24 things we learned in 24 hours behind-the-scenes of the Eurovision Song Contest

We've made our maiden voyage to Europe's guiltiest pleasure and it's REALLY opened our eyes

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1. All flights to Sweden must include at least one member of Eurovision Royalty

Cheryl Baker was on ours. Just sayin’.

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2. And at least one bloke who reminds you you’re never too far from an IKEA in Sweden

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Overhead on the aeroplane: “We may as well be in bloody Croydon”

3. The host city, Stockholm, isn’t taking this whole thing seriously

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4. They’ve only built a Eurovision Village…

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5. And a Eurovision Club…

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6. And have Eurovision-winning songs booming from their traffic lights…

And they haven’t forgotten Loreen either

I mean, why even bother hosting if you’re not going to make an effort guys? Seriously, show some enthusiasm like Team RadioTimes.com…

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7. Every country in the Grand Final will have performed their song AT LEAST seven times by the time it’s over

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That’s including all the dress rehearsals, jury shows and a series of special family performances.

8. The party in the Eurovision Press Room is as big as the party in the arena

9. Australia are masters at lip-sync

10. And despite Eurovision being a competition, everyone’s in it together

Even when it gets a little political…

11. The atmosphere in the city is just as incredible

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Stockholm’s Tunnelbana is filled with people decked in multiple flags, and fans have gone all out for their home nations. Take Jan and Patrick, for example. It’s Jan’s first time, but he says coming to the contest has “been on my list for quite some time now”. Patrick, meanwhile, is here for his third Eurovision. That’s dedication for you!

12. The Globe Arena, which hosts the show, is enormous

13. And as per usual, the commentator’s boxes are right the way at the back

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Our Graham will be up there somewhere…

14. The acts have some pretty snazzy dressing rooms backstage

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The UK’s Joe & Jake are feeling both Welsh and UK pride in theirs.

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Cymru am bith!

There’s also a full time costume repair department at hand.

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And Dowue Bob from The Netherlands has brought a pool table for everyone to #cometogether and play with.

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15. A LOT of people need to have their hair and make-up done

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And when we say a LOT, we mean a LOT.

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16. The walk from the dressing rooms to the stage is not stiletto friendly

17. You’ve got to get to know your Eurovision Do’s and Don’ts before you go on

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18. Once you’re up there, though, it’s pretty spectacular

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And it would be when you’re beaming out across the globe thanks to the European Broadcasting Union, the alliance of public service broadcasters who actually run the whole competition.

The EBU has 73 members organisations in 56 countries operating 781 TV services and 1049 radio services in 123 languages to a potential audience of 1.03 billion people.

No pressure guys. No pressure.

19. The wind machine is ALWAYS ready for duty

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20. And when you’re done, there’s a swanky Green Room to relax in 

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Team RadioTimes.com is hoping for the full douze points after that performance.

21. The Grand Final opens with a VERY special and spectacular catwalk

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22. And 2012 winner Loreen WILL feature at some point during the evening’s proceedings

EEEEUUUPPPHOOOOORRRRIIAAAAA. We’re goin’ UP UP UP UUUUHHHHUUUUUP.

*sits back down*

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23. Every song sounds SO much better live in the arena

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We were on our feet bopping along during the Grand Final dress rehearsal.

24. And it’s absolutely anyone’s guess who’ll win

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Backstage in the press room it’s all about Australia, Russia, Ukraine and Bulgaria.

We’ve sat through the dress rehearsal for the final, though, and almost everyone on that stage can SING, so it’s really hard to know which way the vote will go.

But don’t just take our word for it – decide for yourself on Saturday night. Your vote matters more than ever now, after all.

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The Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final will air on BBC1 and BBC Radio 2 on Saturday 14th May from 8pm