Eurovision 2019: Voting underway as Madonna praises contestants

Voting is underway in the Grand Final of the 64th Eurovision Song Contest – but the limelight of the famously kitsch and glamorous show may yet be stolen by the ‘queen of pop’ Madonna, who told the performers ‘you are all winners’ ahead of her controversial performance. 

All 26 performers have finished their acts and the public now have a 45-minute period in which to cast their votes. 

Wearing a decorative eye-patch and long blonde plaits, the 60-year-old pop diva will appear for a highly-anticipated performance with Migos rapper Quavo. 

She has said she was determined to perform at the finals but her participation brought protests from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement – which seeks to end international support for Israel over its treatment of Palestinians. 

Madonna will perform her 1989 hit ‘Like a Prayer’ on its 30-year anniversary, accompanied by a 35-strong choir, and the world premiere of the song ‘Future’ from her forthcoming album.

Madonna will perform her 1989 hit 'Like a Prayer' accompanied by a 35-strong choir at the grand final of the 64th Eurovision song contest tonight in Tel Aviv

Madonna will perform her 1989 hit 'Like a Prayer' accompanied by a 35-strong choir at the grand final of the 64th Eurovision song contest tonight in Tel Aviv

Madonna will perform her 1989 hit ‘Like a Prayer’ accompanied by a 35-strong choir at the grand final of the 64th Eurovision song contest tonight in Tel Aviv

Madonna said she believes music brings everyone together and that all the Eurovision contestants are winners by simply participating

Madonna said she believes music brings everyone together and that all the Eurovision contestants are winners by simply participating

Madonna said she believes music brings everyone together and that all the Eurovision contestants are winners by simply participating 

Madonna is set to showcase Europe's annual music extravaganza that featured a rollicking collection of glitzy performances awash in kitsch, soul and spectacle

Madonna is set to showcase Europe's annual music extravaganza that featured a rollicking collection of glitzy performances awash in kitsch, soul and spectacle

Madonna is set to showcase Europe’s annual music extravaganza that featured a rollicking collection of glitzy performances awash in kitsch, soul and spectacle

Earlier Britain’s 21-year-old Eurovision hopeful Michael Rice took to the stage in Tel Aviv, hoping to turn around the UK’s fortunes and bring the crown back to Britain for the first time in 22 years. 

He was joined by an outfit of backing vocalists dressed in white as he broke into the song’s gospel-influenced chorus.

Rice, who rose to fame after winning the singing show All Together Now last year, has said he hopes to improve the UK’s reputation at the contest. This is despite the UK not entering the top 10 in a decade.

The former X-Factor contestant from Hartlepool, Co Durham, is one of 26 acts vying for the top prize during the climax of the week-long contest tonight. 

UK viewers praised presenter Graham Norton’s catty commentary for his ‘British sarcasm’ – after he compared the Albanian contestant’s dress to a Christmas tree.  








Michael Rice of Great Britain performs the song "Bigger Than Us" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18

Michael Rice of Great Britain performs the song "Bigger Than Us" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18

Michael Rice of Great Britain performs the song ‘Bigger Than Us’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18

The former X-Factor contestant from Hartlepool, Co Durham, is one of 26 acts vying for the top prize during the climax of the week-long contest tonight

The former X-Factor contestant from Hartlepool, Co Durham, is one of 26 acts vying for the top prize during the climax of the week-long contest tonight

The former X-Factor contestant from Hartlepool, Co Durham, is one of 26 acts vying for the top prize during the climax of the week-long contest tonight

Michael Rice, 21, representing Great Britain performs the song 'Bigger Than Us' during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Israel

Michael Rice, 21, representing Great Britain performs the song 'Bigger Than Us' during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Israel

Michael Rice, 21, representing Great Britain performs the song ‘Bigger Than Us’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Israel

The United Kingdom's Michael Rice performs the song "Bigger than Us" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city.

The United Kingdom's Michael Rice performs the song "Bigger than Us" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city.

The United Kingdom’s Michael Rice performs the song ‘Bigger than Us’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city.

Participant Hatari of Iceland performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv on May 18

Participant Hatari of Iceland performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv on May 18

Participant Hatari of Iceland performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv on May 18

Participant Hatari of Iceland performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv

Participant Hatari of Iceland performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv

Participant Hatari of Iceland performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv

Participant ZENA of Belarus performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel May 18

Participant ZENA of Belarus performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel May 18

Participant ZENA of Belarus performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel May 18

Participant ZENA of Belarus performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel May 18

Participant ZENA of Belarus performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel May 18

Participant ZENA of Belarus performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel May 18

This year’s show kicked off with an Olympic-style flag parade to introduce the finalists and featured a performance by a cohort of the musical extravaganza’s former stars.

Israel’s Netta Barzilia and Dana International – both previous winners – were joined by Swedish champion Mans Zelmerlow for a performance of Omer Adam’s song Tel Aviv, during which the 26 contestants were introduced before taking their seats to one side of the stage.

The finalists perform for the international public vote, which will make up 50% of the total vote, with the other half determined by a professional jury in each participating country, who cast their votes during performances on Friday. 

