By Anna Kotris

Staff Writer

Every single year, families and friends gather around the television to watch the Eurovision Song Contest. The contest is celebrating its 60th anniversary, and has received a well deserved spot in the book of Guinness World Records for the longest running music contest. During its 60 years of existence, and steadily growing in popularity, the contest has begun to outgrow the boundaries of Europe. Although they are not allowed to compete, the whole world can be found enjoying the large fest of different cultures and languages meeting under one roof. As of 2016, the program could even be seen on American television. Unless you are from one of the competing countries, show-night is the only thing you might be aware of.

However, there is far more to it than just that.

Every year the countries that are part of the European Broadcasting Union are sent an invite to the contest. Where some countries choose not to take part, most do. Although every country is free to choose their representative, the European Broadcasting Union  has set up a few strict rules regarding the contest. For instance, the song needs to be newly written and cannot have been released prior to the contest. However, so long as you follow the rules, anyone can be sent to the final contest and every country as their own way of choosing this lucky person or group. In Sweden, the process of choosing their lucky rep begins months beforehand.

The smaller contest before Eurovision consists of a small tour across the country, holding four smaller competitions where the beloved artists who are competing perform their songs for the first time. During each competition, the two contestants receiving the most votes from the citizens proceed directly to the final, and the third most voted song proceeds to the Second Chance held the week before the Final.The winner of the final receives the Songbird as well as the honor to represent the country in the great final: Eurovision Song Contest.

2015’s winner of ESC was Måns Zelmerlöw of Sweden with the song Heroes, and therefore the 2016 contest was held in Sweden. This year,  thanks to the beautiful singer Jamala, the contest will be held in Ukraine.