Eurovision is taking place in Vienna, Austria after Conchita won last year in Denmark with her song ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’.
With the semi-finals having taken place on Tuesday and Thursday, the stage is now set for the final.
The ‘Big 5’ are guaranteed to get into the final – made up of the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy with last year’s winner Austria – and for one year only Australia will be participating with a guarantee for the final too. These six acts will be joined by 20 more from the semi-finals.
This year sees a mellow contest both in songs and acts. There are no controversial acts this year to cause any upset, and with an influx of ballads this year it feels a very relaxed contest.
Never fear, though, the wind machines are here, along with the big outfits, the manic strobe lighting and the overwhelming aura of campness. Mellow it may be but it still has the Eurovision trimmings.
This year we see the return of Cyprus, Serbia and the Czech Republic. Turkey were aiming to return this year, but after Conchita’s victory they decided to abstain one more year (pfft!). The Turkish broadcaster has announced plans to return in 2016, however, so even they can’t keep away.
There will be a noticeable gap this year with Ukraine withdrawing due to financial and political reasons. Ukraine has finished in the top 10 a total of eight times out of the last 10 years.
Australia is a guest entrant this year after participating last year as the interval act with Jessica Mauboy and her song ‘Sea Of Flags’ (which also featured at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games).
This time round Guy Sebastian enters the contest with his song ‘Tonight Again’. If Australia were to win the contest it has been confirmed that as per Eurovision rules they would be entitled to return. Should this prove a success, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest Jon Ola San hasn’t ruled out inviting a guest country from outside of Europe each year.
This year’s bookie favourite is Sweden’s Måns Zelmörlow with his song ‘Heroes’. This upbeat song with great graphical integration really is on top form, which we would expect from a nation that takes Eurovision seriously (hint, hint, Britain!). Around 1/3 of the population voted in Sweden’s selection final, Melodifestivalen.
However the bookies have been wrong. Last year Armenia was the hot favourite yet they came fourth. Ultimately it is the people of Europe that decide the result, with the public vote making up 50% of each country’s points. The remaining 50% is awarded by a jury of music industry experts from that nation.
This has proven effective in breaking down the block voting habits of past years, although it hasn’t eliminated it.
So Europe, here are the results of the Vada Eurovision votes:
The final will be shown on BBC One on Saturday 23 May at 8pm.