Entertainment

Eurovision 2024 final: Seven things to look out for

Image source, Getty Images

Legend, Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton 50 years ago

  • Author, Marc Sauvage
  • Role, Music correspondent

The Eurovision Song Contest reaches its grand final on Saturday night, with Croatia, Israel and Switzerland among the favorites.

The competition returns to its spiritual home in Sweden, 50 years after Abba’s historic victory in 1974.

Their winning entry, Waterloo, was the kind of oddity that only Eurovision could produce: a glam rock anthem about the Napoleonic Wars, performed by two married couples in sequined pantsuits.

It’s also one of the best songs ever written.

Abba’s golden anniversary will be celebrated on stage in Malmö on Saturday, with former Eurovision winners Charlotte Perrelli, Carola and Conchita Wurst performing a special version of Waterloo.

But the competition has changed beyond recognition over the past five decades.

In 1974, only 17 countries participated in the competition, all accompanied by a live orchestra.

This year saw 37 entrants take part, whose musical styles include heavy metal, hardcore techno, shimmering Europop and, in Norway’s case, a gothic folk tale about a child who turns into a wolf and kills his sweetheart -mother. Fun times!

So here are some of the highlights to keep on your radar when the Grand Final gets underway on Saturday night.

1) Evil Kate Bush

Eurovision loves nothing more than an underdog and an underdog – and Bambie Thug fits the bill perfectly this year.

When they won the Irish national team in January, eyes were rolled and insults were hurled. One priest even declared “Ireland is finished”, accusing the non-binary artist of “showing his orientation” in people’s faces.

But guess what? Bambie’s song Doomsday Blue is absolutely brilliant. A witchy, spooky mix of electro-gothic guitars and grinding metal, which unexpectedly transforms into a gentle melody of regret and heartbreak.

Bambie sells it with a truly cinematic performance, summoning a demon and then dancing a ballet with it, before capping it all off with a cathartic scream.

Imagine Kate Bush’s evil twin singing an anti-lullaby and you’ll get the idea.

2) Finding Nemo

If Irish goths aren’t your style, perhaps you’d prefer an EDM drum and bass opera from Switzerland?

This is what Nemo offers us, who became one of the favorites to win the competition with his song The Code.

The 24-year-old performs it while balancing on a giant turntable – all the while hitting the highest notes (the chorus is inspired by Mozart’s The Magic Flute, usually sung by a soprano).

Surprisingly, there is no trickery.

“Someone asked me if I had magnets in my shoes,” they said. “And I thought, damn, that would have been a great idea, because then I wouldn’t have to worry about balance all the time.

“It’s always a little scary, but that’s what makes it special for me.”

3) Baby Lasagna’s Cinderella Story

Everything happened at the last minute.

In January, Croatian singer Zsa Zsa withdrew from her country’s Eurovision selection process and this gap needed to be filled. The producers called musician Marko Purišić, who plays the role of Baby Lasagna, and asked if he could step in.

He gave a tentative yes, then worked all weekend with his fiancée Eliabeta to put on a performance.

Surprisingly, his song – a techno-metal crossover called Rim Tim Tagi Dim – scored a landslide victory. Baby Lasagna scored 321 points, with the runner-up getting 82.

He is now also the bookmakers’ favorite to win Eurovision, thanks to his raucous stage presence and killer hook. (Also keep an eye out for an onstage tribute to his one-eyed cat, Stipe).

After qualifying for the final on Tuesday, Marko said it all seemed surreal.

“I remember writing Rim Tim Tagi Dim in my little bedroom,” he wrote on social media. “I could never have imagined this would happen. I always feel like I’m living someone else’s life.”

As he says in the song, “there’s no turning back.”

4) Violin sticks

Image source, Sarah Louise Bennett / EBU

A welcome development at this year’s competition is the influx of traditional music, alongside the usual Europop bangers and windswept ballads.

This means you will see some unfamiliar instruments on stage.

The 5Miinust x Puuluup of Estonia (pictured) play a traditional bowed lyre called Talharpas, while the Gåte of Norway wield the Nyckelharpa – another bowed instrument, originally built and played by farmers in the 17th century .

Other countries, including Greece and Italy, fuse their countries’ folklore with modern bass and Latin rhythms.

Ladaniva Armenians even include a recorder solo in their infectious and catchy dance number Jako.

5) Olly Olly Olly (oh, oh, oh)

Image source, Getty Images

Olly Alexander represents the United Kingdom this year, with one of the most ambitious performances of the evening.

The official description of his set suggests that it will “transport viewers to a post-apocalyptic dystopian boxing gym locker room, aboard a spaceship hurtling towards Earth through a black hole in 1985.”

In practice, this means he writhes with four scantily clad men, while a clever camera trick makes it look like he’s Lionel Richie, dancing on his ceiling.

Alexander, who was once the lead singer of pop group Years & Years, has something very few British contenders have acquired in recent years: stage experience.

That confidence and poise shines through on screen, but will it be enough to save the UK from the Eurovision dustbin?

“I was very interested in the odds, so I looked at them, and my chances of winning are 1 percent,” he admitted this week.

“But it’s okay. It’s better than zero.”

6) Could Israel win?

Image source, Sarah Louise Bennett / EBU

This is the contentious issue.

Artists from several countries have called for Israel to be suspended over its war against Hamas and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Protests have been taking place all week in Malmö, with another planned for the day of the final.

Israeli candidate Eden Golan also received boos (as well as cheers) during Thursday’s semi-final and is guarded by armed police during her stay in Sweden.

But here’s the thing: the Israeli song, Hurricane, is one of the strongest ballads in the contest.

Golan, who carried herself with grace and composure throughout, has a stunning voice and seems unaffected by the criticism leveled at her (at least on the surface).

Bookmakers consider him the second favorite to win… And it will be interesting to see how the organizers handle further events if Israel wins the trophy.

Even though the EBU insists on the apolitical nature of the competition, it is easy to envisage that the participants might consider withdrawing rather than performing in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv next year, if the political landscape remains the same.

7) The black horse of France

Watching the rehearsals in the Malmö arena, a single act stopped the assembled media in their tracks.

His name is Slimane Nebchi and he is one of the biggest French stars with two million albums sold, 5 NRJ Music Awards and a Victoire de la Musique to his credit.

On paper, his song Mon Amour is nothing extraordinary. A classic Gallic song that the New York Times called a “falsetto-laden Frenchy McFrench ballad.”

But there is a moment towards the end where Slimane takes three steps back from the microphone, and sings a cappella: “I love you, I don’t know why“.

It’s a moment of scorching intensity that could see him win the jury vote, and perhaps even swing the audience in his favor.

Either that or the Lasagna guy wins.

The Eurovision Song Contest is broadcast in the UK on BBC One, BBC Radio 2, BBC Sounds and BBC iPlayer from 8:00 p.m. BST on Saturday 11 May.

Gn entert
News Source : www.bbc.com

Eleon

With a penchant for words, Eleon Smith began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, Smith landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, Eleon also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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