The United States has many reality singing competitions, The Voice, American Idol and the X-Factor are all extremely popular, but none of these shows are as popular as the Eurovision Song Competition in Europe.

Held once a year at the beginning of May, over 170 million people tune in to watch their country compete in the live show.

When Elon junior Maggie Macdonald attended boarding school in Scotland, she was introduced to the phenomenon and since then has been a huge fan of the competition.

“It gets very intense during Eurovision,” Macdonald said. “Everyone would get together and watch it on TV.”

Each country holds auditions and choses one person to represent the nation in the final rounds. The countries compete in the semi finals, and then thirty countries move on to the finale.  The songs must be performed completely live with no prerecorded background vocals, although since 1999, background accompaniment tracks have been allowed.

This year is the 59th year of the competition. Many acts went on to become huge stars after competing in Eurovision in the past, including Celine Dion representing Switzerland, and ABBA representing Sweden. There have also been already established artists including singer Cascada representing Germany and band Katerina and the Waves representing the United Kingdom.

“It’s not always the best group that wins,” Macdonald said. “A lot of times it’s just the most memorable act. One year a group of old guys won because they had belly dancers in their routine. It’s part of the fun”

Last year the winner was Emmelie de Forrest of Denmark whose song “Only Teardrops” earned 281 points in the competition. Since Denmark won last year, the competition this year will be held in Copenhagen.  5 Danish cities were considered as hosts, but Copenhagen was selected in early September as the official host.

The two semi final rounds will be held May 6 and May 8 and the final will be May 10. Even though the competition is not for another month, Europeans are already revving up for the completion.

Preview parties have been held in various countries over the past two months including London on April 13, with 2014 competitors staging concerts along with past winners and getting people excited for the upcoming competition.

“It’s a really fun way to get people excited for the competition and see who is competing this year,” McDonald said.

Laura Hertling of Berlin is certain that this is Germany’s year to win.

“It’s been a few years [since Germany last won], and I think that we’re going to do it again this year,” Hertling said.

John McKenna-Hughes of Accrington, England is just as excited to see the UK compete.

“I really want the UK to win or at least another country in the vicinity so that next year the competition will be close and I can go see it,” McKenna-Hughes said.

With only three weeks left until the first semi-final, both Hertling and McKenna-Hughes both said that many people are already starting to get excited for the big event.

“I love it because it is just so crazy,” McKenna-Hughes said. “It’s like nothing you have ever seen before and you will not see it anywhere else in the world because no one is as crazy as the Europeans”


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