It’s finally time! After months of national selection shows, and two semi-finals, twenty seven acts will battle it out in the grand final of Eurovision 2016 at 21:00 CET tonight. To help you through the show we’ve pulled together a country-by-country guide to all the action. Consider it our pre-recorded commentary. For each song we have excerpts from the Wiwi Jury 2016 as well as a brief description on what to expect from our competing countries. Grab your towels – it’s time to Come Together.

EUROVISION 2016: GRAND FINAL PREVIEW

SONG 1: Belgium — Laura Tesoro with “What’s the Pressure”

Hit play and don’t stop, mister DJ! “What’s the Pressure” is the funk jam this year’s contest needs. Laura werked the microphone for all it was worth on stage in the Belgian national final and I for one am hoping she gets to work a stand out on stage in Stockholm. The sequins and metallic vibes look amazing, the vocal is on point and home girl has girl next door popstar aura for days. (Angus)

SONG 2: Czech Republic — Gabriela Guncikova with “I Stand”

“I Stand” is easily the best Czech entry of all time, and their final spot is well deserved. Sadly, the song lacks immediacy. It’s a track that requires multiple listens in order to be fully appreciated, and of course, that’s not an option for casual Eurovision viewers. Which is such a shame, because on every replay Gabriela’s melodic tones unlock new layers to the song, making each listen more rewarding than the last. (Padraig)

SONG 3: Netherlands — Douwe Bob with “Slow Down”

Call me crazy, but this sounds like the winner to me. It’s very evident that Douwe Bob is a true artist, and “Slow Down” is timeless. Not at all the kind of song you’d expect to see at Eurovision – in fact, it’s not even the kind of song you’d expect to be released as a single. Instead of trying to be explosive and super emotional, he’s giving a relaxed, melancholic vibe. And what a luxury that is. (Edd)

SONG 4: Azerbaijan — Samra with “Miracle”

Samra’s vocals can power up a lighthouse! She is smouldering on camera, and confident in her abilities as a performer. Kudos to AzTV for their wise internal selection choice. “Miracle” is one of 2016’s stronger entries. It has a brilliant radio finish, and a music video you’d love to have on repeat. The message in it is turbo-packed with enough currency to minister to a broad demographic. “Miracle” is an anthem of strength that sports a catchy chorus. (Deban)

SONG 5: Hungary — Freddie with “Pioneer”

Throughout A Dal, I was convinced that Freddie was the only option for Hungary. But now he’s at Eurovision I’m not so sure. There’s nothing wrong with Freddie as a performer, his voice might be an acquired taste but I don’t think that should be an issue. And of course, it also helps that he’s very easy on the eye. My problem is with “Pioneer”. I enjoy it for the three minutes and then that’s it. There’s no lasting impression. No lingering emotions. All in all, it’s a little flat, at least on record. But then this is meant to be an stadium anthem, so there’s every chance that he could blow us away tonight. (Padraig)

SONG 6: Italy — Francesca Michielin with “No Degree of Separation”

Francesca’s voice has a breathy, ethereal charm. But amid that lightness she still packs an emotional punch, tugging on heart strings and creating major atmosphere. She’s a competent, controlled performer and she imbues every note with a feeling. And while I love Francesca, I only like her song. It’s intoxicating, no doubt, but needs a bit more shape to get me going. A steady strand of pleasant is nice, but I really crave a climax. (William)

SONG 7: ISRAEL — HOVI STAR WITH “MADE OF STARS”

For some reason, I’m completely mesmerised by Hovi and this song. Granted, it doesn’t reach the epic status of “Golden Boy” because this is a totally different genre — I fear that it might get lost in the competition itself. But for me, “Made of Stars” is a subtle masterpiece. It’s actually giving me goosebumps, just like Elnur and “Hour of the Wolf” did last year. I might be flying solo here, but I don’t care. I love this song, and I love Hovi. Simple as that. (Kristin)

SONG 8: Bulgaria — Poli Genova with “If Love Was a Crime”

