Ukraine wins Eurovision 2022 with an enormous 631 points
The UK's Sam Ryder finishes second with 466 points, after topping the standings following the jury vote
As many predicted coming into this politically charged Eurovision final, held in Turin, Italy, Ukraine were the big winners as the international public seized the chance to show their support following Russia's invasion. An enormous 439 points from the public vote put Ukraine well clear of their rivals, turning a tense finish to the competition into a walkover.
But Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra were deserving winners - not just as brave representatives of their country, but also supplying a clever mix of folk music and hip-hop with an energetic performance. It might not have been the best musically on the night, but it was certainly the right winner. Sometimes, this madcap competition can have a truly sincere, and important, moment.
The UK finish in an incredible second place
Really, the fiercest contest was happening behind the nailed-on Ukraine - and the UK won that handily. Sam Ryder did his country proud with the catchy Space Man, topping the standings after the jury vote was announced, and finishing in second place with a whopping 466 points. That's more than Katrina and the Waves scored when they won Eurovision for the UK.
And what a turnaround from last year, when we scored an utterly dismal nul points. Could this be the start of a new winning streak? We do seem to have got our groove back.
Spain prove that sex does sell
Jennifer Lopez turned down the Latin-pop banger SloMo, but Spain's Chanel made very good use of it - as well as copying J Lo's bootylicious rump-shaking in her raunchy dance routine. And it paid off: Spain finished third with 459 points.
In fourth place was Sweden's Cornelia Jakobs with the stormy ballad-meets-electronica Hold Me Closer, followed by Serbia's eccentric hand-washing, Italy's angsty duet, Moldova's folk-pop train ride, and Greece's romantic suicide pact.
Where will Eurovision 2023 be held?
The winning nation traditionally hosts the following year, but it seems unlikely that Ukraine will be in a position to host. So, might they turn to the runner-up instead? We could yet see Eurovision coming home.
The results in full
Ukraine - 631
UK - 466
Spain - 459
Sweden - 438
Serbia - 312
Italy - 268
Moldova - 253
Greece - 215
Portugal - 207
Norway - 182
Netherlands - 171
Poland - 151
Estonia - 141
Lithuania - 128
Australia - 125
Azerbaijan - 106
Switzerland - 78
Romania - 65
Belgium - 64
Armenia - 61
Finland - 38
Czech Republic - 38
Iceland - 20
France - 17
Germany - 6
Missed any of the action? Here's the eventful contest as it happened...
That's all folks
What a night! Do you agree with the final result? Let us know in the comments below.
James sums things up. "It was the perfect result. Ukraine won after receiving 439 points in the public vote. And deservedly so. But the UK’s Sam Ryder did amazingly coming second. It shouldn’t really have ended any other way. Overall, an entertaining and moving night. Sam did us proud. And Europe sent a strong message to Putin. I hope this message is already spreading through Ukraine - and Russia too. (p.s. Came second in sweepstake. Donating my winnings to Ukraine.)"
Ukraine has won Eurovision 2022 - and the UK finishes second!
An incredible result for Sam Ryder of the UK, who should be so proud of how he represented his country. And congratulations to the Ukraine! Europe got behind them tonight and sent out a very clear signal to Vladimir Putin: we stand with Ukraine.
It wasn't particularly close in the end, with Ukraine finishing on 631 points and the UK on 466. But still a thrilling conclusion to the competition, with UK viewers actually feeling the nerves for once.
— Eurovision Song Contest (@Eurovision) May 14, 2022
Ukraine grab the lead
With a HUGE 439 points! That is absolutely enormous - and surely crowns them the winners tonight. They now have 631 points total. It's a big ask for the UK to match that total.
— Eurovision Song Contest (@Eurovision) May 14, 2022
Serbia overtakes the UK
A massive public vote takes Serbia up to 312. But our votes are still to come!
The televote is in
Because the UK is currently top of the leaderboard, we won't find out our result till right at the end.
It's nail-biting stuff...
The UK tops the standings!
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? Now, all of this could change with the public votes, but let's just savour the moment: the UK is actually leading after the jury vote with a whopping 283 points.
