Eurovision Song Contest 1956

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     Participating countries

The Eurovision Song Contest 1956 was the 1st Eurovision Song Contest, held in Lugano, Switzerland. This first contest was mainly a radio programme, though there were cameras in the studio for the benefit of the few Europeans who had television. The backdrops behind the singers were, perhaps understandably, not very lavish. Unlike more recent competitions, each country was allowed to enter two songs rather than one.

It had been strongly recommended that each participating country have a preliminary national song contest. Austria, Denmark and the United Kingdom were disqualified from the final contest, however, as all of them registered after the official deadline. The BBC's Festival of British Popular Song, which had been intended to choose the United Kingdom entry, was in the end not held until after the Eurovision contest.

All participating countries sent two jury members to Lugano, except for Luxembourg who allowed the Swiss jury to vote on their behalf.

No video recording of the entire event is known to have survived, although an audio recording does exist (although 20 minutes is missing from the end of the first part of the interval act till the start of the announcement of the winner). Newsreel footage of Lys Assia's encore performance of "Refrain" appears to be the only known video from the contest.

One rule of this contest is that every country had to have a national final, this rule was dropped in future years and some countries chose to choose a song internally.


Voting controversy

The voting system at this Contest allowed juries to vote for any competing song, including those of their own country. Additionally, the Swiss jury was allowed to vote on behalf of the Luxembourg delegation. This is a system which was not repeated, and is believed by some[citation needed] to have tipped the result in Lys Assia's favour.

The scores for this Contest have never been made public, which has also led to a number of rumours[citation needed] about other placings. Lys Assia's other entry was never released commercially, which has caused suggestions[citation needed] that it placed very low. Other suggestions include a possible second place for Germany's Walter Andreas Schwarz (or Freddy Quinn, in some versions of the rumour), thus justifying Germany hosting the second Contest, and a possible third place for one of the Belgian entries.

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