Eurovision: United Kingdom's hopes rest on James Newman

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Graham Norton and James Newman

Singer James Newman will fly the flag for the United Kingdom on Saturday as this year’s Eurovision Song Contest reaches its climax in Rotterdam.

Newman will perform his song Embers during this year’s final, which will be shown live on BBC One from 20:00 BST.

Last year’s contest was axed due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has also had an impact on this year’s event.

Reigning Dutch champion Duncan Laurence cannot appear in person after testing positive earlier this week.

And Iceland’s act Daði og Gagnamagnið have ruled themselves out of performing live after one of its members tested positive.

A rehearsal performance of their song 10 Years will be screened during the final, as it was during the second semi-final which took place on Thursday.

An earlier semi-final on Tuesday saw Ireland and Australia among the countries eliminated from the competition.

Representatives from 26 nations will take to the stage of Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena later to see which takes home the coveted glass microphone trophy.

An audience of 3,500 people will enthusiastically cheer them on, the final having been designated an official Covid trial event.

Cyprus will be the first competing nation to perform, while San Marino’s entrant will perform last.

Newman, who will be joined on stage by four dancers and two giant trumpets, will appear ninth in the official running order.

“I can’t wait to get on the stage and make you all proud,” the Settle-born singer told his army of ‘Newstan’ fans on Thursday.

Italy are the current favourites to win this year, with France, Malta and Switzerland among the contenders deemed to be in with a shot at winning.

Albania have been given the dreaded ‘second out’ spot – considered unlucky as no nation to perform second has ever gone on to win.

The Netherlands earned the right to host the event after Laurence won the 2019 contest in Tel Aviv.

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Eurovision final running order

  1. Cyprus / Elena Tsagrinou – El Diablo
  2. Albania / Anxhela Peristeri – Karma
  3. Israel / Eden Alene – Set Me Free
  4. Belgium / Hooverphonic – The Wrong Place
  5. Russia / Manizha – Russian Woman
  6. Malta / Destiny – Je Me Casse
  7. Portugal / The Black Mamba – Love Is On My Side
  8. Serbia / Hurricane – Loco Loco
  9. United Kingdom / James Newman – Embers
  10. Greece / Stefania – Last Dance
  11. Switzerland / Gjon’s Tears – Tout l’Univers
  12. Iceland / Daði og Gagnamagnið – 10 Years
  13. Spain / Blas Cantó – Voy A Querdarme
  14. Moldova / Natalia Gordienko – Sugar
  15. Germany / Jendrik – I Don’t Feel Hate
  16. Finland / Blind Channel – Dark Side
  17. Bulgaria / Victoria – Growing Up is Getting Old
  18. Lithuania / The Roop – Discoteque
  19. Ukraine / Go_A – Shum
  20. France / Barbara Pravi – Voilà
  21. Azerbaijan / Efendi – Mata Hari
  22. Norway / TIX – Fallen Angel
  23. The Netherlands / Jeangu Macrooy – Birth of a New Age
  24. Italy / Måneskin – Zitti E Buoni
  25. Sweden / Tusse – Voices
  26. San Marino / Senhit – Adrenalina

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This year’s final will serve up an eclectic musical mix that will include thunderous heavy metal from Finland and a traditional torch song from France.

Ukraine’s track features an ancient folklore technique known as white voice, while San Marino’s Senhit will be accompanied by US rapper Flo Rida.

Visual treats in store for viewers include invisible men dancing along with Greece’s Stefania and a giant set of angel’s wings worn by Norway’s TIX.

TIX – real name Andreas Haukeland – takes his stage name from the tics he has due to Tourette’s Syndrome.

German singer Jendrik, meanwhile, will be accompanied by a dancer dressed as a giant hand giving a two-finger salute.

Saturday’s event will be co-hosted on stage by Nikkie de Jager, better known around the world as NikkieTutorials.

Known for giving make-up and beauty advice on her social media channels, the Dutch internet star is the the contest’s first transgender host.

Graham Norton will commentate BBC One’s live coverage, while Ken Bruce will do the honours on BBC Radio 2.

The United Kingdom last won Eurovision in 1997 and have won the annual singing contest five times since it began in 1956.

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