The history of the Eurovision Song Contest’s opening ceremony

Almost as exciting as the competition itself, the Eurovision Song Contest’s opening ceremony is certainly one to watch. All the upcoming acts will traditionally walk a colourful carpet, with excitement building, knowing that this year’s Eurovision winner walks amongst them. The carpet in question will change colour year to year, at the discretion of the host country. So, it’s all worth keeping an eye out for.

Moscow was the first country to introduce the concept of an opening ceremony to the contest, when they hosted the event back in 2009. Prior to this, the host’s capital would welcome all participants and corresponding guests in via a closed reception — not quite the media circus that we know today.  

In comparison to today’s ceremonies, Moscow’s efforts were fairly modest. Nowadays you’ll find extravagant costumes, hoards of press and even expanding lengths of carpets, almost as long as some of the Eurovision odds that are dished out each year by bookies.

Going back to that ever-changing carpet, this has become a staple feature of the grand opening. As the prospective competition entries are welcomed into the limelight by their hosts, the colour of the carpet will continue to surprise and delight them, and the audience. For example, in 2010 the carpet was pink, whilst in 2018 it was blue, to fit in with the theme and logo of that year’s contest. And in 2019, the carpet had been changed to orange, as a tribute to the sponsor MyHeritage.

The ceremony itself will consist of an array of different country’s flags, representing those that are set to perform in the upcoming event. After the iconic walk across the carpet, the artists will be led through a sea of hundreds of journalists and fans, taking questions, photographs and enthusing about their country.

As well as the scheduled performers, you’ll also find other special guests and acts taking it to the colourful carpet. More often than not, these guests will be dancers, making their way along the main area holding plastic figures that represent either the theme or the host nation. For example, in 2017 when Kyiv, Ukraine was chosen to host, the carpet was filled with dancers holding red and black patterned balls, which represented a traditional Ukrainian bead necklace known as Namysto. This piece of jewellery is known as a protective amulet, as well as being a symbol of both health and beauty.

Another creative aspect to look out for are the outfits – and costumes – adorned by the performers. From sexy and trendy to downright spooky, you’re guaranteed to see it all when you tune into the Eurovision opening ceremony.

Looking forward to this year’s competition, it’s hard to know what to expect. Without giving away too much, here’s what we know about Rotterdam’s plans for the ceremony — it will take place on the Rotterdam Cruise Terminal and that all-important carpet is set to be turquoise. The stars that are set to walk with vibrant carpet will be brought over by boat from the mainland. Talk about arriving in style!