Classic Pop’s essential guide to The Eurovision Song Contest 2024

Following Sweden’s victory at last year’s celebration of music in Liverpool, The Eurovision Song Contest 2024 heads to Malmö for the 68th edition on Saturday 11 May.

This will be the seventh time Sweden have hosted the contest and it will be presented by comedian Petra Mede with actress Malin Åkerman.

Last year’s event, hosted by the BBC in Liverpool on behalf of Ukraine, united audiences across the world and reached 162 million people over its three live shows.

The winning song, Tattoo, performed by Loreen took the prize with 583 points. In second place was Finland with 526, and third was Israel on 362. Loreen is only the second performer to win the Eurovision Song Contest twice, following her victory in 2012 with Euphoria.

Global Event

This year, fans from over 80 countries have travelled to Malmö to watch at least one of the nine ticketed Eurovision Song Contest shows. Leading the charge in international ticket sales is the UK. However, the enthusiasm extends far beyond European borders, with fans from the USA, Asia, and Australia joining the festivities.

In the UK the final will be broadcast live by the BBC and will also be streamed into cinemas across the UK.

Twenty-six countries will compete in the final. Joining Sweden and “the Big Five” (Germany, UK, France, Italy and Spain) after the two semi-finals are:

Semi Final One: Serbia, Portugal, Slovenia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Finland, Cyprus, Croatia, Ireland and Luxembourg.

Semi Final Two: Armenia, Austria, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland.

Olly Alexander

Representing the UK is the multi-award winning artist Olly Alexander. Olly, one of the world’s most exciting modern pop stars, rose to prominence as the lead singer of  Years & Years.

At the Eurovision Song Contest he will be performing the song Dizzy. It will be the first release under his own name after the dissolution of Years & Years. Talking with the BBC, Olly said: “I wrote the song last summer with Danny L Harle… We were inspired by a lot of music we love from the 80s like Erasure, Adamski and of course Pet Shop Boys.”

The singer, actor and fashion icon has scored two No.1 UK albums, 10 UK Top 40 singles and was recently awarded the BRIT Billion Award (for 6.5 billion global streams).

It’s A Sin

Olly received widespread acclaim for his performance in the Channel 4 drama series It’s A Sin (2021). The singer also covered the Pet Shop Boys’ It’s A Sin with Elton John for his The Lockdown Sessions album and the pair gave a memorable performance at the 2021 Brit Awards.

Olly had previously collaborated with the Pet Shop Boys on their 2019 single Dreamland. Talking with Gay Times, the singer said: “It was a dream come true to create something with two of my heroes, and spending time with Chris and Neil was an absolute joy. I had to pinch myself repeatedly!”

He also collaborated with Kylie Minogue in 2021 on A Second To Midnight. The track was the lead single from Kylie’s reissue album Disco: Guest List Edition. It also appeared on the deluxe version of Years & Years’ third studio album Night Call.

Five British acts have claimed the Euro trophy since the contest began in 1956: Sandie Shaw (Puppet On A String, 1967), Lulu (Boom Bang-a-Bang, 1969), Brotherhood Of Man (Save Your Kisses For Me, 1976), Bucks Fizz (Making Your Mind Up, 1981) and Katrina & The Waves (Love Shine A Light, 1997).

The Favourites

Reigning champs Sweden will be represented by Marcus & Martinus, occasionally known as M&M, who will be performing the song Unforgettable. The duo won Masked Singer Sverige in 2022 and took their entry to No.1 on the Sverigetopplistan chart.

Bookmakers have made Croatia the current favourite to win the contest. They will be represented by Baby Lasagna who performs his song Rim Tim Tagi Dim. He is aiming to land his country their first ever Eurovision crown.

Croatia’s closest rival is Switzerland’s Nemo with The Code. Switzerland’s last win came in 1988 courtesy of Céline Dion. The chasing pack of favourites is made up of 2022 winners Ukraine and 2021 victors Italy. They will be represented by Alyona Alyona and Jerry Heil who perform Teresa & Maria, and Angelina Mango with La noia.

The Contest will be broadcast live across the BBC on Saturday 11 May, from 8pm. Click here

Want to read more? Here we list our Top 20 Eurovision Song Contest winners