Before American Idol there was the Eurovision Song Contest.
What is the Eurovision Song Contest you might ask? Well, it is one of the longest-running television programs in the world with over 125 million viewers watching the 2013 Final.
Eurovision was birthed over half a century ago, on February 12th 1950, when a group of broadcasting organisations from Europe and the Mediterranean joined forces to form the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Their first transmission was of the Narcissus Festival in Montreux in June of 1954.
"The first Eurovision viewers eagerly watched on four million television sets in homes, bars, and shop windows in Germany, Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland."
The Eurovision Song Contest was conceived during a brainstorming session in Monaco in 1955 by the EBU's very own Marcel Bezencon.
Bezencon's inspiration for the competition was based upon the Italian Festival di Sanremo, "a popular Italian song contest, held annually in the city of Sanremo, Italy, and consisting of a competition amongst previously unreleased songs".
The project was an ambitious one joining many countries together in an international song contest and in a wide-area international network whereby countries, represented by their respective public broadcasters, would participate in one television show, to be transmitted simultaneously in all represented nations.
The EBU succeeded and, without interruption, the Eurovision song Contest has been broadcast every year since 1956.
"Did you know that not only stars like ABBA, Celine Dion, Cliff Richard and Julio Iglesias took part, but also dance act Riverdance thanks its fame to the Eurovision Song Contest?"
To find out more about Eurovision and to read some other cool facts and figures visit: http://www.eurovision.tv.