As per one of Eurovision’s most famous quirks, fans can vote up to 20 times but will be unable to select their own country’s entry. 

The UK’s Michael Rice performed 16th, after Norway but before Iceland, whose techno-punk outfit Hatari are among the favourites to win. 

Iceland's Eurovision contestants Hatari perform the song 'Hatrio mun sigra' during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv

Iceland's Eurovision contestants Hatari perform the song 'Hatrio mun sigra' during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv

Iceland’s Eurovision contestants Hatari perform the song ‘Hatrio mun sigra’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv

Icelandic 'bondage band' Hatari defied Eurovision bosses with a shock political song predicting the 'collapse of the continent'

Icelandic 'bondage band' Hatari defied Eurovision bosses with a shock political song predicting the 'collapse of the continent'

Icelandic ‘bondage band’ Hatari defied Eurovision bosses with a shock political song predicting the ‘collapse of the continent’

The German duo sung from the tip of a catwalk reaching into the audience as sparks poured from the roof. They received the loudest cheer of the night so far

The German duo sung from the tip of a catwalk reaching into the audience as sparks poured from the roof. They received the loudest cheer of the night so far

The German duo sung from the tip of a catwalk reaching into the audience as sparks poured from the roof. They received the loudest cheer of the night so far

Australia's Kate Miller-Heidke performs the song "Zero Gravity" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Australia's Kate Miller-Heidke performs the song "Zero Gravity" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Australia’s Kate Miller-Heidke performs the song ‘Zero Gravity’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Spain's Miki performs the song "La Venda" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Spain's Miki performs the song "La Venda" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Spain’s Miki performs the song ‘La Venda’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Participant John Lundvik of Sweden performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel May 18, 2019

Participant John Lundvik of Sweden performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel May 18, 2019

John Lundvik of Sweden performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

John Lundvik of Sweden performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Participant John Lundvik of Sweden performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel May 18, 2019

Participant Kate Miller-Heidke of Australia performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv

Participant Kate Miller-Heidke of Australia performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv

Participant Kate Miller-Heidke of Australia performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv

Madonna will perform her 1989 hit 'Like a Prayer', accompanied by a 35-strong choir, and the world premiere of the song 'Future' from her forthcoming album

Madonna will perform her 1989 hit 'Like a Prayer', accompanied by a 35-strong choir, and the world premiere of the song 'Future' from her forthcoming album

The 60-year-old pop diva has said she was determined to perform at the finals but her participation brought protests from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement

The 60-year-old pop diva has said she was determined to perform at the finals but her participation brought protests from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement

Madonna will perform her 1989 hit ‘Like a Prayer’, accompanied by a 35-strong choir, and the world premiere of the song ‘Future’ from her forthcoming album

Sisters of Germany perform the song 'Sister' during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

Sisters of Germany perform the song 'Sister' during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

Sisters of Germany perform the song ‘Sister’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

Third in front of the audience was energetic three-piece boyband Lake Malawi with their pop-rock song Friend Of A Friend

Third in front of the audience was energetic three-piece boyband Lake Malawi with their pop-rock song Friend Of A Friend

Third in front of the audience was energetic three-piece boyband Lake Malawi with their pop-rock song Friend Of A Friend

Israeli Netta Barzilai, the winner of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest performs before the start of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv

Israeli Netta Barzilai, the winner of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest performs before the start of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv

Israeli singer Dana International performs during the Grand Final of the 2019

Israeli singer Dana International performs during the Grand Final of the 2019

Previous winners from Israel Netta Barzilai (left) and Dana International (right) perform before the start of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv

Participant Serhat of San Marino performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel May 18

Participant Serhat of San Marino performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel May 18

Participant Serhat of San Marino performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel May 18

Estonia's Victor Crone performs the song "Storm" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Estonia's Victor Crone performs the song "Storm" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Estonia’s Victor Crone performs the song ‘Storm’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Tamara Todevska of North Macedonia performs the song "Proud" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv

Tamara Todevska of North Macedonia performs the song "Proud" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv

Jonida Maliqi of Albania performs the song "Ktheju tokes" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

Jonida Maliqi of Albania performs the song "Ktheju tokes" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

Tamara Todevska of North Macedonia (left) and Jonida Maliqi of Albania perform during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

Israeli singer Netta Barzilai, winner of the 2018 Eurovision, performs during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv

Israeli singer Netta Barzilai, winner of the 2018 Eurovision, performs during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv

Israeli singer Netta Barzilai, winner of the 2018 Eurovision, performs during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv

Israeli singer Dana International, winner of the 1998 Eurovision, performs during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Israeli singer Dana International, winner of the 1998 Eurovision, performs during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Israeli singer Dana International, winner of the 1998 Eurovision, performs during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Eurovision hosts from left, Assi Azar, Lucy Ayoub, Bar Refaeli, and Erez Tal walk onto the stage for the start of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision hosts from left, Assi Azar, Lucy Ayoub, Bar Refaeli, and Erez Tal walk onto the stage for the start of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision hosts from left, Assi Azar, Lucy Ayoub, Bar Refaeli, and Erez Tal walk onto the stage for the start of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Participant Michela of Malta kicked off the Grand Final of the Eurovision song contest tonight with her performance of Chameleon