Behind us, it's Sweden, Spain, Ukraine, Portugal, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Australia. So Ukraine could still win if the public vote big for them.
UK in lead after jury vote… public vote to come now. I’m at general election levels of excitement here 😆 pic.twitter.com/OiHJHHYfN1
— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) May 14, 2022
The UK's 12 points goes to Sweden
AJ Odudu makes the announcement from Salford - the first time we've delivered the UK's votes from the North-West.
The UK is in the lead with 247 points
James says: "The UK now has more points than Katrina and the Waves got a quarter of a century ago. There’s a different voting system now. But that’s a significant milestone to pass."
Ooh la la - France give the UK their 12 points!
Also, Germany are yet to score. Just saying.
— BBC Eurovision🇬🇧 | 👩🚀#teamSPACEMAN (@bbceurovision) May 14, 2022
The UK is currently in the lead with 178 points
We're now halfway through the jury votes. It could all change yet, but that is a pretty astonishing turnaround from our nul points last year.
James writes: "This is the most points we’ve scored since 1997 when Katrina and the Waves won! That year, we scored 227 points. But we’re only halfway through. This feels hopeful. Very very hopeful. Sam Ryder looks thrilled."
The UK is now up to 155 points!
It's actually a bit disappointing to just get 3 from Cyprus - a very surreal situation, as Graham points out.
James writes: "Massive surprise is how well Spain are doing. And Ukraine - the favourites - not doing so well. But it’s very early days. And there’s the public vote to come. But Ukraine gives the UK douze points. That is big. Both Eurovision-wise and politically too. Boris will be punching the air. UK have been in the lead. When is the last time that happened?"
Ukraine get 12 points from Poland and Moldova
The juries haven't been overly generous to Ukraine, though. That might all change when we factor in the public votes.
Is this a dream?
12 points for the UK YET AGAIN from Belgium. We've now got 100. 100!
— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) May 14, 2022
Another 12 points to the UK
From Azerbaijan. We're actually in the lead, people!
Ukraine gives the UK 12 points!
Thank you, Ukraine.
Could Spain be a surprise winner?
The bootylicious Chanel picks up two lots of 12 points in a row.
The first votes are in
The Netherlands give their 12 points to Greece. Good news for the UK: we're not on nul points! Four sweet points for us.
Even better, San Marino gives us 8, with their 12 going to Spain.
And the lines have now closed
So, you know what that means: a message from space!
No, really. European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is on the edge of her...rocket? Anyway, she's excited too.
Need a recap?
Eurovision is here to help - we're now on recap no.326.
Anyway, here's a taster if (a la Bucks Fizz) you're still...making your mind up.
It's a Mika medley!
He's been trapped all night in a hellscape of bad scripting, but finally presenter Mika gets to do what he does best: absolutely kill it with a pop-tastic medley. This is the highlight by far, and the crowd is LOVING it.
Although if you're wondering why you don't remember that random song about treating your lover like a yo-yo, that's because it's new. Well, nobody's perfect.
Italian glam rockers Måneskin take a victory lap
Last year's winners perform their new single Supermodel. Not surprisingly, the home crowd are in raptures.
The lead singer has injured his leg, reveals Graham, but he plays through the pain.
Next up for Måneskin: working with Baz Luhrmann on his new Elvis biopic.
James writes: "Måneskin are one of those rare bands who’ve appeared in Eurovision in recent years and gone on to make it. And I mean really make it. Since they won last year they’ve supported the Rolling Stones, which basically says it all. Can you imagine James Newman or Scooch doing that? Tonight’s song - a Max Martin collaboration - was polished and rocking. They’re a touch cheesy but all power to them, I say."
James muses: "I’d forgotten how Eurovision is essentially Stars in Their Eyes. We’ve had George Ezra-meets-Rag‘n’Bone Man (Switzerland), Ylvis AKA What Does The Fox Say? (Norway), and George Ezra meets Alanis Morissette (Armenia), and Years & Years (Italy). Tonight, Matthew… it’s Eurovision time!
Voting is now open
Who are you blessing with your 20 votes? Let us know in the comments!
And finally...Estonia brings us - a Western??
