Fans of key changes, pyrotechnics and nonsensical lyrics are getting ready for their equivalent of the World Cup, taking place in Lisbon, Portugal this week, the first time the country has hosted the competition. The 63rd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals start Tuesday and continue this Thursday, with the singing competition's grand finals on Saturday.
Each year, the contest is hosted by the previous year's winner, with an audience estimated to be around 180 million people worldwide. The contest helped launch the careers of Abba and Celine Dion, and is known for its idiosyncratic, over-the-top performances.
Salvador Sobral won on behalf of Portugal last year with an understated but emotional performance of his song "Amar Pelos Dois." After winning, Sobral decried what he called "fast-food music," a seeming swipe at the cheeseball pop that is Eurovision's bread-and-butter.
He told the crowd at the time that his win "could be a victory for ... people that make music that actually means something. Music is not fireworks, music is feeling. So let's try to change this and bring music back, which is really what matters."
Despite Sobral's overtures to the higher-brow and the progress to that end his win represented, it appears it could be a short-lived victory — most of this year's favorites to win fall firmly into the category of campy, classically Eurovision, pop.