Finally the big day has arrived.
For LGBTI music fans, it’s the World Cup final, Oscars and Christmas all rolled into one. It’s the final of the Eurovision Song Contest!
Tonight (12 May), 26 songs from 26 countries will battle it out in Lisbon. So we’ve gathered together some of the songs that you might be seeing crowned champions later on.
Cyprus: Eleni Foureira – Fuego
Fuego has been popular with Eurovision fans since it was released in February, with its blend of contemporary Zara Larsson-esque chart pop and Eurovision ethnopop.
However nobody foresaw just what a phenomenon it would become – thanks in no small part to Eleni’s fantastic performance. Relatively simply staged, she knocked this out of the park in the first semi-final with her slick choreography and fierce hairography.
She’s earned the title of Eurovision’s answer to Beyoncé. This could be the one that all the rest have to beat tonight.
France: Madame Monsieur – Mercy
As far as subject matter goes, the story behind France’s entry is one of the more interesting ones this year.
Madame Monsieur are a husband and wife electropop duo who wrote this song after hearing the story of Mercy, a Nigerian baby born on a boat carrying refugees across the Mediterranean Sea last year. The song has a touching story but is also unbelievably cool, with a chorus that will get stuck in your head.
And wait for the audience participation at the end, which could be a real moment.
Ireland – Ryan O’Shaughnessy – Together
Ireland’s entry has been the subject of much discussion in the last week, mainly because of the two male dancers in the performance, dancing a tender love story.
Whilst there were initial concerns about its relevance for a break-up song, it made for a popular moment. That is, except China, where station Mango TV omitted the performance from their broadcast.
This along with other censored moments resulted in the channel’s broadcast rights for Eurovision being immediately withdrawn, and the performance and ensuing attention have made Ireland third favorite to win.
Czech Republic – Mikolas Josef – Lie To Me
Mikolas Josef has had a more eventful couple of weeks in Lisbon than most.
On the first day of rehearsals for his energetic number, a botched backflip attempt put him in hospital unable to walk, with his whole performance put into doubt. However he made a speedy recovery and armed with painkillers he was able to deliver a slightly amended performance of his contemporary pop song in the semi-final.
Having had a few extra days to recuperate, will he be able to reinstate the intended acrobatics on final night?
Israel: Netta – Toy
Toy may have slipped slightly from its position as overall favourite, but it still shouldn’t be discounted as a contender.
Netta brings a bright, bold and quirky performance to the stage, along with a killer voice and personality.
Toy, written as a female empowerment anthem in light of the #MeToo campaign, has also been voted the winner of OUTTv viewers.
Moldova: DoReDoS – My Lucky Day
Finally for something a little different that could have an outside shot.
Moldova’s rather silly song has an equally silly performance, comically depicting a woman two-timing her boyfriend with the man next door.
The song is cheesy but extremely catchy, and the colourful lighthearted performance stands out among some of the more serious ones. It’s ludicrous, but this will definitely put a smile on your face.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2018 final is live tonight on BBC1 at 8pm with commentary, as always, from Graham Norton.
Words: Peter Dunwoody