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The who, what, when, where and why of Eurovision 2018

What is Eurovision?

Umm ok wow we have to start from there? Ok… it’s annual televised song contest between nations within the European Broadcast area. Over the years it has grown in popularity and is now broadcast beyond Europe including Australia and the United States and has a television audience of around 200 million.

How does it work?

There are more than 40 countries taking part so not all songs can be shown on the one night. To reduce the field they hold two semi finals with the top 10 qualifying in each. Those 20 nations are joined by the ‘big five’ which are France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom who automatically qualify for the final. Yes it is a little unfair however they do stump up the most money for the contest and bring in large viewership - so without them it would be hard for the contest to continue. The hosts also get automatic qualification.

Are there any rules?

Oh yes there are rules. The song can only be up tp 3:00 minutes long, you must sing live on stage, there can be a maximum or six people on stage and you can't play any live instruments. Also the song must have only been released publicly from September 1st the year before the contest.

What about the scoring I hear it’s complicated?

Not too complicated…. The scores are split 50/50 between juries (musical experts) and the televote (public ringing/texting for their favourite songs). There is a top 10 for each nation’s jury and televote and they both score 1st - 12 points, 2nd - 10 points, 3rd - 8 points, 4th - 7 points and so on until 10th - 1 point.

Each nation reads out their juries score live on the night and then the collated televotes are announced at the end. They combine the scores and the nation with the most points wins!

Wow ok I think I understand, so where and when is it this year?

This year the song contest will be held in Lisbon as Portugal won in 2017 (the winners from the previous year usually host the next).

The first semi final will be May 8, the second semi final May 10 and the Grand Final May 12. These are European times so add a day for Australian times.

Ok excellent sounds good, but hang on I have a question - why is Australia in it?

Interesting question! Well first of all.. Yes Australia isn’t in Europe however Eurovision isn’t actually a continental European contest. It takes in all the countries who are part of the European Broadcasting Union including North Africa and the Middle East. Morocco has competed before and Lebanon was due to compete another but were ruled last minute.

We are only 'associate' members of the Eurobvision Broadcast Union so we still have to be invited each year as a special entrant until we are full members. We get invited because of our long running coverage of the event and our passionate fanbase here.

Rightio.... that kind of explains it, who is repersenting us this year?

The one and only Jessica Mauboy is performing the song 'We Got Love' for Australia.

Can I watch her perform on TV?

You can! SBS will be broadcaster all the events live and also a delayed telecast that evening. So you can choose to get up super early live or avoid social media spoilers or just watch it at night. Times are below:

Live coverage

Semifinal 1: Wednesday May 9, 5am (AEST) SBS Semifinal 2: Friday May 11, 5am (AEST) SBS – featuring Jessica Mauboy Grand Final: Sunday May 13, 5am (AEST) SBS

Delayed primetime coverage

Semifinal 1: Wednesday May 9, 7.30pm, SBS Semifinal 2: Friday May 11, 7.30pm, SBS – featuring Jessica Mauboy Grand final: Sunday May 13, 7.30pm, SBS

Can we win?

Jessica currently sits fourth in the betting and is in sixth place in a global fan poll, so a potential top 5 position looks promising. She is definitely an outside chance of winning.

Who are the favourites then?

The favourite this year is Netta from Israel with her song 'Toy'. It's an upbeat pop song with chicken noises. Yep. Chicken noises.

Also seen as big chances are Bulgaria with a 'supergroup', Estonia with opera and Czech Republic with a former model singing a Timberlake-esque track.

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