STOCKHOLM (AP) — The Latest on the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest (all times local):
Justin Timberlake has made a guest appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest, performing his latest hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling” in the interval before the voting results are announced
Before his performance at Stockholm’s Globe arena, the American singer and songwriter said he had watched the previous two editions of the competition.
“I know you must have been nervous, but you all represented your countries so very well,” Timberlake told the 26 finalists in the competition as the voting by professional judges and TV viewers got under way.
Let the voting begin. With Armenia’s Iveta Mukuchyan singing “LoveWave,” all 26 entries in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest final have completed their performances.
Professional judges and TV viewers across Europe will now cast votes for their 10 favorite acts. The points will be added up and a winner will be proclaimed at the end of the show at Stockholm’s Globe Arena.
New this year is that the votes from the judges and the viewers will be presented separately, a move meant to keep the drama going right till the end.
Fans have come to Stockholm for the Eurovision Song Contest from all over the world.
Mathias Fredholm, a 45-year-old sales manager and Sai Dashani, a 36-year-old consultant, came all the way from Hong Kong to watch the show.
Dashani says Saturday “we’ve been following the Eurovision Song Contest for 10 or so years, maybe more,”
Fredholm added: “This is the fifth time that we go to Eurovision finals, so it’s great.”
Australian Max Manion-Sharrock, 22, said he was “pumped and I’m expecting Australia top two definitely.”
The show is so popular in Australia that the country has been invited to compete for the second consecutive year. South-Korean born Dami Im is representing Australia with the song “Sound of Silence.”
Belgium’s Laura Tesoro is the first competitor to take the stage at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Dressed in a glittery silver outfit, the 19-year-old Belgian opened the contest with “What’s the Pressure,” a funky tune with a bass riff reminiscent of Queen’s “Another one Bites the Dust.”
The contestants for the 26 countries taking part in the final entered Stockholm’s Globe Arena on a cat walk to wild cheers from the enthusiastic audience.
The director of the TV alliance that produces the Eurovision Song Contest says the show’s message of unity is particularly significant at a time when Europe is seeing its internal borders returning.
European Broadcasting Union Director-General Ingrid Deltenre told The Associated Press before Saturday’s final that the togetherness the event brings is important for a continent in the midst of a refugee crisis and talk of Britain’s possible withdrawal from the European Union.
She says “you have reactions in Europe which are very polarizing … we are sending out a signal. It’s a signal about tolerance, about openness, about diversity.”
The EBU is an alliance of public service broadcasters in Europe that produces the show. This year’s event is being held in Stockholm’s Globe Arena and will be broadcast live to an estimated 200 million people in Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States.