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Eurovision Big 5 Rule Explained – How It Affects ESC Contestants

  • Eurovision Song Contest is the most popular music contest in Europe
  • The show has a special “Big 5” rule that touches upon privileged countries
  • Check out the history of the ESC and follow this year’s grand final on May 22
Eurovision Big 5 rule explained
Image via Eurovisionary.com

It’s time to join the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest as it is about to announce its winner this weekend. If you are a big ESC fan, you should know everything about the show and its rules. If you have joined the party this year and don’t understand what’s going on, we are here to help. Today, you have all about the Eurovision Big 5 rule explained.

Eurovision is definitely the most talked-about show this spring. After a one-year break, the biggest song contest in Europe is back to every fan’s delight. Apart from ESC fans, many common viewers are joining the party according to record-breaking TV broadcast rates (based on both semi-finals so far). 

If you are also watching Eurovision for the first time, you might be confused by some of its rules. We have explained how to bet on Eurovision for the first time, so we are going to cover another interesting topic now – The Big 5. 

Eurovision Song Contest: how it works

Before we get to Eurovision’s Big 5 rule, it is important to look back at a brief history of the ESC. As the Big Five is directly related to the history of Eurovision, let’s take a quick look at its origin. 

Eurovision Song Contest was first launched as an international song competition in 1956. The launch of the show aimed to promote cooperation and unity among European countries after WWII. Seven countries participated in the very first Eurovision: Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. One of the Swiss entries – Lys Assia’s Refrain – won the competition that year.

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Back in the past, the contest didn’t look like its modern version: it didn’t have semi-finals and several participants were allowed to perform from each country. Later, ESC modified the show rules several times. For instance, it excluded the possibility to send several participants to represent the same country, added an open televoting system, and introduced the Big 5.

Eurovision Big 5 rule explained

The launch of the ESC gave rise to EBU – European Broadcasting Union – which broadcasts the contest on TV. In its turn, the “Big Five” is a group of countries that make the biggest financial contributions to EBU. They are Italy, Spain, Germany, France, and the UK.

Eurovision Big 5 rule explained
Eurovision – Martin Fjellanger, Eurovision Norway, EuroVisionary, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Big 5 (formerly Big Four) rule was first introduced in 2000. Initially, it didn’t include Italy as the country withdrew from participating in Eurovision in 1997 but was back in 2011. The rule allowed four (later five) countries mentioned above to skip semi-finals and qualify directly for a Grand Final. 

Since then, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, and the UK have been automatically redirected to the final regardless of their previous results or any other factors. That’s basically everything one can have about the Eurovision Big 5 rule explained.

Winners from Big 5

According to online sportsbooks in Italy, the introduction of the Big 5 rule negatively affected these countries’ odds and results. In most people’s opinion, countries from the Big Five don’t have to try as hard as other participants to reach the final. 

There is a grain of truth in this statement as Italy, Spain, France, and the UK have never won Eurovision since 2000. Germany is the only country from the Big 5 that managed to win the contest after the rule was introduced. In 2010, Lena’s Satellite finished first and brought Germany its second victory. 

2021 ESC favorites among the Big Five 

Although Eurovision fans disagree with the Big Five rule, some countries from the list show great results this year. In 2021, two “privileged” countries are leading the odds to win the ESC at Bet365. They are France and Italy.

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At the ESC 2021, France is represented by Barbara Pravi and her French-language song Voilà. According to the bookies, she has 5.00 odds to win the contest. If so, Pravi will bring France its first victory in 44 years and the sixth victory in history. 

As of now, Italy leads the best bookies’ predictions to win Eurovision 2021. This year, Maneskin is representing the country with a rock song called Zitti E Buoni. The band has 3.75 odds to win which is the best result at Bet365

So, who will win the Eurovision Song Contest 2021? The Grand Final is just around the corner, so hurry up to support your favorites and watch the contest live on May 22.

You can discover more about Bet365 Sportsbook here.

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