The Eurovision Song Contest, watched by millions of people around the globe, is musical Marmite. Love it or hate it, even the most ardent critics can’t describe it as dull.
The event has descending on Liverpool’s waterfront with all its multicoloured glory.
As pop fans prepare for the marathon of 26 acts over four hours on Saturday, who do you think will be winning the iconic Eurovision microphone trophy?
The Top Three
Sweden, the birthplace Abba and Eurovision royalty, is the favourite.
Lorraine, who won the 2012 contest with Euphoria, returns with her new single Tattoo. It’s an electric banger that features show-stopping vocals.
According to a study conducted by the digital marketing agency Evoluted, the science is also on her side. Solo female pop acts were found to have the highest likelihood of winning the competition.
Loreen would be the first woman ever to win this event more than once if she wins.
Bookies also love Finland’s hyperpop-rap song Cha Cha Cha.
The song was performed by Finnish artist Kaarija, who is a master at posing on the red carpet in his neon green puffer jacket with only sleeves and his bowl haircut.
The Finnish word for “to wrap” is also a pun on “to rap”. His song was inspired by the feeling you get when your inhibitions are loosened after a few drinks. Sky News quoted the 29-year old singer as saying: “Very powerful, energetic and fire”.
The electronic duo Tvorchi is made up of Andrii Hutsuliak, a producer, and Jeffery Kenny as a vocalist. They will be competing for Ukraine with the rousing Heart Of Steel song.
Their song, whose name in Ukrainian means “creative”, is a subtle message of defiance directed at Russia, who invaded their homeland.
The winners are hoping to bring the prize to Ukraine which, due to war, was not able to host the show this year.
What is the UK like?
Mae Muller, the UK’s hopeful this year with her energetic, poppy break-up song I Wrote A Song, is the UK hopeful.
The dance track contains tongue-in cheek lyrics about an ex-boyfriend who cheats.
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She said that she was “really annoyed” by the guy. I was angry and wanted to do something crazy. Maybe burn down his house, I don’t remember.
“But I chose the high road instead and wrote a poem.” It’s called growth ladies and gentlemen.
With an energetic dance routine and easy-to-sing-along-to section of “da dada dada da’s” it stands a good chance of making the top 10.
Blanca Paloma, a Spanish singer from Spain, will perform Eaea. The song has a strong synth line and an authentic Spanish sound.
Paloma said that the song is a “chant” to her grandmother, who inspired much of Paloma’s music.
Alessandra from Norway will perform Queen Of Kings. This pop sensation has a catchy chorus. It’s one of the most popular songs in the competition, with comparisons to Lady Gaga.
The French group La Zarra will perform the torch song Evidemment, which translates to “obviously”.
The French track, written by La Zarra, was specially created for the contest. She describes it as “a true French chanson” about love, self-love, and striving to achieve complete happiness in a world that can be complex.
What about novelty songs?
The acts that everyone will talk about Sunday morning are perhaps more important than any potential winners.
Austria has gone all literary with Teya & Salena’s Who The Hell is Edgar? about the ghost American writer Edgar Allan Poe. This, plus streaming sites underpaying artists. It’s a very eclectic mix.
Let 3 is a Croatian rock band that will perform a song called Mama SC. The lyrics include: “Mama purchased the tractor”, Armageddon granny”, and “War, War, Evil Little Psychopath”.
They will be performing in brightly colored military garb at Eurovision, but they have reportedly been in trouble for stripping in public and performing in their underwear in Croatia.
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Voyager, a prog-metal veteran from Australia, described their song as “Duran Duran but heavy”, which sounded… interesting.
Sky News will have a live blog and updates from Liverpool, as well as all the major news about the competition.