So Eurovision is this week! *Scream* Here’s our quick guide to catch up on what’s been going on;
Italy is far and away the favourite sitting a pretty solid 1-1 with the bookies and it’s become the first Eurovision video ever to reach 100 million views on YouTube (before the competition even starts no less!)
Russia sent an artist who had previously performed in post-annexation Crimea without Ukrainian approval. Ukraine refused her a visa to get to Kiev and the song has subsequently been withdrawn. Deliberate provocation by Russia? Probably, but also proof, yet again, that Eurovision can never be entirely free from geopolitics.
Doubts about the Ukrainian ability to host a successful festival surfaced almost as soon as Jamala won last year with (false) rumours about limited stadium capacity and worries about a host that still has an active war front. Whilst these fears were quickly muted, organisation has certainly been far from smooth and at one point Sweden were called in to lend a hand. Problems solved? It looks good so far but who knows what might jump out of the woodwork on the night?
With Australia now firmly recognised as a participating country they will be looking to remain one of just three countries with a 100% qualifying record (Greece and Bosnia & Herzegovina lost theirs last year). Neither fan favourite San Marino, nor the Czech Republic look likely to make a second-ever final appearance, but of course, we can only wait and see!
Oh the voting! Do you remember the voting? The drama! The suspense! The what-the-hell-Poland! Well the new system is back again and given that Jamala actually won neither the public nor the jury voting last year, who knows what surprises we can look forward to this year?
But of course, what would Eurovision be without its contestants? This year promises a man dueting with himself (Croatia), man-in-high-heels glamour (Montenegro), a dancing gorilla (Italy), treadmills (Sweden), yodelling and so much more we haven’t even seen yet! Who’s going to get your vote?