The Eurovision Song Contest is coming from Turin, Italy this year on May 10th, 12th, and 14th. Read on to learn all about it and how to watch it all over the world.
In a hurry? In most areas, The Eurovision Song Contest will stream free on YouTube. There are major exceptions, however (like the US). You can watch on the following channels:
- US: Peacock
- UK: BBC iPlayer
- Ireland: RTE
- Australia: SBS
- Canada: OMNI.
Table Of Contents
The Eurovision Song Contest is an international music festival that involves nearly all European countries plus Australia as each sends a song to compete at, traditionally, a city located in the country that won the previous edition.
It is shown by national broadcasters in participating countries and on other channels throughout the world. NBCUniversal owns the rights in the US, and the 2021 and 2022 editions have been slated for Peacock (free).
All About Eurovision
Viewers enjoy watching the variety of musical and nationalistic styles, the staging of the songs and the languages that they are sung in. This event has both serious and fun elements as some countries take it really seriously and others less so. There are some campy elements to some entries as well, but that is not this contest’s focus.
In fact, recent winning songs like “1944” (Ukraine 2016) and “Amar Pelos Dois” (Portugal 2017) are much more serious in nature. The former is about the deportation and killing of Crimean Tatars in World War II. And the latter is an emotional, heartfelt song about the heartbreak that follows a breakup.
The first Eurovision Song Contest was held in 1956 in Lugano, Switzerland, and featured just seven acts performing two songs apiece. The host country’s Lys Assia won the competition with “Refrain.” In all succeeding editions, the participating countries have been limited to one entry apiece.
Eurovision has been held on an annual basis since its inaugural edition, only being canceled once, in 2020. All of its shows are at 9 pm CEST, which is 3 pm EDT. This is regardless of the time zone of the host country.
Its viewership numbers are immense, and it is amongst the world’s most-watched non-sports events every year; The three shows of the 2021 edition was viewed by 183 million people.
Ireland has the most titles with seven — the last one having been claimed in 1996. Sweden is second on the list of winning countries with six trophies, two of them in recent times, in 2012 and 2015. Meanwhile, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and UK are tied for third with five apiece.
Forty countries are set to participate in the 2022 edition, which is being held in Turin, Italy, on May 10, 12, and 14. All except for France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and UK are participating in the semi-finals. After 10 apiece advance from the two semis, a total of 25 nations will take part in the grand final.
The results are determined by a 50-50 split of votes between jury members and televoters. Each country has two sets of points to give out, including 12 apiece for its first-place songs, 10 tallies for its runner-ups, eight points for its third-place entries, seven for its fourth-place choices and down to one for its 10th picks. Countries may not allot any points for their own selections.
Maneskin’s 2021 entry for Italy, “Zitti e Buoni,” was that year’s winning song and it claiming that prize is why the 2022 edition is being held in its country. The band has since become a name in the US, particularly for its cover of “Beggin’,” which reached the 13th spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
With Eurovision not widely known in the US at this point, winning songs and other competing entries generally do not cause any ripples on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, Maneskin as a winning artist hitting it big in the US, albeit with a different song, is seldomly done.
However, a couple of other examples are ABBA (Sweden 1974) and Celine Dion (Switzerland 1988), both of whom also won the contest in their respective years.
With that said, American knowledge of Eurovision may soon increase.
One reason is the American Song Contest, which is set to have its premiere on March 21. Its format is different but similar. A significant difference is that the US’s states, territories, and DC are sending entries with all of them under the NBCUniversal umbrella as contrasted with Eurovision in which the songs are all sent by different broadcasters.
Eurovision on Television and Streaming Options
NBC purchased the broadcasting rights for Eurovision in the US. The 2021 edition was available on the free version of Peacock while the 2022 edition is expected to be viewable there as well. (See our Peacock review for details.)
In Europe and Australia, national broadcasters showcase the contest. In the case of the UK, this is BBC Three for the semi-finals and BBC One for the grand final. All three shows are also available for streaming through the BBC iPlayer.
Other European-based broadcasters include France 2, Rai 1 (Italy), TVR 1 (Romania), and La 1 (Spain). Meanwhile, those in Australia can watch the festivities on SBS.
The contest may also be viewed live on YouTube in the vast majority of the world although this is not possible in the US.
Streaming Devices to Watch the Eurovision Song Contest
For our readers, the two primary streaming services for this event are Peacock and BBC iPlayer. These services support the vast majority of TVs and devices in use today. These include:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Apple TV
- Hisense TVs
- LG TVs
- PlayStation 4/5
- Samsung TVs
Peacock supports Android TV devices. iPlayer does not explicitly support it but does seem to in practice. Only Peacock supports Chromecast. The iPlayer supports many other devices. It’s impossible to do a direct comparison because of the different models available in the US and UK.
Eurovision, which has been held every year since 1956 with the exception of 2020, brings together Europe’s and Australia’s cultures in a celebration of music every May. It may be viewed on Peacock in the US and on various channels in the participating countries and in several others around the world.
Why is Australia participating in Eurovision?
It may seem odd given how far Australia is from Europe that it participates in this Europe-wide contest. The presumed reason is that the country has long recorded high viewership numbers for the festival despite not participating and despite it taking place early in the morning on the island continent.
As a result, Jessica Mauboy, an Australian guest act, performed at Eurovision 2014 before the country was given an official entry in 2015. It has participated in every edition since. There has been discussion of including other countries including Canada.
What is Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is a 2020 Netflix film starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as Icelandic singers who get the chance to compete in the contest. Although not intended to, it acted as a kind of substitute for the contest itself, which was canceled that year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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