Spring is in the air and so too is the scent of patriotic pyrotechnics, sweat-soaked costumes, and smoke machines. The Eurovision Song Contest 2022 will be held in Turin following Italy’s triumph at last year’s competition. This year’s event is set to kick off with the first semi-final on 10 May, followed by a second semi-final on the 12th and the grand final on Saturday the 14th. In 2021, the Italian rock band Måneskin were crowned the winners with their song ‘Zitti E Buoni’. Måneskin shot to global fame after their success at last year’s Eurovision, an important homecoming for the competition after the COVID related cancellation of the event in 2020. Their songs ‘Beggin,’ and ‘I Wanna be Your Slave’ both reigned supreme among the top 20 most popular songs in the world following their win and their three biggest songs were streamed over 433 million times on Spotify in the month of July 2021 alone. Of course, Britain sadly received “nil points” for James Newman’s disappointing entry ‘Embers.’ However, this year hope can return to the hearts of Britons across the country as Tiktok star, Sam Ryder, is announced as our representative in Turin,
Ryder arrives on the continental stage after two consecutive years of Britain placing last. However, the English born singer and social media personality remains positive, saying he doesn’t “want to let the stigma or fear of coming at a certain place in a table stop me from doing something and being a part of something that I enjoy so much.” Ryder, one of the UK’s most popular singers on Tiktok with 12 million followers, is set to perform an original song ‘Space Man’ at the Grand Final. The song, a promising catchy pop anthem, in which the golden silk maned singer imagines himself as “an astronaut,” has made some fans optimistic for UK success at this year’s competition. Ryder professed on BBC Radio1 that “having been a fan of Eurovision since I was a kid I am so honoured to have been presented with the opportunity to sing at an event alongside some of Europe’s most talented creatives, performers and songwriters. I hope to sing my head off in a way the United Kingdom can be proud of.” Indeed, Eurovision is a European institution, with global recognition, launching the careers of many world-famous artists including ABBA and Céline Dion.
The world’s longest running annual TV music competition is organised to ring out from our screens sans Russia this year. The country has been banned due to its recent invasion of Ukraine despite initially being given the green light by the EBU (European Broadcasting Union), who claimed that the competition was a “non-political cultural event.” The EBU announced the ban on the 25th of February, the day after Russia invaded Ukraine in the early hours of February 24, citing that including Russia in Eurovision 2022 “would bring the competition into disrepute.”
Reflecting upon the ongoing European conflict between Russia and Ukraine which is sure to be at the forefront of competitors’ minds during their time at Eurovision, Ryder says that “the only thing I have in my power to do is remember kindness, gratitude for the opportunity and empathy.” and reminds us that “music is about sharing and connection.”
Conversely, Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra has been predicted to win Eurovision 2022 with Sam Ryder for Britain currently prophesied to rank fourth after Sweden’s Cornelia Jakobs and reigning Eurovision champion nation, Italy, with Mahmood & Blanco in second place.
This year’s competition theme is ‘The Sound of Beauty’ and will inspire Italy’s Eurovision branding as well as set design. To visually represent the theme, Italy has based their aesthetics on the symmetrical structure and patterns of cymatics – the study of sound wave phenomena. Conceived by Hans Jenny in the 1960s, a Swiss scientist and philosopher, the term ‘cymatics’ can be traced back to the ancient Greek word κῦμα (kyma), which means ‘wave.’
It seems this year, there is hope for Britain if the unspoken political grudges can be overcome by the EBU and European voters. Against the backdrop of the ongoing European conflict, Eurovision 2022, with a legacy of more than 60 years, which has brought over 1,500 songs from some 50 countries, may stand as a welcome symbol of continental unity and solidarity.