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Your Spotter’s Guide To The Grand Final Of Eurovision 2024 Written by on May 11, 2024

One more time for all the good times, here is your Spotter’s Guide for the Eurovision Grand Final 2024.

Pop Goes the Sweden

Ludwig Goransson, the Oscar-winning composer of the Oppenheimer soundtrack (and – more importantly – a collaborator with 2016 Eurovision interval act Justin Timberlake on his 2020 film Trolls World Tour) opens the show with a tribute to Sweden’s pop legacy. As a montage plays showcasing the country’s pop hitmakers – Robyn! Max Martin! – his voiceover describes a 1974 hit for a Swedish act with an unforgettable hook. That’s right –   the song Hooked on a Feeling by Björn Skifs!  (There is a Eurovision connection – Skifs was Sweden’s Eurovision Contestant in 1978 and 1981).

And as the familiar ooga chaka ooga ooga ooga chaka opening of the song swells through the arena, Skifs himself, looking spry at age 77, steps on stage to perform. It’s unexpected, electrifying, and a great open to a flag parade that doubles as a showcase for Sweden’s musical heritage. The Eurovision contestants walk out on stage to recordings of international hits from artists like Icona Pop, Roxette, Ace of Base, Axwell and Ingrosso, and, as expected, ABBA.

Eurovision Fika

For as long as delegations have brought large complicated props to the Song Contest, producers have had to figure out creative solutions for how to stall for time as the stage hands expertly assemble each intricate piece of staging. This year, Sweden have been true to their reputation as Eurovision innovators by creating small videos which can be slotted in during particularly long transition periods. Look out for witty observations on Brighton, a special postcard for Petra and arguably the best Lynda Woodruff moment yet.

Eurovision Fika – Petra’s Recipe

As soon as Loreen was announced as winner last year, one question was on the minds of Eurofans everywhere: Would Petra Mede return as host? To be clear, Malin Akerman is professional and competent on her first Eurovision outing. But in the eyes of fans, no one does it like Petra Mede. When she comes out on stage tonight, expect a slight pause in the show as the arena chants ‘PETRA PETRA PETRA’, welcoming her like the rock star that she is. And we all know why. Not only can she sing and dance, but she can turn even the driest material – like the contractually obligated plug of the Eurovision DVD and CD – into a joke.

Celebrating Eurovision Heritage

At several points during the show, Malin and Petra pause to honour Eurovision’s heritage and the people who have helped keep the show moving throughout the years. Indeed, Malin has a personal connection to one of them – her mother-in-law, Chrissie Wickham, was the British choreographer behind the groundbreaking skirt transformation moment for Bucks Fizz. A heart-tugging moment also takes place when Malin and Petra interview Karin Falck, the host of the 1975 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm. Falck has had an incredible career in Swedish television starting from the 1950s, acting not only as a presenter, but as a producer and director.

Fashion Review

Every year’s Eurovision seems to have certain fashion trends that only become apparent once we’ve seen all the acts on stage together. This year, there are a few things that stand out. First, the monochrome costume remains a popular choice. We’ve got singers in all–white – like Cyrpus’s Silia Kapsis and France’s Slimane – and acts in all-black – like Estonia’s 5MIINUST and Puuluup and Isaak from Germany. Some singers are doing dopamine dressing, bringing pops of colour to the stage, like Switzerland’s Nemo, Latvia’s Dons, and Lithuania’s Silvester Belt. In keeping with their high-energy bangers, Kaleen from Austria and Nutsa from Georgia have worn metallic bodysuits, the better to reflect the lighting and pyrotechnic effects in their performance.

But the most memorable fashion of Eurovision 2024 will be the singers who aren’t wearing much at all. Slovenia’s Raiven dons a sheer body stocking, and performs with dancers in nude illusion outfits, while Finland’s Windows95Man makes his apparent nudity a running joke through his performance. And during the performance of Zorra by Spain’s Nebulossa, the backup dancers shuck their jackets and tear off their trousers to reveal their corsets, thongs, and knee-high boots beneath.It is a wonderful moment that’s not in the camera shot, so if you hear a huge roar from the arena with no apparent cause, that’s why.

Reverse Recap

We all know what it’s like. We need to remember who’s performed so we need a recap of all of the competing acts. The thing is that after a couple of recaps and getting used to the order of the songs, they can get a bit boring and we can all switch off. The Swedes have tackled this unique problem in a painfully simple way, but reversing the order of all the songs for the contest’s first ever “reverse recap”. The end result is a completely fresh perspective on the show which allows songs that performed early to get a bit more of a competitive boost.

Finally Facing Their Waterloo

The legacy of the ABBA win for Waterloo has loomed large over this year’s contest, with many wondering if and how ABBA may be involved. While the show’s producers play with our expectations during the show,  they never disappoint viewers. Every rug pull is rewarded with something equally delightful and inventive. During the first post-show interval, when Malin teases the return of a Swedish disco act beginning with the letter A. Let’s just say that while Petra may have been disappointed, the arena was not, coming alive with cheers and dancing.

ABBA do finally make a virtual appearance. While the final video wasn’t yet available, the audio seems to suggest it’s pulling footage from their Voyage show in London. Archival footage of ABBA is then shown while three former Eurovision winners – Charlotte Perelli, Carola, and Conchita Wurst – perform a tribute to ABBA live.

Forever ‘Till The End of Time

Another Eurovision in Malmö, another Loreen Grand Final Interval Act. This time around we get a performance of Loreen’s new single ‘Forever’. With the stage draped in gorgeous grey streamers, Loreen delivers another unabashedly abstract and unique performance with her now trademark long nails whilst balancing on a futuristic grey barstool. She then launches into a slower version of winning song ‘Tattoo’ which blends nicely in with the previous song and brings her performance to a calm, peaceful conclusion. Is a third Eurovision victory potentially on the cards in the future? Who knows, but one thing is for sure, the Petra-proclaimed “Queen of Eurovision” is extremely deserving of that grand title, a true master of the artform whose talent we are fortunate to be witnessing.

The Annual Family Reunion

And finally, it wouldn’t be a Eurovision results section without seeing a number of icons from previous contests presenting their nation’s scores. This year, prepare to say a short but sweet hello to Brunette (Armenia 2023), Danny Estrin (lead singer of Voyager – Australia 2023), Aysel (Azerbaijan 2009), Birgit (Estonia 2013), Natasha St-Pier (France 2001), Sopho Khalvashi (Georgia 2007), Helena Paparizou (member of Antique – Sweden 2001, Greece 2005), Friðrik Ómar (member of Eurobandið – Iceland 2008), Paul Harrington (Ireland 1994), Nikkie de Jager (host of Eurovision 2021), Viki Gabor (Poland 2019 – Junior Eurovision), Mimicat (Portugal 2023), Konstrakta (Serbia 2022), Soraya (Spain 2009), Frans (Sweden 2016) and Jamala (Ukraine 2016).

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