Eurovision 2022: can anybody stop Ukraine winning in Turin? – live

Our Angela Giuffrida is in Turin tonight and dedicated Eurovision fans have of course travelled from far and wide to be there. Michael Duncan and his partner, Daniel Fey, came from London and have been enjoying the northern Italian city for a week in the build-up to the grand final. “This is our 20th Eurovision,” said Michael. “We’re hoping for a UK win and they might actually do it.”

Daniel Fey (L) and Michael Duncan in Turin
Daniel Fey (L) and Michael Duncan in Turin Photograph: Angela Giuffrida/The Guardian

If you would like to get your face in our Eurovision live blog, then you either need to bump into Angela in Turin, or tweet me with your pictures of Eurovision fun: @MartinBelam.

Updated at 19.43 BST

Angela Giuffrida

If you are looking for songs that might push Ukraine close, then on streaming service Spotify Mahmood & Blanco’s Brividi has been a streaming monster, with over 82 million plays. Could Italy win two successive finals? Last year’s winners, Måneskin, told our Angela Giuffrida in Turin that winning it changed their lives:

It wasn’t so long ago that Måneskin were busking on the streets of Rome, performing for four hours straight even if only one person was watching. So the 2021 Eurovision song contest winners couldn’t believe their luck when the Rolling Stones invited them to open a concert in the US in November, giving them their first opportunity to perform in front of an audience of thousands.

“We thought, fuck yeah, we’re not going to decline that,” bassist Victoria De Angelis said in an interview with the Guardian alongside her three bandmates in Turin before the Eurovision 2022 final.

“Our lives have completely changed [since Eurovision]. We haven’t stopped. We’ve been having a lot of crazy experiences … all the things we dreamed of that we never thought would come true.”

For the most part, Eurovision winners tend to be swiftly forgotten about. But since their show-stopping performance of Zitti e Buoni in Rotterdam last May, Måneskin have not only achieved an unrivalled level of global success for an Italian rock band, they are inspiring a generation of young people with their upbeat rock and profound lyrics.

“We are super privileged, but when we started out in music we experienced some tough times. We were being super judged – for our makeup, nail polish and how we dressed – that it was hard to keep going,” said frontman Damiano David.

You can read more below:

Updated at 19.43 BST

This maybe doesn’t make as much sense if you haven’t seen all the songs yet, but this exquisite Tumblr post sets out the ideal conditions to listen to each of this year’s 40 entries.

Sample content: “In a dirty basement with hot people”, “In 2003, with low slung jeans and a thick coating of Bad Gal eyeliner”, “Halfway down a pint of ice cream, under a duvet”.

The ideal conditions for listening to the songs of Eurovision 2022 from Ellie Made It

Updated at 19.23 BST

Ahead of tonight’s show I spoke to Ewan Spence from ESC Insight, which is a website and podcast that follows Eurovision all year round, rather than johnny-come-latelies like me who just rock up at the final.

I asked him to explain one of the controversies which is going to unfold during tonight’s final – the “kinetic sun”. Here’s what Ewan told me:

So the Italians wanted to have an LED screen. Everybody does. There’s a big LED screen all along the back of the stage. Then there is a bundle of arches that are connected, that also have LED screens. Those arches also rotate so you can have, instead of the LEDs, a wall of lights.

So far so good, this sounds great. Except …

The problem is, for whatever reason, it rotates more slowly than expected. They thought it would be able to rotate within the length of a postcard, so one song could have the LED screen, the next song could have the wall of lights. But instead it’s been locked in one position. And it’s been locked in the position that is the wall of lights, not the LED screen. So the acts that are just wanting to have that effect of lights? They’re all good. They’re staging is fine. The ones that needed the LED screen? They now have this great big blank rainbow cutout in front of their video when you see them on screen, and it just looks bad.

Oh.

The UK is going into Eurovision this year with a little bit of optimism around Sam Ryder’s song. Rachel Aroesti spoke to him and the people behind the song:

Sam Ryder, has been gearing up for the final in Turin on Saturday – mainly by trying to avoid catching Covid or a cold. “You don’t want to be getting on that stage in front of 200 million people with a scratchy throat,” he says. But he isn’t getting carried away by the bookies’ odds. “We’re flattered, but it’s just a number, so let’s not get hyped,” he says, sporting his trademark grin.

If Space Man does succeed, it will be no fluke: this year, the UK’s strategy for picking a Eurovision entry underwent a much-needed overhaul. For most of the competition’s history, the UK candidate has been chosen via a televised competition, but in 2021 the BBC enlisted the help of record label BMG. The ensuing nul points disaster prompted Ben Mawson and Ed Millett of TaP Music – known for managing major pop stars such as Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding and Dua Lipa as well as indie darlings such as Caroline Polachek and Purity Ring – to get involved.

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Sam Ryder – the UK’s entry for 2022

The pair believed the UK was wasting an opportunity to showcase a promising artist to a huge global audience. They were also convinced there were some easy fixes to the UK’s predicament. “The bottom line was: why, in the home of some of the most wonderful pop music in the world, are we doing so badly each year?” says Mawson.