Participant Michela of Malta kicked off the Grand Final of the Eurovision song contest tonight with her performance of Chameleon

Participant Michela of Malta kicked off the Grand Final of the Eurovision song contest tonight with her performance of Chameleon

Bilal Hassani of France, center, performs the song "Roi" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

Bilal Hassani of France, center, performs the song "Roi" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

Bilal Hassani of France, center, performs the song ‘Roi’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

Michaela of Malta performs performs the song 'Chameleon' during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

Michaela of Malta performs performs the song 'Chameleon' during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

Finalist Michaela of Malta kicked off the competition this evening with her song 'Chamelon'

Finalist Michaela of Malta kicked off the competition this evening with her song 'Chamelon'

Michaela of Malta performs performs the song ‘Chameleon’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

The running order is decided by the European Broadcasting Union, Eurovision's governing body, and is designed to ensure each act has the opportunity to stand out

The running order is decided by the European Broadcasting Union, Eurovision's governing body, and is designed to ensure each act has the opportunity to stand out

The running order is decided by the European Broadcasting Union, Eurovision’s governing body, and is designed to ensure each act has the opportunity to stand out

UK fans can vote over the phone, by text or via the Eurovision app, available on iOS, Android and Windows devices. Shortly before the contest got underway, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted a good luck message to Michael.

He wrote: ‘Best of luck to @MichaelRiceOff and all the UK team in Tel Aviv tonight! We are leaving the EU but Eurovision lives on in the glorious footsteps of Bucks Fizz.’

Malta’s Michela Pace opened the show with her song Chameleon, dancing in front of shifting graphics showing an urban landscape.

Second was Albania’s Jonida Maliqi with Ktheju Tokes – or ‘Return To Your Land’ – a dramatic and slow-paced track with lyrics referencing the Kosovo War.  

Third in front of the audience was three-piece boyband Lake Malawi with their pop-rock song Friend Of A Friend. The performance saw the group, from the Czech Republic, jumping around the stage.

Up next were the German duo S!ster with their aptly named song, Sister (although the two are not actually related). 

The pair sung from the tip of a catwalk reaching into the audience as sparks poured from the roof. They received the loudest cheer of the night so far.

The first real contender of the night took to the stage fifth – Russia’s Sergey Lazarev who returns to the contest with the song Scream. Lazarev competed for Russia in 2016 when he finished third with the song You Are The Only One.  








Tamta of Cyprus performs the song "Replay" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Tamta of Cyprus performs the song "Replay" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Tamta of Cyprus performs the song ‘Replay’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Duncan Laurence of the Netherlands performs the song "Arcade" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

Duncan Laurence of the Netherlands performs the song "Arcade" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

Duncan Laurence of the Netherlands performs the song ‘Arcade’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

Jean-Paul Gaultier (left) and supermodel Bar Refaeli during the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on May 18

Jean-Paul Gaultier (left) and supermodel Bar Refaeli during the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on May 18

Jean-Paul Gaultier (left) and supermodel Bar Refaeli during the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on May 18

North Macedonia's Tamara Todevska performs the song "Proud" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

North Macedonia's Tamara Todevska performs the song "Proud" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

North Macedonia’s Tamara Todevska performs the song ‘Proud’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Slovenia's Zala Kralj and Gasper Santl perform the song "Sebi" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Slovenia's Zala Kralj and Gasper Santl perform the song "Sebi" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Slovenia’s Zala Kralj and Gasper Santl perform the song ‘Sebi’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Luca Hanni of Switzerland performs the song 'She Got Me" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Luca Hanni of Switzerland performs the song 'She Got Me" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Luca Hanni of Switzerland performs the song ‘She Got Me’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Hosts Assi Azar, Lucy Ayoub, Bar Refaeli and Erez Tall on stage during the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds

Hosts Assi Azar, Lucy Ayoub, Bar Refaeli and Erez Tall on stage during the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds

Hosts Assi Azar, Lucy Ayoub, Bar Refaeli and Erez Tall on stage during the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds

Australia's Kate Miller-Heidke performs the song "Zero Gravity" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Australia's Kate Miller-Heidke performs the song "Zero Gravity" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Australia’s Kate Miller-Heidke performs the song ‘Zero Gravity’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Participant Sergey Lazarev of Russia performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Participant Sergey Lazarev of Russia performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Participant Sergey Lazarev of Russia performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

San Marino's Serhat performs the song "Say Na Na Na" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019

San Marino's Serhat performs the song "Say Na Na Na" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019

San Marino’s Serhat performs the song ‘Say Na Na Na’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019

Denmark's Leonora performs the song "Love is Forever" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18

Denmark's Leonora performs the song "Love is Forever" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18

Denmark’s Leonora performs the song ‘Love is Forever’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18

Duncan Laurence of the Netherlands performs the song "Arcade" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv

Duncan Laurence of the Netherlands performs the song "Arcade" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv

Duncan Laurence of the Netherlands performs the song ‘Arcade’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv

Greece's Katerine Duska performs the song "Better Love" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Greece's Katerine Duska performs the song "Better Love" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Greece’s Katerine Duska performs the song ‘Better Love’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Zala Kralj and Gasper Santl of Slovenia perform the song "Sebi" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019.

