Ukraine is the clear favorite to win the Eurovision Song Contest this year, but the nation faces stiff competition from Sweden, Italy and, most surprisingly, the UK.
he competition is known for its colorful and eye-catching performances, and Saturday night’s grand finale in Turin, Italy is expected to be no different.
Here we look at the acts to watch out for this weekend.
– Kalush Orchestra – Ukraine
The Ukrainian folk-rap group secured their place in the grand final on Tuesday with an impressive performance in the first semifinal.
Formed in 2019, the group consists of founder and rapper Oleh Psiuk, multi-instrumentalist Ihor Didenchuk and dancer Vlad Kurochka.
Their song “Stefania” is an ode to mothers and the trials they face when raising families, and the band’s live performance features synchronized dance moves, break dancing and flutes.
They’ve been at the forefront since the Russian invasion, which prompted organizers to ban the country from the competition.
On Monday bookmaker Ladbrokes offered them a winning odds of 8/13 and by Friday they were up to 2/5.
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– Sam Ryder – United Kingdom
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The UK were bottom of the rankings in the last two competitions, finishing last in 2019, with Michael Rice scoring “Bigger Than Us” and James Newman scoring “zero points” with Embers in 2021.
Ryder has been chosen in a new collaboration between the BBC and global music management company TaP Music, which also overhauled the advertising campaign.
The new strategy included ensuring Ryder’s single “Space Man” was played on BBC Radio 1 rather than Radio 2 and targeted smaller countries such as San Marino, Serbia, Croatia and Malta, which have the same voting rights as larger countries such as Germany.
According to Ladbrokes, Ryder’s odds have stayed at 6/1 all week, putting him in second place in betting.
– Cornelia Jakobs – Sweden
Sweden is known for producing the biggest Eurovision winner in the competition’s six-decade history – Abba – and has racked up six victories to date.
It’s hoped to add to that tally when Cornelia Jakobs takes the stage on Saturday with her emotional ballad “Hold Me Closer.”
Jakobs, whose father is a famous rock star in her home country, began her recording career as part of the short-lived girl band Love Generation, who released their self-titled debut in the summer of 2010.
She launched a solo career in 2018 and triumphed at the annual Melodifestivalen, which decides which act will represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Jakobs started the week at 7/1 and they have remained stable.
– Mahmood and Blanco – Italy
Two of Italy’s most popular young artists, Mahmood and Blanco, will represent the host country this weekend.
Milan-based Mahmood rose to fame with the Italian version of The X Factor and finished second in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019 with his song Soldi, which was at times the most-streamed Eurovision song ever on Spotify.
Meanwhile, Blanco is a singer and rapper from Brescia whose 2021 single Mi Fai Impazfire spent eight weeks at the top of the Italian charts.
After starting the week as the second favorite at odds of 6/1, the pair now sit fourth at odds of 9/1.
– Chanel – Spain
Also in the running to be crowned Eurovision 2022 winner is Chanel Terrero, a singer, dancer and actress born in Havana, Cuba, who is representing Spain.
SloMo is her debut single and was composed by a team of songwriters who have worked with the likes of Madonna, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj.
Terrero has over a decade of musical theater experience, starring in productions of The Lion King, Flashdance, The Bodyguard and Mamma Mia.
On Monday their odds were 16/1 but on Friday they rose to 14/1.
– The grand finale of the Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast on BBC One, BBC Radio 2 and BBC iPlayer on Saturday at 8pm.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/ukrainian-folk-rap-and-swedish-balladeers-ones-to-watch-in-the-eurovision-final-41646510.html Ukrainian folk rap and Swedish ballads: Here’s what you should watch in the Eurovision final