The finals for the Eurovision Song Contest will take place this Saturday in Malmö, Sweden. The rules of Eurovision state that the country which won the preceding year’s contest must host the event 12 months later, last year Sweden won with singer Loreen and her song, Euphoria. This year, more than 130 million people across the world are expected to watch the contest.
Sweden’s stint as host as not been without controversy, however, with the communications giant TeliaSonera acting as the event’s main sponsor. TeliaSonera caught international attention last year when it was accused of paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbekistan‘s president, in order to gain access to that Central Asian country’s massive mobile-phone market. This move angered human rights activists, especially after hopes that Sweden would use the opportunity to promote human rights, after previous host Azerbaijan caused outcry for its oppressive crackdowns during the contest.
TeliaSonera, which is now facing years of investigation and potential criminal charges, has attempted to improve its image. The company’s CEO, Lars Nyberg has already vacated his post, along with a number of board members. The company has also signed on to new industry principles on freedom of expression and privacy.
Amidst potential scandal, the final Eurovision lineup for this year has today been released, and is as follows:
13. The Netherlands
15. United Kingdom
Watch a recap of the original 39 contestants:
And you can watch the Finals here…
Read also on RFERL: Songs About Greek Crisis, Gay Marriage Reach Eurovision Final