Eurovision 2022: what to know and how to watch

Eurovision 2022: what to know and how to watch

LONDON – The Eurovision Song Contest began in 1956 as a friendly music competition between public television networks and has since grown into the world’s largest – and perhaps most eccentric – live music event.

This year the competition takes place while Europe is at war; This was announced by the organizers of the event in February Russia would be excluded from participationciting “the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine”.

This week, 35 more countries, including Ukraine, competed in the semifinals ahead of Saturday’s final, which draws more than 180 million viewers around the world. The event, taking place in Italy this year, rewards live viewers with clips of performances and reactions that quickly spread on social media.

Below are roundups of hot-tipped acts, advice on how to watch from the United States and views on how the war in Ukraine is likely to impact the competition.

Each country selects one act with an original song that must be performed live on stage. The song is chosen either by the national broadcaster or through some kind of competition. (Sweden, for example, has the “Melodifestivalen” to select its entry.) There are a number of rules that contestants must follow, including a three-minute limit on song length and a ban on lyrics or gestures deemed political by the organizers be considered .

Despite the name, countries beyond the traditional geographical borders of Europe also take part in Eurovision. For example, Israel debuted in 1973 and Australia has participated since 2015. This year, Armenia and Montenegro return to the competition after not participating in 2021. Smaller nations are also represented, such as San Marino, a landlocked enclave in Italy with a population of just over 30,000. Last year, San Marino’s entry, performed by singer Senhit, featured a performance by American rapper Flo Rida.

The Eurovision winner is chosen by a combination of votes from home viewers and national juries in each country. First, the scores of the national juries will be tallied, then the fan votes will be announced act by act, starting with the countries that received the lowest jury points. This part of the show can be tense and even awkward to watch as last year cameras showed contestants from the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain each receiving the dreaded ‘zero points’ from audiences.

After the two semi-finals have sorted out the contestants, the qualifiers will join contestants from the ‘Big Five’ countries – Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – who will automatically be admitted to the final for being financially the most competitive contribute the competition. 25 countries will take part in the final this year.

Traditionally, the competition is held in the country that won the previous year. Turin in Italy is hosting this year after rock band Maneskin triumphed in 2021.

The Peacock streaming service will broadcast the finale on Saturday at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. The service also broadcast the semifinals of the competition. Figure skater Johnny Weir will commentate on the show.

Commentary can often add some humor to the many long hours of television competition. In the UK, comedy presenter Graham Norton has become known for his reactions and jokes.

“We have a real selection of music tonight,” Norton said as he unveiled the 2021 competition from the Dutch city of Rotterdam. “Brilliant staging, great lighting, some wonderful singers and others – well, some as flat as Holland.”

First, the European Broadcasting Union, which organizes Eurovision, said Russia could continue to participate because the competition was a “non-political cultural event”.

However, the day after the invasion, when Ukraine and other countries threatened to withdraw, the broadcasting union backed down. Russia could not participate The union said in a statementbecause admitting the country “would bring the competition into disrepute”.

Sentimentality, friendly bias, and politics can affect voting. This year, Ukraine is favored as the winner, with rap and folk band Kalush Orchestra representing the country. His song “Stefania” is an ode to the mother of one of the band members. The Act received special permission from the Ukrainian government to travel for the competition and performed across Europe to raise funds for the war effort.

Ukraine won the 2016 competition with “1944” by Jamala. The song was a memorial to the Crimean Tatars during World War II, but has also been interpreted as a commentary on the Russian invasion of Crimea that took place two years earlier.

Should Ukraine win the title, the war and humanitarian crisis in the country would most likely pose challenges to hosting the competition in 2023.

In the past, when one country was unable to host, another stepped in. The last time this happened was in 1980 when Israel refused to host after winning for the second straight year. Instead, the competition took place in the Netherlands.

Should Australia ever win the competition, the logistical difficulties of hosting a mainly European competition on another continent would result in a European country and broadcaster co-hosting the competition with Australia the following year, according to the European Broadcasting Union.

Sweden has won the Eurovision Song Contest six times (second only to Ireland), with ABBA being one of the acts to claim victory for the country. This year’s Swedish contestant is Cornelia Jakobs, who sings “Hold Me Closer,” a warm and emotional pop track that builds with each verse that follows.

The Spanish entry, performed by Chanel, is also expected to do well in the finale, with a catchy song, “SloMo”, accompanied by an energetic dance routine.

The UK outlook is rising after a total of zero points over the past year. The country’s entry, “Space Man,” being performed by TikTok star Sam Ryder, has been gaining momentum.

Australia’s entry, Not the Same, performed by Sheldon Riley, also received praise. The song reflects his childhood experiences, including a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome he received when he was 6 years old.

Maneskin has been known around the world since winning the 2021 competition, appearing on Saturday Night Live and the Coachella festival this year.

Eurovision contestants have a tradition of using surreal mise-en-scène, text and costumes to stand out.

This year, pop duo Subwoolfer’s Norwegian contribution has attracted attention. In their song “Give That Wolf a Banana”, the two wear wolf masks and support dancers in yellow morph suits.

Zdob si Zdub and the Advahov brothers’ Moldovan contribution Trenuletul has garnered a following by combining traditional instruments like the accordion with the electric guitar. The upbeat lyrics of their song are accompanied by the band’s enthusiastic choreography.

The NBC show American Song Contest reinvents the Eurovision Song Contest for the United States, with 56 entries from 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia. Instead of being broadcast over the course of a week like Eurovision, the competition has been broadcast weekly on the network since March.

The finals took place on Monday when Oklahoma representative AleXa won with “Wonderland.” The song received a total of 710 points from the judges and public vote, 207 ahead of the second-place entry from Colorado.

But disappointing ratings suggest “American Song Contest” failed to capture the excitement of Eurovision. In an interview with The New York Times, Audrey Morrissey, an executive for the show, suggested US audiences may need time to adjust to the format. “It’s a very different kind of mechanism — there’s no other show that the performance happens on and there’s no criticism right after,” she said.

Next year there will be a Eurovision Canada, with entries from the country’s three territories and 10 provinces going head-to-head in a spin-off of the original. International expansion was a goal of Eurovision. Martin Österdahl, an executive director of the competition, said on a recent podcast, “We are slightly changing our focus in our strategy from managing a competition to managing a brand, and that brand will be a global entertainment super-brand.”

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