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When is Eurovision semi-finals 2022? Who is UK entry Sam Ryder, odds - is Ukraine competing in Italy?

Eurovision will return to Italy in 2022, with Ukraine’s performance in the spotlight amid world events

It's one of the musical year's highlights, a night of unabashed pop music pomp and ceremony.

Yes, Eurovision is approaching once again.

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After the concert was cancelled in 2020, the competition was held in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in 2021, and Italy's rock band Maneskin won with their song ‘Zitti E Buoni.’

This year's Song Contest is being conducted in the country that won previous year's competition, as is customary.

Here is everything you need to know about it.

Where is Eurovision 2022 being held?

The grand final will take place in Turin in northern Italy.

It will emenate from the Palasport Olimpico, an indoor arena which has hosted concerts by stars such as Bob Dylan, Madonna, Rihanna, U2, Lana Del Rey, Ariana Grande, and Shakira.

When is the Eurovision Song Contest 2022?

As is the usual format of the Contest, the grand final will be preceded by two semi-finals, which will determine which acts get to perform at the main event.

The two semi-finals will be held on Tuesday 10 and Thursday 12 May, with the final on Saturday 14 May 2022.

Who is presenting it?

(L-R) Mika, Laura Pausini and Alessandro Cattelan at the 72nd Sanremo Music Festival 2022 in February 2022 (Photo: D.Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images )

The live shows will be hosted by Alessandro Cattelan - an Italian television presenter who hosted the Italian version of The X Factor from 2011 to 2020 - singer Laura Pausini and Lebanese-British singer Mika, famous for his song, ‘Grace Kelly’.

Who is the UK’s entry?

TikTok star Sam Ryder has been announced as the UK entry for the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest.

Ryder found fame covering songs on TikTok during lockdown and has so far accumulated 12 million followers, making him the most followed UK music artist on the platform, according to the BBC.

When the world went into lockdown in March 2020, Ryder began uploading covers to TikTok which caught the attention of global stars including Justin Bieber and Alicia Keys.

He later signed to the Parlophone record label, part of Warner Music Group, and released his debut EP ‘The Sun’s Gonna Rise’ in 2021.

Singles from the record, ‘Whirlwind’ and ‘Tiny Riot’, enjoyed great success and he has also recently completed his first UK tour.

The singer-songwriter will perform the track ‘Space Man’, which he co-wrote with Grammy-winning songwriter Amy Wadge, who has previously worked with Ed Sheeran and Max Wolfgang.

Ryder was selected to compete for the UK in a collaboration between the BBC and global music management company TaP Music, which counts Lana Del Rey and Ellie Goulding among its clients.

Which countries are competing?

Italy’s Maneskin were last year’s winners, hence Eurovision 2022 being held in Turin (Photo: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)

A total of 40 countries will be participating in the 2022 contest.

This includes all countries that participated in the 2021 contest (barring one major exception), along with Armenia and Montenegro, both of which had last taken part in 2019.

Will Russia be competing?

Russia will not be participating in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest following the invasion of Ukraine.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said in a statement that the inclusion of a Russian entry would bring the contest into “disrepute”.

Eurovision had previously said it intended to allow Russia to compete but faced strong criticism from state broadcasters in countries including Iceland, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands.

Russia had not yet announced its act for 2022. It won in 2008 with Dima Bilan singing ‘Believe’, and in turn hosted the 2009 contest in Moscow.

The country made its debut in 1994 and remains among the most successful countries at the contest, coming second four times and third four times.

Will Ukraine be competing?

Ukraine could win thanks to sympathetic voting - here’s German Eurovision hopeful Malik Harris holding up his guitar (Photo: Gerald Matzka/Getty Images)

Ukraine are set to compete at this year’s contest, and are actually favourites to win, given that the voting system’s political nature is likely to be highly sympathetic to the country in light of recent events.

There was controversy earlier in 2022 when the act originally chosen to represent Ukraine withdrew after facing scrutiny over a reported 2015 visit to Russia-occupied Crimea.

Alina Pash had been chosen in a televised national selection show and was due to perform her song ‘Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors’, but pulled out after details of the trip emerged.

A new rule was introduced starting from 2020 which bars artists who have performed in Russia since 2014 or have entered Crimea "in violation of the legislation of Ukraine" from entering the Eurovision selection process.

Pash has been replaced by rap act Kalush Orchestra with the song ‘Stefania’.

Who might win?

As noted, Ukraine are the current favourites to win the contest.

The latest odds from Oddschecker put the nation at 15/11. Italy are then in second at 37/10, followed by Sweden at 6/1.

Surprisingly, the UK are fourth in the list, with odds of 31/2. Could 2022 finally be the year we don’t hear the dreaded phrace, “nil points?”

We’ll have a full article online outlining the odds of all the contenders in due course.

How can I watch it in the UK?

Live coverage of the Eurovision 2022 semi-finals will be available in the UK through BBC Three for the first time since 2015; Scott Mills and Rylan Clark will be on commentary duty, overseeing proceedings and bringing viewers back in the UK all the action.

As for the grand final itself, confirmed details are yet to be revealed, but it has been announced that the BBC will be broadcasting live coverage of the event, as they have done in previous years.

“Further details regarding Eurovision 2022 will be announced in due course,” the BBC said. “For the latest information... follow @bbceurovision on Twitter and Instagram and BBC Eurovision on Facebook.”