Sadly Stefan, who sings Hope, has left behind the giant ram costume he wore on The Masked Singer. Perhaps he’s feeling sheepish about it.
Neil writes: “There’s no hope for Estonia. A Spaghetti Western in a pop song. I hope they're paying royalties to the estate of Ennio Morricone.”
James thinks: "Shades of George Ezra here too. George E should really win Eurovision tonight. His sound is everywhere."
Serbia goes full Lady Macbeth
Look, the pandemic has left us all feeling skittish about health matters, so perhaps that explains this enjoyably weird cry for help. The hypochondriac lyrics posit that dark rings around your eyes indicate liver problems, while stains around your lips might suggest an enlarged spleen. But the song also veers into celebrity worship too, asking “What’s the secret to Meghan Markle’s healthy hair?”. The answer, apparently, is deep hydration.
Perhaps that inspired Konstrakta’s routine, which is very heavy on the hand-washing. Chris Witty would approve.
I've got to say, this is actually among my faves. If you can't let your freak flag fly during Eurovision, when can you?
Poland is wet, wet, wet
Ochman's River is part wailing lament, part water feature. Not a patch on our Sam.
Neil writes: “Yet another histrionic quasi-ballad about the pointlessness of life and inevitability of death. There's a lot of doom and gloom for a supposedly escapist song contest. I don’t remember the Eurovision being so philosophically fatalist in my day. What would Bucks Fizz have made of it? Perhaps someone should take Ochman to the river and put him out of all our miseries.”
James adds: "I’ve really missed Sam Smith."
Sam Ryder does the UK proud
Long-haired TikTok star Ryder is out of this world! His song Space Man is a genuine banger, and the staging is fantastic too - if rather busy. But the guitar solo sold it for me.
"Shine brightly, my friends!" roars Ryder at the end. He certainly did.
James writes: "Sam used to be a heavy metal singer, and has the pipes - and the personality - to do really well. He’s spent years on the circuit, once giving up to run a cafe with his partner - and deserves success here. And… it’s a belter of a song." Plus: "Nice Pearly King look. Pearly King meets Pimlico Plumbers."
Neil adds: “I’ll be disappointed if Sam Ryder doesn’t take off on a rocket pack during this performance. I mean, it’s been built for success, but it’s also a vacuous, gimmicky, generic song whose only purpose is to win this competition. Flop and the pop clock will be tick-tocking for Sam Ryder.”
Personally, I'll take manufactured to win over the UK's long losing streak.
It's nearly time for the UK!
First it's more singing from host Laura. Truly no one - NO ONE - asked for this.
Australia's Sheldon Riley bares his soul, and eventually his face
This is a very personal entry from Riley, drawing on his childhood struggles: he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome aged six, and also struggled with his sexuality while growing up with a strict religious family.
But his biggest challenge tonight is probably just staying upright. His eye-catching costume, which includes a glittery mask, weighs a whopping 51kg, thanks to the addition of 200,000 Swarovski crystals, 90,000 Swarovski pearls and the corpses of about a dozen swans. (That last one is pure speculation.)
Neil writes: “Never underestimate the influence of lampshades on Eurovision costume design.”
— Steven Perkins (@stevenperkins) May 14, 2022
Could Sweden steal it?
Cornelia Jakobs' Hold Me Closer is another bookies' favourite, and this stormy ballad-meets-electronica has a lot of love in the room too.
Less adulation from the Telegraph's music critics, but you'd expect that by now. James's view: "Dido should call her lawyers."
Let's go! All aboard Moldova's loony train
Could it be third time lucky at Eurovision for Moldova’s Zdob şi Zdub? Probably not, but this upbeat folk-pop train ride from Chișinău to Bucharest certainly beats Southern Rail. And it's a welcome break from the dirge-like ballads.
Neil writes: “Hey Ho - Let’s Go... This song quotes the Ramones - in the style of folky Eastern European gnomes. Did we fight the punk rock wars for this?”
James adds: "Come on Moldova! I have them in the sweepstake. Beastie Boys meets The Levellers meets the Ramones. A wonderful slab of raucous humanity. Love it."
