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Eurovision 2022: Why does the UK automatically qualify for final?

By Aaron Curran

The grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 kicks off tonight.

The UK's Sam Ryder has been among the favourites to win the competition in the past week. However, unlike most other countries, the UK does not have to go through qualifying to reach the final, but why?

The 'big five' nations automatically qualify for the final every year, as well as the UK, there is Italy, Germany, France and Spain. The 'big five' status is not granted through performances in the contest, however.

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Instead, the status is given to the nations who make the largest financial contributions to Eurovision's organisers: the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The contest normally consists of 26 nations, however when one of the 'big five' nations win, this is reduced to 25.

Italy's Maneskin won last year, meaning there is no extra slot this year. As the UK, along with the other 'big five' do not compete in the semi-finals, the nation is unable to vote in them.

This changes tonight however, as all nations are able to vote on the grand final. It gets underway in Turin, Italy, at 8pm.

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