What you should know and how to see it

After a long 12 months, the wait is over – the Eurovision Song Contest is finally returning to our screens.

The annual extravaganza pits the countries of Europe against each other as 25 finalists compete on stage for the ultimate prize: being crowned the winner of the competition.

This year’s competition is expected to heavily highlight the situation in Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion on February 24.

Among the 25 nations appearing on the big stage in Italy is Ukraine, believed to be favorites to win.

Below we remind you of everything you need to know before the final.

The performers dance at the beginning of the dress rehearsal before the grand finale.
The performers dance at the beginning of the dress rehearsal before the grand finale.
REUTERS

What is Euro Vision?

The Eurovision Song Contest first hit our screens in 1956. It has been held annually since then, with the exception of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing.

Every year, European Broadcasting Union countries compete to be crowned victors.

This year the 66th Eurovision takes place, where no less than 40 nations fight for the gold.

The band Måneskin won the 2021 competition.
The band Måneskin won the 2021 competition.
REUTERS

In addition to viewers watching at home, each participating country is allowed to cast three votes for another nation.

Given the “Eurovision” name, it’s to be expected that only European countries will take part. But you may be surprised to learn that the European Broadcast Union includes some countries that are not close to Europe.

Australia, for example, was invited to perform in 2015 and its performance proved so welcome that it has been invited back every year since.

Subwoolfers from Norway sing
Subwoolfers from Norway sing “Give The Wolf A Banana”.
AP

How can I watch?

Peacock TV will be broadcasting Eurovision live for the second year in a row.

Saturday’s grand finale airs at 3 p.m. ET.

Who won last year and who are notable past winners?

Last year’s winners get to host the Eurovision final each year, meaning Saturday’s big show will take place in Italy in 2021 thanks to Måneskin’s epic win.

Andromache performs onstage in the second semifinal.
Andromache performs onstage in the second semifinal.
Getty Images

The Italian band swept the park with their rock ‘n’ roll performance, which saw Italy crowned victors before taking the finale to home soil.

Måneskin is expected to perform his new song ‘Supermodel’ during Saturday’s final.

Since it kickstarted in 1956, Eurovision has spawned many famous names and faces.

Notably ABBA, who represented Sweden in 1974, were crowned Eurovision winners with their undeniable hit ‘Waterloo’.

Laura Pausini performs on stage during dress rehearsals.
Laura Pausini performs on stage during dress rehearsals.
Getty Images

In 1988, Celine Dion won the Eurovision Song Contest after representing Switzerland despite being Canadian.

This is the third Eurovision to be staged in Italy, having previously hosted the nation in 1965 and 1991.

Ukraine has won the Eurovision Song Contest twice since it first appeared 19 years ago.

Russia has been banned from participating in this year’s event.

    Italian singers Blanco and Mahmood leave the Palace Hotel to rehearse at the Palazzetto.
Italian singers Blanco and Mahmood leave the Palace Hotel to rehearse at the Palazzetto.
EPA

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