Ethnic but not off-putting, “If Love Was a Crime” manages to think locally while translating globally. The opening verses build steadily and confidently, leading to a pre-chorus that is all kinds of amazing. The chorus itself could be a tad bigger, but the Bulgarian lyrics and turbo-folk feel make it sufficiently special to carry the song. The lyrics are clever and the nod to the criminalisation of homosexuality is truly daring for a singer from a conservative country. Breezy, catchy and feel-good, this is easily Bulgaria’s best Eurovision entry ever. (William)

SONG 9: Sweden — Frans with “If I Were Sorry”

If there’s any song that can give Sweden its much desired consecutive victory, it’s this. “If I Were Sorry” is an antidote to all the overproduced “Heroes”-inspired power-pop heading to Stockholm this year. If the audience on 14 May is tired of all that relentlessly upbeat pop, Frans will serve a quiet moment of cute folk-pop, with a teenage boy shuffling around the stage instead of delivering a slickly choreographed number. This is Eurovision 2016’s moment of Zen. (Robyn)

SONG 10: Germany  Jamie-Lee Kriewitz with “Ghost”

I love the moody, gothic feeling to this song, and the random husky tones that Jamie-Lee throws in the song. I’m not sure about her manga-style wardrobe — yeah, she’s only 17, but her costume brings a goofy feeling to what should otherwise be a dark, seductive song. But if anyone can work that look at Eurovision, it’s Jamie-Lee. I’m expecting “Ghost” to do good things for Germany this year. (Robyn)

SONG 11: France — Amir with “J’ai cherché”

France are in it to win it and are finally bringing a winner to the contest! J’adore. Amir’s vocal is sick, the song is slick and the production is crazy amazing. The franglais is tdf, the lyrics are beautiful and the beat thumps along irresistibly. I deny anyone across the continent to not be tapping their toes by the end of it and begging for more. (Angus)

SONG 12: POLAND — MICHAL SZPAK WITH “COLOR OF YOUR LIFE”

Every time I listen to this song I like it more and more. The chorus boasts a killer hook – although they could do with spicing up (and modernising) the production, which would benefit hugely from more understated verses. And Michal is possibly the best performer of the whole year – his raw emotion when singing convinces me that the awful lyrics are in fact a masterpiece.

SONG 13: Australia — Dami Im with “Sound of Silence”

She keeps calling, calling, calling and I can’t help but answer. With “Sound of Silence” Dami rides the “dirty pop” wave, serving mystery, grit and soul with a heavy electro beat. She recounts her feelings of emptiness following a breakup, but fills the void with sultry vocals and some seriously raw emotion. Dami — a powerhouse vocalist — has the right material. With the proper staging and a bit of luck, she may soon have the Eurovision winner’s trophy too. (William)

SONG 14: CYPRUS — MINUS ONE WITH “ALTER EGO”

Minus One and co-writer Thomas G:son have cleverly combined the band’s rock roots with a really strong, solid pop core. With a lot of rock-style songs in the contest this year, “Alter Ego” stands out as the most accessible and most enjoyable. Even the guitar solo works because the song is otherwise so relentlessly pop. This is the big pop-rock moment 2016 needs. (Robyn)

SONG 15: SERBIA — ZAA SANJA VUCIC WITH “GOODBYE (SHELTER)”

Channelling angst, pain and tortured emotion, “Goodbye” immediately hits your conscience. I applaud Sanja Vucic for starting a conversation about abuse, and addressing it with conviction. She may look like Amy Winehouse in drag, but in this contest, she remains the voice of reason. (Deban)

SONG 16: Lithuania — Donny Montell with “I’ve Been Waiting For This Night”

Drop, pop, lock — thrust, squat, jump. No matter what Donny does I am ready to watch! “I’ve Been Waiting For This Night” is a Scandi delight, replete with expensive production, a killer hook and fantastic pacing. Donny explodes at just the right time every time. The final minute becomes a tad repetitive, but I’ve no doubt the Stockholm staging will sort that out. Welcome back, Donny! (William)

SONG 17: Croatia — Nina Kraljic with “Lighthouse”

Nina’s voice is gorgeous, so crystal clear and able to deliver delicate notes with strength and power. I’m not fully convinced by “Lighthouse”, though I’m really loving the romantic nautical themes. The lyrics are a bit troublesome, with the near/fear/disappear/steer/pier/tear rhyming-dictionary extravaganza in the second verse, and that key change just ends up being a distraction rather than a climax. But still, it’s one of this year’s strongest entries. (Robyn)

