Eurovision 2021: Everything you need to know ahead of the grand final

This weekend all eyes will be on Rotterdam as the nation settles down in front of the tele to enjoy the colourful pop parade that is the Eurovision Song Contest.

The international song competition is an annual tradition where nations come together to compete for the title, bringing music from across the globe.

The Eurovision Song Contest has introduced some of the world’s biggest musical stars to the world including Celine Dion, Bonnie Tyler and ABBA.

This year’s competition will be the 65th Eurovision Song Contest and will take place in Rotterdam after the Dutch won the 2019 contest in Tel Aviv, Israel, as is tradition.

Last year’s contest was planned to take place in the Netherlands before Covid-19 saw the show cancelled for the first time since its debut in 1956.

Here is everything you need to know about Eurovision 2021.

When does is start and how can I watch?

Harrow Times: Graham Norton will be presenting and commentating on the show for the BBC. (PA)Graham Norton will be presenting and commentating on the show for the BBC. (PA)

The grand final will take place on Saturday night with the show being aired on BBC One from 8pm to 11:45pm.

The final and the results will also be aired on BBC Radio 2 where Ken Bruce will be hosting.

Graham Norton will be presenting the show in the UK for the BBC and he can’t wait for “one big party”.

He said: “As the vaccines roll out and we see light at the end of the tunnel, the contest is a great opportunity for people to come together and celebrate.

“It is interesting that even after this difficult year, the songs aren’t endless maudlin ballads. It seems the spirit of this Eurovision is one big party!”

Who is representing the UK?

Harrow Times: James Newman will be representing the UK at Eurovision 2021. (PA)James Newman will be representing the UK at Eurovision 2021. (PA)

This year’s UK Eurovision act is James Newman, brother to his singer brother John Newman.

James has said he is “absolutely buzzing” to perform in the live final of the competition this weekend.

Newman, who had been due to perform last year, will represent the UK with his upbeat track new track Embers, a contrast to the ballad My Last Breath, which he had been due to sing in 2020.

He said: “We’ve had such a rubbish time, I think Eurovision is such a celebration of music, which is just what we need.

“I have recently been watching past finals, and everyone is just having the best time, it’s just the kind of escapism people need right now.

“We wrote Embers in North London last year. I really wanted an upbeat song, as I felt like that was what I needed to do for this year.

“One of the sessions was with Conor Blake, Danny Shah, Tom Hollings and Samuel Brennan, who are all doing amazing things in the industry right now.

“Conor showed me this concept, and it essentially is about the spark being reignited, that glow in the fire that hasn’t gone out yet.

“It represents coming back together after the year we have had and people being reunited with loved ones, and just having fun. It felt so right to me, and I loved the big brass drop!”

Graham Norton said James has done a “great job” as he prepares to take to the stage on Saturday.

Graham said: “James has done a great job with the UK entry this year. Embers is such a striking image for where we are.

“All the friends and family we haven’t seen but the embers are still glowing ready to catch alight once again. Hopefully the Eurovision audience will embrace that idea and the song and we’ll do well.”

When did the UK last win at the Eurovision Song Contest?

Harrow Times: Kristina and the Waves were the last act to be crowned winners for the UK. (PA)Kristina and the Waves were the last act to be crowned winners for the UK. (PA)

The UK have not won the coveted title since 1997 when Katrina and the Waves were crowned winners with their hit, Love Shine a Light.

The UK has only won the competition five times and are searching for their first win in over 20 years, the UK has not even finished in the top five for over a decade.

The other acts to have won for the UK are Sandie Shaw (Puppet on a String), Lulu (Boom Bang-a-Bang), Brotherhood of Man (Save Your Kisses for Me) and Bucks Fizz (Making Your Mind Up).

Full list of Eurovision 2021’s acts.

Harrow Times: The grand final takes place in Rotterdam on Saturday. (PA)The grand final takes place in Rotterdam on Saturday. (PA)

Albania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Moldova and Portugal all did enough to get through Thursday’s second semi-final.

They were joined by Iceland, San Marino, Switzerland, Greece and Finland and will all take part in Saturday’s final in Rotterdam.

Here is the full running order:

  1. Cyprus: Elena Tsagrinou — “El Diablo”
  2. Albania: Anxhela Peristeri — “Karma”
  3. Israel: Eden Alene — “Set Me Free”
  4. Belgium: Hooverphonic — “The Wrong Place”
  5. Russia: Manizha — “Russian Woman”
  6. Malta: Destiny — “Je Me Casse”
  7. Portugal: The Black Mamba — “Love Is On My Side”
  8. Serbia: Hurricane — “Loco Loco”
  9. United Kingdom: James Newman — “Embers”
  10. Greece: Stefania — “Last Dance”
  11. Switzerland: Gjon’s Tears — “Tout l’univers”
  12. Iceland: Daði og Gagnamagnið — “10 Years”
  13. Spain: Blas Cantó — “Voy a quedarme”
  14. Moldova: Natalia Gordienko — “Sugar”
  15. Germany: Jendrik — “I Don’t Feel Hate”
  16. Finland: Blind Channel — “Dark Side”
  17. Bulgaria: VICTORIA — “Growing Up Is Getting Old”
  18. Lithuania: The Roop — “Discoteque”
  19. Ukraine: Go_A — “SHUM”
  20. France: Barbara Pravi — “Voilà”
  21. Azerbaijan: Efendi — “Mata Hari”
  22. Norway: TIX — “Fallen Angel”
  23. The Netherlands: Jeangu Macrooy — “Birth of a New Age”
  24. Italy: Måneskin — “Zitti E Buoni”
  25. Sweden: Tusse — “Voices”
  26. San Marino: Senhit — “Adrenalina” (feat. Flo Rida)

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