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What to Expect From This Year’s Eurovision Song Contest

What to Expect from This Year’s Eurovision Song Contest main image

It’s the greatest show on Earth, with around 200 million people all over the world expected to tune in to the final. That’s right, it’s Eurovision time again. This year’s contest is being held in Kiev, following Ukraine’s win in the 2016 contest with Jamala’s 1944. 26 countries will battle it out in the grand final on Saturday 13 May – but only one can win. (Depending on when you’re reading this, you might already know who the triumphant country is). Here are nine things to look out for on the big night.

1. Australia are in it again

everyone: this is a song competition between European countries
AUSTRALIA:

— nicole (@dgnavevo)

Didn’t you know Australia’s in Europe? Yes, despite in his semi-final performance, 17-year-old Isaiah was able to qualify for the 13 May Eurovision Song Contest final. If you’re wondering why Australia are in it, it’s because they are huge Eurovision fans and were originally invited to compete in the 60th anniversary contest in 2015, for what was meant to be a one-off event. Since then, they’ve been invited back every year, but must first compete in one of the semi-finals.

Australia almost won the contest last year with Dami Im placing second. They’re also sort of in it twice this year: Anja Nissen, representing Denmark, is a Danish-Australian, and has also qualified for the final. It’s also worth mentioning that Australia isn’t the only non-European country in Eurovision: Israel are also involved.

2. Moldova’s Epic Sax Guy is back

Remember the Epic Sax Guy, who became an internet sensation after representing Moldova in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 as part of Sunstroke Project? Well him and his band are back. Epic Sax Guy, real name Sergey Stepanov, and his fellow band mates qualified for the final with the catchy pop song Hey Mamma. They’ll be performing seventh on the night and definitely shouldn’t be missed.

3. Italy’s dancing gorilla

Bookies’ favorite Italy don’t just have a strong, catchy pop song on offer to win votes, their performer (the fantastically charismatic Francesco Gabbani) will be joined on stage by a dancing gorilla. Occidentali's Karma (Westerners’ Karma) is sung in Italian, and the gorilla isn’t just a random gimmick, as it fits in with the song’s message about the dumbing down of society through social media and our evolution from ape to a generation of selfie-takers.

4. Yodelling from Romania

We have a feeling Romania’s song Yodel It! is going to be a Marmite song: you’ll love it or you’ll hate it. Whatever you think of it, Ilinca and Alex Florea’s song, which also features rapping and on-stage cannons, is sure to be memorable.

5. Azerbaijan’s performance has a man on a ladder wearing a horse’s head

Because of course, it’s Eurovision, so why not? It’s all a little weird, but the song itself is pretty good.

6. The first performer to be born in the new millennium

Bulgarian representative Kristian Kostov makes us feel old, having only celebrated his 17th birthday a few months ago. His song, Beautiful Mess is a fan favorite, and is high on the bookies’ list of possible winners.

7. Croatia’s Jacques Houdek duets with himself

If you’re a fan of anything OTT or Disney-esque, Croatia’s song My Friend should appeal to you, with Houdek doing a duet with himself, something we’re not sure we’ve seen before in any previous Eurovision. Whether you like the song or not, you can’t deny his versatility. You can watch his semi-final performance .

8. Sweden’s treadmill dancing

We can't go on without 's smooth moves! What did you think of the opening performance?

— Eurovision (@Eurovision)

Sweden have done pretty well for themselves in recent years, winning in 2013 and 2015. This year’s entry, I Can’t Go On by Robin Bengtsson is a catchy track which should do well. Bengtsson starts off with a suave backstage entrance, leading to a synchronized dance routine on treadmills. We just hope there are no accidents on the night.

9. Portugal’s touching song

High on the bookies’ list of possible winners in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest are Portugal, who have Salvador Sobral performing Amar Pelos Dois. Written by his sister Luísa, the song is a poignant ballad sung in Portuguese which tells the story of a lost love and the continuous search for her. It may sound like it could have been released 60 years ago, but it’s very enjoyable. Also, Sobral has the best facial expressions: check out to finding out he’d qualified for the final.

Unfortunately, not everyone can make the Eurovision final. Here’s who didn’t qualify from their semi-final

When my favorite doesn't qualify

— ESCPedia (@escpedia)
  • Finland’s ‘Blackbird’ gave us goose bumps and was hugely well-received both in the arena and at home, but was a shock non-qualifier – you can give it a listen .
  • Also in the first semi-final, (though probably not that surprised) that Montenegro’s song Space failed to qualify. You can watch Slavko Kalezić and his unforgettable “helicopter braids” .
  • Macedonia’s Jana Burčeska had a pretty memorable night at the second semi-final on Thursday, first announcing her pregnancy in her pre-performance video and then getting engaged live in the green room. However, she sadly failed to qualify for the grand final with her song Dance Alone. You can watch her performance .

    You might also notice that Russia are missing this year…they haven’t taken part at all due to a spat with host country Ukraine.

    Who are you backing in the Eurovision Song Contest this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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    Sabrina Collier's profile image
    Written by Sabrina Collier
    Sabrina is a content writer for Kyohaku.com, providing guidance on a wide range of topics. A graduate of Aberystwyth University, Sabrina is originally from the West Midlands but now lives in London. 

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