25 countries take part in the ESC

The Eurovision Song Contest brings together music fans from all over Europe and Australia once a year. Today the colorful party is overshadowed by the Ukraine war – a clear favorite has already been determined.

the essentials in brief

  • Representatives from 25 countries will be present at the final of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) this Saturday from 9 p.m.

The 66th edition of the Grand Prix will be held in Turin, northern Italy, after the Italian band Måneskin won last year in Rotterdam with their rock song “Zitti e buoni”. The Russian war of aggression in Ukraine is overshadowing the music competition this year – in which politics shouldn’t really have a place, as the organizers thought it would be over 60 years ago.

The Ukrainian contribution “Stefania” by the Kalush Orchestra has been the clear favorite among bookmakers for weeks. The song is a mix of rap and Ukrainian folk music. Frontman Oleh Psjuk dedicated it to his mother. The band announced on social media that if they win, they will auction off the winner’s trophy for charity. The six musicians from western Ukraine are likely to receive many votes of solidarity from the audience. Already on Tuesday they qualified in the first semi-final – their advancement was considered quite certain.

Bookmaker: Hardly any chances for Germany

Germany’s representative Malik Harris will be 13th after the Ukrainians on stage and will sing his song “Rockstars”. The place in the process directly after the favorite is considered unfavorable. The 24-year-old saw it calmly. “For me, the ESC is not such a competition at all,” he told the German Press Agency. For him, it’s more about playing on stage than placement.

The bookies don’t think his pop song, which is about childhood when everyone was little “rock stars”, had a good chance. On Friday he was in last place among international bookmakers. Last year, Germany took penultimate place with Jendrik and “I Don’t Feel Hate”. At that time, only the British did worse, who are among the top five candidates this year with Sam Ryder and “Space Man”.

For the upper ranks, the contributions from Sweden (Cornelia Jakobs with “Hold Me Closer”), Italy (Mahmood and Blanco with “Brividi”) and Spain (Chanel with “SloMo”) are also traded. This year, the ESC not only offers music fans gaudy stage shows and glittering costumes, but also everything from an 80s techno song to a country song to all kinds of pop songs and ballads.

Viewers can vote

In the end, the audience and the jury decide on the placements. In addition to the jurors, viewers can also vote at home. They just can’t vote for their own country. The first broadcasts the international singing competition live from 9 p.m. A trio of moderators consisting of the Italian Grammy winner and singer Laura Pausini, the British singer Mika (“Grace Kelly”) and TV presenter Alessandro Cattelan will lead through the evening. They will also appear on the show with dance and music performances, as will Måneskin, who will guest-star her new song “Supermodel”.

For Pausini, the ESC is the first show as a presenter on a stage with an audience since the corona pandemic, as she said on Friday. She wanted to send a message of peace. “United people also mean peace,” she explained.

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