It's a family affair for Iceland
The title of this chillout folk number translates as “with the rising sun”. It’s something of a Von Trapp/Corrs situation: Systur features sisters Sigga, Elin and Beta, plus brother Eythor on the drums. "Peace for Ukraine!" one of the sisters (sorry, impossible to say which) shouts at the end.
Neil writes: “Where’s Bjork when you need her?”
"There have been so many songs that I’ve become musically snow-blind," frets James. "They’re all blurring into one. What is this? The 17th track? Of course, they’re all different but I simply can’t tell any more. I’ve got – to coin a phrase – Euro-Tunnel-Vision."
Applause for James, please.
Die Together, posits Greece
Well, it’s not the jolliest. Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord's entry is all about doomed romance: the relationship might have failed, but if you die together, at least you’ll be connected for eternity. Or, you know, you could just get back to the dating apps.
Neil writes: “God, Eurovision has really gone on a deep downer. This is Greece’s answer to Billie Eilish in a death pact with her autotune device. To be fair, as doomy depressing nihilistic pop ballads about our fragile mortality go, it’s not an utterly terrible song. Try imagining a rogue AI program creating a cross between Dollar and Leonard Cohen. Or maybe not.”
James adds: "Die Together. That’s cheery. Lana Del Rey vibes."
Eurovision goes very, very retro
The latest salvo in the godawful presenter banter: buy this ancient musical format! And possibly a time machine!
— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) May 14, 2022
Belgium's Jérémie Makiese will Miss You
Makiese is quite the Renaissance man. Alongside his singing career, he’s a goalkeeper for Belgian football club Royal Excelsior Virton, and he also studied geology. What a ROCK star, eh? Back of the net. (I’m sorry.) Mind, this is basically a middling Bond theme sung by Justin Timberlake.
Neil writes: “I'm sorry Belgium, not missing you already.”
Azerbaijan's Nadir Rustamli brings more gloom with Fade To Black
Neil writes: “We're deep into dark ballad territory. You know that old-fashioned idea about the Eurovision offering an escape from the grim reality of everyday existence? Azerbaijan obviously didn't get the memo.”
Quite right. Give us more bananas, I say.
Lithuania's Monika Liu is auditioning for Cabaret
Not terribly successfully. In short: Liza Minnelli wants her hair back.
James writes: "My three-year-old son just pointed to Monika and said, 'She’s got my haircut!' He’s not wrong."
Neil writes: “I’m sorry. I’m losing my will to live.”
Hang in there, Neil. Our boy is still to come!
Germany's Malik Harris brings us back to earth
Apparently Harris took his inspiration for his song Rockstars from the American version of The Office. Sadly no David Brent dancing though.
Neil writes: "When listening to Germany’s entry, it helps to remember that David Hasselhof was big in Germany. The moment when he switches from a Bon Jovi fantasy to an Eminem impression is truly excruciating. If anyone deserves nul points..."
Ukraine are singing for national pride
Ukraine are innovatively blending traditional folk music, with heavy use of the telenka flute, with hip-hop, rap and streetdance, in their song Stefania, which gets a huge response from the crowd. At the end, lead singer Oleh Psiuk shouts "Help Mariupol. Help Azovstal, right now!".
“Ukraine has to win - in all sense,” Psiuk told the Telegraph’s James Hall earlier. You can read more of that interview here.
James adds: "What struck me was his pride in singing this song. He wrote it about his mother - who is called Stefanie – but it became co-opted to be about his 'motherland'. What a reception it got at the end there. It is rightly favourite to win."
Neil is less convinced. “Everyone wants Ukraine to win. If only they'd left the tin whistle at home. And that godawful rapper. They sound like a bunch of waiters singing for tips at the end of the meal in a tourist restaurant.”
It's Ukraine time!
They're bookies' favourite tonight. But the UK is still to come too - we're in 22nd place, so towards the end.
Let's all calm down, says the Netherlands
S10 is the stage name of singer-songwriter and rapper Stien den Hollander. Who has the misfortune to follow…that.
Neil writes: “Ersatz 80s ballad. 'Ooh ooh ahh ahh' works in any language.”
