Launched by the European Broadcasting Union in 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest has grown into a cult viewing event over the years, with performances ranging from unapologetically cheesy pop to schmaltzy ballads to heavy metal bangers. Unabashed silliness aside, the contest has also helped launch the careers of musical greats including Abba and Celine Dion, as well as establishing a reputation for ahead-of-the-curve LGBTQ+ inclusivity.
This year’s event has been unconventional in more ways than one, with Ukraine – the landslide winner of 2022’s competition – handing over hosting duties to the UK as the runner up. The final, which took place in Liverpool last weekend, rode on a wave of fresh enthusiasm from a host nation that’s spent years languishing at the bottom of the scoreboard. It also proved to be one of the most political Eurovision finals in years, with performers rallying around the anti-war sentiment of the United By Music tagline – a message brought into sharp focus as Russian bombs fell on the hometown of Ukrainian act, Tvorchi, moments before they took to the stage.