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Eurovision 2022 Preview: The Contenders

Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine rehearsed their song Stefania for the first time at the PalaOlimpico — EBU / ANDRES PUTTING

After introducing our readers to the Eurovision Song Contest in general, it’s time to look at the 2022 edition of the contest. The songs competing this year all have different chances, and the oddsmakers have put them in various categories. In this series, we see each category.

Five songs have a chance at winning, but one is the clear favorite. Three of the five automatic qualifiers are on this list.

Spain has had disappointing results in recent years, most of them well deserved. But has really turned things around with the pop banger of Slo Mo that has been near the top for months.

When talking about disappointing results, it’s impossible to ignore the United Kingdom, which finished with zero points last year. While many cynically blame the U.K.’s poor performances on Brexit and not being liked in Europe. It’s been a long time since the U.K. sent a genuinely good song. That has changed this year with Space Man by Tik Tok star Sam Ryder. A move that will surely appeal to younger voters.

Sweden has been a force in Eurovision ever since its win in 2012. Still, things have faded in recent years as voters have tired of Sweden’s almost formulaic pop. In Hold me Closer, Sweden hasn’t moved that far from that formula, but it seems far enough.

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Italy is coming to win back-to-back titles. Returning the 2019 second-place finisher, Mahmood, has been a popular decision. He has partnered this time with Blanco for the duet Brividi. It’s a sensual and soulful ballad that has hit well and could lead to two years of trips to Italy for Eurovision fans.

The clear favorite

One nation seems almost certain to win Eurovision in 2022, and it’s Ukraine.

It would be easy to write this off as due to the war with Russia, and there’s no doubt that this is part of it. But that’s not fair to Kalush Orchestra’s Stefania, a song written to honor the writer’s mother, appropriate for a contest one week after Mother’s Day.

Ukraine has a strong recent record, winning the contest in 2016 in a similar geopolitical environment and coming third with Shum last year. There are plenty of parallels between Stefania and Shum, including the use of a traditional flute.

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The country always commits to a strong staging, and reports on the ground in Turin suggest that this year is no exception. Most bookmakers have this song at under 2.00 odds. The next nearest are all over 5.00. Shocks can and do happen in Eurovision, but it would be stunning if anyone other than Ukraine wins.

Written By

Chris has been following Eurovision since 2005 and attended the contest in Lisbon in 2018. He has been a journalist since 2010, covering sport and entertainment.

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