The Eurovision Song Contest 2016 was the 61st edition of the annual Eurovision Song Contest. It took place in Stockholm, Sweden, following Måns Zelmerlöw’s win at the 2015 contest in Vienna, Austria with the song “Heroes”. This was the third time the contest had taken place in Stockholm, after 1975 and 2000. The contest was held at the Ericsson Globe and consisted of two semi-finals on 10 and 12 May and the final on 14 May 2016, with all three live shows hosted by Zelmerlöw and Petra Mede.
The winner of the contest was Ukraine with the song “1944”, written and performed by Jamala. This was Ukraine’s second win and its first since 2004. This was the first time since the introduction of professional jury voting in 2009 that the overall winner won neither the jury vote, which was won by Australia, nor the televote, which was won by Russia, with Ukraine placing second in both. It was also the first song with lyrics in Crimean Tatar to win or enter the contest.
Forty-two countries participated in the contest. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia and Ukraine returned after absences from recent contests, while Australia also returned after debuting as a special guest in 2015. Portugal withdrew, largely due to their national broadcaster’s insufficient promotion of their music-based media, while Romania had originally planned to participate, but was forced to withdraw due to repeated non-payment of debts by their national broadcaster to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The contest was also the first to implement a voting system change since 1975: each country’s professional jury points were announced largely as before, while the results of each national televote were combined and announced in reverse order.
Twenty-six countries competed in the final, which was the first to be broadcast on live television in the United States. The Czech Republic managed to qualify for the final for the first time in five attempts since its debut in 2007, while both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece failed to qualify from the semi-finals for the first time ever, the latter being absent from the final for the first time since 2000. In the final, Australia finished second, improving on its debut in 2015, while Bulgaria finished fourth, its best result at the time since its debut and first participation in a final since 2007. Justin Timberlake performed during the interval act of the final. A record-breaking 204 million viewers worldwide watched the contest, beating the 2015 viewing figures by over 5 million.