For the first time, Eurovision will air in the States this Saturday. Here are the top 3 reasons why Americans should be watching (and it's not just because Justin Timberlake is performing!)
The history of the Eurovision Song Contest began with the brainchild of Marcel Bezençon of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The competition was based on the Italian Sanremo Music Festival, and was designed to test the limits of live television broadcast technology.
The first contest took place on 24 May 1956, where seven nations participated. As it progressed, the rules grew complex and participation levels rose to pass forty nations at the end of the 20th century. As more countries came on board over decades and technology advanced, the EBU attempted to keep up with national and international trends.
The end of the Cold War in the early 1990s led to a sudden increase in numbers, with many former Eastern Bloc countries queuing up to compete.
Liechtenstein, Vatican City and Kosovo are the only European countries not to have participated; the most recent major European country to take part was the Czech Republic, which made its debut in the 2007 contest. San Marino took part in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade, Serbia, together with Azerbaijan.
Australia made their debut in the 2015 contest and became the first country from the Oceania region to participate in the contest.