San Marino is also another big loss from tonight’s show. Achille Lauro’s staging of Stripper absolutely killed it on Thursday, and I am a bit exasperated it didn’t progress. How many times do you get to see a lace-clad man on top of a studded leather red bucking bronco on your telly on a Saturday night, eh? Just look at it …

Singer Achille Lauro (L) kisses his guitarist as he performs on behalf of San Marino.
Singer Achille Lauro (L) kisses his guitarist as he performs on behalf of San Marino. Photograph: Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images
I mean, it is one way to spend a Thursday evening, I guess?
I mean, it is one way to spend a Thursday evening, I guess? Photograph: Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images
Achille Lauro from San Marino.
Achille Lauro from San Marino. Photograph: Alessandro Di Marco/EPA

Go on. Treat yourself. Give it a blast.

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San Marino at the 2022 Eurovision song contest

Eurovision Bingo rules for tonight!

Get ready to mark your Eurovision Bingo cards! Of course, if you want to have a shot of drink each time you spot one of these things, you are welcome, but drinking is not compulsory. You can just shout “Hola, mi bebébé. Llámame, llámame!” instead, or whatever you fancy. You do you. Here is what I have got on my list:

  • A costume change!
  • Ludicrous musical instruments!
  • A cynical key and/or tempo change!
  • Someone says the evening/songs have been “wonderful”!
  • Unnecessary use of the French language!
  • Vigorous hand-washing!
  • Costumes with cut-outs!
  • Someone jumps off the stage!
  • A guitar solo!
  • Spooky ghost wraiths!
  • Someone in the crowd is waving a Ukrainian flag!
  • Someone is back performing at Eurovision again!

I’ll try and call them out. And also try not to get into complicated arguments about musicology as to whether something is technically a key change or not. We all know that cynical rising key change for the final set of choruses when you hear it.

The sheer number of entries these days means we have to have semi-finals, but that also sadly means that some acts who would have added a lot of joy to tonight’s event don’t make it through. I didn’t enjoy the song, but Georgia sent what I can only describe as a “Steampunk Kula Shaker” in the shape of Circus Mircus singing Lock Me In.

Members of Georgia’s band Circus Mircus at the opening ceremony.
Members of Georgia’s band Circus Mircus at the opening ceremony. Photograph: Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images

It was a bit of a psychedelic extravaganza, but the viewers decided to firmly lock them out of tonight’s final.

Circus Mircus from Georgia with Lock Me In.
Circus Mircus from Georgia with Lock Me In. Photograph: Alessandro Di Marco/EPA

I have probably already given a few of the answers away in my preamble, but if you have a couple of minutes to spare, as we wait for things to get in the swing in Turin, why not have a stab at our Eurovision quiz from yesterday?

If you don’t know, unbelievable as it seems, but Mika is one of the presenters on tonight’s show. Yes, the actual Mika. He has already been tweeting from behind the scenes tonight.

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Look who I bumped into backstage! A true legend of @eurovision! So good to see you again @grahnort #eurovision pic.twitter.com/H30jtaYYbs

&mdash; MIKA (@mikasounds) May 14, 2022

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Here is your running order for tonight, which the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) have handily put on a social media graphic so that I don’t have to type it all out.

The running order for the 2022 Eurovision song contest
The running order for the 2022 Eurovision song contest Photograph: EBU

I remember last year promising to join in the comments, and then it all goes by so fast that it is impossible for me. So if you want to get in touch with me – particularly with photos of your Eurovision party this evening – then tweeting me @MartinBelam is your best bet. I will have a Tweetdeck column open and so will (probably) see it. I’ve already got some Eurovision Bingo suggestions set up, but I welcome any additional ideas.

Welcome to our live coverage of the 2022 Eurovision song contest

доброго вечора з лондона! That’s Ukrainian for “Good evening from London!”, and I’m glad you can join me for our live coverage of the 66th edition of the Eurovision song contest.

I’ve got to start by being totally honest with you. There is a good chance we are about to sit through four hours of the greatest and glitteriest musical extravaganza on the planet, merely to find out exactly how much Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine are going to win it by with their song Stefania.

Has the song been popular with Eurovision fans in the build-up? Yes. Will Ukraine winning be seen as a gesture of solidarity for their nation across much of Europe? Yes. Is it actually the best song we’ll see tonight? Well …

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Kalush Orchestra with Stefania

Everything gets started at 9pm in Turin, which is 8pm in the UK, and about 90 minutes away. If you are joining us from Australia I am keen to hear in the comments whether you have decided to set your alarm for silly o’clock in the morning to get up and watch it, or whether you have gone on an all-night Eurovision rampage.

Even if the result seems like it might be obvious, there is a lot of entertainment to be had. We’ve got 25 songs ahead of us. The UK’s entry is tipped not to do terribly for a change, and Norway and Moldova have sent the kind of Eurovision entries that you will be seeing on clip-shows for years to come. If you like moody downtempo songs of misery sung by women, there’s a bumper crop. Some of the staging, as ever, is spectacular, and there’s one song that starts by asking “What could be the secret of Meghan Markle‘s healthy hair?”

So come and join me. We will of course be playing Eurovision Bingo – drinking is optional – and the comments on this live blog are always lively and fun. I am really looking forward to it.

The Guardian

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