The Eurovision Song Contest celebrates 66 years with the 2022 edition, a yearly tradition that is one of the world's longest-running television programs and Europe's longest-running international televised music competition. For decades it wasn't something noticed by America. However, with the wild success of American Idol and The Voice (both based on the national competitions to find yearly Eurovis contestants) coinciding with the internet making international TV programs more accessible, the contest eventually found an American home, first on Logo from 2015-2018, and then on Peacock starting last year.
Peacock's pick-up of the Eurovision contest in 2021 came as a last-minute surprise. Since the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) walked away from Logo, there were rumors Netflix might pick it up. But this year, with Peacock's parent company NBC Universal debuting a 50-state version of the show (The American Song Contest, which sadly is not called Amerivision), Eurovision has found a long-term home, at least for the moment.
Unlike the nationalist song contests we are used to here in the states, Eurovision only broadcasts three live episodes. There are two semi-final rounds and the Grand Final, which means fans must familiarize themselves with the competition online ahead of time since there aren't weeks and weeks of run-up where well editing framing pushes viewers towards one contestant. With all 40 competitors selected, the two semi-finals competitors drawn, and official videos in for each song, the Eurovision 2022 Top 40 recap is now out and ready for everyone's perusal.
The complete playlist of videos to hear the full versions is on YouTube. My current Top 10 favorites, in no particular order: Norway, Estonia, France, Iceland, Latvia, Moldova, Serbia, Israel, Ireland, and Armenia.
The two Semi-Finals consist of 17 and 18 countries, the Top Ten of each move on to the Grand Final. The first Semi-Final features Albania, Armenia, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Ukraine. The second consists of Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Israel, Malta, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, and Sweden. (Yes, Israel and Australia are part of Eurovision. Any country with an European Broadcasting Union affliated channel is eligible; this is why the U.S. cannot participate.)
The twenty countries who move on from the Semi-Final rounds then face the "Big Five," the main funders of Eurovision given a direct pass to the Grand Final: Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Usually, last year's winner, the host country, is the sixth to get a direct pass, but last year's winner was Italy, who is already part of the Big Five. As hosts, they have already been assigned their slot for the Grand Final and will perform 9th. The rest of the running order is still TBD,
Russia, an entrant in Eurovision since the Eastern block began participating at the end of the Cold War, is not invited due to the invasion of Ukraine. Russian-Ukraine relations have been an issue for Eurovision since the 2014 Crimean War. The 2016 winner, Ukraine's entry "1944" by Jamala, was inspired by her Crimean great-grandmother's deportation by the Soviet Union, an entry Russia protested. Ukraine's hosting the 2017 contest due to their win meant the Russian artist exited the program. And in 2019, Ukraine withdrew its entry, a Russian-based artist, after she refused to represent them as a country. Russia has since left the EBU entirely.
Eurovision 2022 will stream live on Peacock, starting with the Semi-Finals on Tuesday, May 10, and Thursday, May 12, at 9 p.m. CET/3 p.m. ET/12 noon PT. The Grand Final streams on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at 9 p.m. CET/3 p.m. ET/12 noon PT.