Ukraine steals hearts as UK’s Sam second to WIN

THE Eurovision final has kicked off with another round of hopeful musicians vying to represent their country in the grand final.

A shortlist of 25 bands will perform for live Eurovision audiences in the northern Italian city of Turin, while millions more watch television around the world.

But for the first fifteen minutes of the show, Graham Norton found the judges boring – and when he turned his attention to Mika, he said, “Where is he hiding?”.

He also couldn’t contain his laughter when he saw co-host Laura Pausini play a medley of hits — and criticized the pair’s wooden presentation skills.

Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra is heavily tipped to win by bookmakers, who give the group that mixes traditional Ukrainian rhythms, costumes and dance moves with contemporary hip-hop a 60% chance of winning.

Meanwhile, British Sam Ryder hopes to score high in tonight’s final with the epic power ballad Space Man.

The winner will be chosen in equal shares by panels of music experts in each competing country and voting by the viewership, leaving room for a shock.

Sam Ryder and Sweden’s Cornelia Jakobs each have a 10% chance, while Italian duo Mahmood & Blanco have a 6% chance of winning.

The match starts at 8pm on BBC One.

Read our live blog Eurovision 2022 below for the latest updates…

  • Fans love Ukraine’s entry

    There has been much applause tonight for Ukraine’s powerful song.

    The folk dance band aroused much praise on Twitter.

    One wrote: “Ukraine must win Eurovision ngl!”

  • Ukraine delivers powerful message during grand final

    Folk rap group Kalush Orchestra performed an impressive rendition of their song Stefania in the grand final of Eurovision.

    The Ukrainian act is currently the favorite to win as he has been frontrunners since the invasion of Russia – prompting organizers to ban the country from competing.

    The group was dressed in elaborate outfits, including long multicolored ensembles with fringes, a pink bucket hat and others in traditional patterns.

    They are one of 25 acts competing for the top prize after the week-long competition in Turin, Italy.

    Their performance, which combined rap and Ukrainian folklore, was well received by the audience of 7,000 in the Pala Olimpico, who cheered the group with waving Ukrainian flags.

    At the end of the performance, which included breakdance, the group thanked everyone for their support of Ukraine.

  • Azerbaijan supports mega ballad

    Nadir Rustamli plays Fade To Black for Azerbaijan.

    He sings about his former self in a destructive, personal ballad that aligns with the soul.

    The powerful mega ballad shows the first big steps of the evening.

    Our first Big Steps of the evening, and a powerful mega ballad

  • Song festival audience sings along in unison at Italy’s performance

    The audience at the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest sang along with Italian participant Mahmood and Blanco, who gave an emotional performance with Brividi.

    Graham Norton, who is re-anchoring the match on BBC One, said: “Wow, that’s beautiful.

    “The whole Pala Olimpico sang along with every word, I can’t stress enough what a hit the song is.”

    The reigning Eurovision Song Contest champion Italian rock band Maneskin takes the stage to perform their new single Supermodel.

  • Germany’s song pretty forgettable

    Germany has taken the stage with Malik Harris as Rockstars.

    It’s cheap, watery Eminem-style rap, but didn’t help with the slack, waxy nature of the song.

  • The song of Ukraine is played

    What did you think of the Kalusha Orchestra song?

  • 10 numbers in!

    Wow! 10 numbers in!

    Graham is right though – we’re not even half way there and it’s all starting to fade into one.

    But Chanel’s Latin-inspired r’nb track Slo-Mo wouldn’t look out of place on the Billboard charts.

    Nice song! And the crowd cheers!

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  • Graham Norton can’t contain his laughter at Mika and Laura Pausini

    But for the first fifteen minutes of the show, Graham Norton found the judges boring – and when he turned his attention to Mika, he said, “Where is he hiding?”.

    He also couldn’t contain his laughter when he saw co-host Laura Pausini perform a medley of hits during the show’s opening — and criticized the pair’s wooden presentation skills.

  • Italian sensations Mahmood and Blanco take the stage

    Mahmood and Blanco carry the flag for the homeland.

    Brividi’ is already a huge hit in several European countries and has been number one in Italy for 10 weeks.

    The rehearsals didn’t have the best vocals – and neither did the main performance.

    Disappointing stuff!

