This Saturday is the event millions of people around the globe are looking forward to: the Eurovision Song Contest Finals. The song contest pits Europe’s countries against each other, and the 25 best acts will attend the final. Whether it’s your first time watching the world-famous song contest, or if you’ve been a fan since monster metal band Lordi took the trophy, here’s what you need to know for Eurovision!
What is Eurovision?
The Eurovision Song Contest has been running since 1956, and has taken place every year—except 2020, due to COVID restrictions. The countries of the European Broadcast Union (EBU) compete against each other, each hoping they’ve got the catchiest, best song of the year. This year marks the 66th Eurovision, with 40 countries taking part.
Each participating country is allowed to determine its own method of choosing an artist. The most common way, however, is for countries to hold their own national song contest, and the winners of each get to go to Eurovision. Other countries choose their candidate via internal decisions.
Most artists—except those from the “Big Five” countries who are always guaranteed a slot in the finals—then compete in the Eurovision semi-finals. The top 20 semifinalists are then sent to the finals to compete.
Though one might expect only European countries to be involved, there are a few exceptions. The EBU includes a few countries in West Asia, including Israel, and even countries in North Africa like Morocco. In 2015, Australia was invited to perform, since the country has broadcast Eurovision every year since 1983. Though the 2015 performance was originally intended as a one-off, Australia has been allowed to compete through 2023 at least.
Will Russia be in Eurovision?
The event is a way to bring together European countries beyond politics—though sometimes politics sneaks in. This year, Russia was initially going to be allowed to participate despite its attack on Ukraine, with the EBU originally citing the event’s non-political status as its reasoning, but a day later, the EBU backtracked, saying no Russian performers would participate.
“The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s Contest would bring the competition into disrepute,” the EBU said in a statement at the time.
How can I watch Eurovision in the United States?
For the second year in a row, Peacock, NBC’s streaming service, will air Eurovision live, including the semi-finals. The semi-finals aired May 10 and May 12, and the final will air May 14, at 3 p.m. Eastern/12 p.m. Pacific.
Though Peacock does have a free level, its Eurovision content is part of its premium service, which costs $4.99 per month, and $9.99 without advertisements.
Peacock is streaming the events live, but for those who miss it, the semi-finals and finals will all be available on demand, as is Eurovision 2021.
Who are the favorites to win Eurovision 2022?
Ukraine’s entry, Kalush Orchestra with “Stefania”, have a 52 percent chance of winning, according to EurovisionWorld.com’s compilation of different bookmakers’ odds.
The United Kingdom is a distant second, with an 11 percent chance Sam Ryder’s “Space Man” wins, and Italy is close behind with 10 percent for Mahmood and Blanco’s “Brividi.”
The longest shot, according to EurovisionWorld’s analysis is Romania’s WRS, whose song “Llámame” is expected to come in last.
Where is Eurovision 2022 being held?
The tradition is that the winner of the previous year is the host for the current year. In this case, that would be Turin, Italy, thanks to Måneskin, who took home the trophy for their song “Zitti e buoni” in 2021. Måneskin are expected to perform a new song, “Supermodel,” during the interval of the finals.
This is the third Italian Eurovision, as the country previously hosted in 1965 and 1991.
Is there an American version of Eurovision?
Yes, the American Song Contest is Eurovision’s sister competition in the States. It follows a similar format with acts from all 50 states—plus five territories and Washington, D.C.—performing to find the best American act. The American Song Contest airs on NBC, and crowned its first winner on May 9: AleXa from Oklahoma, with her song “Wonderland.”
Despite the connection between Eurovision and the American program, AleXa will not be performing at Eurovision, let alone competing.
Have any famous acts played Eurovision?
There have been a number of famous faces at Eurovision. Perhaps the most famous is ABBA, who represented Sweden in 1974 with their hit “Waterloo.” Despite being Canadian, Celine Dion is also a Eurovision winner, representing Switzerland in 1988 for “Ne partez pas sans moi.”
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