SONG 18: Russia: Sergey Lazarev with “You Are the Only One”

Cheesy, dated and over-the-top — this is one of the standout tracks of 2016. It melds an old-school schlager sound with more contemporary production, creating a heady mix that is catchy and memorable. The pumping beat is the perfect platform for a thrusting Sergey, who will no doubt work his gym-honed body to great effect in Stockholm. He has great timing and knows when to push and massage our various buttons before exploding in a classic Eurovision bridge. It feels very early ’00s, but a bit of nostalgia never hurt anyone. (William)

SONG 19: Spain — Barei with “Say Yay!”

It’s easy to dismiss a song just because of hype. But do so at your peril. For every Edurne there’s a Måns Zelmerlöw. And I’m putting Barei firmly with Måns. There’s no other song quite like “Say Yay!” in the contest. It’s an instant pick-me-up and infectiously feel-good. And unlike so many upbeat Eurovision entries, it’s completely cringe-free. This is mainstream music for the masses and I’m completely okay with that. Because it’s pop perfection. I pray that Europe doesn’t screw over Spain yet again. Say yay, yay, yay! (Padraig)

SONG 20: Latvia — Justs with “Heartbeat”

I love the minimalist arrangement of the song. It’s something that can only work with a strong singer and Justs more than delivers. While “Heartbeat” isn’t my top pick for 2016, I’m still getting a very strong #riga2017 vibe. What we saw at Supernovahas all the ingredients for a killer performance in Stockholm. It needs work, but as Latvia showed last year, they know how to work it. (Robyn)

SONG 21: Ukraine — Jamala with “1944”

This is dark, direct and at times nihilistic: “They kill you all and say, ‘We’re not guilty’…everyone dies.” In lesser hands this would come off as melodrama. But Jamala delivers it with conviction and soul, resulting in a strangely intoxicating and other-worldly sound. “1944” defies convention, mixing traditional Crimean Tartar music with soul and R&B, and yet it somehow remains universal and accessible. At the end of the song she channels the pain of a thousand victims in one single cry. This is a gift that can’t be taught. (William)

SONG 22: Malta — Ira Losco with “Walk on Water”

Easily my favourite Maltese entry since I became a Eurovision fan, “Walk on Water” is contemporary, catchy and somehow inspiring. Ira squeezes soul out of every note and the choral accompaniment gives this a spiritual quality. Replicating that backing with live voices in Stockholm is a tall order, but Malta is filled with so many big voices I’m confident they’ll do the trick. Drum ‘n’ bass at Eurovision is a daring move, but I’m so glad Malta is taking the risk. (William)

SONG 23: Georgia — Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz with “Midnight Gold”

“Midnight Gold” is easily one of my favourite tracks of 2016. I love the mix of the brash and obnoxious guitar, the seductive bassline, the trippy lyrics and Nika Kocharov’s laid-back Britpop vocals — and the studio version adds a disco breakdown amid the feedback solo. Realistically, I don’t think this will do well in Stockholm, but I’m just happy it exists. (Robyn)

SONG 24: Austria — Zoë with “Loin d’ici”

In a year of rock numbers and shouty ballads, Austria’s sweet little ditty stands out like sore thumb… a sore thumb covered in pink rose petals. Zoë possesses a voice from heaven and the organic instrumentation elevates the song to a higher ground. If she can swap the wedding look with some thing a bit more Alice in Wonderland, I can see this going top ten. (Edd)

SONG 25: United Kingdom — Joe & Jake with “You’re Not Alone”

And the awards for being the most adorable contestants go to… dadadamm.. Joe and Jake! And I honestly don’t get this everlasting hate towards UK! People were whining about the internal selection, so the BBC threw a national final. And then people started whining about “the lack of quality”. Take a chill pill! “You’re not alone” is a sweet song, performed by even sweeter guys. And a well deserved winner of You Decide. J&J practically ooze charm and are beyond likeable. I’m rooting for this and for the UK. Bam! (Kristin)

SONG 26: Armenia — Iveta Mukuchyan with “LoveWave”

LoveWave” is an absolute mindfuck of a song. One moment it’s pulling me one way and then the next it drags me in a completely different direction. The song has so many twists and turns that it’s impossible to predict what comes next. This unpredictability is likely to be both the song’s greatest strength and its biggest weakness. At certain points I’ve goose bumps, but I’m taken on such an epic journey that by the time the ending comes it feels like an anti-climax. There’s a chance that the this unconventional trajectory may alienate viewers. As for me, I’m left thrilled and thirsty for more. (Padraig)

READ ALL OF OUR EUROVISION 2016 REVIEWS.

