EUROVISION PHOTOS: See the spectacle, and some silliness, from this year's contestants
LIVERPOOL, England. (AP) — The Eurovision Song Contest field has been narrowed to the 26 acts who will sing their hearts out Saturday for a chance at glory and national bragging rights.
The contest, now in its 67th year, is as much a visual spectacle as it is about the music. During Eurovision, the brighter, flashier, more elaborate the staging, the better.
Some examples: France's contender La Zarra performed this week atop a towering pedestal made to look like an extension of her sparkly dress. German band Lord of the Lost's frontman performed in leopard print pants with underwear — imprinted with a cat's face — on the outside. Croatia's Let 3 skipped the cat motif but performed pantless on a stage with a pair of rockets shooting out sparks.
Some contestants opt for more understated approaches, like Alika Milova of Estonia who skipped screens and fireworks and performed in an elegant gown with a piano onstage.
Britain’s Mae Muller cut a striking silhouette performing in front of a massive screen with her face projected behind her. Belgium's Gustaph performed the song “Because of You” in front of a massive screen with the words “Not Good Enough” on it. The performance was good enough to reach the finals, but Gustaph's fate will be decided by voters on Saturday.
The Associated Press has been in rehearsals throughout the week as 37 entrants have been narrowed down to the finalist field in Liverpool. The city is a surrogate for Ukraine, which won the contest last year but is still fighting Russia's invasion. The country is being celebrated, but President Volodymyr Zelenskyy won't be speaking during the show.
See some of the standout moments from the preparations. The finale is being shown Saturday on members of the European Broadcasting Union and on the Eurovision YouTube channel. In the United States, it’s being shown on NBC’s Peacock streaming service.