Fans who want to watch the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 live online will be able to catch streaming video of all 26 finalists competing for the title — with some extra drama mixed in this year.
The Eurovision Song Contest, which has been held since 1956, has a total of 43 nations competing. There are six guaranteed to make it through to the final — France, Spain, Italy, Germany, the U.K., and the winner of the previous year’s competition, which becomes the host. Ukraine won the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, so this year’s competition will be held in Kiev.
The competition will start Saturday at 8 p.m. GMT (4 p.m. ET).
— Eurovision (@Eurovision) May 13, 2017
There will be a big audience looking to watch the Eurovision Song Contest 2017, including many who tune in to watch streaming video online (a link to streaming video can be found below). The contest drew 204 million viewers worldwide last year, with that number expected to grow this year.
— Metro Entertainment (@Metro_Ents) May 13, 2017
There are a few favorites heading into Saturday’s final, the CBC noted.
Portuguese singer Salvador Sobral is considered the favorite among oddsmakers for his sing “Amar Pelos Dois (Love For Both of Us)” and Italy’s Francesco Gabbani is making waves for the song “Occidentali’s Karma (Westerner’s Karma)” which he performs alongside a person in a gorilla sit.
It could be a difficult competition for Britain, especially after the unpopular exit from the European Union. As the CBC noted, the competition is often fueled by alliances between countries, leaving the U.K. on its own.
“Winners are decided by the votes of viewers and national juries, and regional alliances are often evident,” the report noted. “Greece and Cyprus routinely give each other maximum points, as do the Nordic and Baltic states.”
As CNN noted, fans who watch the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 live online may see an event that veers into new territory — political activism. Though the contest is supposed to be a celebration of music and free from politics, there is controversy this year over the withdrawal of Russia from the contest.
The controversy came after Ukraine banned Russia’s performer over a visit to the disputed region of Crimea.
“Although the contest is supposed to be nonpolitical, this year’s Eurovision has seen its share of controversy. Russia should have been the 43rd entrant in the show, but pulled out last month amid a row over its chosen singer, Julia Samoylova,” the report noted.
“Ukraine banned Samoylova from traveling to the capital of Kiev after allegations emerged she illegally entered Crimea to perform in 2015. Ukranian law requires visitors to enter and exit Crimea — annexed by Russia in 2014 — with a special government permission since 2015, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.”
The decision to ban Russia and Samoylova from the competition drew a sharp rebuke from Eurovision organizers and in response the Russian television network Channel One said it would not be broadcasting the competition. Russian viewers will also be locked out of voting in the competition, CNN noted.
The political tension is unusual for the singing competition. The Eurovision competition was founded in a spirit of bringing together a post-World War II Europe, author Chris West told the CBC. Eurovision was founded one year before the foundation of the European Economic Community, the predecessor to the European Union.
“Eurovision, like the EEC, was born out of this passionate belief that we mustn’t have another war in Europe,” said Chris West, who wrote the book Eurovision! about the competition’s history. “Both institutions were driven by this sense of ‘never again.”‘
The competition will also be easy to watch for English-speaking viewers. As the Guardian noted, 35 of the 42 songs will be sung entirely in English.
“A further three are a mix of English and another language, namely French, Spanish and Italian (the latter of which is the Croatian entry),” the report noted. “Just four of this year’s entries – the Belarusian, Hungarian, Portuguese and Italian songs – will be sung entirely in a language other than English.”
Fans who want to watch the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 live online can click here for streaming video.
[Featured Image by Michael Campanella/Getty Images]