“Big 5” nations look ahead to the Eurovision grand final

KIEV, UKRAINE (MAY 12, 2017) (REUTERS) – The “Big 5” nations consisting of Germany, Spain, France, Italy and Great Britain were hopeful on Friday (May 12) ahead of the glitzy Eurovision final in Kiev.

Following a dress rehearsal earlier in the day, the contestants held a joint news conference, voicing their excitement for the grand finale where they will compete for the jewel in the crown of European pop.

The so-called Big 5 countries and hosts Ukraine qualified for the final automatically and did not compete in the semi-finals.

Bookies have predicted Italy to come at the top of the victory list, with an 11/8 odds.

Italian artist Francesco Gabbani said he was feeling the pressure from ongoing speculation about where he would come in the final.

“It has been the biggest pressure for me that I have been asked this question (about being favourite) zillions of times. But beside that, I want to be very honest about this – you embrace this experience of Eurovision with the aim of living a great adventure and not necessarily thinking of the first or second place.”

Germany’s Levi said she was pleased to hear that she was moving up in the list of favourites.

“Obviously it makes me happy to hear that,” she said. “But I am still trying to not stress because of this and just, you know, focus on the performance and do my best in the final,” Levi added.

British contestant Lucie Jones said it was hard to see her friends competing from other countries fail to make it through to the grand final.

“All of the acts that were through the semi-finals, we’ve made friends with those guys and it’s really tough to watch them, you know, feel, like, down and go home.”

Eurovision organisers expect more than 204 million viewers to tune in on Saturday (May 13) night when the final is broadcast live.