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CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

EXCELLENT!!!

Revenge is sweet, no? Forced out of ESC 2015 by war, and Ukraine comes back roaring. 🙂

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

They’re doing it MF/UMK style.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

My top 10:

9.63 Ukraine
9.54 France
9.54 Italy
9.53 Russia
9.51 Australia
9.51 Spain
9.50 Serbia
9.50 Austria
9.47 Netherlands
9.44 Armenia

Pollaski
Guest
Pollaski

Final Rankings

1. Spain
2. Australia
3. Belgium
4. Bulgaria
5. Netherlands
6. Israel
7. Cyprus
8. Austria
9. Serbia
10. Malta
11. Czech Republic
12. Latvia
13. Croatia
14. Armenia
15. United Kingdom
16. Sweden
17. France
18. Ukraine
19. Italy
20. Germany
21. Poland
22. Russia
23. Hungary
24. Azerbaijan
25. Georgia
26. Lithuania

jeanette
Guest
jeanette

the most beautiful songs:
CZECH REPUBLIC,ISRAEL,NETHERLANDS,CROATIA

Colin
Guest
Colin

My ranking of the finalists after seeing the performances. What a strong finals it is! I love, like or at least respect enough all entries and may the best one (according to the majority) win tonight! 1. Croatia (2’nd overall) 2. Netherlands (3’rd overall) 3. Czech Republic (5’th overall) 4. Austria (6’th overall) 5. Germany (7’th overall) 6. Serbia (8’th overall) 7. France (9’th overall) 8. Georgia (10’th overall) 9. Armenia (12’th overall) 10. Italy (13’th overall) 11. Hungary (14’th overall) 12. Spain (15’th overall) 13. Belgium (17’th overall) 14. Ukraine (18’th overall) 15. Poland (19’th overall) 16. Australia (20’th… Read more »

Just me
Guest
Just me

It is strange that Jamala sings for Ukraine.
The song is about the Crimea, in 1944 it was Russia. And she should sing it from Russia. This song is a simple manipulation. And it is very sad that such a song illiterate missed out on the ESC.

Just me
Guest
Just me

It is strange that Jamal sings for Ukraine.
The song is about the Crimea, in 1944 it was Russia. And she should sing it from Russia. This song is a simple manipulation. And it is very sad that such a song illiterate missed out on the ESC.

Siki
Guest
Siki

Agree with Colin. No bad entries.

I wouldn’t like it if Armenia, or Ukraine won though because they couldn’t stick to the topic of the contest. I hate it when people go off topic. But I wish them well, and a high placement. Just not winning.

@EugeneESCUK
Guest

I think it is out of Russia, Australia and Ukraine and really ANY one of these 3 could win. They have been in my Top 5 since Deadline Day mid-March. France and Sweden are not in the picture for me.

My winner is RUSSIA

So this is my Top 10 in alphabetical order :-

ARMENIA
AUSTRALIA
BULGARIA
FRANCE
ITALY
LATVIA
MALTA
RUSSIA
SWEDEN
UKRAINE

sonic0201
Guest
sonic0201

@AN
Polish entries always have huge viewcount on youtube. Leave Poland out, and that Top 10 looks realistic.

Colin
Guest
Colin

I would like to see Netherlands, Czech Republic, Austria or Croatia win. Out of 4 betting odds favorites, I prefer France, but all songs are okay. There are no bad entries in this finals. My least favorite would probably be Latvia, but that’s only because it’s not my type of music, although it is okay. All bad entries were already eliminated. Good luck to all and may the best one (according to the majority) win!

