed, each country will give two sets of 1 to 8, 10 and 12 points; one set given by a jury of five music industry professionals, and one set given by viewers at home. Viewers can vote by telephone, SMS and through the official app.

Out of fairness, you cannot vote for your own country.

Only those countries who take part in the respective Semi-Final vote, along with 3 of the 6 pre-qualified countries. Which countries take part and vote in which Semi-Final is determined by the so-called Semi-Final Allocation Draw in late January.

In the Grand Final, juries and viewers from all participating countries can vote again, after the 26 finalists have performed.

Once the voting window has closed, the presenters will call upon spokespersons in all participating countries and ask them to reveal their jury points live on air.

Next, viewers' points from all participating countries will be added up, and revealed from the lowest to the highest, culminating into a climax that will eventually reveal the winner of the 64th Eurovision Song Contest.

The winner will perform once again, and take home the iconic glass microphone trophy. The winning country will traditionally be given the honour of hosting the next Eurovision Song Contest.

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