More Than 40 Countries, Songs in Spotlight at Eurovision 2018

SBR Staff

Monday, May 7, 2018 11:40 AM UTC

Monday, May. 7, 2018 11:40 AM UTC

From soulful ballads to kitschy anthems, the race tightens at the popular international song competition.

Singers from three continents will compete this week for the top prize at Eurovision 2018, the longest-running annual international TV song contest held in Lisbon, Portugal.

Haven’t heard of it? You must live in the Western Hemisphere. The contest, a combo platter of the Olympics and “American Idol” with a dash of “RuPaul’s “Drag Race,” is all the rage on the other side of the world.

In its 63rd year, the competition draws contestant-countries, primarily from the European Broadcasting Union, which submit an original song that will be performed live on television and radio. Countries not part from the EBU can compete if invited, as the United States did in 2016. Australia and Israel are among invitees performing this year.

Since 2016, to keep a more even playing field, judges from participating countries, a professional jury plus public televoting will determine the winner of Eurovision 2018.

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And finally, the lovely representatives of host country Portugal @claudiaApascoal and @isauramusic! We're all #AllAboard!

— Eurovision (@Eurovision) May 6, 2018

The sometimes campy, always entertaining multi-day Eurovision is allegedly about the song not the performer, but in past years it has launched the careers of Celine Dion and ABBA. Last year, Portugal won with “Amar Pelos Dois” performed by Salvador Sobral.

Intertops is offering odds on Eurovision’s two semifinals and its overall winner. Israel (+110) is the frontrunner in the May 8 semifinal and the favorite in the final +225, airing May 12. Norway (+150) is favored to take the second semifinal and is just behind Israel in the race to win the competition with odds at +600.

Ireland, which holds the record for most victories – seven – is a longshot to win with odds sitting at +20000. The longest odds to take first place belong to Iceland and Slovenia, both at +30000.

You can preview much of the music and planned outlandish performances on YouTube where song videos and show rehearsals are posted and racking up clicks.

For example, the entry-to-beat from Israel, “Toy” by stylish and confident singer Netta Barzilai, has gone viral. The catchy tune with a #MeToo Movement message, plus clucking chickens and a reference to Wonder Woman, has more than 18 million views.

But is it going to win? The Intertops odds all say yes but still it comes down to personal taste and nimble voting.

Norway’s entry “That’s How You Write a Song,” is a getting mixed reviews, being called “catchy” and an “earworm.” It has gained traction and put Norway in the second-favorite position because of singer Alexander Rybak, who won the competion in 2009 with “Fairytale.”

The semifinals and finals will stream live on the Eurovision 2018 website and multiple TV stations around the globe will carry the final, including the BBC in the United Kingdom and Logo in the United States.

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