Kelet
Guest
Kelet

Tonight is Barei, is the night of Spain for Europe #Barei12points

AN
Guest
AN

For those curious, Ive ranked all of the finalists concerning: 1) Number of views on the official eurovision channel on their semi performance. 2) Proportion of likes/dislikes on said video 3) oddschecker bets as of this moment After combining all the ranks and ranking the countries again, this is the top 10 that i got 🙂 1)Australia 2)Russia 3)Ukraine 4)Armenia 5)Netherlands 6)Poland 7)Bulgaria 8)Latvia 9)Hungary 10)France And the bottom 5 are: 22)Israel 23)Azerbaijan 24)Germany 26)UK 27)Georgia Obviosuly this cannot be correct because youtube views are bias (citizens of the country watching their own contestant and the inability to vote for… Read more »

Mei International
Guest
Mei International

there are so many great songs this year! Hard to tell who will be the winner even with the betting odds (is that always a clear indicator?) as well as who will be on the bottom of the left (i have my own suspicions…lookin at you hungary) but still. and if the firs 2 semis are a taste of what’s to come, and justin timberlake, we are in for a treat tonight! have a fun time tonight europe!

PhysalisFranchetti
Guest

@Warthog – I have a very similar list…….
Poland<3<3<3<3<3, The Netherlands<3<3<3<3, Malta & Austria

Rock Me
Guest
Rock Me

Ukraine is my winner.Gonna vote.

Darren
Guest
Darren

@Pollaski
Of course yeah, I completely agree. No matter what position they get, Czech Republic has already got its best placing ever, even if they come last and they did honestly deserve to qualify. Its a decent song.

Pollaski
Guest
Pollaski

@Darren

Fair enough. I don’t know what expectations Gabriella herself has, but I think the Czechs as a whole are in pure “happy to be here” mode. For the first time EVER, they’re taking the stage on Saturday night. I think its awesome to just see one of the contest’s perennial butt-monkeys finally break through (and deservedly so!)

Siki
Guest
Siki

” I don’t care about optical effects or 4D visuals trying to uplift a mediocre product.” A-MEN!

Darren
Guest
Darren

@Pollaski
Good point actually. Plus now they have their neighbors with them in the Grand Final, I guess they could break the teens.

Ill replace Georgia with Czech Republic in my bottom 5 then. The Netherlands could also place literally anywhere on the field but it wont break Top 5, it will not do as good as The Common Linnets in 2014, I predict 15th but its could be anywhere really, even the bottom.

Amdiron
Guest
Amdiron

I hope we will have some OK result – Czech republic, 2nd ten would be acceptable and great for me. And as a winner I want Spain or Armenia. I just hope that Russia with their dated song won’t win, and after Ukraine’s politic game I don’t want them to win too. I just can’t wait for the evening ^^

Mensch
Guest
Mensch

Bulgaria, Sweden, France or Spain for the victory.

Best songs in this SONG contest. I don’t care about optical effects or 4D visuals trying to uplift a mediocre product.

Pollaski
Guest
Pollaski

@Darren I had this thought while driving last night. DONT SLEEP ON GEORGIA. I don’t think they’re gonna win. I personally don’t like the song. But these guys qualified pretty much out of freaking nowhere. WITH ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN, AND RUSSIA ALL IN THE OTHER SEMIFINAL. Not a SINGLE one of their points buddies were there to vote for them, and they STILL wrangled Top 10. Now, granted, points are way harder to get in the Grand Final with the expanded, more difficult field, but the fact that they qualified without their regional buddies help speaks volumes- I wouldn’t be shocked… Read more »

Warthog
Guest
Warthog

I understnd that Russia is a favourite because of an OK song, good performer and amazing graphics. I can get what makes Australia a favourite too – good performer with a memorable voice and a not bad song. Armenia also has a blend of factors that allow it to score high in Eurovision (not necessairly in many other music competitions though). But Ukraine? An overacted, political entry based on the interpretation that Ukraine is a victim while it only requires a very basic knowledge of history to know it different. Just learn what that guys were doing during WWII and… Read more »

Kenneth
Guest
Kenneth

When we talk about Russia, Armenia, Australia, Ukraine as the main favorites, we are focusing on good (best) stagings, but…have these songs become popular around all Europe & Australia? Will people pick up their phones massively to vote for these songs just because their good presentations on stage? I’m very doubtful about this possibility.

