Eurovision Song Contest 2017: UK entry, dates, favourites - everything you need to know

UK entry, dates, favourites - everything you need to know about this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

Get your drinking games at the ready, office sweepstake sorted and grab the sparkliest item of clothing to hand... Eurovision 2017 is just around the corner! Here are all the details you need to know about this year's contest.

Where is it being held and on what dates?

After Jamala's win for Ukraine in the 2016 Contest, ESC 2017 will come from the country's capital of Kiev, specifically the International Exhibition Center. The competition's two semi-finals will take place on May 9 and 11, while the final itself is on Saturday May 13. This marks the second time Ukraine have held the contest; the last time was in Kiev's Palace of Sports in 2005.

Where can I watch it?

UK viewers can watch the semi-finals on BBC Four at 8pm each evening, while the grand final will be broadcast live on BBC One from 7pm. Fans in the Republic of Ireland can soak up the semis action on RTÉ2 and the big finale on RTÉ One.

For a sneak preview of what's to come, Scott Mills has already held a Eurovision party and you were all invited. What do you mean you missed it?

Who are the UK commentators?

Speaking of Scott, the BBC Radio 1 DJ will return for a seventh year as semi-finals host on the BBC, joined for the third year running the brilliantly funny Mel Giedroyc. Graham Norton guides the bonkers ship for the final and is into his ninth show as UK commentator.

For those of you who are more about the songs and less about the outlandish outfits, spontaneous dancing and overuse of wind machines, you can listen along to Ken Bruce's commentary on BBC Radio 2.

MORE: Test your Eurovision knowledge with our tricky Eurovish quiz

Who will be reading out our jury points?

"Good evening Kiev. Thank you so much for a delightful, stunning and extravagant evening!" None other than Katrina and the Waves legend Katrina Leskanich will be reading out the UK jury votes for #ESC2017, and what a genius choice from the BBC - Katrina was the UK's last winner back in 1997. Hopefully love will shine a light on Lucie this year. We'll not hold our breath...

Who will be flying the flag for the UK?

Now that we've gotten the broadcasters out of the way...

None other than former X Factor contestant Lucie Jones will be wrapped in the Union Jack come May 13 when she performs Never Give Up On You, a theatrical ballad written by Eurovision 2013 winner Emellie de Forest. Her track was the first Danish song to win for 12 years and hit the UK Top 20. Solid credentials!

Lucie fought off competition from five other former X Factor/The Voice UK contestants in the Eurovision: You Decide public vote in January 2017 and is the UK's 60th ever entrant into Eurovision.

MORE: Here's where every UK Eurovision entry has charted in the UK

She is also the eighth Welsh singer to participate for the UK, joining the likes of Mary Hopkin, Brotherhood of Mann's Nicky Stevens (the only Welsh person to win ESC), Bonnie Tyler, and Joe Woolford of 2016's entrants Joe & Jake.

Since X Factor, Lucie has acted in TV shows such as The Sarah Jane Adventures, Midsomer Murders and while she has taken in theatre productions such as Rent, We Will Rock You, Legally Blonde, Ghost the Musical and Les Miserables. If anyone can belt out an emotional musical number, it's Lucie!

Remember this lot? Look through every UK entrant ever below in our gallery:

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MORE: Look back over every UK Eurovision Song Contest entry

Do we need to qualify for the final?

Due to the UK being one of 'The Big Five', the five leading financial backers of the European Broadcasting Union that all participating countries are members of, the UK are spared semi-final embarrassment and book their ticket to the grand finale with Spain, Italy, France and Germany who also put the most dosh in. Ukraine as last year's winners also automatically qualify.

While we do guarantee a lucrative spot, Lucie will lose performance time as all semi-finalists who make the final get two TV slots, where as Lucie will only get one. Will this impact us? Who knows!

Who does have to qualify? 

The remaining 36 participating countries not mentioned above will have to duke it out in the semi-finals, with 18 set to battle it out in each heat. Australia are back as they are EBU members while Russia are the most notable absentees. Their representative was banned for Ukraine due political conflict between the two nations and instead of selecting a new entry, Russia pulled out. 

