The weather was unpredictable during the opening ceremony of the Eurovision Song Contest on Sunday evening, which was repeatedly interrupted by rain showers.
The artists and their team nevertheless trod the turquoise carpet, past journalists, bloggers and fans, with the backdrop of the former royal palace of Venaria Reale near Turin. With or without an umbrella, they showed off their extravagant outfits.
Australian Sheldon Riley floated in an oversized flokati cape; Ronela Hajati from Albania wore a brightly colored folk costume with a cube-shaped hat that protected her well from the rain.
Spaniard Chanel came in a red mini dress in combination with a gigantic red plush stola. Malik, the German entrant, was dressed quite simply in a black shirt and a dark red matte satin suit.
Haushohe is a favorite: Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine
The Ukrainians posed on the carpet with serious faces: the Kalush Orchestra, currently the big favorite of the competition, wore costumes reminiscent of the clothes of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and displayed the blue and yellow flag of their country of origin.
Rehearsals are in the hot phase
The opening ceremony was a day without rehearsals for the participants in Turin, allowing them to breathe a little before tackling the 10th day of rehearsals on Monday at the Pala Olimpico. This is where the first semi-final will take place on Tuesday evening.
The show will first take place for the juries on Monday evening. Their votes are then to be combined with those of the public the next day, based on the live performances of the semi-finalists.
Organizers have encountered technical issues in recent days, reporting that the central stage element known as the “kinetic sun” was not working during early rehearsals.
As some acts had integrated scenography into their choreography, new concepts had to be found as quickly as possible, a source of distress.
Sam Ryder is the UK’s ticket: with over 12 million followers on TikTok
Ukraine are favorites
Ukraine has participated in the European Song Contest since 2003. Since then, it has made the top 10 10 times and won twice, most recently in 2016 in Stockholm. The following year, the event was held in Kyiv. The colorful and joyous event offered a distraction from the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which began after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
At this year’s Eurovision, Ukraine’s entry, the Kalush Orchestra, is the heavy favorite. Even though the pageant claims it’s not a political event, it’s kind of an event every year.
Given the war and the global solidarity with Ukraine, it is not surprising that Ukrainians find sympathy from all over Europe. And the singing of this colorful group is really strong. “Stefania” is a mixture of folk song and rap with a very danceable groove.
Big Five with good odds
The so-called “Big Five” are the countries that largely fund the Eurovision Song Contest. Germany, UK, France, Italy and Spain are seeded for the final and do not have to qualify for the semi-finals. However, these countries are often not represented in the top 10. The UK, Germany and Spain landed some of the worst rankings in recent years.
However, this year, three of the Big Five have a good chance of making the top five.
Fire, space and love
Spain’s ‘Chanel’, for example, is turning up the heat with its rendition of the song ‘SloMo’, a fireworks display of pole dancing and Latin rhythms that stands a good chance of getting plenty of voting points. televised.
Sam Ryder is already a big TikTok star in the UK. With his song, he immediately surprised the Eurovision community. With ‘Space Man’, a tribute to iconic singers like Freddie Mercury or Elton John, he offers a very strong song for England for the first time in a long time – and is currently being tipped by bookmakers to be in competition with the Italy for second place.
Ukraine crisis casts political shadow over Eurovision Song Contest pick as Italy comes with duet: ‘Brividi’, sung by Mahmood and Blanco, is a powerful ballad – a gay love song about the ending of a relationship and the inability to talk about their feelings. Mahmood had already won over Eurovision fans in Tel Aviv in 2019, where he finished second, just behind Dutchman Duncan Lawrence.
Now the act could allow Italy to retain their title after rock band Maneskin’s victory last year brought the Eurovision Song Contest to Turin.
The solid and “groovy” German Malik
Malik Harris, candidate for the Eurovision Song Contest 2022, gives the best of himself
Germany is sending 24-year-old German-American Malik Harris into the race. Its scenography is reminiscent of a cozy living room; he sings his song “Rockstars” surrounded by his instruments. The rap sequence in his act is particularly compelling. Based on the repeats, many observers say he at least won’t be the last.
Harris told a press conference last Saturday that he was in good spirits and didn’t see the event as a competition at all, but more like a school trip.
On Tuesday, the top 10 finalists will be determined in the first semi-final. The second semi-final takes place on Thursday.
The big Saturday night show kicks off at 9:00 p.m. – then, around 180 million viewers around the world will be seated in front of the television to experience the world’s biggest annual music competition live.
This article was originally written in German.