Skip to main content

All Aboard! A journey through the slogans of the Eurovision Song Contest

16 November 2023 at 14:15 CET
Get in, we're going time travelling! Sarah Louise Bennett / EBU
With 'United By Music' being established as a permanent slogan for the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö and beyond, we take a storytelling journey through slogans past.

Seeing just how well the slogan resonated with audiences and participants at Liverpool in 2023, it has been decided that United By Music will remain as the official one for all subsequent Contests, too, starting with Malmö in 2024. 

Throughout the 21st century, a different slogan had been used at every Eurovision Song Contest since 2002, with the exception of Moscow 2009, when none accompanied the Contest.

With United By Music, we've landed on one that encapsulates the core values of the Eurovision Song Contest, which has a rich history of promoting diversity, inclusivity and artistic expression; bridging differences and igniting a sense of shared community, regardless of nationality, language or background.

But how did we get to being United By Music

Well, by looking back over the slogans of Eurovision Song Contests past, we can map the journey and tell the story of how the Contest has evolved into what it is today. #JoinUs?!

2002: A Modern Fairytale

Pre-empting the title of one of the most famous modern Eurovision winners by 7 years, A Modern Fairytale was the very first slogan and, whether intentionally or not, hinted at the dawn of a new era of Eurovision that the Contest itself was entering into at that time.

Coming to us from Tallinn, Estonia, it was the first time that the Eurovision Song Contest was to be hosted by a former Eastern Bloc country... But as we soon found out, it was by no means the last!

Marie N won for Latvia in 2002 with 'I Wanna'

2003: A Magical Rendez-vous

The Contest’s very first trip to Latvia was indeed that - A Magical Rendez-vous. Psychedelic staging and plasticine graphics took us on quite the colourful trip to Riga.

It turned out to be a rendez-vous that everyone wanted to be invited to. And setting a new record for the largest Grand Final at that time (26 countries competed), it was to be the last Contest that would take place across just one evening. 

2004: Under The Same Sky

29 years after it had first entered the competition, Türkiye got to host its very first Eurovision Song Contest in 2004, welcoming an unprecedented 36 countries Under The Same Sky.

Overseeing the largest number of new participants since 10 years earlier in 1994, Turkish broadcaster TRT said ‘selam’ to Albania, Andorra, Belarus and Serbia and Montenegro, with Monaco returning to the Contest for the first time since 1979.

2005: Awakening

The very first edition of the Eurovision Song Contest to be broadcast in widescreen 16:9 format, Awakening was said to represent the introduction of a new Ukraine to the rest of Europe. 

In hindsight, the Kyiv-hosted Contest also symbolised the emergence of Ukraine as one of the most successful participants of the 21st century, with everything from Shum and Shady Lady, to Serduchka and Stefania, still to come!

Ruslana opening the Grand Final in 2005 PentruEurovision

2006: Feel The Rhythm

A slogan that served as a reminder as to why we were all in Athens in the first place, which was thanks to Helena Paparizou’s evergreen dance anthem My Number One

The rhythm of Eurovision Song Contests past was celebrated via the opening act of the Semi-Final. For the number, we were presented with a cast of Greek gods performing a medley of Eurovision classics; from Nel Blu, Dipinto Di Blu performed by Zeus, to Diva by Dana International being interpreted by - of course - Aphrodite!

2007: True Fantasy

2007’s True Fantasy was one that played out in high-definition - the very first Eurovision Song Contest to be broadcast in HD.

Serbia’s victory in Helsinki came about in true fantasy style - it was the first time since the Contest began in 1956 that a country had won on its debut outing. 

2008: Confluence of Sound

It was 2008 and the Eurovision Song Contest was not done growing just yet! The 43 countries taking part was a whole new (and as yet unbeaten) record for the Contest.

It led to the introduction of two Semi-Finals taking place - in confluence with one another, if you will. 

2010: Share The Moment

Oslo’s Share The Moment reflected a more activated and engaged audience that was tuning in to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2010, with increased social media usage giving viewers more of an opportunity than ever to join in and have their say.

The interval act for the Grand Final incorporated outdoor dance events coming to us live from across Europe, interspersed with webcam footage being beamed in from people watching at home.

2011: Feel Your Heart Beat

The 56,400 capacity Düsseldorf Arena hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2010, following official bids by 23 different cities across Germany. 

The German metropoleis weren't the only ones having their hearts beat for Eurovision in 2010, however. At that year's Grand Final, 'love' made its way into the titles of four competing entries: The Secret Is Love (Austria), In Love For A While (Switzerland), Madness Of Love (Italy) and Love In Rewind (Bosnia & Herzegovina).