Zala Kralj and Gasper Santl of Slovenia perform the song "Sebi" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019.

Sweden were followed by Slovenia with Zala Kralj & Ga¿per ¿antl singing Sebi

Sweden were followed by Slovenia with Zala Kralj & Ga¿per ¿antl singing Sebi

Zala Kralj and Gasper Santl of Slovenia perform the song ‘Sebi’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Denmark’s Leonora delivered a solid rendition of Love Is Forever, a song reminiscent of the music of Lily Allen, replete with plucked strings and tinkling bells.

San Marino’s Serhat then performed the song ‘Say Na Na Na’ – followed by Tamara Todevska for North Macedonia who sang ‘Proud’.

Swedish entrant John Lundvik’s gospel-tinged pop song Too Late For Love secured screams from the audience. Lundvik is also behind Bigger Than Us, the song UK entrant Michael Rice performed later on.

Sweden were followed by Slovenia with Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl singing Sebi, and Cyprus’ Tamta singing Replay. Cyprus came second with Fuego by Eleni Foureira last year.

The Netherlands’ Duncan Laurence then took to the stage with the piano ballad Arcade. Laurence, 25, was named the Eurovision front-runner shortly after releasing his anthemic song in March and has remained the bookmakers’ favourite since.








Nevena Bozovic of Serbia performs the song "Kruna" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18,

Nevena Bozovic of Serbia performs the song "Kruna" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18,

Nevena Bozovic of Serbia performs the song ‘Kruna’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18,

Katerine Duska of Greece performs the song "Better Love" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

Katerine Duska of Greece performs the song "Better Love" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

Katerine Duska of Greece performs the song ‘Better Love’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

Norway's KEiiNO perform the song "Spirit in the Sky" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Norway's KEiiNO perform the song "Spirit in the Sky" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Norway’s KEiiNO perform the song ‘Spirit in the Sky’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Italy's Mahmood performs the song "Soldi" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Italy's Mahmood performs the song "Soldi" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Italy’s Mahmood performs the song ‘Soldi’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Kobi Marimi of Israel performs the song "Home" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Kobi Marimi of Israel performs the song "Home" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Kobi Marimi of Israel performs the song ‘Home’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Slovenia's Zala Kralj and Gasper Santl perform the song "Sebi" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city.

Slovenia's Zala Kralj and Gasper Santl perform the song "Sebi" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city.

Slovenia’s Zala Kralj and Gasper Santl perform the song ‘Sebi’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city.

Greece's Katerine Duska performs the song "Better Love" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019

Greece's Katerine Duska performs the song "Better Love" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019

Greece’s Katerine Duska performs the song ‘Better Love’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019

The first half of the evening was brought to a close by Greece, with Katerine Duska singing Better Love. 

Israel’s Kobi Marimi was the first act of the second half. He delivered an emotive rendition of the classically-influenced song Home to a receptive crowd. Israeli flags could be seen across the audience as Marimi sung on home soil, making his way to the tip of the catwalk to perform from the crowd.

Next up was Norway, with Keiino singing the uplifting duet Spirit In The Sky. 

Britain’s Michael Rice performed 16th, singing ‘Bigger Than Us’. His performance received a warm reaction from UK fans.

Presenter Rylan Clark-Neal tweeted ‘he was amazing’, while former Eurovision winner Cheryl Baker posted: ‘Proud of ya, @MichaelRiceOff !!! You were effing fabulous!’   

Jayde Adams, a comedian who co-hosts a BBC Eurovision podcast with Scott Mills, tweeted: ‘I’m sat with Michael’s Nan and Mum and we’re all in tears of joy! YES MICHAEL!!!!!!! You’ve done the UK proud!!!!’

Michael Rice of Great Britain performs the song 'Bigger Than Us' during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv

Michael Rice of Great Britain performs the song 'Bigger Than Us' during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv

Michael Rice of Great Britain performs the song ‘Bigger Than Us’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv

Contestant Bilal Hassani (left) of France performs 'Roi' during the Grand Final of the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest

Contestant Bilal Hassani (left) of France performs 'Roi' during the Grand Final of the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest

Contestant Bilal Hassani (left) of France performs ‘Roi’ during the Grand Final of the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest

Bilal Hassani of France, right, performs the song "Roi" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Bilal Hassani of France, right, performs the song "Roi" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Bilal Hassani of France, right, performs the song ‘Roi’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Switzerland's Luca Hanni performs the song "She Got Me" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18

Switzerland's Luca Hanni performs the song "She Got Me" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18

Switzerland’s Luca Hanni performs the song ‘She Got Me’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18

Mahmood of Italy performs the song "Soldi" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv

Mahmood of Italy performs the song "Soldi" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv

