For more than 50 years, once a year, representatives of the European countries (and not only European) gather to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. As for the rules of the contest, it is held among the performers from countries-members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). So sometimes among the participants of the contest we can see performers from Israel and other countries outside Europe (this year Australia participated). Also the citizenship of performers has no value. Each country participating in the "Eurovision" sent one member – singer/group, who performs one song. The winner is determined by televoting and a jury of each participating country.
The first Eurovision song contest was held in Switzerland in 1956. The main idea was to establish entertainment event, inspiring and promoting the cultural unity of Europe after the war. An example of such a program was a music festival in San Remo, which is still carried out in Italy. Namely this festival has been used as the basis for more than 50 years ago and became one of the most awaited and prestigious events in the musical life of Europe. The popularity of Eurovision Contest around the world has grown so much that every year this event is following by more than 100 million viewers.
In the first competition there were seven countries participated. Each participant performed two songs, and it was the first and last time for this contest with such an option. Next year a new rule were adopted (and preserved until this day): the participants perform only one and new song. The composition should not be in rotation until September preceding the competition.
Later because of the popularity and the huge number of countries willing to participate listening to performances of all participants became long and difficult. Therefore, as an essential final competition time is limited, in 2004 at the Eurovision the semi-final appeared, giving an opportunity for all the participants to perform in the competition. After the semi-finals only 10 member countries will reach the final, among them - the countries of the EBU Big Five - Germany, Britain, Spain, France, Italy – and the winner of the previous year – will enter the final automatically.
Speaking about the countries of the post-Soviet space, many decades Eurovision remained largely Western competition because of the closed borders of the USSR. But after the fall of communist regimes it has become a truly pan-European, expanding and uniting the cultural borders of Europe, as it was conceived back in 1956.