The Eurovision Song Contest, one of the longest-running and most-watched non-sporting events in the world returns this May from Vienna, which will host the competition for the second time in the contest’s history following Conchita Wurst’s victory in Denmark last year when she won the 59th contest with her song Rise Like A Phoenix.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the competition, with a total of 40 countries competing in the contest, which includes two semi-finals that will be broadcast on BBC Three, and the grand final, which will be broadcast on BBC One and BBC Radio 2.
As one of the ‘Big Five’ countries (UK, Spain, Germany, France, Italy), the United Kingdom does not have to perform at the semi-final stage of the competition and will gain automatic access to the Saturday grand final. Austria, as the incumbent champion, and Australia, who have been invited to perform as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations, will also not perform at the semi-final stage.
Flying the flag for the United Kingdom on the night of the grand final will be Electro Velvet, a musical duo consisting of Alex Larke and Bianca Nicholas, who will perform the song Still In Love With You.
Semi Final One – Tuesday 19 May
Semi Final One will be broadcast live on BBC Three, where the first group of countries will compete for a place in Saturday’s grand final. The 16 countries competing tonight will be Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, FYR Macedonia, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia and The Netherlands. Scott Mills and Mel Giedroyc will host BBC Three coverage of the first semi-final live from Vienna.
Semi Final Two – Thursday 21 May
The second semi-final will take place on Thursday 21 May and will be broadcast live on BBC Three. Acts from Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland will all take to the stage tonight in a bid to reach the grand final on Saturday Night. Scott Mills and Mel Giedroyc will host BBC Three coverage of the second semi-final live from Vienna. Viewers in the United Kingdom will be able to vote for other countries in this semi-final.
The Jury Final – Friday 22 May
All qualified countries, including those automatically through to the grand final will perform and each national jury will award their scores based on this performance. The Jury Final is not televised.
The Grand Final – Saturday 23 May
Broadcast live on BBC One and BBC Radio 2, the qualifying acts from the semi-finals will join Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom in the grand final of the 60th Eurovision Song Contest live from the Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna, Austria. Graham Norton will provide the commentary for BBC One and Ken Bruce will commentate on BBC Radio 2.
BBC Radio 2
Tune in to Radio 2 Eurovision from Thursday 21 May to Sunday 24 May by visiting the pop-up digital radio at bbc.co.uk/eurovision for extensive coverage, and listen via the BBC iPlayer Radio App and UK Radio Player. Follow @R2Eurovision on Twitter for the latest news and photos from Vienna and all the action and reaction from the contest.
The digital radio pop-up service, which launched for the first time last year, will offer Eurovision fans the most comprehensive coverage of the song contest to date, with a mix of live shows, interviews and musical treats in the 60th anniversary year of the famous competition.
For more details go to: bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2015/r2-eurovision-returns
A full schedule of the Radio 2 Eurovision digital pop-up service will be available shortly.
As well as broadcasting this year’s semi-finals on BBC Three and the grand final on BBC One and BBC Radio 2, BBC Four will broadcast Eurovision At 60, a special documentary looking back at the history of the contest.
The programme will chart the rise of the contest from the very first competition featuring just seven countries and then known as the ‘Eurovision Grand Prix’ to its current status today as one of the most-watched television programmes in the world with an estimated global audience of 195 million.