Participant Nevena Bo¿ovi¿ of Serbia performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv

Participant Nevena Bo¿ovi¿ of Serbia performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv

Mahmood of Italy (left) and Nevena Božović of Serbia perform during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Italy's Mahmood performs the song "Soldi" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Italy's Mahmood performs the song "Soldi" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Italy’s Mahmood performs the song ‘Soldi’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Katerine Duska representing Greece, performs live on stage during the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on May 18

Katerine Duska representing Greece, performs live on stage during the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on May 18

Katerine Duska representing Greece, performs live on stage during the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on May 18

Ireland’s Sarah McTernan, who was knocked out in the semi-final, posted a picture on Instagram of herself with Michael Rice. She wrote: ‘Supporting my main man tonight love you loads!!! @itsmichaelrice- I please pick up your phones and vote!!!! He deserves the world. or download the app and vote!!’  

Iceland’s controversial steampunk band Hatari – performing 17th – concluded their live performance without incident.

The band had drawn attention in Israel by initially vowing to stay out, saying it would be ‘absurd’ to participate in Israel because of its policies toward the Palestinians. 

Later, they vowed to use the Eurovision spotlight to expose the ‘face of the occupation.’ But at a press conference after the semifinal, Hatari offered a purely positive message. ‘We need to unite and remember to love,’ it said, in the wake of ‘hate that’s on the rise in Europe.’

In this evening’s final they belted out their grinding metal rock to cheers from the audience. 

Michael Rice of Great Britain performs the song "Bigger Than Us" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019.

Michael Rice of Great Britain performs the song "Bigger Than Us" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019.

Michael Rice of Great Britain performs the song ‘Bigger Than Us’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019.

Chingiz of Azerbaijan performs the song "Truth" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18,

Chingiz of Azerbaijan performs the song "Truth" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18,

Chingiz of Azerbaijan performs the song ‘Truth’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18,

Serbia's Nevena Bozovic performs the song "Kruna" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv

Serbia's Nevena Bozovic performs the song "Kruna" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv

Serbia’s Nevena Bozovic performs the song ‘Kruna’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv

Tom Hugo Hermansen of KEiiNO, representing Norway , performs live on stage during the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on May 18

Tom Hugo Hermansen of KEiiNO, representing Norway , performs live on stage during the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on May 18

Tom Hugo Hermansen of KEiiNO, representing Norway , performs live on stage during the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on May 18

Luca Hanni of Switzerland performs the song 'She Got Me" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18

Luca Hanni of Switzerland performs the song 'She Got Me" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18

Luca Hanni of Switzerland performs the song ‘She Got Me’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18

Spain's Miki performs the song "La Venda" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019

Spain's Miki performs the song "La Venda" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019

Spain’s Miki performs the song ‘La Venda’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019

Luca Hanni of Switzerland performs the song 'She Got Me" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Luca Hanni of Switzerland performs the song 'She Got Me" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Luca Hanni of Switzerland performs the song ‘She Got Me’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Contestant Chingiz of Azerbaijan performs 'Truth' during the Grand Final of the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) at the Expo Tel Aviv, in Tel Aviv

Contestant Chingiz of Azerbaijan performs 'Truth' during the Grand Final of the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) at the Expo Tel Aviv, in Tel Aviv

Contestant Chingiz of Azerbaijan performs ‘Truth’ during the Grand Final of the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) at the Expo Tel Aviv, in Tel Aviv

Next up was Estonia, with Victor Crone singing Storm, then Belarus’ 16-year-old contestant Zena belted out her anthem Like It.

Azerbaijan followed, with Chingiz singing Truth before it was time for France’s Bilal Hassani singing Roi in a mixture of French and English.

Italy’s Mahmood began the final run of five acts with a rendition of his song Soldi. The singer-songwriter has suffered a reported throat infection this week but delivered a vocally competent performance to raucous cheers from the crowd. 

Serbia’s Nevena Bozovic followed with Kruna, which translates as The Crown, a soulful ballad which drew a positive response from the crowd.

Former winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, Austria's Conchita Wurst performs during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Former winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, Austria's Conchita Wurst performs during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Former winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, Austria's Conchita Wurst performs during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Former winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, Austria's Conchita Wurst performs during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Former winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, Austria’s Conchita Wurst performs during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

After came Australia’s Kate Miller-Heidke, whose rendition of Zero Gravity, a song about her experience of postnatal depression, saw her flying through the air atop a pole, and was received with a roar.

Last came Spain’s Miki, who offered a vivid counterpoint to Miller-Heidke’s musical theatre-inspired performance with an energetic rendition of the poppy La Venda. 

While the voting process got underway, four former Eurovision contestants sang a medley of each other’s songs.

Austria’s Conchita Wurst, who won in 2014 with Rise Like A Phoenix, sang Mans Zelmerlow’s Heroes, which won the Swede the 2015 event. 

Zelmerlow then performed Fuego, which earned Greece’s Eleni Foureira second place behind Netta’s Toy in 2018.