  • Cryptic reason for planning means Sam CAN win

    Sam will be the 22nd performer to take the stage as part of the competition, nestled between Australia’s Sheldon Riley, who plays Not The Same, and Poland’s Ochman with River.

    The Czech Republic opens the evening, while Estonia is the last country represented.

    Things are already looking good, with last year’s winner Maneskin coming out on top after getting number 24 in the draw, but it goes a little deeper than that.

    Going further back, Katrina and the Waves, the UK’s last winning entry – storming to victory in 1997 with Love Shine A Light – came out on top as the 24th performer of the night.

  • Give that wolf a banana?

    First prize for the weirdest song of the night goes to Subwoolfer – Give That Wolf A Banana.

    But hurry up and give that wolf a grandmother before he goes to his grandmother.

    We heard the word “yum” 90 times then. Wow!

  • France on the podium

    Alvan & Ahez perform their hit Fulenn.

    It starts off a bit unmemorable compared to some of the bangers.

    But then a synth bassline pops up.

    However, the vocals are quite out of tune.

  • Marius Bear brings the soul for Switzerland

    The Swiss Marius Bear sings Boys cry.

    He has huge, soulful vocals and this song has a laid-back jazz/blues vibe.

    This first half of the grand finale is pretty up-tempo overall, so these stripped-down ballad breaks provide an opportunity to sit down and marvel at the quality of this year’s vocals.

    No one in the delegation rocks a leather jacket like Marius.

  • The return of charts The Rasmus

    Yes, the Finnish rockers The Rasmus are back.

    The makers of In The Shadows are back with their new single Jezebel.

    Unfortunately it is not very good. Very unmemorable.

    And while it’s cheap eighties rock, there’s only so much Judas Priest and Iron Maiden-style rawk we can handle.

  • Portugal may be ‘cancelled by similar artists’

    Graham says Portugal’s song was beautiful.

    However, he said they are likely to be forgotten among 25 artists.

    Other similar tunes can “cancel them,” he jokes.

  • Eurovision final statistics

    The grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest has started in Turin, Italy.

    There are 25 acts that will perform in front of a crowd of 7,000 fans in the Pala Olimpico arena, competing for the top prize during the climax of the week-long competition.

    This year’s final features the 20 successful countries from the week’s two semi-finals, as well as the so-called big five of the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

  • It’s time for an introspective song

    All that partying left us a little out of breath.

    Next up is MARO – Saudade Saudade . from Portugal

    A very different atmosphere this one.

  • Romania to follow!

    Romania is next on the podium – represented by WRS.

    Graham says their song, LLamame, is “irresistible”.

    The Delegation Bubble is already dancing because ‘letting us relax gently’ is not an expression we understand.

    And it’s a fun sing-along song – but it’s not exactly fresh or new.

  • Czech Republic up first

    A gothic inspired house track to start the evening of We Are Domi.

    Lights Out has pulsating synths, nice hooks, accelerated vocals and a grueling beat.

    Nice tune to start with.

  • Meet your Eurovision hosts

    Laura Pausini, Allesandro Cattelan and Mika are back! They’ve kept us company for two semi-finals and now they’re our hosts for another HUGE show.

    We’ll have a 2022 Eurovision winner in less than four hours, but there’s a lot to enjoy between now and then.

    Sit back, relax and enjoy.

    LET THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2022 BEGIN!

  • Sam Ryder is here!

    The rowers have just roared loudly for British hopeful Sam Ryder.

    He ran screaming onto the stage waving the union, wearing a gray jumpsuit.

    Good luck Sam!

  • Let’s meet the hopeful people of tonight!

    “This is the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2022,” says the tannoy announcement (albeit rather sinister).

    “Clap your hands and stomp your feet” as ALL 25 countries take to the giant stage.

    They’ve come a long way on the catwalk stage now.

  • Laura Pashini is still going!

    Grahakma Norton finds herself in a bind as the Italian singer continues to whip out a medley of her attacks.

    “It’s a whole album,” Graham laughed.

  • Opening performance by Laura Pashini

    The opening performance is by one of our presenters of the evening, the Italian singer Laura Pausini.

    She performs a medley of her greatest songs in multiple languages, with five sets of backing singers and dancers and outfit changes.

  • 1000 people involved in mega performance to start show

    They play ‘Give Peace a Chance’ by John Lennon.

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