Arts

A Guide to Eurovision 2024

A Croatian techno-rocker named Baby Lasagna strutting onto TV screens worldwide? It must be time for the Eurovision Song Contest.

Since 1956, Eurovision has been pitting countries against each other in a fierce battle of over-the-top pop music, outlandish costumes and go-for-broke stagings. Fans of minimalism should abstain, because at Eurovision, even a modest ballad can be performed with wind machines, fur-lined capes or musicians playing upside down in a gigantic hamster wheel.

The format is fairly simple: Each country chooses an act to represent it, and those acts perform live in two semifinals and one “grand final.” After the performances, the audience at home gets to vote and someone is crowned. The combined broadcasts are wildly popular: Last year, they reached 162 million people around the world.

Here’s a rundown of this year’s hotly tipped acts, advice on how to watch from the United States and why the event is being hosted in Sweden this year.

How does Eurovision work?

Malin Akerman and Petra Mede, the hosts of this year’s contest, during the semi-final on Tuesday.Credit…Jessica Gow/EPA, via Shutterstock

Baby Lasagna is one of 37 acts competing in this year’s edition, which is organized, as usual, by the Switzerland-based European Broadcasting Union, or E.B.U. As the number of participating countries expanded over the decades, the E.B.U. set up two semifinals to winnow the field; the first took place on Tuesday, and the second happens Thursday.

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