Spain is too bootylicious for you
If you were thinking this raunchy Latin-pop banger sounded like off-brand Jennifer Lopez…well, spot on. SloMo was originally written for J Lo. And that’s not the only almost-famous claim for Cuban-Spanish performer Chanel: she was one of the actresses that Steven Spielberg considered for Anita in West Side Story.
But isn’t that just life? One road leads to critical acclaim and an Oscar win, the other to wearing a diamanté thong on a camp pop contest. Either way, glory awaits.
Neil writes: "Fake Shakira with a side order of Rosalia - which is actually very on trend. Booty hypnotic indeed. This is the first song tonight that sounds like it might actually have been a contemporary hit in its own right. I thought she was singing Spicy Loco though, which would be a great name for a Spanish fast food restaurant chain."
I'm wearing the Spanish outfit right now, how embarrassing #Eurovision
— Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips) May 14, 2022
Who said politics wasn't sexy?
Can Italy make it two in a row?
Following last year’s win with rock gods Månekin, Italy have gone in a very different direction for 2022. Mahmood, who represented his country in 2019 and finished second, is back for another go, this time collaborating with pop star Blanco on Brividi. It’s big moody ballad time, angsting about how we all feel inadequate.
But surely a second consecutive win for Italy is too much to ask? No one has managed that feat since Ireland’s astonishing hat trick in 1992, 1993 and 1994.
Neil writes: “Pass the parmesan, it’s the Italian Robson and Jerome. Goes down very well with a nice bottle of Chianti, according to my waiter.”
Kat Brown nails this one...
Italy are a real triumph of style over singing in tune #eurovision
— Kat Brown (@katbrown) May 14, 2022
Sam Ryder is already a winner
The UK's entrant just won the Marcel Bezençon Press Award for Best Song for his fantastic Space Man! This is our first win in these awards.
Victory apparently tastes...surprising?
Finally, a use for all that Covid panic-buying
Time for some country music, accompanied by all the loo paper in the world. If Armenia's Rosa Linn was on a vote-per-sheet system, she’d be laughing.
Her song Snap is about snapping out of your personal lull, rather than, as you might assume, Thanos dooming half the population.
Neil writes: "Do we come to Eurovision for bad bedroom pop? I don't know. Maybe we do."
Howl along with Norway
Ah, that's more like it.
Subwoolfer's Give That Wolf A Banana is a novelty entry in the annoyingly catchy vein of What Does The Fox Say. The identities of Subwoolfer’s “Keith” and “Jim” are unknown (their official bio says they’re 4.5 million years old and from the Moon), although rumour has it that one of them is Britain’s Ben Adams, formerly of 90s boyband A1. Yay?
And yes, they are really singing about banana-eating moon wolves. This is Eurovision.
— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) May 14, 2022
Neil writes: "At last it feels like the phoney war is over and the real Eurovision has begun. Give That Wolf a Banana by Subwoolfer wins best song title and best band name. The Norwegians know what level this song competition should be set at."
France is the first of the 'Big Five' to perform
Alvan & Ahez’s techno-folk song Fulenn, about a woman who meets a tragic end because she’s forbidden to dance (basically Footloose, but emo), is being performed entirely in Breton. Which…is quite the choice. There's also a lot of fire, neon-green lights and random yelping - basically think someone standing on a puppy's tail during a rave.
Neil writes: "A Europop song so perfectly bland I've forgotten it even while I'm listening to it."
West End leading lady Dianne Pilkington is also less than convinced.
I’m enjoying 4 people all singing in slightly different keys because it’s very hard to do that.
— Dianne Pilkington (@dipilky) May 14, 2022
Who did you get in your Eurovision sweepstakes?
The Telegraph's James Hall is feeling pretty smug - he picked none other than Brit belter Sam Ryder.
Let us know in the comments if you've similarly lucked out (or not...).
Switzerland's Marius Bear wants you to know that Boys Do Cry
Weirdly, weepy crooner Bear got his musical break from doing compulsory military service in the Swiss army. When his comrades heard his pipes, they encouraged him to pursue a singing career.
