Eurovision grand final will conclude this year’s contest

The grand final marks the end of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest which has been mired in controversy.

The televised final on Saturday at the Malmo Arena in Sweden will see the big five countries, UK, France, Spain, Germany and Italy, joined by reigning champions Sweden and 20 qualifying countries to perform in a bid to win the title.

It is not yet known whether Netherlands entrant Joost Klein will perform, having missed two scheduled dress rehearsal’s on Friday while an investigation into an unspecified “incident” was carried out.

The 26-year-old Dutch rapper and singer qualified with his up-tempo song Europapa, a tribute to his late parents.

Among the other acts who qualified during the semi-finals was Israeli contestant Eden Golan, whose participation in the wake of the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza has been a point of debate.

Her emotional song Hurricane was reworked from a previous track called October Rain, which was thought to reference the Hamas attacks on Israel that sparked the conflict.

Eurovision 2024
Irish entrant Bambie Thug rehearsing Doomsday Blue (EBU/Sarah-Louise Bennett/PA)

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, whose mother Malena Ernman represented Sweden at Eurovision in 2009, joined pro-Palestinian protesters on the streets of Malmo calling for a boycott of the competition.

On X, Thunberg claimed Israel is trying to “artwash” Eurovision, referencing the use of artistic performance to distract from perceived negative actions by people, groups, governments or countries.

“We will not accept that a country currently committing genocide is allowed a platform to artwash themselves.

“The world cannot remain silent in a genocide,” the 21-year-old said.

Israel has strongly denied any accusations of genocide, and has maintained that it has the right to defend itself following the attacks launched by Hamas in October that saw more than 1,000 Israelis killed and kidnapped.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “proud” of Golan for participating in the competition, while UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hit out at the demonstrations saying they were “wrong” and “unfair”, according to a spokesperson.

UK contestant Olly Alexander, who is the lead singer of pop band Years And Years, is hoping to impress in the final with his song Dizzy featuring an upside-down dressing room staging and cameras rotating to create a spinning feel.

Meanwhile Irish entry Bambie Thug also landed a place in the grand final, which makes them the first Irish finalist since 2018 following a vote for their performance of Doomsday Blue.

Among the favourite acts entering the final is Swedish duo Marcus and Martinus with their track Unforgettable.

Sweden is hosting the competition following the victory of its singer Loreen in Liverpool last year, and it is also the 50-year anniversary of Abba giving Sweden its first win with their hit song Waterloo.

Irish presenter Graham Norton will host coverage of the event live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, while Scott Mills and Rylan Clark will lead commentary on BBC Radio 2.

The grand final will be broadcast live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer at 8pm on Saturday.