Grand final Eurovision 2022: who won and all the highlights

Today’s Eurovision winner’s announcement was a big moment – so how did Australian entry Sheldon Riley fare? WARNING: Spoilers.

WARNING: Spoilers for the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest. Don’t read any further if you’re planning on watching primetime tonight on SBS and don’t want to know what’s happening.

Banana-eating wolves, hand-washing hymns, last year’s winners who pointed references to their ‘drugs’ controversy and a surprise for the Australian entry – Eurovision 2022 had many shocks.

Winners and losers

Pre-final favorites Ukraine scored a respectable 192 votes from the judges – which were then combined with an incredible 439 points from the public to put them at an unbeatable 631 point lead.

There’s no doubt that the Russian invasion of Ukraine played a part in that massive public outcry, but luckily Ukraine also had a great song to back it up – the rap group Kalush Orchestra’s Stefania was one of the most catchy songs of the evening.

However, it does raise questions about how and where next year’s Eurovision Song Contest will take place, as the winning country usually hosts the next event, and it’s hard to imagine war-torn Ukraine hosting Eurovision 2023.

Britain’s Sam Ryder won the jury votes with his national anthem Space Man, who eventually finished second. It’s an incredible turnaround for a country that has been a laughing stock in the Eurovision Song Contest in recent years – the UK hasn’t been in the top 10 since 2009 and regularly comes in last (including the past two years in a row). From the last with zero points last year, to second place today – what’s that like for a success story of the Eurovision Song Contest.

While no one felt the humiliation of scoring zero points this year, poor Germany finished last with just six points – France and Iceland round out the bottom three.

How Australia fared?

Former The voice Contestant Sheldon Riley certainly had one of the most dramatic performances of the evening, complementing his soaring ballad with costume and staging tailor-made for the Eurovision audience: feathers, dry ice, and a glittery mask which he finally took off for the big key change of the number.

And the longtime Eurovision fan seemed genuinely overwhelmed when he finished: “Thank you so much Eurovision – anything is possible!”

In the end, it was a very mixed result: Sheldon scored 123 votes from the judges, but got a brutal score of just 2 points from the public vote. That is Australia’s worst result in the public vote since we entered the competition.

That combined score of 125 saw him finish 15th out of 25 – better than last year when Australia failed to make the semi-finals, but still only second time into the grand final when we weren’t in the top 10.

The best moments…

Spain sent a sultry pop diva named Chanel with a song – Slo Mon — which was originally written for Jennifer Lopez. She earned some of the biggest cheers of the night with a performance that was oh so Eurovision: dance breaks, hair flips, costume reveals. And all with the kind of song you can imagine hearing on the radio in the coming months – it came in a very creditable third place.

France – traditionally fond of sending a chanteuse with a big ballad and an even bigger dress – this year sent Alvan and Ahez with the pulsating electro song Feltonn, sung in Breton, a Celtic language spoken in Brittany. Banging synths, Xena yodels – it went off. Strangely enough, it came in second place.

Shout out again to the UK, which broke with recent tradition by submitting a good song, well sung – Sam Ryder’s Space Man had a soaring chorus (and he should get extra points for rocking that star-and-moon jumpsuit).

The worst…

Sorry, Switzerland, your contributor Marius Beer has a beautiful voice, but his simple, schmaltzy ballad Boys do not Cry was so schmaltzy that the danger threatened to give everyone in Europe a toothache. “Mountains crumble, and rivers dry up. And guys? Boys… do cry,” he sang, over and over again, in what felt like the longest three minutes of the night.

“He lived in Australia for a year and has an Australian passport, so I’ll leave it at … that was Switzerland,” Australian commentator Joel Creasey joked, while co-host Myf Warhurst was wisely silent.

The audience seemed to agree: he got a respectable 78 points from the judges, but was the only performer to get exactly zero points from the audience.

…and the weirdest

Norway really tried it with their deliberately crazy Subwoolfer entry and the nonsensical song Give that wolf a bananaperformed by an anonymous troop disguised in lurid yellow masks.

And the Serbian contestant, singer Konstrakta, sang her entire song wide-eyed to the cameras while washing her hands in a bowl of water. Apparently it was a commentary on self-care and the pandemic? “The cleanest hands at Eurovision,” commented Joel Creasey. And the audience loved it – after a modest score from the judges, her huge score from viewers back home briefly put her at the top of the leaderboard. She eventually finished in fifth place.

But maybe we should just say thank you that Latvia never made it past the semi-finals: their song Eat your salad opened with the memorable line: “I don’t eat meat, I eat vegetables and p***y.” This is a family show, Latvia.

Last year’s winners are popping out

One of the biggest modern Eurovision success stories, Italian glam rock band Maneskin returned to the stage to perform their new Max Martin penned single supermodel halfway.

Their win was temporarily shrouded in controversy last year amid claims their frontman was caught by the cameras sniffing something off a table as they celebrated after their performance. The band vehemently denied the allegations, passing drug tests – and other corners of the incident showed that he was, in fact, reacting to a broken glass.

However, Maneskin had the last laugh by turning their Eurovision win into a massive global career, with a string of hit singles including begging and I want to be your slave

And at least they were able to laugh at last year’s storm of a teacup controversy, with frontman Damiano offering two pieces of advice to whoever wins this year: “Have fun…and don’t get too close to the table.”

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