Neil writes: "What would you call Coldplay fronted by a Michael Buble soundalike singing a sentimental fake jazz ballad? Nat King Coleplay."
Top marks for Neil, I'm sure you'll agree.
Finland rock out with Jezebel
Finland's The Rasmus are kitted out in black and yellow waterproofs, like weather-conscious wasps. Co-writer of their entry Jezebel is American hitmaker Desmond Child, responsible for the likes of Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer and Ricky Martin’s Livin’ La Vida Loca. He’s got a lot of livin’ to do.
Neil writes: "When did the Eurovision become the place where old pop metal bands go to die?"
Portugal brings the tempo down
There’s no direct translation for “saudade”, the title of MARO's soporific ballad, but it means something like a melancholic sense of yearning, longing or nostalgia.
Neil writes: "'I've tried to write a million other songs' is a risky opening line for a plodding mid-tempo tearjerker as dull as this. Try harder, you b-stards."
Romania kicks off the flesh-baring
Next up: Romania's WRS with Llámame. The title of this one means “Call me”. Though you probably got that already from the backing dancers’ cut-out costumes and general booty-shaking. There’s also some vigorous waving of red material, like the Railway Children using their petticoats to avert disaster. The results here are...more mixed.
First up: it's the Czech Republic
Tangential British interest here: We Are Domi originally formed at Leeds College of Music. Otherwise this is your classic getting over a break-up dance track, enlivened by a seizure-inducing light show (strangely, for a song called Lights Off) and Casper Hatlestad playing his customised guitar like a cello.
Neil writes: "'Where are you now?' ask We Are Domi. On the couch with several bottles of vino lined up, if you need to know, about to embark on a very dangerous drinking game that involves downing a glass every time you feel like you are losing the will to live. I may be drunk already."
Get ready to tour Italy
Each entrant will be introduced via drone shots of Italian landmarks - making this part travel show, but a rare one not fronted by Joanna Lumley or a stand-up comedian.
The host with the most?
Er, not exactly. One of tonight's three hosts, Laura Pausini, is "treating" us to an interminable rendition of her back catalogue.
"You might think 'Surely that's it?'. No, it's a medley," quips Graham Norton, who is definitely on form.
That's followed by a lengthy flag parade (with bonus dance breaks), just in case you had any hopes of this finishing on time.
And we're off!
We open with more than 1,000 people rocking out in Turin's Piazza San Carlo to Give Peace A Chance. Welcome to the most politically charged Eurovision finals of recent times.
Sam Ryder is on the campaign trail
The UK's Eurovision hopeful wants your votes. Do you think he has a shot? Let us know in the comments.
Måneskin are back
Last year’s victors, the Italian glam rockers Måneskin, will return for an encore performance tonight. Their new song Supermodel is apparently inspired by the fact that (gasp!) Los Angeles contains one or two fake people. Next up: a musical exposé of how much English people like talking about the weather.
Neil McCormick is in the house
The Telegraph's chief music critic is settling into position in front of the TV with his usual mix of fascination and repulsion.
Neil says: "My local supermarket plays fake pop muzak faintly in the background. These are generic songs created in popular styles by session musicians that sound like chart hits if you're not paying attention (thus saving the supermarket chain money on performance rights royalties). That's what the Eurovision sounds like to me: fake pop for people who don't care about the charts, packed with gimmicky, contrived ditties that sound a bit like hits if you're not really paying attention.
"It connects to the flashy, exuberant and silly side of pop, without being unduly concerned with art, originality, meaning or genuine emotion, or (for the most part) the wild and unpredictable magic that makes a song cut through the noise of all the other songs to strike an impossible-to-define connection with the the moment we are all living through. Until (of course) it does and we all find ourselves revering ABBA forever.
"It is one of the last places the whole family can sit together around a TV set to absorb pop in all its ridiculous glory. Granny may actually find herself tapping along to a rapper spouting off in a language she doesn't understand, and even a curmudgeonly old music critic (that would be me) may find himself weeping along with some soppy Euroballad or roaring 'Nul points!' at the screen to the horror of his offspring.
"Let the games commence."
