This Saturday 23 May, the Vienna Wiener Stadthalle arena will host the 60th edition of Eurovision, the world’s largest international song contest. 27 of Europe’s pop talents will compete to win the song contest awarded to Austrian drag queen sensation Conchita Wurst in 2014.
Eurovision heavyweights Sweden have been placed as early favourites with entry Mans Zelmerlow ‘Heros’ leading bookmaker’s odds at 7/4. A Zelmerlow win in Vienna would represent a significant victory for Swedish pop music 40 years after ABBA won in the UK with Waterloo.
Italian pop band Il Volo ‘Grande Amore’ has been placed second favourite with 3/1 odds, the Italian entry has been praised for being sang in its native tongue and not following the song contest’s modern trend of nations entry’s being sang English language.
Celebrating its 60th edition, Eurovision officials have allowed Australia to participate in the contest, owing to the nations cultural and political ties with European states. The one-off entry sees former Australian Idol Winner Guy Sebastian as a distant third favourite at 7/1.
Great Britain who have qualified directly for Saturdays finals as one of the song contests key six countries will be represented by Electro Velvet, a musical duo with an electro-swing sound will be performing ‘Still in Love with You’. The UK has not won the contest since 1997 when Katrina and the Waves sang ‘Love Shine a Light’, bookmakers do not favour the UK chances placing Electro Velvet at 50/1.
As a contest Eurovision has had a history of surprise winners and upsets, case in point Conchita Wurst 2014 victory which saw the Austrian drag queen starlet beat heavily backed competition from Azerbaijan and Russia.
In recent years the contest has received criticism from its participants for nations tactically voting in favour or against certain national entries. Tactical voting has driven event organisers to re-structure the competition finals entry in order to make the contest a level playing field for its participants.
The song contest which garners an estimated 180 million viewers worldwide, will be broadcast in the UK by the BBC with popular comedian and chat show host Graham Norton as lead commentator on Saturday night.