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Eurovision 2022: history of song contest and who are all the past winners?

The popular song contest has been a European mainstay since its inception - here’s everything you need to know about Eurovision

Whether you love it or hate it, the Eurovision Song Contest is back.

The annual event, which is watched by an audience of around 180 million people each year, remains immensely popular across Europe and the world.

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Not only does it entertain but the contest has also launched the career of huge names in music.

But how did the contest come to be? And who has won it in the past?

Here’s everything you need to know about the history of the Eurovision Song Contest.

ABBA are among some of the most famous winners of the Eurovision Song Contest. (Credit: Getty Images)

When did Eurovision Song Contest begin?

The first ever Eurovision Song Contest took place in 1956 as a way to reunite and connect Europe after the Second World War.

The format was based on Italy’s Sanremo Music Festival, which had been held since 1951.

Eurovision was first held in Lugano, Switzerland with 7 countries taking part - Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The UK did not join the contest until the second event in 1957.

How many Eurovision Song Contests have there been?

Eurovision has been hosted annually since its inception in 1956.

The only year that a contest did not take place in the past six decades is in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

There have been 65 finals held, with the 2022 contest being the 66th.

What is the most successful country at Eurovision?

Winning the contest has given countries bragging rights in the modern era, with all of those competing hoping to pick up as many wins as possible.

The most successful country in the competition is Ireland, having won Eurovision a total of seven times.

Ireland had a successful run of wins in the 1990s, becoming the first country to win the competition three years in a row.

They are followed by Sweden, who have six wins.

Luxembourg, France, the UK and the Netherlands all take bronze position, with five wins.

Who has won Eurovision?

The Eurovision stage has been home to some famous faces and has even launched the career of huge names such as ABBA and Celine Dion.

The two then-unknown stars became famous overnight after taking home the Eurovision trophy.

Results have often thrown up some surprises, with a four-way tie even being called in one year.

Here are a full list of the winners:

1956

Switzerland: Refrain - Lys Assia

Lys Assia was the first ever Eurovision winner. (Credit: Getty Images)

1957

The Netherlands: Net Als Toen - Corry Brokken

1958

France: Dors Mon Amour - André Claveau

1959

The Netherlands: Een Beetje - Teddy Scholten

Teddy Scholten won the 1959 contest. (Credit: Getty Images)

1960

France: Tom Pillibi - Jaqueline Boyer

1961

Luxembourg: Nous Les Amoureux - Jean-Claude Pascal

Jean-Claude Pascal, with the 1961 interval act, Tessa Beaumont. (Credit: Getty Images)

1962

France: Un Premier Amour - Isabelle Aubret

Isabelle Aubret performs her winning song Un Premier Amour on the 1962 Eurovision stage. (Credit: Getty Images)

1963

Denmark: Dansevise - Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann

Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann won the 1963 contest. (Credit: Getty Images)

1964

Italy: Non Ho L’étà - Gigliola Cinquetti

Gigliola Cinquetti became Italy’s first Eurovision winner in 1964. (Credit: Getty Images)

1965

Luxembourg: Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son - France Gall

1966

Austria: Merci Chérie - Udo Jürgens

Udo Jürgens won the 1966 contest with his song ‘Merci Cherie’ . (Credit: Getty Images)

1967

United Kingdom: Puppet On A String - Sandie Shaw

Sandie Shaw was the UK’s first Eurovision winner. (Credit: Getty Images)

1968

Spain: La, La, La... - Massiel

1969

Four-way tie

France: Un Jour, Un Enfant - Frida Boccara

United Kingdom: Boom Bang-a-bang - Lulu

The Netherlands: De Troubadour - Lenny Kuhr

Spain: Vivo Cantando - Salomé

1970

Ireland: All Kinds of Everything - Dana

1971

Monaco: Un Banc, Un Arbre, Une Rue - Séverine

1972

Luxembourg: Après Toi - Vicky Leandros

1973

Luxembourg: Tu Te Reconnaîtras - Anne-Marie David

1974

Sweden: Waterloo - ABBA

ABBA shot to fame after winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest. (Credit: Getty Images)

