Eurovision 2018 to focus on the music, not the glitz

Eurovision top image

Eurovision top image

But the song contest was not without its drama as protesters stormed the stage during the UK's entry, wrangling the microphone from singer SuRie and garbling something controversial into the microphone about "demanding freedom".

Noway's Alexander Rybak is a previous Eurovision victor, but he seems unlikely to make it to the top a second time with his offering this year, That's How You Write A Song.

The performance was going well on the night... that was before a stage intruder interrupted the performance mid-song, shouting a now unclear message into the microphone which was snatched from the British representative.

Tonight's final is the climax of the week-long Eurovision contest, which has already seen its share of controversy and surprises. "You want to get the party going", Bjorkman said.

The show, watched by millions around the world, got underway at the riverside Altice Arena with performances by Portuguese fado stars Ana Moura and Mariza, a willowy singer with bleached blonde hair.

Ukrainian entry MELOVIN was the first contestant up on Saturday night with his song "Under The Ladder".

But Portugal - which hosting this year's event because its entry, Salvador Sobral, won with a restrained solo ballad last year in Ukraine - is putting on a show with stylish, elegant performances by a strong field of competitors. After MELOVIN, it was Spain's turn.

The annual Euro-pop fest has always been the glittery home of outlandish costumes, high-voltage stage effects, forgettable tunes and kitschy acts like last year's dancing gorilla.

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Italy has a powerful anti-war song that lists numerous terror attacks that have blighted the world in recent years.

Cash-strapped public broadcaster RTP has vowed to stage a more "theatrical" contest that makes less use of flashy electronic visual effects, following in the footsteps of Sobral who said after his win that "music is not fireworks, music is feeling".

The "big five", France, Germany, Spain, Italy and United Kingdom all automatically qualified for the final as they made the biggest financial contribution to the competition. K., as well as the host country.

Meanwhile Israel's Netta Barzilai, with her feminist-inspired song Toy, is the second favourite to win.

This year saw the return to competition of Russian Federation, a traditional favorite, after missing last year's event amid a diplomatic spat with host Ukraine.

A lot of thought went into the lineup for the Eurovision Song Contest's Grand Final.

The event started out as a competition between European countries, but its huge popularity has led to the inclusion of Israel and Australia as contestants.

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