LONDON – The Eurovision Song Contest began in 1956 as a friendly music competition between public service television broadcasters and has since evolved into the world’s largest – and perhaps most outlandish – live music event.
This week, 35 other nations, including Ukraine, competed in the semi-final rounds before Saturday’s final, which attracts more than 180 million viewers around the world. The event, which took place in Italy this year, rewards live viewers, with clips of performances and reactions that are spreading quickly across social media.
Here are summaries of heavily oriented business, tips on how to watch from the United States and perspectives on how the war in Ukraine affected competition.
How does the Eurovision Song Contest work?
Each country chooses a song with an original song that must be performed live on stage. The song is chosen either by national radio or through some kind of competition. (For example, Sweden has “Melodifestivalen” to choose to enter.) There are a number of rules that subscribers must follow, including a three-minute limit on song length and a ban on words or gestures that organizers consider political.
Despite the name, countries outside the traditional geographical boundaries of Europe also compete in Eurovision. Israel debuted in 1973, for example, and Australia has been participating since 2015. This year, Armenia and Montenegro are returning to the competition after not competing in 2021. Small countries were also represented, such as San Marino, a landlocked region in Italy It has a population of just over 30,000. last year, San Marino EntryPresented by singer Senhet, it featured American rapper Flo Rida.
The Eurovision winner is chosen by a pool of votes by home viewers and by national juries in each country. Scores are tallied from national juries first, then fan votes are announced, pursuant to law, starting with the countries with the lowest jury points. This part of the show can be tense and even Inconvenient to watchLast year, cameras showed that arrivals from Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain were getting frightening “zero points” from the public.
After the semi-finals cut off entrants, the qualifiers join entries from the “Big Five” countries – Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – who have an automatic pass to the final because they contribute the most financially to the running of the competition. 25 countries will compete in the final this year.
Traditionally, the competition is held in the country that won the previous year. Turin, in Italy, hosts this year after the rock band Maneskin triumphed in 2021.
How can Americans watch the competition?
Live streaming service Peacock will broadcast the final on Saturday from 3 p.m. ET. The service also broadcasted the semi-final matches of the competition. Figure skater Johnny Weir will provide commentary on the broadcast.
Commentary can often add some humor to the many hours of televised competition. In Britain, comedy host Graham Norton was known for his responses and banter.
“We have a real set of music tonight,” Norton said During the presentation of the 2021 competition from the Dutch city of Rotterdam. “Great theatre, great lighting, some great singers, and others – well, some are as flat as Holland.”
How did the Russian invasion of Ukraine affect the competition?
Initially, the European Broadcasting Union, which organizes Eurovision, She said that Russia could continue to participate because the competition was a “non-political cultural event”.
But the day after the invasion, with Ukraine and other countries threatening to withdraw, the broadcasting syndicate backed down. Russia could not participate, The union said in a statementbecause the inclusion of the state “would damage the reputation of the competition.”
Emotion, friendly bias, and politics can all influence voting. This year, Ukraine win win, with rap and folklore band Kalosh orchestra representing the country. her song,”StefaniaA poem by the mother of one of the band members. The law obtained special permission from the Ukrainian government to travel for competition and was conducted across Europe to collecting money for the war effort.
Ukraine won the competition in 2016 with “1944By Jamal. The song was a monument to the Crimean Tatars during World War II, but it was It is also interpreted as a comment employment Russian invasion of Crimeathat took place two years earlier.
What will happen if Ukraine wins this year?
If Ukraine gets the title, the country’s war and humanitarian crisis will likely pose challenges to hosting the competition in 2023.
In the past, when one country was unable to host, another country intervened. The last time this happened was in 1980, when refuse to host After winning for the second year in a row. The competition was held in the Netherlands instead.
If Australia wins the competition, the logistical difficulties of hosting a European competition primarily on a different continent means that a European country and a broadcaster will co-host the following year’s competition alongside Australia, according to the European Broadcasting Union.
What other business should I know about?
Sweden has won Eurovision six times (second only to Ireland), with ABBA as one of the businesses that claimed the win for the country. This year’s Swedish expat is Cornelia Jacobs, who sings “hold me closeBob’s path is warm and emotional growing with each house after that.
The Spanish performance, which Chanel performed, is also expected to do well in the final, with a catchy song, “Slovakia MoAccompanied by a high-energy dance.
Britain’s prospects, after zero last year in general, are rising. entering the state”Space man,” by TikTok star Sam Ryder and he’s amassing some momentum.
Manskin has Went to world fame Since winning the 2021 competition, they have performed on “Saturday Night Live” and at this year’s Coachella Festival.
Are there any surreal acts this year?
Eurovision subscribers have a tradition of employing surreal theatrical performances, lyrics and costumes to stand out.
This year, the Norwegian entry, by pop duo Subwoolfer, has been gaining traction. their song,”Give that wolf a bananaHe has the pair wearing wolf masks, with backing dancers in yellow morph suits.
enter Moldova, “Trinolitol, by Zdob si Zdub and Advahov Brothers, have built a following by pairing traditional instruments like the accordion with an electric guitar. Their cheerful lyrics match the band’s spirited choreography.
What about the North American versions of Eurovision?
NBC programAmerican Song ContestEurovision for the United States, with 56 entries from 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia. Instead of broadcasting over the course of a week, as Eurovision does, the competition has been broadcast weekly on the network since March.
The final took place on Monday, when Alexa, who represents Oklahoma, won the “Wonders. ” the song He got 710 points overall From the jury and public vote, 207 before entering second place, from Colorado.
But Disappointing reviews She notes that the “American Song Contest” failed to attract Eurovision excitement. In an interview with New York timesShow executive Audrey Morrissey noted that American audiences may need time to get used to the format. “It’s a whole different kind of mechanism – there’s no other show where the performance takes place and there’s no critique right after that,” she said.
Next year there will be A Eurovision Canada, where participants from the country’s three provinces and 10 provinces will compete in a branch of origin. International expansion was ambitious for Eurovision. Martin Österdahl, Competition Executive Supervisor, He told a podcast recently, “We are shifting our focus slightly in our strategy from running a competition to managing a brand, and this brand will be a global entertainment brand.”