Love it or loathe it you have to concede that the Eurovision Song Contest is the greatest all-singing all-dancing all douze point-ing extravaganza on our TV screens, so it’s little wonder viewers tune in in their millions to watch year after year.
The 2018 Song Contest will be no different so whether you’re eager to get your plans for a Eurovision party in motion or are quite simply just curious about the who, what, when, where and why of this year’s competition, we’ve put together a handy guide detailing everything you need to know…
When is the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 on TV?
The Eurovision Song Contest 2018 Grand Final takes place on Saturday, May 12th. TV schedules for the date have yet to be confirmed but, if they stick to the traditional pattern, chances are you’ll be able to catch the show on BBC1 that night.
There will also be two semi-finals, on May 8th and 10th, to decide who joins the Big Five (Spain, France, Germany, Italy and The UK) and hosts Portugal in the Grand Final.
Portugal’s Salvador Sobral secured victory with his song Amar Pelos Dois in Kiev, Ukraine, in 2017. His win marked the first ever Portugese Eurovision victory.
Where is the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 being held?
As is traditional, last year’s winner will host the event, with the Portuguese capital of Lisbon chosen for the country’s first ever Grand Final, which will take place at the Altice Arena.
Who are the Eurovision 2018 hosts?
Portugal has chosen four female hosts for this year’s Song Contest – TV presenter and 2017 Portuguese Jury spokesperson Filomena Cautela, the country’s Strictly Come Dancing, Masterchef, Top Chef and Portugal’s Got Talent host Sílvia Alberto, NCIS: Los Angeles star Daniela Ruah (who grew up in Portugal) and TV presenter and actress Catarina Furtado.
In 2017 Russia withdrew from the Eurovision Song Contest following a dispute wth Ukraine over their singer’s eligibility to take part. The country has confirmed that it will return to Eurovision in 2018, with Yulia Samoylova (last year’s entrant) returning to perform for her country.
How does the Eurovision Song Contest voting work?
Eurovision was originally judged by juries before being opened to the public for a tele vote but when people started getting worked up about political Bloc Voting (the idea that countries in Eastern Europe were all just voting for their friends and neighbours) they introduced a new dual system.
The juries from each country award 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12 points to their favourite songs, and reveal those jury scores through their national spokesperson in the usual time-consuming yet exciting way.
Viewers from each country also vote via phone or SMS, awarding 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12 points to their favourite songs. Then, all the results from each country’s public votes are combined to give one overall Eurovision viewer score per song.
Spokespersons from each country read out the jury results – those all important douze points – during the live show.
Then the Eurovision presenters read out the results of the European televote – or public vote – in ascending order, beginning with the country that received the lowest number of televotes – public votes – and finishing with the country that received the highest.
Viewers in all the competing countries – including those who were knocked out in the semi-finals – can vote up to 20 times for the songs of their choice, but they can’t vote for their own country.
The country with the highest number of votes wins the competition and gets to host it the next year.
Be sure to keep watching this space for all the latest on the Eurovision Song Contest 2018…