Whether there’s an Irish entry in the mix for the Grand Final or not, Eurovision is always one of the most entertaining TV and music events of the year.

So what do you need to know about 2022’s contest, which takes place this Saturday, May 14th at 8pm (RTE1 & BBC One)? Let’s set the scene with a few facts, shall we?

  1. The final will take place in the Pala Olimpico arena in the Italian city of Turin, following rock band Maneskin’s surprise victory in Rotterdam last year (remember them? There was big controversy following their win, after the lead singer was accused of being caught on camera taking drugs in the green room.)

  1. Ireland’s entry is 22-year-old Brooke Scullion from Bellaghy, Northern Ireland. Scullion’s song was selected via both a public vote and studio ‘experts’ on a Late Late Show special back in February. She wrote the song with co-writers Izzy Warner and Karl Zine. Brooke previously competed on The Voice UK in 2020, where she finished in third place
  1. Who’ll deliver the Irish votes this year? Why, only Linda Martin - because it’s thirty years since her victory with ‘Why Me.’
  1. This is the 66th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, which began in 1956 and was held annually until 2020 (we all know what happened that year.
  1. 40 acts will compete for their place in the Grand Final, but only 25 will make it through to the final. This year’s favourites are Ukraine. And you might notice a major nation missing from the contest this year: Russia has been banned from the 2022 contest because of its invasion of Ukraine.

  1. The usual ‘Big 5’ countries have gained automatic qualification to the final: France, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain and Italy. These countries have made the biggest financial contributions to the European Broadcasting Union, so they go straight through. Fair? Who said anything about fair?!
  1. The final will be hosted Italian television presenter Alessandro Cattelan, singer Laura Pausini and Lebanese-British singer Mika (of ‘Grace Kelly’ and ‘Love Today’ fame). Marty Whelan will provide the commentary on RTE, while Graham Norton will commentate for the BBC.
  1. The theme for this year’s contest is ‘The Sound of Beauty’, while the logo incorporates both the visual properties of sound as well as the colours of the Italian flag.

  1. What about the interval and other entertainment? Rock band Maneskin will perform their new song ‘Supermodel’, Italian singer Gigliola Cinquetti (who won Eurovision for Italy in 1964) will perform her winning song ‘Non ho l’eta’, and co-presenter and singer Mika will perform a medley. The opening act will include the Rockin’ 1000 ensemble, who are well-known for their large-scale performances of famous rock songs.

  2. Just in case you needed a reminder: Ireland’s last Eurovision victory was wayyyy back in 1996, with Eimear Quinn’s ‘The Voice’. The last time we even qualified for the final was in 2018. Can Brooke do it for us this year? We can but hope. C’mon, Brooke! C’mon, Ireland!