The other participating nations, in semi-final performance order are:

Semi-final 1:

1. Sweden: Robin Bengtsson – 'I Can't Go On'
2. Georgia: Tamara Gachechiladze – 'Keep the Faith'
3. Australia: Isaiah – 'Don't Come Easy'
4. Albania: Lindita – 'World'
5. Belgium: Blanche – 'City Lights'
6. Montenegro: Slavko Kalezić – 'Space'
7. Finland: Norma John – 'Blackbird'
8. Azerbaijan: Dihaj – 'Skeletons'
9. Portugal: Salvador Sobral – 'Amar Pelos Dois'
10. Greece: Demy – 'This Is Love'
11. Poland: Kasia Moś – 'Flashlight'
12. Moldova: Sunstroke Project – 'Hey, Mamma!'
13. Iceland: Svala – 'Paper'
14. Czech Republic: Martina Bárta – 'My Turn'
15. Cyprus: Hovig – 'Gravity'
16. Armenia: Artsvik – 'Fly with Me'
17. Slovenia: Omar Naber – 'On My Way'
18. Latvia: Triana Park – 'Line'

UPDATE: After the first semi-final, Sweden, Australia, Belgium, Azerbaijan, Portugal, Greece, Poland, Moldova, Cyprus and Armenia all qualified for Saturday's final.

MORE: The Common Linnets talk life after Eurovision - interview

Semi-final 2:

1. Serbia: Tijana Bogićević – 'In Too Deep'
2. Austria: Nathan Trent – 'Running on Air'
3. Macedonia: Jana Burčeska – 'Dance Alone'
4. Malta: Claudia Faniello – 'Breathlessly'
5. Romania: Ilinca and Alex Florea – 'Yodel It!'
6. Netherlands: O'G3NE - 'Lights and Shadows'
7. Hungary: Joci Pápai – 'Origo'
8. Denmark: Anja – 'Where I Am'
9. Ireland: Brendan Murray – 'Dying to Try'
10. San Marino: Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson – 'Spirit of the Night'
11. Croatia: Jacques Houdek – 'My Friend'
12. Norway: JOWST5 – 'Grab the Moment'
13. Switzerland: Timebelle – 'Apollo'
14. Belarus: Naviband – 'Story of My Life'
15. Bulgaria: Kristian Kostov – 'Beautiful Mess'
16. Lithuania: Fusedmarc – 'Rain of Revolution'
17. Estonia: Koit Toome and Laura – 'Verona'
18. Israel: IMRI – 'I Feel Alive'

UPDATE: After the second semi final, Bulgaria, Belarus, Croatia, Hungary, Denmark, Israel, Romania, Norway, The Netherlands and Austria all qualified for the final. 

The acts through to the Eurovision final are:

Sweden: Robin Bengtsson – 'I Can't Go On'
Australia: Isaiah – 'Don't Come Easy'
Belgium: Blanche – 'City Lights'
Azerbaijan: Dihaj – 'Skeletons'
Portugal: Salvador Sobral – 'Amar Pelos Dois'
Greece: Demy – 'This Is Love'
Poland: Kasia Moś – 'Flashlight'
Moldova: Sunstroke Project – 'Hey, Mamma!'
Cyprus: Hovig – 'Gravity'
Armenia: Artsvik – 'Fly with Me'
Austria: Nathan Trent – 'Running on Air'
Romania: Ilinca and Alex Florea – 'Yodel It!'
Netherlands: O'G3NE - 'Lights and Shadows'
Hungary: Joci Pápai – 'Origo'
Denmark: Anja – 'Where I Am'
Croatia: Jacques Houdek – 'My Friend'
Norway: JOWST5 – 'Grab the Moment'
Belarus: Naviband – 'Story of My Life'
Bulgaria: Kristian Kostov – 'Beautiful Mess'
Israel: IMRI – 'I Feel Alive'

MORE: Everything you need to know about the favourites to win this year's Eurovision

All songs with the exception of Belarus, Hungary and Portugal's tracks will either be sang fully or partly in English. Last year's winner Jamala can breathe easy that her song 1944 is still the only ever to feature the Crimean Tatar language.

Are there are any guest performers?

Like all Eurovision Song Contests from years gone by, the previous year's winner is invited back, and Jamala is no exception. The 33-year-old will take a break from The Voice of Ukraine coaching duties to perform new song I Believe In U in the final while she will perform two tracks during the first semi final as an interval act while votes are being counted and verified.

Following Justin Timberlake's Global Superstar set last year, a 2017 continuation is yet to be confirmed, but there are rumours of another big performance from a US act for the final.

It's been twenty years since we last won...

No pressure Lucie, but the UK's last win was in 1997 thanks to Katrina & The Waves, some two decades ago with Love Shine A Light. Don't worry though, our last Top 10 placing was in 2009 when Jade Ewen came 5th with It's My Time. That number was penned by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber and was as theatrical as the Welsh songbird's 2017 entry. If it worked for Jade, can the formula work again for Lucie? 

MORE: The UK's Official Top 40 biggest songs of 2017 so far revealed

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