We love stars, flowers, pyros, copied visuals, air fans and blue and red leds
Guest
We love stars, flowers, pyros, copied visuals, air fans and blue and red leds

I havent decided my vote yet, I will do it obviously after the show. It WONT definitively be for Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan nor Ukraine due to obvious reasons. It wont be Australia either because it’s too typical for this contest and would feed the contest haters instead of winning new followers.
I will vote for that song which make me FEEL something, either cheer or goose bumps. A memmorable song we can all remember cheerfully in some years and we dont forget the following day. Clearly memmorabie for me this year as a fan are France, Bulgaria and Spain.

gggggggggggggggggg
Guest
gggggggggggggggggg

Every song is beautiful in it’s own way, but some of them are way overrated, like Russia for example, there are much better songs on this contest. It’s not all about staging and graphics. Some countries are underrated like Croatia, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Serbia…This year’s contest is so political. hate that.

Darren
Guest
Darren

Its going to be a really great final, there is so many good songs in the mix, however, this year, my votes go to France and Bulgaria, they have been my favorites since national selection season and Im not getting bored with them yet, I also think they are two of a very few songs that will have life after this contest. I also like Sweden this year too, but just not enough to vote for it and I would like to see somebody else win. as for the other favourites Russia – I think Russia is very overhyped this… Read more »

Jon Smith
Guest
Jon Smith

RUSSIA

Jon Smith
Guest
Jon Smith

RUSSIA THE WINEEERRRRRRRRRR……………….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ben Rafter
Guest
Ben Rafter

Isn’t Douwe Bob bi or gay (he looks it) and he mocked Hovi. What an asshole.

Pollaski
Guest
Pollaski

@KK

Its still a historical song, and not a political one. Just because the history is happening right now, doesn’t make it any less history.

Furthermore, it takes a pretty disgusting individual to think a song about an invasion and massacre is a bigger atrocity than the invasion and massacre themselves. Please check your priorities.

KK
Guest
KK

@Wiwibloggs, please write about Jamala’s interview to the Guardian. It’s worth discussing, as it turned out the song is as well political, not just historical. She says the song is also about Crimea annexation. Will she be disqualified? Does EBU take this interview into consideration? http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/may/13/eurovision-2016-ukraine-singer-urges-vote-for-crimean-ballad

Pollaski
Guest
Pollaski

Pollaski’s pre show rankings

1. Spain
2. Belgium
3. Australia
4. Bulgaria
5. France
6. Israel
7. Cyprus
8. Netherlands
9. Croatia
10. Austria
11. Serbia
12. Malta
13. Italy
14. Czech Republic
15. Germany
16. United Kingdom
17. Ukraine
18. Latvia
19. Sweden
20. Armenia
21. Poland
22. Azerbaijan
23. Russia
24. Hungary
25. Lithuania
26. Georgia

Siki
Guest
Siki

Oh, and go Bulgaria, Israel, and Croatia! :*

Thomas
Guest
Thomas

Lets go Croatia, 12 points from Germany !

Siki
Guest
Siki

Australia surfaced as one of the favorites, which I do and don’t get.

I get how Dami Im is a favorite, because she’s amazing.

I don’t get how Sound of Silence is a favorite, because it’s mediocre.

Idk, good performance can’t fix a song for me. I still just like the songs I liked.

saschee
Guest
saschee

You guys have a bad taste: Croatia,Spain,Latva,Australia, Hungary the worst??? Now I really believe you said that to upset people so you get more commets. There is no way you run a site about Eurovision and you have such a crappy musical taste,sorry

Davit
Guest
Davit

Fortunately the winner will be chosen by 20 million televoters and 210 jury-members, not the dozen of haters that leave thousands of comments everywhere and I already know them one by one. The winner is Russia. CONGRATULATIONS!

Harleys
Guest
Harleys

Belgium will be top 10. They always are if they qualify because of West European votes.

Czech will fail :'( but I don’t want them to.. Same for the netherlands I think