Foureira then took on Verka Serduchka’s Dancing Lasha Tumbai, which won the eccentric Ukrainian character actor the contest in 2007. Finally, Serduchka sang Netta’s Toy, which won Israel the right to host the event during last year’s contest in Lisbon, Portugal.

Two semi-finals, numerous dress rehearsals and a week of press and audience events have led to this point – and it hasn’t been without controversy. 

Michael Rice of Great Britain performs the song "Bigger Than Us" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Michael Rice of Great Britain performs the song "Bigger Than Us" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Michael Rice of Great Britain performs the song ‘Bigger Than Us’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Serbia's Nevena Bozovic performs the song "Kruna" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Serbia's Nevena Bozovic performs the song "Kruna" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Serbia’s Nevena Bozovic performs the song ‘Kruna’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Participants Lake Malawi of Czech Republic perform during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Participants Lake Malawi of Czech Republic perform during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Participants Lake Malawi of Czech Republic perform during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Leonora of Denmark performs the song "Love Is Forever" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18

Leonora of Denmark performs the song "Love Is Forever" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18

Leonora of Denmark performs the song ‘Love Is Forever’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18

Chingiz of Azerbaijan performs the song "Truth" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Chingiz of Azerbaijan performs the song "Truth" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Chingiz of Azerbaijan performs the song ‘Truth’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Jonida Maliqi of Albania performs the song 'Ktheju tokes', a dramatic and slow-paced track with lyrics referencing the Kosovo War

Jonida Maliqi of Albania performs the song 'Ktheju tokes', a dramatic and slow-paced track with lyrics referencing the Kosovo War

Jonida Maliqi of Albania performs the song ‘Ktheju tokes’, a dramatic and slow-paced track with lyrics referencing the Kosovo War

Jonida Maliqi of Albania performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv

Jonida Maliqi of Albania performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv

Jonida Maliqi of Albania performs during the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv

Contestants Lake Malawi of Czech Republic perform 'Friend of a Friend' during the Grand Final of the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest

Contestants Lake Malawi of Czech Republic perform 'Friend of a Friend' during the Grand Final of the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest

Contestants Lake Malawi of Czech Republic perform ‘Friend of a Friend’ during the Grand Final of the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest

Germany's S!sters perform the song "Sister" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019

Germany's S!sters perform the song "Sister" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019

Germany’s S!sters perform the song ‘Sister’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019

Sisters of Germany perform during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Sisters of Germany perform during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Sisters of Germany perform during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Sergey Lazarev of Russia performs the song 'Scream' during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Sergey Lazarev of Russia performs the song 'Scream' during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Lazarev competed for Russia in 2016 when he finished third with the song You Are The Only One

Lazarev competed for Russia in 2016 when he finished third with the song You Are The Only One

Sergey Lazarev of Russia performs the song ‘Scream’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 201

John Lundvik of Sweden performs the song "Too Late For Love" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

John Lundvik of Sweden performs the song "Too Late For Love" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

John Lundvik of Sweden performs the song ‘Too Late For Love’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel

Germany's S!sters perform the song "Sister" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18

Germany's S!sters perform the song "Sister" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18

Germany’s S!sters perform the song ‘Sister’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18

Icelandic ‘bondage band’ Hatari defied Eurovision bosses with a shock political song predicting the ‘collapse of the continent’. 

The controversial troupe, who describe themselves as a techno-BDSM-punk fusion, anti-capitalist group, hope their song will promote ‘peace and love’. And warn that if we do not pursue it, ‘hate will indeed prevail’. 

And, in a populism warning, have stressed in the lyrics of their song that ‘debauchery unconstrained’ will lead to moral bankruptcy and the collapse of Europe.

The group has even come close to expulsion from the contest due to their outspoken views on Israel – having spoken of witnessing apartheid after travelling to the country.

Serhat representing San Marino, arrives on stage during the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds

Serhat representing San Marino, arrives on stage during the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds

Serhat representing San Marino, arrives on stage during the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds

Chingiz of Azerbaijan performs the song "Truth" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Chingiz of Azerbaijan performs the song "Truth" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Chingiz of Azerbaijan performs the song ‘Truth’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

San Marino's Serhat performs the song "Say Na Na Na" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

San Marino's Serhat performs the song "Say Na Na Na" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

San Marino’s Serhat performs the song ‘Say Na Na Na’ during the Grand Final of the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 at Expo Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019, in the Israeli coastal city

Chingiz of Azerbaijan performs the song "Truth" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Chingiz of Azerbaijan performs the song "Truth" during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Chingiz of Azerbaijan performs the song ‘Truth’ during the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019








Their song flies in the face of competition rules, which stress it is a non-political event. And stipulate that ‘no organization, institution, political cause or other cause’ should be promoted. 

Matthias Tryggvi Haraldsson, 25, the lead singer of Hatari – or ‘Haters’ – said of their song: ‘Hate Will Prevail is a reflection on power and powerlessness, hope and hopelessness.

‘It’s a warning about what will happen if we don’t love each other, if we give up on peace and unity, because then hate will indeed prevail. And we feel these are relevant themes to the context of this year’s contest.’

