Factbox-What to know about Eurovision 2024? Artists, music and protests against Israel

Protest against Israeli participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, in Malmo

MALMO, Sweden (Reuters) -The world's biggest live music event involving 37 nations, the Eurovision Song Contest, culminates in Sweden this weekend.

Roughly 100,000 visitors from 89 countries have descended on host city Malmo during the week for the 68th edition of the competition, which has been marked by anti-Israel protests.


The final is between 26 nations on Saturday at 1900 GMT.

Last year's winner and host nation Sweden has automatic entry, as do the "Big Five" - the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Spain - who pay the most to organisers the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

Ten nations proceeded from Tuesday's first semi-final: Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

Another ten went through from Thursday's second semi-final: Armenia, Austria, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland.


CROATIA: Songwriter and producer Baby Lasagna (real name Marko Purisic, 28) is the bookmakers' favourite with "Rim Tim Tagi Dim" about a young person who leaves home in search of becoming a "city boy", relating the mixed feelings of unfamiliar surroundings.

ISRAEL: Solo artist Eden Golan, 20, is second favourite with "Hurricane", which she characterises as a strong power ballad about a person going in a storm of emotions.

Some booing was heard from the crowd before, during and after Golan's performance in the semi-final, but there was also applause and waving of Israeli flags.

Israel tweaked the song after the EBU took issue with verses from the original submission, named "October Rain", which appeared to reference Palestinian militants' Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which triggered months of bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

SWITZERLAND: Third-ranked rapper and singer Nemo, 24, performs "The Code", a drum-and-bass, opera, rap and rock tune, about Nemo's journey of self-discovery as a non-binary person.

FRANCE: Artist Slimane (full name Slimane Nebchi), 34, performs "Mon Amour", a power ballad depicting someone seeking to reconnect with a former lover. Bookmakers have him fourth favourite, although the standings have been shifting.

Other nations high on betting lists include: THE NETHERLANDS, ITALY, UKRAINE and IRELAND.


The contest is in Malmo, Sweden's third largest city with a population of 362,000. Sweden has hosted Eurovision seven times, with Malmo also the venue in 1992 and 2013.

The venue is the Malmo Arena, with a capacity of 15,500.


More than 10,000 pro-Palestinian campaigners staged a non-violent demonstration ahead of Thursday's semi-final, waving Palestinian flags and shouting "boycott Israel" over the military campaign in Gaza.

A smaller group of pro-Israeli supporters, including members of Malmo's Jewish community, also demonstrated.

Another protest against Israel's participation is scheduled for 1300 GMT on Saturday.

Golan told Reuters she wanted her song to unite people.

Israel has won Eurovision four times in the past.


There has been a heavy police presence, including officers from neighbouring Denmark and Norway, with snipers at times on rooftops and helicopters hovering.

The threat level for terrorist or cyber attacks is high.

Visitors must pass through metal detectors before entering the arena and are not allowed to bring bags.

Only flags of participating countries and the Pride flag are allowed inside the venue, with any other symbols removed.


Viewers' votes account for close to 51% of the result, while juries of five music professionals in each participating country will make up just over 49%.

The juries rank the songs on composition and originality, quality of performance, vocal capacity, and their overall impression.

Viewers in non-participating nations around the world are able to participate with collectively the weight of one additional voting country.


The song contest will be broadcast by all 37 participating countries and on YouTube.

The presenters are Swedish comedian and actress Petra Mede and Swedish-American actress Malin Akerman.


The Eurovision song contest is one of the world's largest television events and has been held annually since 1956.

It began as a technical experiment for transnational broadcast, with seven countries competing: the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, and Italy.

The three live shows in 2023 - two semi-finals and the final - were watched by an estimated 162 million people combined, according to the EBU.


Sweden and Ireland are leading with seven wins each.

France, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have each won five times.

Swedish singer Loreen won last year in Liverpool for the second time with her song "Tattoo". She is the only person after Ireland's Johnny Logan to win the contest twice.

(Reporting by Isabelle Yr Carlsson, Louise Breusch Rasmussen and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Niklas Pollard and Andrew Cawthorne)