It is the final countdown to the Eurovision Song Contest final - but when was the first-ever competition?

The grand finale will take place on Saturday, May 14 in Turin, Italy and will be broadcast on BBC One.

TikTok star Sam Ryder, from Essex, is the UK entry for the 2022 contest and will be representing the country with the pop song Space Man.

The annual singing competition is well known for its complex voting system and for its fun and flamboyance. 

The Northern Echo: The UK's Eurovision 2022 entry TikTok star Sam Ryder. Credit: PAThe UK's Eurovision 2022 entry TikTok star Sam Ryder. Credit: PA

Here's how the iconic contest began, where it was first held and the first-ever winner as we speculate who will take the 2022 crown.

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 win the contest with the artist Lys Assia with the song 'Refrain'.

Which country has won Eurovision the most?

Ireland is the most successful country at the contest, securing 7 victories.

It is closely followed by Sweden which has won the contest 6 times.

Meanwhile Luxembourg, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are tied on 5 times each.

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When is the Eurovision Song Contest Final?

The 66th Eurovision grand finale will take place on Saturday, May 14 and will be broadcast live from last year's winning country, Italy, on BBC One.

Viewers in the UK will be able to watch the programme from 8pm on BBC One.

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How long is the Eurovision Song Contest 2022?

Viewers will be able to tune into the grand finale on Saturday from 8pm. 

The popular annual show will also feature Graham Norton as the UK commentator and will include a performance from last's year's winners Måneskin.

With all the acts and voting, the contest will last four hours until midnight.