Look away now
Eurovision has a reputation for seriously cringe-worthy moments - which is one of the reasons we all love it. Who can forget Ireland’s horrifying turkey puppet, Russia’s baking grannies, or Poland’s pornographic milkmaids?
Here are the 25 most embarrassing Eurovision performances, if you can bear to relive them.
Graham Norton is raring to go
Presenter Mika cornered the veteran presenter backstage. He's smiling now, but give it a few hours.
Norton succeeded the great Terry Wogan in 2009, and recently had a cameo in the Will Ferrell movie spoof Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.
Revisiting Russia’s Eurovision killer
Tensions between Eurovision and Vladimir Putin are nothing new. Back in the 1960s and 70s, the USSR ran their own musical contest: Intervision. Putin even suggested reviving it in 2014 after drag queen Conchita Wurst won the competition.
Alex Diggins traces the fascinating history of this Eastern Bloc event - which at one point looked like a major challenger to Eurovision.
Strike a pose
Here's our grand finalists in glorious slo-mo. If you think Serbia's entry looks strange, just wait til you see the full thing...
— Eurovision Song Contest (@Eurovision) May 14, 2022
Keep score at home
If you want to rank tonight's finalists yourself, Eurovision's got you covered.
— Eurovision Song Contest (@Eurovision) May 14, 2022
But a new process might be key to UK success
In past years, our Eurovision representative has been chosen via the flawed method of a televised competition. Clearly, the public doesn’t always know best, and this half-hearted system was symptomatic of the UK’s failure to commit to Eurovision.
But it's all change this year. Instead of a TV competition, music management and publishing company TaP Music - producers of chart-topping artists like Dua Lipa, Lana Del Rey and Ellie Goulding - drew on their professional experience to properly select, manage and market a decent entrant.
Could it actually pay off? We’ll find out shortly! The grand final begins in just under an hour.
The UK has a chequered Eurovision history
We’re all hoping for good news tonight, but the UK has had quite the roller coaster run at Eurovision - including a few years that left us all upside down and nauseous. Check out Tristram Fane Saunders’ entertaining rundown of all 63 UK entries, from the highs (Bucks Fizz!) to the lows (dodgy voting tactics - honest, it’s not our fault). And if you’re wondering where they are now, Tristram can help you out with that too.
Let us know your all-time Eurovision faves (winners or otherwise...) in the comments.
Predict the winner
Are you supporting the home team, getting behind Ukraine, or backing a dark horse? And, more importantly, how are you celebrating Eurovision?
Let us know who you’re rooting for in the comments below, as well as what drinks and snacks you’re consuming, and what fabulous avant-garde creation you’re wearing. Bonus points for anyone who’s gone full banana-wolf.
Oh, and we’ve got Eurovision foodie tips galore.
Who missed out?
We saw some shock exits in the 2022 semi-finals. On Tuesday, Latvia’s vegan advocates Citi Zēni failed to make the cut, despite the popularity of their eco-friendly but profanity-laden entry Eat Your Salad. It’s not easy being green.
And Thursday’s second semi-final saw two more surprise eliminations. Israel’s Michael Ben David came up short with I.M - the first time that Israel has failed to make the final in eight years - while past winner Ireland continued their recent unhappy streak (they’ve only qualified once in the past eight years) when Brooke Scullion and her song That’s Rich were booted out - resulting in this emotional post.
Who else should you watch out for?
The 2022 Eurovision final truly has something for everybody - including intergalactic banana-eating wolves, Games of Thrones flashbacks, topical hand-washing and aggressive cowboys. Check out Ed Power’s definitive guide.
Which acts are you most looking forward to seeing? Let us know in the comments below...
But the UK might actually have a shot
It’s been a horrendous few years for the UK in Eurovision. In 2019, Michael Rice finished dead last with just 11 points. But 2021 was the nadir: James Newman’s Embers received nul points from both the jury and audience votes, setting an unenviable Eurovision record for abject failure.
But that could all change tonight. Step forward Sam Ryder, a 32-year-old from Essex with a majestic mane who became a TikTok sensation (over 12 million followers) thanks to his covers of artists like Britney Spears and Adele. It’s quite a departure from his former life as a heavy metal frontman.
