Saturday 1 October 2016

Eurovision 2016: Your guide to tonight's song contest

Who will win? Who will score nul points? How suggestive will the innuendos be?

Keeley Bolger

Published 14/05/2016 | 17:15

Graham Norton will reprise his role as the UK's Eurovision commentator
Graham Norton will reprise his role as the UK's Eurovision commentator
Euro trash: Azerbaijan's Samra, center, performs 'Miracle' during the first Eurovision semifinal in Stockholm earlier this week.

The Eurovision, with its commentary, costumes and clashes, is greater than the sum of its parts, or indeed our lack of "douze points". Nicky Byrne may have crashed out of the semi-finals but there's still plenty of entertainment promised in tonight's show.

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This year's show will be broadcast live from Stockholm, Sweden, following singer Mans Zelmerlow's victory in Vienna last year, with his song Heroes.

Tonight, 42 acts will compete in front of an expected 180 million viewers. No pressure, then.

This year sees the first major shake-up to the voting system since 1975, in an attempt to crack down on block voting.

Britain's Eurovision contestants Joe and Jake
Britain's Eurovision contestants Joe and Jake

In the past, votes from each country's official jury and the public were combined and announced in one go.

This time, the vote will be split, with the results from the official juries cast first, and then the public vote from all countries - via phone, SMS, or the official app - combined and announced at the end.

Hosts Petra Mede and Zelmerlow will reel off the results, starting with the country receiving the fewest points from the public, and climaxing with the country who received the highest number of points.

TAKE A CHANCE

Euro trash: Azerbaijan's Samra, center, performs 'Miracle' during the first Eurovision semifinal in Stockholm earlier this week.
Euro trash: Azerbaijan's Samra, center, performs 'Miracle' during the first Eurovision semifinal in Stockholm earlier this week.
Ukraine's Jamala celebrates after winning the Eurovision Song Contest (AP)

Ireland may be out but we can still cheer on our friends in the UK. Fans of The Voice may recognise UK hopefuls Joe and Jake. Joe Woolford (21), from Ruthin in Wales and Jake Shakeshaft (20), from Stoke-on-Trent, were competitors on the BBC One series last year. They bonded and decided to join forces. The duo won the public vote on the televised Eurovision: You Decide showdown earlier this year, with their song You're Not Alone. Scott Mills, who presented the semi-finals alongside The Great British Bake Off's Mel Giedroyc, thinks the lads stand a good chance.

"You're Not Alone has what a lot of other countries bring to the Eurovision - it's an out-and-out pop song, which is a tick from me," he says. "We also are sending two contestants from a reality show. The thing is with reality shows, you do have to be able to perform and sing live. They've been through that."

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

So far, the favourite to win is Russian former boyband member Sergey Lazarev, who will be performing You Are the Only One. Hot on his heels is French singer-songwriter Amir Haddad with J'ai Cherche. Meanwhile, the bookies have offered odds of 25/1 for Joe and Jake to scoop the prize.

EUROPEAN UNITY

In light of the ongoing refugee crisis, the theme of this year's contest is Come Together, with a special dance sequence planned to highlight the plight of those who've had to flee their homes due to conflict.

HOST WITH THE MOST

Graham Norton has been on commentary duties since the late Sir Terry Wogan bowed out in 2008. As this is the first Eurovision since Wogan's death earlier this year, Norton admits it's going to be melancholy.

"This year will be bittersweet because we will all be thinking of Terry," he says. "I'm sure I will say a few words about him as the night goes on, as it is a night that will forever be associated with Terry Wogan."

ON CLOUD NINE

Although Norton has made the commentary very much his own, there is one Eurovision tradition he will be carrying out in Wogan's honour.

"Song number nine is famous because Sir Terry always warned me not to have anything to drink until that point," explains Norton (53). "At song number nine this year, Sweden will be performing, and I will be encouraging everyone to raise a glass. Swedish people in the arena will be cheering their song in the stadium as everyone in the UK will join me and 'cheers' the memory and legacy of Sir Terry Wogan!"

Belfast Telegraph

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