Their performance has even stirred up controversy in their home country, which was the first in western Europe to recognise Palestine as a state, in 2011. A petition urging them to boycott the completion was signed by at least 20,000 people. 

But Eurovision bosses, have tried to keep them on track, with Haraldsson revealing they have ‘made it very clear that we have stepped over the line and reached the limit of their tolerance.’

He promised to stay clear of ‘buzzwords’ like apartheid that prick the ears of producers and will use their performance as ‘a platform to uphold a critical discussion about the context of this year’s contest’. 

Who’s the favourite to win this year’s Eurovision? Holland, Sweden and Australia are the bookies’ favourites… with the UK outsiders at 200/1! 

The Netherlands: Duncan Laurence, ‘Arcade’ – 3/4

He has been touted as the clear favourite to win since his self-penned song Arcade debuted online in March.

The singer is known in his homeland for appearing on The Voice, where he reached the semi-finals. And is a a graduate of Rock Academy in Tilburg.

Duncan Lawrence has been touted as the clear favourite to win since his self-penned song Arcade debuted online in March

Duncan Lawrence has been touted as the clear favourite to win since his self-penned song Arcade debuted online in March

Duncan Lawrence has been touted as the clear favourite to win since his self-penned song Arcade debuted online in March

Australia: Kate Miller-Heidke, ‘Zero Gravity’ – 4/1 

Kate is performing her latest single Zero Gravity, written by herself and collaborator Keir Nuttall at the Eurovision song competition this evening. 

She has released four studio albums in Australia. Trained as a classical singer she has performed several roles for the English National Opera.  

In 2015 she even broke into national television, starring in The Divorce, a four-part ABC musical mini-series.

Kate Miller-Heidke is performing her latest single Zero Gravity, written by herself and collaborator Keir Nuttall at the Eurovision song competition this evening

Kate Miller-Heidke is performing her latest single Zero Gravity, written by herself and collaborator Keir Nuttall at the Eurovision song competition this evening

Kate Miller-Heidke is performing her latest single Zero Gravity, written by herself and collaborator Keir Nuttall at the Eurovision song competition this evening

Sweden: John Lundvik, ‘Too Late for Love’ – 8/1

Born in London, Lundvik was adopted and moved to Sweden aged six. But he did not get involved with singing until later life. 

His first career was in athletics, where he won eight gold medals in national competition. 

His became involved in music in 2010 when he wrote When You Tell the World You’re Mine, a song written for a Swedish royal wedding. 

He is performing ‘Too Late For Love’ and representing both Sweden as a singer and songwriter and the United Kingdom as a writer and composer, since he has also worked on Michael Rice’s song.

Born in London, Lundvik (pictured) was adopted and moved to Sweden aged six. But he did not get involved with singing until later life

Born in London, Lundvik (pictured) was adopted and moved to Sweden aged six. But he did not get involved with singing until later life

Born in London, Lundvik (pictured) was adopted and moved to Sweden aged six. But he did not get involved with singing until later life

Switzerland: Luca Hänni, ‘She Got Me’ – 9/1 

Hänni is best known for winning a song competition in Germany, entitled Deutschland sucht den Superstar.

Since then he’s topped the charts with two studio albums and released 16 singles. He is also very athletic and is happy to take on challenges such as the various Ninja Warrior shows.

Hänni (pictured) is best known for winning a song competition in Germany, entitled Deutschland sucht den Superstar

Hänni (pictured) is best known for winning a song competition in Germany, entitled Deutschland sucht den Superstar

Hänni (pictured) is best known for winning a song competition in Germany, entitled Deutschland sucht den Superstar

Italy: Mahmood, ‘Soldi’ – 14/1 

Mahmood was born in Milano in 1992 to an Italian mother and Egyptian father. He is another of many contestants who first found fame on a television reality show. 

He competed in the sixth season of the Italian version of The X Factor in 2012 where he was voted out early on in the show’s live stages. 

But he has since had a successful music career, releasing a debut album in 2019 which includes the song ‘Hola’ featuring Tom Walker, 

Mahmood (pictured) is another of many contestants who first found fame on a television reality show

Mahmood (pictured) is another of many contestants who first found fame on a television reality show

Mahmood (pictured) is another of many contestants who first found fame on a television reality show

Iceland: Hatari, ‘Hatrið Mun Sigra’ – 14/1

The band was formed by three school friends, Klemens Hannigan, Matthías Tryggvi Haraldson, and Einar Stéfansson. 

They describe themselves as describe themselves as an ‘anti-capitalist BDSM techno performance art group’. 

The group has sparked controversy with their song, which warns that ‘debauchery unconstrained’ will lead to moral bankruptcy.

Hatari was formed by three school friends, Klemens Hannigan, Matthías Tryggvi Haraldson, and Einar Stéfansson

Hatari was formed by three school friends, Klemens Hannigan, Matthías Tryggvi Haraldson, and Einar Stéfansson

Hatari was formed by three school friends, Klemens Hannigan, Matthías Tryggvi Haraldson, and Einar Stéfansson

 The United Kingdom: Michael Rice, ‘Bigger Than Us’ – 200/1 

The former X Factor contestant hopes he can take the Eurovision crown back to Britain for the first time in 22 years

The 21-year-old from Hartlepool, Co Durham, is one of 26 acts vying for the top prize during the climax of the week-long contest in Tel Aviv. 