2012: Light Your Fire

Light Your Fire was the slogan chosen by the self-proclaimed ‘Land of Fire’ Azerbaijan when it hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in Baku in 2012. 

The 2012 Contest in Azerbaijan was also the first time that we got to hear the Azerbaijani language in a competing entry. This was not down to host country Azerbaijan, however, but rather Sofi Marinova’s turbo-charged dance track Love Unlimited, representing Bulgaria.

2013: We Are One

A trip to Malmö in 2013 and we have what was arguably the first incarnation of the theme of the slogan we’ll be having in Malmö 2024 and beyond - We Are One.

Malmö 2013 also gave us an official theme song - We Write The Story, written and produced by Avicii with Benny and Björn from ABBA. One can't help but wonder whether Benny and Björn might be popping up in some form or another in Malmö 2024, too…

2014: #JOINUS 

Not to be confused with #JANUS, a social media campaign that we may or may not have just invented in support of the United Kingdom’s efforts at the Eurovision Song Contest 1991.

Copenhagen 2014’s #JOINUS proved that hash-tagging really did work for growing a following back then; a new record of 195 million viewers was reported as ‘joining us’ for the Contest that year.

2015: Building Bridges

In 2015, Vienna’s Building Bridges lived up to its promise quite spectacularly - by extending an invite across hemispheres and allowing Australia to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time. 

Guy Sebastian had the honour of embarking on that inaugural journey across the newly-constructed bridge and finished in a very respectable 5th place with Tonight Again.

2016: Come Together

Once the towels that host Petra Mede had urged us to grab were discarded in a sanitary manner, Stockholm 2016’s Come Together saw the whole of Europe unite to award its points simultaneously for the very first time.

This was the first year that jury votes and public votes would be separated. Jury votes would be read out by each country in the style that we’d become accustomed to at Eurovision Song Contests past, but the public vote from each country would be added together and awarded as one set of points for each song. The nail-biting climaxes we’ve enjoyed since Stockholm’s Come Together have been some of the most iconic moments in Eurovision Song Contest voting history.

2017: Celebrate Diversity

Kyiv’s second time hosting the Contest since Ukraine’s debut in 2003, Celebrate Diversity ended up signifying a Contest in which some participating countries were given the chance to shine and be celebrated for the first time.

The Top 3 of Portugal, Bulgaria and Moldova saw all three countries achieve their best results to date, with Portugal earning its first victory in 53 years of participating. 

2018: All Aboard!

Portugal’s nautical slogan of All Aboard! took us to the Atlantic coast for a Contest that had a record-equalling 43 countries take part. 

With postcards that included the art of making pastel de nata and interval acts that showcased fado music, it was the quintessentially Portuguese production that we’d waited 54 years to see.

2019: Dare To Dream 

We didn’t know it at the time, but Tel Aviv’s Dare To Dream would herald the arrival of a modern era in which Eurovision Song Contest entries could dream big and become serious smash hits on a global scale.

As well as Italy’s Soldi becoming a Top 10 hit in several countries across Europe, winner Arcade for Netherlands became the first Eurovision song of the 21st century to chart in the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, where it peaked at number 30. It has since gone on to pass 1 billion streams on Spotify, and remains the most streamed Eurovision song of all time on the streaming platform. 

2021: Open Up

Open Up was Rotterdam 2021’s appropriate slogan for the Eurovision Song Contest that took place after the 2020 edition had to be cancelled, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It saw the Contest return big and bright in rockstar style, with Italian band Måneskin winning the trophy and going on to become megastars around the world. 

2022: The Sound Of Beauty 

The Sound of Beauty took us to Turin in 2022, with the sound of hip-hop making its way into a Eurovision winning song for the very first time. It was also the first time that a winning song was performed entirely in Ukrainian.

The 2022 Contest was the only one in 67 editions not to have the French language present in any of its competing songs. Luckily enough for anyone who appreciates the sound of ‘le français’, at the time of writing 100% of the songs unveiled so far for the 2024 Contest are performed in French! 

Kalush Orchestra on stage having won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2022
Kalush Orchestra on stage having won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2022 EBU / Corinne Cumming

2023: United By Music 

This slogan was created by British broadcaster the BBC to demonstrate the unique partnership between the United Kingdom, Ukraine and Host City Liverpool at the 2023 Contest, when the broadcaster stepped in to host on behalf of Ukraine. 

It reflects the power of music to bring people together across the world, and underlines the Eurovision Song Contest's values of inclusivity, equality, universality and celebrating diversity through song.

Now, let's take those values with us on our trip to Malmö in May. No need for Building Bridges this time - the Øresund is right there!