The time has come again, for the wind machines, elaborate costumes, relentless flag waving and ‘nil points’ to surface. That’s right Europe, it’s time for Eurovision 2017.
First up, let me settle any fears you may have. Despite Brexit, the UK will still participate in Eurovision, we are still in Europe! And apparently, even that’s not essential anymore, *ehem* Australia. Although I’m making no promises for the votes we’ll receive from other countries (not sure it really matters though as we never really get any).
This year the annual contest is held in Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine, and is the 62nd volume of the competition to ever grace our planet with existence. There are a grand total of 42 countries competing, with the UK celebrating its 60th anniversary as a participant alongside Denmark and Austria. Sadly the 2017 edition will not see the likes of Bosnia and Herzegovina or Russia joining the fun and frolics, for various financial and political reasons, which we won’t go into because since when has Eurovision been about politics?
This rather lovely map of Europe (with Israel and Australia popping up to say hi) we have here illustrates all of the participating countries this year. The turquoise hearts are the countries who automatically qualify for the Grand Final on Saturday due to their contributions (yay UK). The yellow hearts are those who are yet to learn their fate in the second round of the semi finals, and the poor little green hearts are those who didn't make it through the semi finals heat 1.
Funnily enough, little old Ireland has won the contest more times than any other country, with a total of 7 victories (sadly not with Jedward), while the UK holds the proud title of most frequent runner up with 15 times. Poor old Portugal have never won in their 45 years of participation, but at least they have the weather! And the contest has given us the likes of Abba, Celine Dion and Bucks Fizz, but personally our favourite act was Ukraine's 2007 entry, not familiar with that one? Youtube it.
We don't know about you, but the whole shananigans give us a sense of camaraderie with the rest of our continent, or at the very least, the little video clips of the contestant countries throughout the show should give you some travel inspiration/a list of places you now want to visit - great! Europe is literally on our doorstep and could not be easier to get to and explore, and you can even do it on a budget.
And now you ask yourself, 'How can I visit all of these amazingly musically talented countries on one jam-packed whirlwind adventure?' The answer is simple, interrailing! A global pass giving you access to a whopping 30 countries is available from as little as £180. I know that doesn't include Australia or Israel, but come on, we're not miracle workers here. So grab your interrail ticket and your Alpha insurance and tick all these countries off your bucket list!
We've even collated some fun facts about the continent here in case any interest you:
The final boot of the semi finals is set to air on Thursday 11th May, whilst the Grand Final is on Saturday 13th May - don't miss it!
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