Eurovision 2022: All your burning questions, answered

·5-min read
Sam Ryder, the UK’s 2022 Eurovision entry  (AFP via Getty Images)
Sam Ryder, the UK’s 2022 Eurovision entry (AFP via Getty Images)

After months of build-up, Eurovision week is here. But with several qualifying rounds and tonnes of press, we know that it can all get a bit confusing. Here are all the answers to the major questions. And don’t worry if you’re just tuning in – all the juicy moments are still to come.

Have the Eurovision semi-finals begun?

Yes! The semi-finals began yesterday. There were 17 acts competing for 10 slots, with the Netherlands, Moldova, Ukraine, Greece, Norway, Portugal, Lithuania, Iceland, Armenia and Switzerland all making it through.

It may seem a little unfair, but the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy – known as the Big Five – go through to the Grand Final automatically.

When are the Eurovision next semi-finals?

The next round of semi-finals is this Thursday, May 12. It’ll be showing on BBC Three or BBC iPlayer from 8pm.

On the night, 18 more acts will have to compete for the remaining 10 slots. They are: Finland, Israel, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Malta, San Marino, Australia, Cyprus, Ireland, North Macedonia, Estonia, Romania, Poland, Montenegro, Belgium, Sweden, and the Czech Republic.

Why is everyone talking about Norway?

At the semi-finals last night, Norway‘s act Subwoolfer took to the stage and wowed audiences with their song Give That Wolf a Banana. It’s a mad track with some great lyrics: “Before that wolf eats my Grandma, give that wolf a banana.” Fun - and the video is worth checking out too, for the suits and masks alone.

When is the Eurovision final and where can I watch it?

The Eurovision grand final is on Saturday May 14 and will be broadcast on BBC One, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds from 8pm.

Where is it taking place?

This year’s Eurovision – the 66th edition of the competition – is taking place in Turin, Italy. The host location is always the country of the previous year’s winner, and last year Italy’s Måneskin won with their song Zitti e Buoni.

According to Jon Ola Sand, executive producer of the song contest, once the country has been confirmed, it’s then a careful process to select the host city: there needs to be a stadium that can host around 10,000 spectators and the city needs to have airport links. Turin ticked the boxes.

Italy’s Måneskin won with their song Zitti e buoni in 2021 (Getty Images)
Italy’s Måneskin won with their song Zitti e buoni in 2021 (Getty Images)

Is Graham Norton presenting again?

Yes! You can look forward to the searing commentary of everyone’s favourite presenter. Norton is returning for his 13th competition and he will be commenting live from Turin.

TV presenter AJ Odudu will be relaying the results live from Salford, while over on BBC Radio 2 long-time Eurovision presenter Ken Bruce is hosting, also hosting live from Turin.

Graham Norton is returning for the 13th time (Dave Benett)
Graham Norton is returning for the 13th time (Dave Benett)

Who are the Eurovision presenters?

Hosting the competition on the night is Lebanese-British singer Mika, whose song Grace Kelly first entered the UK’s Official Singles Charts in January 2007 – yes, more 15 years ago. It went to number one a week later, where it spent five weeks and sold over 600,000 copies.

Other presenters of the competition show are Laura Pausini, an Italian singer, and Alessandro Cattelan, an Italian television and radio personality.

Who is tipped to win?

Currently, the bookies are tipping Ukraine to win. The six-member band, Kalush Orchestra, is singing Stefania – a traditional Ukrainian folk and modern rap mash-up. The song was written about lead singer Oleh Psiuk’s mother, and its opening roughly translates to “Stephanie mother, mother Stephanie/The field blooms, and it turns grey/Sing me a lullaby, mother/I want to hear your native word.”

According to Psiuk, the song has become an unofficial “anthem for Ukraine” amidst the war – and it seems to be going viral. On TikTok, for example, you’ll find the song has become the soundtrack to videos of both soldiers and civilians.

The band members were allowed to leave the country, despite being males of fighting age. They’ve been focused on the war effort, though, helping to distribute medical supplies, organising a volunteer group helping people flee the conflict and performing in front of a QR code in April, urging fans to donate to the Ukrainian cause.

Ukraine has previously been successful at the competition, winning for the second time in 2016. Fingers crossed for the group.

Kalush Orchestra will compete for Ukraine with their song Stefania. (AFP via Getty Images)
Kalush Orchestra will compete for Ukraine with their song Stefania. (AFP via Getty Images)

Are there other honourable mentions?

At the bookies, Italy is currently coming in second, while – unbelievably – the UK is coming in third. Italy’s act is Mahmood & BLANCO. Mahmood shot to fame in The X Factor Italia while BLANCO is a singer and rapper whose single Mi Fai Impazzire spent eight weeks at the top of the Italian charts.

Then for the UK, there’s Sam Ryder, a massive social media star with more than 12 million followers and 100 million likes on TikTok – making the singer the most followed British TikTok musician.

His entry song, SPACE MAN has been written by Grammy-winning artists Amy Wadge and Max Wolfgang along with Ryder. Can he finally garner the UK some points? The last time the UK topped the voting charts was with Katrina and the Waves in 1997, and they haven’t cracked the top 10 since 2009.

Who decides who wins?

Each country has two sets of results: there’s the national vote, and then the national jury vote.

The national jury is a group of five music professionals that have been selected in advance by each country to judge the acts. These professionals rank the songs that are performed, allocating points across their favourite ten performances. Then viewers can vote for their favourite acts on the night. But remember, you can’t vote for your home country.

Are there parties taking place in London?

Yes, and we’ve set out the best Eurovision parties to go to. There are major events at Rio Cinema, The Glory and Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club – though most tickets have now gone. But there are also coffee shops, cocktail bars and pubs across London all celebrating the competition on Saturday.

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