Stock up on buck’s fizz, polish the glitter ball and don the sequins — it’s time for the grand final of the 67th Eurovision Song Contest.
That’s right, folks. After two semi-finals, a conga line led by Peppa Pig, and a royal cameo, on Saturday evening 26 nations will vie to become this year’s Eurovision winner.
Sweden is the hot favorite, with Eurovision aficionados also talking up the prospects of Finland and France. “It’s looking very unlikely that any other country apart from one of those three will win this year,” our senior Eurovision mole said confidently.
All things being equal, Ukraine — as last year’s winner — should host the event. But with Russia’s ongoing invasion, organizers turned to the runner-up, the U.K., to hold Eurovision on Ukraine’s behalf, choosing Liverpool as the host city.
Coverage from Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena starts at 8 p.m. U.K. time, hosted by, among others, Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina. It’s expected to wrap up around midnight, which is probably not enough Eurovision for die-hard fans, but plenty for those of us of a certain vintage expected to file post-contest reports.
Organizers have chosen the running order for the 26 participating nations.
Here’s what to watch for:
1. First up, Austria, with Teya & Salena’s “Who the Hell is Edgar?” A good question. We look forward to finding out the answer.
5. Serbia, whose song translates to “I just want to sleep.” Relatable.
6. France. One of the main contenders. Hasn’t won since 1977. Could this be the year? “Évidemment,” according to the chosen song title.
8. Spain. Like France, hasn’t won for ages (since 1969, to be exact, in a four-way tie. Spain did become the first to win it consecutively in the process, though — fair play). Blanca Paloma hopes to bring it home with “EAEA,” which we understand is not a form of EU membership.
9. Sweden. The favorites with “Tattoo.” Singer Loreen is a previous winner (2012). Pedigree.
13. Finland. According to Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram, the audience went wild for Käärijä’s “Cha Cha Cha” during Tuesday’s semi-final. “The one that got the crowd literally buzzing and singing along was Finland,” he told us.
15. Australia. Doesn’t get enough credit for its European credentials. Can’t think why.
19. Ukraine. TVORCHI will perform “Heart of Steel.” Apt song name. Don’t count them out.
23. Israel. Rotheram reckons Noa Kirel’s “Unicorn” also went down pretty well during Tuesday’s semi-final.
25. The penultimate act, Croatia, with Let 3 performing “Mama ŠČ!” Everything you want from a Eurovision performance. Eccentric as it comes. Just epic. The song also has a double meaning about the Russian Federation and war generally.
26. The U.K. is up last, with Mae Muller hoping to go one better than Britain’s runner-up spot last year with her rather literal effort, “I Wrote A Song.” Good on you.
Peppered throughout the show will be a variety of other performances, including from last year’s first and second-place acts, with homages to host city Liverpool and, of course, Ukraine.
What not to expect? An address from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, apparently.
For the first time, people from non-participating nations can vote in the contest. The public vote will be combined with decisions made by juries from participating nations formed of music industry pros.
Our bet? Music will be the winner. And probably Sweden.