Eurovision fever is upon us again! Now that we know Lucie Jones will be representing the UK with the song Never Give Up On You, we can officially start getting excited about the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest – right?
So if you’re counting down the days to the annual festival of transcontinental pop, high camp and Graham Norton’s wisecracks, here’s everything you need to know to get you prepared!
When is this year’s Eurovision Song Contest happening?
The semi-finals of Eurovision 2017 took place on May 9 and 11, with the grand final being broadcast live on Saturday, May 13.
Where is Eurovision 2017 taking place?
This year’s competition will be held at the International Exhibition Centre in Kiev, following Ukraine’s victory in the 2016 contest. The winning entry last year was Jamala’s song 1944. This is the second time the contest has taken place in the city.
Photo credit: Anna Velikova
How many countries are taking part?
2017 will see 43 countries participate. Returning to the contest this year are Portugal and Romania, who were absent in 2016. Bosnia and Herzegovina, which did compete in 2016, has withdrawn due to financial difficulties.
How does the contest work?
37 of the participating countries will take part in the semi-finals. The draw for these took place on January 31, with each country placed into one of six pots designed to prevent the possibility of ‘neighbourly’ voting.
Six countries are ‘pre-qualified’ for the final – other than hosts Ukraine, these are the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. They automatically qualify for the final as their broadcasters provide the most support and funding for the competition.
Who are the contestants in the grand final?
Ten countries have qualified from each semi-final to join the six pre-qualified countries, making a total of 26 countries at the grand final on May 13.
Here's the complete list, in the running order you'll be seeing them in on Saturday:
6. The Netherlands
18. United Kingdom
Are Australia taking part again?
Photo credit: Thomas Hanses
They are indeed. Australia have been broadcasting the Eurovision Song Contest since 1983. They were invited to participate as a one-off to celebrate the 60th contest in Vienna in 2015, but have been allowed to take part subsequently too.
That seems odd….
To get to be involved, countries must have a broadcaster that is a member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) – in the UK, the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are members. But countries outside of Europe whose broadcasters are members of the International Telecommunication Union can apply to become associate members of the EBU, for a fee. Australia is one of these.
In fairness, numerous Australian performers had participated in the contest before 2015. In fact, two Australians have represented the UK: Olivia Newton-John in 1974 singing Long Live Love, and Gina G in 1996 with the song Ooh Aah… Just A Little Bit.
Where can we watch Eurovision 2017 in the UK?
The contest will be aired on BBC One as usual on May 13. Graham Norton will be at the microphone once again for the BBC.
Main photo credit: Andres Putting