×

Eurovision Song Contest Set for Tel Aviv in 2019

The Eurovision Song Contest is set to take place in Tel Aviv for the first time in 2019, it was announced Thursday. The 64th edition of the annual international song competition will be broadcast around the world from the Expo Tel Aviv International Convention Center in Israel with semi-final shows on May 14 and 16, and the final broadcast May 18 next year.

Israel was set as the host nation for Eurovision 2019 following the triumph of its 2018 entry Netta Barzilai (pictured) with the song “Toy” in May this year, when the event took place in Lisbon, Portugal. “Toy” went on to top the Billboard dance club chart in the U.S. in August, a first for an Israeli singer. Eurovision tradition is that the winning nation hosts the following year’s event.

Israeli pubcaster KAN was required to present at least two candidate cities to the Eurovision board, which chose the Tel Aviv location. It beat out bids from Jerusalem and Eilat. Jon Ola Sand, executive supervisor for the Eurovision Song Contest, said that while all the bids received were exemplary Tel Aviv provided “the best overall set-up for the world’s largest live music event.” It marks the first time Tel Aviv has hosted the event.

“We are excited to bring the contest to a brand new city and are looking forward to working together with KAN to make 2019’s Eurovision Song Contest the most spectacular one yet,” said Sand.

It marks the third time Israel has hosted the event. The country is the most successful non-European country to take part in the contest having won four times, with previous wins in 1978, 1979 and 1998. Jerusalem hosted the competition in 1979 and 1999. The 1980 event was hosted by The Hague after Israel declined to host due to expense, having won two years running.

Eurovision has become a much-loved annual event across Europe since it began in 1956 with just seven countries participating. Since then 52 countries have taken part with the competition growing beyond Europe, even including Australia since 2015. This year saw 43 countries take part, equaling the record for most participating nations in a single year.

The live show, which is watched by approximately 200 million viewers worldwide, sees each country submit an original song which is performed live. After all songs have been performed viewers in each country can then vote for their favorites, excluding the song from their own nation, with points awarded by ranking. The country with the most points is declared the winner. In 2008 the format was extended to include two semi-final shows, held on the Tuesday and Thursday prior to the final – which traditionally takes place on a Saturday – as the number of participating countries had swelled to preclude featuring every entrant in a single show.

Amongst the contest’s most renowned winners are Swedish pop group ABBA, who won in 1974 with the now legendary song “Waterloo,” and Canadian singer Celine Dion, who represented Switzerland in 1988 with the winning entry “Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi.”

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • 'ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band

    Film Review: 'ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band From Texas'

    Settling in to watch “ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band From Texas,” you may have a burning question that applies to almost no other rock documentary, and that is: Who, exactly, are these guys? The ones behind the beards? If you’re old enough, of course, you probably know that ZZ Top started out, in 1969, [...]

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST

    Jay-Z to Acquire Ownership Stake in NFL Team (Report)

    Jay-Z will soon acquire a “significant ownership interest” in an NFL team, TMZ reported on Friday. The team was not disclosed, but a source told the site the deal will happen in the “near future,” adding that the billionaire rapper “wants to continue to be a change agent for the NFL.” Jay-Z’s company, Roc Nation, [...]

  • (L-R) NELL WILLIAMS as Eliza, VIVEIK

    How 'Blinded by the Light' Brought Bruce Springsteen's Music to the Screen for a Song

    Blinded by the Light co-writer/director Gurinder Chadha knows firsthand what it feels like to be an outsider. Born in Kenya when the country was a British colony, she grew up part of the Indian/Asian diaspora who made their way from East Africa to London. For that reason, the 59-year-old’s movies has always dealt with the [...]

  • Blake Shelton, Trace AdkinsCMA Music Festival

    Blake Shelton Takes a Shot at 'Old Town Road' in New Single

    Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins have just released a duet, “Hell Right,” that seems to have a beef with “Old Town Road.” But is it a light-hearted, maybe even affectionate slam — or should anyone read culture-war significance into the two country stars expressing a preference for Hank Williams Jr. over Lil Nas X, the breakout [...]

  • Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven

    Department of Justice Backs Led Zeppelin in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Case

    The U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on the next big music copyright case on the horizon following the Katy Perry “Dark Horse” decision, and taken Led Zeppelin’s side in the long-running copyright dispute that pits the writers of the group’s anthem “Stairway to Heaven” against the publishers of the earlier song “Taurus” by [...]

  • Teddy Riley Walk of Fame

    From Blackstreet to Hollywood Blvd. as Teddy Riley Receives a Star on the Walk of Fame

    Many musical artists are responsible for hits, whether recording and writing for themselves or producing smashes for others. Teddy Riley’s got the success, having fashioned platinum-plated R&B works for, and with, Bobby Brown, Michael Jackson, Keith Sweat, Doug E. Fresh and more since the mid-’80s, not to mention the music of his own slick soul [...]

  • Album Review: Snoh Aalegra

    Album Review: Snoh Aalegra’s ‘Ugh, Those Feels Again’

    Apart from having one of the all-time greatest album-sequel titles, “Ugh, Those Feels Again” — which follows this R&B-leaning Swedish-Persian singer’s 2017 debut full-length, “Feels” — succeeds on a far more complex level: making familiar sounds unfamiliar. Snoh Aalegra signed to Sony when she was just 13 and released a more pop-leaning album under the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content