Every year European countries prepare for months in hopes they make it to the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest. 

As they each practice and prepare nonstop in hopes of making it past the semi-finals and in to the sparkling final.

But five countries don't need to panic about semi-finals and qualifying, these are known as the Big 5.  

The group, including the UK, France, Spain, Germany and Italy automatically qualify for the final.

Who are the Big 5 at Eurovision? 

The five nations are lucky enough to avoid the dreaded semi-finals by making large financial contributions to the Eurovision Song Contest. 

The group was first formed in 2000 when a rule change saw the chance to pay to get to the grand final. 

For 11 years the Big Five consisted of just four, with the UK, Spain, France and Germany, but in 2011, Italy joined the group. 


How to watch the Grand Final of Eurovision

Eurovision’s Grand Final will take place on Saturday, May 11.

The show will be broadcast on BBC One at 8pm and BBC iPlayer plus you can listen along on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds.

Coverage of the Grand Final on BBC One ends at 12am.

The UK’s Eurovision entry for 2024 is Olly Alexander who will be singing his song, 'Dizzy'.

When did the Eurovision Song Contest start?

The annual singing contest, which is organised by the European Broadcasting Union began in 1956.

The now highly-anticipated calendar event was first held on May 24, 1956, in Lugano, Switzerland.

It was one of the earliest attempts to broadcast a live televised event to a considerable international market. 

The first competition was not won on points, but by votes (which were given two per country), and only the winner was announced.

In 1956, Switzerland won the contest with the artist Lys Assia with the song 'Refrain'.