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Eurovision: Greatest hits from the world's greatest singing contest

The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the world's greatest and longest-running television programs ever.

The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the world's greatest and longest-running television programs ever.

According to the Eurovision website, it  also boasts the largest audience of any non-sporting event.   

Since 1956, member countries of the European Broadcasting Union search for the next great song. Each member country is allowed to submit one song to be performed on live television and then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the most popular song in the competition.

The competition is not always friendly however. While the organizers do try to sideline any political fervor, explicitly stating in the rule book, "no lyrics, speeches, or gestures of a political or similar nature shall be permitted," it doesn't stop people from trying.

CNN noted that this year, there have been clashes in the streets in Baku, Azerbaijan and accusations by state-controlled media in Azerbaijan that a German "conspiracy" was waging an "information war" against the hosts.

CNN also reported that Eurovision has long been, "a forum for heated geopolitical grandstanding, with allegations of bloc voting and political skulduggery dogging the contest for years."

But beyond the politics, there is always a really good, and often catchy, song. Check out a few of the past winning participants. 

1. 2001: Tanel Padar & Dave Benton - Everybody

"Everybody" was the 2001 winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. It was performed in English by Tanel Padar, Dave Benton and 2XL, who represented Estonia. 

2. 2002: Marie N - I Wanna

"I Wanna", also known in its original version as "I Wonna", won the Eurovision contest in 2002. It was performed in English by Marie N representing Latvia, making it the second ex-USSR nation to win the prize. 

3. 1988: Celine Dion - Ne partez pas sans moi

"Ne partez pas sans moi" ("Don't Leave Without Me") is the Swiss winning entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988, performed by Céline Dion and is considered to be one of the most famous Eurovision winners of all time. 

4. 1992: Linda Martin - Why me? 

"Why Me?" was the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 1992 and was performed for Ireland by Linda Martin.
The win was also notable because the song was composed by Johnny Logan, who had previously won the Contest with "What's Another Year?" and the self-composed "Hold Me Now".

5. 2011: Ell/Nikki- Running Scared

"Running Scared" is a 2011 Eurovision winner performed by Azerbaijani duo Eldar & Nigar (also known as Ell and Nikki). Neither singer had sung as a duo before performing this song.

 

6. 1974: Abba- Waterloo 

In 1974, Abba took home the  Eurovision Song Contest, giving Sweden its first victory in the history of the contest. They are arguably the most successful group to ever take the stage for Eurovision. 

No matter the political implication, someone will be crowed the 2012 Eurovision winner on May 26. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/hollyworld/eurovision-greatest-hits