Eurovision 2022: Who are the favourites and what are the UK’s chances?

As Eurovision 2022 kicks off, we're looking at this year's favourites ahead of the first semi-final

With the evenings getting brighter, the jingling of iced coffees soundtracking our mornings, and the faint aroma of factor 50 filling the air, one thing is clear – Eurovision season is finally here. Yes, tonight some 26 countries will begin the week-long battle to be crowned Eurovision champs and with it comes some of the best (and naturally, some of the worst…) songs from Europe, sort-of Europe and definitely-nowhere-near Europe.

Here we take a look at what songs are proving popular in the early judging, and see where the Eurovision Song Contest might be heading in 2023 as a result.

1. Ukraine | Kalush Orchestra – ‘Stefania’

Kalush Orchestra - Stefania - Ukraine 🇺🇦 - Official Music Video - Eurovision 2022

While the Eurovision might just seem like a song contest, it has become an increasingly politicised platform so it’s no surprise that as war rages in Ukraine, their representatives are the odds-on favourites to win this year.

Kalush Orchestra have received special permission to leave Ukraine to perform their song ‘Stefania’ which is a blend of hip hop and traditional Ukrainian music. Expect a near universal show of support. And since Russia aren’t competing this year, the battle for nil points is likely to be far more interesting.

2. Italy | Mahmood & Blanco – ‘Brividi’

Mahmood & BLANCO - Brividi - Italy 🇮🇹 - Official Music Video - Eurovision 2022

Off the back of one of the most popular Eurovision winning songs, which means Italy will be performing in their own back yard, could it be back-to-back wins for the host?

Another strong contender for this year’s title is Italian duo Mahmood and Blanco who will be performing ‘Brividi’. The pair are already chart-toppers in their home country and have been tipped by many song content correspondents as ones to watch.

3. Sweden | Cornelia Jakobs – ‘Hold Me Closer’

Cornelia Jakobs - Hold Me Closer - Sweden 🇸🇪 - Official Music Video - Eurovision 2022

Sweden are always a part of the conversation when it comes to Eurovision and this year is no different. Cornelia Jakobs was chosen at Sweden’s national selection contest Melodifestivalen to represent the country with ‘Hold Me Closer’.

While the song has all the pop edge you’d expect from a Swedish entry, it’s Jakobs’ vocals that have proven popular in early judging. If the singer does manage to take home the top spot, Sweden will be hosting the song contest in 2023 for the third time in a decade… impressive.

4. United Kingdom | Sam Ryder – ‘SPACE MAN’

Sam Ryder - SPACE MAN - United Kingdom 🇬🇧 - Official Music Video - Eurovision 2022

Naturally, we’re keeping our eye on this year’s UK entrant Sam Ryder and delightfully, we didn’t have to look that far down the list as Ryder’s song ‘SPACE MAN’ is proving an early hit amongst judges and fans.

Already a huge star on TikTok with 12 million followers, many pundits (yes, there are Eurovision pundits) are saying Sam is the best entrant we’ve had in years with early predictions suggesting we could even see a top five result for the UK.

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest final takes place on Saturday, May 13.