This year’s Eurovision will be “on another level” to previous years, with some of the best songs the competition has ever seen.
Eurovision is one of those rare television moments that unites people across the world – it’s a monumental event and each year it gets better and better. The 2022 contest is no exception – with just days to go until the stage is lit up, nobody can decide for sure who’s the most likely or the most deserving winner.
Given the war in Ukraine, pundits think they’re likely to emerge victorious at Eurovision. If Ukrainian act Kalush Orchestra were to win with their song “Stefania”, it would serve as a powerful show of solidarity with a country that has been ravaged by a cruel, barbaric war waged by Russia.
Other contenders include Italy’s Mahmood and Blanco, Sweden’s Cornelia Jakobs and Spain’s Chanel. Notably, the UK’s Sam Ryder is being tipped as another potential winner – which would be a welcome change after the country’s poor showing at Eurovision in recent years.
The main takeaway is that it’s very much all to play for at Eurovision 2022. Norway, Greece, Poland and the Netherlands have also won some fan favour, but at the end of the day, it’ll all come down to who makes it into the grand final and who packs the biggest punch on the night.
Ukraine’s entry could win Eurovision, with many likely to vote in their favour to show solidarity with the embattled country. (PinkNews)
Steve Holden is the host of the official Eurovision Song Contest podcast. He’s been in Turin, Italy, where the competition is set to take place, for the last week, where he’s in the delegation bubble with the 40 acts.
“I’d say with the two semi-finals, the quality of the songs this year and the performances is just on another level,” Steve says. “I find it really hard to look at all those songs in the semi-finals and pick what is going to qualify and what isn’t. There are some songs where the choreo is out of this world – I’m thinking of countries like Romania, Spain and Cyprus where they’re using very different kinds of choreography but it’s so beautiful and they all have to be on point.”
It feels like we’ve got some proper superstars here this year.
In short, it’s going to be an exciting year for Eurovision. Another act to look out for is Italy’s Mahmood and Blanco – both are “superstars” in their own right in Italy already, Steve says. San Marino is represented by Achille Lauro, who’s already hugely successful in Italy.
“So even in the UK if you don’t know who some of these acts are, they’re mega. It feels like we’ve got some proper superstars here this year.”
Spain has become a fan favourite after a stunning rehearsal
Pedro Santos is a reporter with EurovisionWorld, a fan website dedicated to the song contest. He says reactions to the performers at rehearsals are a good indicator of who’s likely to do well at the grand final.
“The Eurovision fans do love a good upbeat song so obviously Spain is one of the main favourites. Press can only see the second rehearsal, we cannot see the first one, but once we saw the second one everyone went loco for her. There was a lot of applause,” Pedro says.
“Sweden is another favourite – they’re always a favourite but this year they have a really strong song that relates to a lot of people. Italy’s also a contender for the main favourite.” There’s also a lot of hype around the UK, Serbia, France and Greece, Pedro says.
Italy’s representatives are already superstars in their own right. (PinkNews)
The semi-finals will be among the most interesting offerings at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest because the quality of the songs is just so high. Pedro says the second semi-final, due to take place on Thursday (12 May) is known as the “bloodbath” among fans for that reason.
“There’s a lot of competition – they have Sweden, Poland, Estonia, Australia, Serbia – so many strong songs this year. I’m sure there are going to be surprises. My surprise, the one I think is going to eventually qualify who I was sure would get last place in the semi-final before the contest is Ireland. She put on a great show and a great performance [at rehearsals], they really worked it and she’s really raising on the odds to qualify.
“I think Ireland is the main surprise. We may get a surprise non-qualification from Belgium, which was one of the favourites, and also Cyprus – they were also a favourite but not anymore. There’s a few things that can happen there.”
I think it’s the only place you get such a diverse mix of amazing songs in once place.
Eurovision fans are clear about what some of the best songs are, but that could all go out the window on grand final night when Europe will undoubtedly want to show its support for Ukraine as Russia’s barbaric war rages on.
“I think it’s a given that Ukraine will win this year,” Pedro says. “I don’t think there’s any competition on that. Of course, it’s sad when you think about the song quality versus if they really deserve it, but I think we need to be together at this point, and I think it’s common sense.
Sam Ryder could change the UK’s poor showing at Eurovision. (PinkNews)
“Ukraine is not my favourite to win, but would I be bothered if they won? Absolutely not. I think we need to stand together, show that we are united, and the song is not bad at all – it’s actually pretty great.”
Eurovision is like ‘the best pop concert of all time’
It’s also worth noting that, while Eurovision is a competition, it’s not all about the final result. It’s also a chance for artists from across the world to come together, to share a special moment. It’s one of the rare moments in the calendar that sees all of Europe (and a couple of other countries) unite.
What is it about Eurovision that it keeps attracting such a massive audience?
“I think it’s the only place you get such a diverse mix of amazing songs in once place,” Steve says. “I know people go on about how everyone gets behind their own country, but honestly, the quality of the songs is so good. It’s like sitting through the best pop concert of all time. It’s like a supreme line up and there’s always four or five songs you’ll come away with wanting to listen back to, because it’s about finding songs you would never have come across before.
“I think the enduring love of Eurovision just comes down to how joyous the event is. It’s got so many senses all in one – it’s a visual feast, an audio feast, a personality feast.
“It’s three, four hours where you can just escape and enjoy something that is pure brilliance.”
The next Eurovision semi-final takes place on Thursday (12 May) before the grand final on Saturday night (14 May).