Despite the even bigger than usual media craze around the competition, he insists: ‘I’ve got my game face on, and I’m ready to go out and give the best performance.’ 

And speaking to the BBC, he added: ‘We aren’t a popular country in Europe. Everything is against us. But if we sent a decent song we’d do okay.’    

The former X Factor contestant will be hoping he can take the Eurovision crown back to Britain for the first time in 22 years

The former X Factor contestant will be hoping he can take the Eurovision crown back to Britain for the first time in 22 years

The former X Factor contestant will be hoping he can take the Eurovision crown back to Britain for the first time in 22 years








The controversy came amidst security concerns surrounding the competition, after the Israeli national broadcaster’s webcast of the semi-final in Tel Aviv was hacked with images of explosions over the city. 

And earlier this week it was revealed how Israel had reportedly deployed its Iron Dome defence system ahead of the song competition. Despite last Monday, Israel and Hamas agreeing to a ceasefire following a ferocious missile exchange which saw nearly 700 rockets fired across the border.

Despite the ongoing controversy, Michael Rice, a former X Factor contestant, is hoping to bring the Eurovision crown back to Britain for the first time in 22 years.  

Despite the even bigger than usual media craze around the competition, he insists: ‘I’ve got my game face on, and I’m ready to go out and give the best performance.’ 

And speaking to the BBC, he added: ‘We aren’t a popular country in Europe. Everything is against us. But if we sent a decent song we’d do okay.’    

The Eurovision song contest is set to get underway in Tel Aviv later this week under controversial circumstances

The Eurovision song contest is set to get underway in Tel Aviv later this week under controversial circumstances

The Eurovision song contest is set to get underway in Tel Aviv later this week under controversial circumstances

Rabin Square in the centre of Tel Aviv with a stage set up ahead of the song contest later this week

Rabin Square in the centre of Tel Aviv with a stage set up ahead of the song contest later this week

Rabin Square in the centre of Tel Aviv with a stage set up ahead of the song contest later this week

Earlier this week it was revealed how Israel had reportedly deployed its Iron Dome defence system (pictured) ahead of the song competition

Earlier this week it was revealed how Israel had reportedly deployed its Iron Dome defence system (pictured) ahead of the song competition

Earlier this week it was revealed how Israel had reportedly deployed its Iron Dome defence system (pictured) ahead of the song competition

Rice performed for the expert jury panels on Friday night during a non-televised dress rehearsal of the grand final.

He, unlike the Icelandic entry, insists that: ‘We should be focusing on the music and getting the right song instead of droning on about stuff like that.’ 

The ‘stuff’ the 21-year-old from Hartlepool was referring to is politics. He added that he’s ‘sick of being asked about Brexit, constantly all the time’. 

‘I’m just a singer; I’ve never even thought about politics,’ he added. 

Rice got a by-pass to Saturday’s final, being the face of one of the ‘big five’ nations but faces stiff competition in the firm favourites, the Netherlands.  

What is the running order of tonight’s Eurovision song competition?  

The running order is decided by the European Broadcasting Union, Eurovision’s governing body, and is designed to ensure each act has the opportunity to stand out.

Producers look at the genre and tempo of the song, whether it features props and excessive lighting or pyrotechnics, and the number of backing dancers or vocalists. 

1. Malta – Michela Pace with Chameleon

2. Albania – Jonida Maliqi with Ktheju Tokes

3. Czech Republic – Lake Malawi with Friend Of A Friend

4. Germany – S!sters with Sister

5. Russia – Sergey Lazarev with Scream

6. Denmark – Leonora with Love Is Forever

7. San Marino – Serhat with Say Na Na Na

8. North Macedonia – Tamara Todevska with Proud

9. Sweden – John Lundvik with Too Late For Love

10. Slovenia – Zala Kralj and Gasper Santl with Sebi

11. Cyprus – Tamta with Replay

12. Netherlands – Duncan Laurence with Arcade

13. Greece – Katerine Duska with Better Love

Halfway break

14. Israel – Kobi Marimi with Home

15. Norway – KEiiNO with Spirit In The Sky

16. United Kingdom – Michael Rice with Bigger Than Us

17. Iceland – Hatari – Hatrio Mun Sigra

18. Estonia – Victor Crone with Storm

19. Belarus – Zena with Like It

20. Azerbaijan – Chingiz with Truth

21. France – Bilal Hassani with Roi

22. Italy – Mahmood with Soldi

23. Serbia – Nevena Bozovic with Kruna

24. Switzerland – Luca Hanni with She Got Me

25. Australia – Kate Miller-Heidke with Zero Gravity

26. Spain – Miki with La Venda

Residents in all participating countries can vote. Fans can vote over the phone, by text or via the Eurovision app, available on iOS, Android and Windows devices.

As per one of Eurovision’s most famous quirks, fans can vote up to 20 times but will be unable to select their own country’s entry.

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