Whilst the Eurovision contest has always been given a political tint by viewers, who look for signs of the audience turning towards or against nations based on geopolitical factors, this year feels especially pertinent for Europeans tuning in tomorrow evening.
With Russian banned, Ukraine is already the favourite to win with its folk and rap band Kalush Orchestra.
Speaking with national public broadcaster Suspline, Kalush Orchestra said: “We want to show the world community Ukrainian music. Our spirit and how unbreakable we are. We really need support in this difficult time”.
Ukraine has already won the competition twice, in 2004 with Wild Dances and in 2016 with 1944. With the current climate, as well as its edgy entrant, it is likely to score highly on Saturday night’s final in Turin, Italy.
Meanwhile, new research has revealed that eight in ten Brits think the UK will not win the contest in the next 10 years.
The Focaldata poll for thinktank British Future found that 82 per cent believe the UK won’t win the competition by 2032, with less than a fifth of the 2000 surveyed having faith in the UK’s chances.
Commenting on the results, Sunder Katwala, Director of British Future, said: “I’d like to see these predictions of Euro-gloom proved wrong – if not this weekend then certainly in the decade to come. Culture can be an important bridge.”
“It’s a long time now since Bucks Fizz or Katrina and the Waves won Eurovision in the 80s and 90s but that doesn’t mean we should give up. Let’s keep giving Eurovision a chance. Sam Ryder has shown the right spirit this year in making sure Britain doesn’t look like the grumpy kid at the party but is right there on the dance floor.”
As a competition that was created in the shadows of World War Two and designed to bring nations together, the voting power feels particularly heavy this year.
Whilst Europe has come a long way from the contest’s creation in 1956, the ongoing invasion of Ukraine acts a stark reminder for viewers of the horrors that continue to happen across the world.