1975

The Netherlands: Ding-A-Dong - Teach-In

1976

United Kingdom: Save Your Kisses For Me - Brotherhood of Man

Brotherhood of Man won the contest in 1976. (Credit: Getty Images)

1977

France: L’oiseau Et L’enfant - Marie Myriam

1978

Israel: Abanibi - Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta

1979

Israel: Hallelujah - Milk and Honey

1980

Ireland: What’s Another Year - Johnny Logan

Johnny logan won the contest twice, with his first win for Ireland coming in 1980. (Credit: Getty Images)

1981

United Kingdom: Making Your Mind Up - Bucks Fizz

Buck Fizz won with their famous skirt-ripping performance of ‘Making Your Mind Up’ in 1981. (Credit: Getty Images)

1982

Germany: Ein Bißchen Frieden - Nicole

1983

Luxembourg: Si La Vie Est Cadeau - Corinne Hermès

1984

Sweden: Diggi-loo Diggy-ley - Herrey’s

1985

Norway: La Det Swinge - Bobbysocks

1986

Belgium: J’aime Le Vie - Sandra Kim

1987

Ireland: Hold Me Now - Johnny Logan

1988

Switzerland: Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi - Céline Dion

1989

Yugoslavia: Rock Me - Riva

1990

Italy: Insieme: 1992 - Toto Cutugno

1991

Sweden: Fångad Av En Stormvind - Carola

1992

Ireland: Why Me - Linda Martin

1993

Ireland: In Your Eyes - Niamh Kavanagh

1994

Ireland: Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids - Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan

1995

Norway: Nocturne - Secret Garden

1996

Ireland: The Voice - Eimear Quinn

1997

United Kingdom:Love Shine A Light - Katrina and The Waves

1998

Israel: Diva - Dana International

Dana International (middle) won for Israel in 1998. (Credit: Getty Images)

1999

Sweden: Take Me To Your Heaven - Charlotte Nilsson

2000

Denmark: Fly On The Wings Of Love - Olsen Brothers

2001

Estonia: Everybody - Tanel Padar, Dave Benton & 2XL

2002

Latvia: I Wanna - Marie N

2003

Turkey: Everyway That I Can - Setab Erener

2004

Ukraine: Wild Dances - Ruslana

Ruslana won for Ukraine in 2004. (Credit: Getty Images

2005

Greece: My Number One - Helena Paprizou

2006

Finland: Hard Rock Hallelujah - Lordi

Lordi became the first rock band to win Eurovision in 2006. (Credit: Getty Images)

2007

Serbia: Molitva - Marija Šerifović

2008

Russia: Believe - Dima Bilan

2009

Norway: Fairytale - Alexander Rybak

Alexander Rybak broke contest records with his point total when he won in 2009. (Credit: Getty Images)

2010

Germany: Satellite - Lena

Lena won the 2010 edition of the contest for Germany with Satellite. (Credit: Getty Images)

2011

Azerbaijan: Running Scared - Ell & Nikki

2012

Sweden: Euphoria - Loreen

Sweden’s Loreen won in 2014 with Euphoria, which has gone on to be one of the most popular songs outside the contest. (Credit: Getty Images)

2013

Denmark: Only Teardrops - Emmelie de Forest

2014

Austria: Rise Like A Phoenix - Conchita Wurst

Conchita Wurst won the competition in 2014 for Austria. (Credit: Getty Images)

2015

Sweden: Heroes - Måns Zelmerlöw

Mans Zelmerlow represented Sweden in 2015. (Credit: Getty Images)

2016

Ukraine: 1944 - Jamala

2017

Portugal: Amar Pelos Dois - Salvador Sobral

Salvador Sobral won Portugal’s first Eurovision title in 2017. (Credit: Getty Images)

2018

Israel: TOY - Netta

2019

The Netherlands: Arcade - Duncan Laurence

2021

Italy: Zitti E Buoni - Måneskin

Italy’s Maneskin celebrate on stage with the trophy after winning the final of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest (Photo: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)

Who is favourite to win Eurovision 2022?

The current favourite to take home the Eurovision trophy in 2022 is Ukraine.

A strong public support is expected for Kalush Orchestra who are representing the country.

The UK are the bookies second favourties, while Sweden, Italy and Spain round out the top five.