His trippy, out-of-this-world power ballad Space Man, reminiscent of Bowie and Elton John, features striking falsetto, quirky lyrics, and a touching wistful poignancy. He co-wrote the song with Amy Wadge, Grammy-winning Ed Sheeran collaborator, and Max Wolfgang, who has worked with the likes of Years & Years and John Legend.
Could this be the year that European voters get behind the UK? Read James Hall’s full interview with Ryder.
Ukraine is the big favourite to win
Although its organisers desperately strive for political neutrality, Eurovision cannot escape the ramifications of Russia’s illegal invasion of its neighbour. Russia won’t be taking part in the 2022 event (that ban was announced back in February), and there has been a huge groundswell of support for Ukraine’s entry in solidarity.
There is precedent for this: in 2016, Ukraine’s Jamala won the contest with an angsty ballad about Stalin’s deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1944. But Jamala also drew explicit parallels with Putin’s annexation of Crimea.
This year, Ukraine is represented by the Kalush Orchestra and their song Stefania, a heartfelt ode to mothers that mixes traditional folk music (including the use of a telenka flute) with modern rap. For “mother”, many now read “motherland”, adopting the song as an anthem for Ukrainian defiance, and interpreting references to “broken roads” very differently.
Lead singer Oleh Psiuk, who rocks a pink bucket hat, is well aware of the significance of this moment. “Ukraine has to win - in all sense,” he told the Telegraph’s James Hall. You can read more of that interview here.
Meet this year's runners and riders
Tonight’s grand final features 25 countries altogether - 20 who fought through the semi-finals held earlier this week, and the “Big Five” nations given automatic byes as they are the five largest financial backers. The latter group features the UK, France, Germany, Spain and host nation Italy. But all 40 participating countries can vote for the winner.
We’ll be kicking off the final with the Czech Republic and finishing with Estonia. Ukraine is performing in the 12th spot and the UK is 22nd.
Here is the full running order:
1. Czech Republic: We Are Domi – Lights Off
2. Romania: WRS – Llámame
3. Portugal: MARO – Saudade, Saudade
4. Finland: The Rasmus – Jezebel
5. Switzerland: Marius Bear – Boys Do Cry
6. France: Alvan & Ahez – Fulenn
7. Norway: Subwoolfer – Give That Wolf A Banana
8. Armenia: Rosa Linn – Snap
9. Italy: Mahmood & Blanco – Brividi
10. Spain: Chanel – SloMo
11. Netherlands: S10 – De Diepte
12. Ukraine: Kalush Orchestra – Stefania
13. Germany: Malik Harris – Rockstars
14. Lithuania: Monika Liu – Sentimentai
15. Azerbaijan: Nadir Rustamli – Fade To Black
16. Belgium: Jérémie Makiese – Miss You
17. Greece: Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord – Die Together
18. Iceland: Systur – Með Hækkandi Sól
19. Moldova: Zdob şi Zdub & Advahov Brothers – Trenulețul
20. Sweden: Cornelia Jakobs – Hold Me Closer
21. Australia: Sheldon Riley – Not The Same
22. United Kingdom: Sam Ryder – Space Man
23. Poland: Ochman – River
24. Serbia: Konstrakta – In Corpore Sano
25. Estonia: Stefan – Hope
How does the voting work?
The Eurovision winner is decided by a 50/50 vote. Half of the votes come from viewers televoting in all of the participating nations, and the other half is decided by five music professionals in each of those countries.
The UK’s voting spokesperson for Eurovision 2022 is TV presenter and recent Strictly Come Dancing contestant AJ Odudu. She will be delivering the UK professional jury’s verdict live from Salford.
— BBC Eurovision🇬🇧 | 👩🚀#teamSPACEMAN (@bbceurovision) April 29, 2022
We're living la dolce vita
Eurovision this year comes to us from Pala Alpitour in Turin, after Italian rockers Måneskin triumphed in the 2021 competition. The hosts are TV presenter Alessandro Cattelan and singers Mika and Laura Pausini, while UK viewers will, as usual, have the pleasure of Graham Norton’s snarky commentary.
Hello and welcome
...to the 66th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest!