Space wolves, Meghan Markle’s hair and folk rap: These are the acts to look out for at Eurovision

Europe will be voting in solidarity with Ukraine (Picture: EPA)

If it was a normal year would Stefania by Kalush Orchestra be in with a shout?

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Probably not – in the general run of things a marriage of rap, folk flutes and crazy dancing might be a bit out-there.

But it’s got a catchy chorus and, with the blue-and-yellow flags fluttering, is bound to have a big emotional impact. Worse songs have won before, such as Toy (2018).

Party Fact: Kalush Orchestra only got the Ukraine nod after the original national contest winner Alina Pash was disqualified for having allegedly illegally visited the disputed region of Crimea.

Best falsetto: United Kingdom

Could this be our year? (Picture: EBU / Andres Putting)

It’s been 25 years of hurt and nul points since the UK last tasted Eurovision success but Sam Ryder’s soaring rendition of his self-penned star-gazing Space Man – even Radio 1 is playing it – is tipped to give us our best finish since Jade Ewen finished fifth in 2009.

The rehearsals buzz is all about Sam knocking it out of the galaxy – so we could be hitting the heights!

Party Fact: Sam Ryder (@samhairwolfryder) has 12.3 million fans on TikTok, the platform where his career took off.

Best track record: Sweden

Sweden are great at sending winners (Picture: EBU)

Sweden are the Real Madrid of Eurovision, the side with a winning habit whom no one outside their fan base wants to win.

They’ve slipped a bit of late but with the raspily charismatic Cornelia Jakobs, they’re back on top form.

Her broken-hearted ballad Hold Me Closer sounds like a Eurovision winner but it all depends on the Ukraine factor.

Party Fact: Hold Me Closer only came second in Sweden’s televote behind national treasure Anders Bagge, a TV judge with a big fan base. But the international jury votes saw it selected.

Best buddies: Italy

Mahmood sang solo in 2019 but now he’s back as a duo (Picture: EBU)

Brividi means shivers in Italian and the romantics among you will goosebump to Mahmood & Blanco’s impassioned duet, their voices melding in a sensuous slice of classic Italian emoting. This one feels real.

Party Fact: Not since Ireland, from 1992 to 1994, has a country won the contest back to back.

Best rhyme: Norway

Subwoolfer certainly get points for originality (Picture: EPA)

If you’re someone who goes ‘novelty songs, no thanks’ then think again because Norway’s Subwoolfer – imagine Daft Punk go to Disney – rhyme ‘teeth’ with ‘Keith’ in the irresistible Give That Wolf A Banana.

Come on, have you even read this byline?

Party Fact: It’s widely rumoured that Ben Adams from ancient boy band A1 is one of the guys in the Subwoolfer Wolf masks. We so want that to be true.

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Best pelvic floor: Spain

Chanel’s song is anything but slow motion (Picture: EBU)

Spain’s Chanel is, thighs down (and often up), the best dancer in the contest. And she’s got a cracking back-up bunch of leg-shakers to shimmy in unison.

Her song/aerobic workout is called SloMo but it’s fast and bound to bag the Zumba vote.

Party Fact: Chanel’s selection for Spain attracted a hate campaign from enraged fans of Ay Mama, a rival song dedicated to Spanish mothers that featured a giant breast (a model, not real) on stage. Honestly, not kidding.

Best random lyric: Serbia

Konstrakta is asking the important questions – how does Meghan Markle get her hair so shiny? (Picture: EBU / Andres Putting)

Quite how Meghan Markle gets a namecheck in a satirical song about Serbian healthcare is anybody’s guess.

OK, that’s not so much a fact, more a talking point, but Konstrakta’s In Corpore Sano is definitely different, a piece of performance art (there’s a lot of hand washing) in a sea of pop ballads. Niche.

Party Fact: Konstrakta’s unique stage presence has seen her compared to arthouse legend (and compatriot) Marina Abramović.

Best proper song: Netherlands

We’ll still be streaming S10 next year (Picture: EBU / Nathan Reinds)

S10, aka Stien den Hollander, sings the haunting De Diepte (The Deep), a moody folk/soul crossover that has a touch of London Grammar about it.

It’s too classy to win but it’s the song you’ll Spotify months from now.

Party Fact: S10 is almost certainly the only singer in Turin who risks being confused with both a Sheffield postcode and a motorway in Poland.

Best face furniture: Australia

Haven’t we had enough of face masks? (Picture: EBU / Andres Putting)

You won’t forget Aussie singer Sheldon Riley’s look – the full cape topped with a metal face mask, which he whips off – as his song Not The Same reaches a climax.

How do the lyrics go? ‘I’m not the same, I’m not the same,’ repeat ad infinitum.

Party Fact: Riley is autistic and his song is about his experiences.



Our predictions for the night

The scoreboard leaders

  • Ukraine
  • Sweden
  • UK (OK, we’re not getting carried away)
  • Italy
  • Norway
  • Rock bottom

    Germany’s Eminem impersonator Malik Harris looks a fair bet to be down in the gutter with his rap-by-numbers effort Rockstars.

    The Eurovision Song Contest Final is on BBC One at 8pm this Saturday

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