Eurovision Song Contest is now including a record-breaking 43 participating countries and in many of these countries long selecting procedures have been going on for quite a while - and many will start soon. In some countries, the chosen performer has been chosen internally and in other countries, like Iceland, Bulgaria and Sweden, a series of events are taking place in order to find the best suitable candidate to send to Belgrade. But despite the different ways of finding the new Eurovision Song Contest stars, the outcome will be the same as in the previous years, namely a fantastic pan-European event that brings various peoples together for one night of utter unity in the name of music.
For people abroad who do not know of the Eurovision Song Contest (or perhaps just a tiny bit), the show may seem like something comparable with X-Factor or Idols - simply a singing competition. But it is far more than that. The Eurovision Song Contest is the world's oldest music competition in the history of television, and there is some kind of magic attached to the event.
In 1956, seven countries participated in the very first Eurovision Song Contest in Lugano, Switzerland. The song contest soon catched the interest of a majority of the European countries. Because of the growing interest, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) had to create a Semi-Final and a Final in 2004. This year, two Semi-Finals will take place before the grand Final on May 24th in Belgrade, Serbia.
The Eurovision Song Contest has come to stay, and it is an honour for me and the entire Eurovision.tv team to bring you safely and well-informed through this year's edition of the world's most popular music competition.
Let's start the music - let's start the fun!