Wolves, treadmills and high hopes for the UK

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Wolves, treadmills and high hopes for the UK

The Eurovision Song Contest reaches its grand final on Saturday night in Turin, with Ukraine, Italy and the UK among the favourites to win.

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Yes, I said the UK. No, I don't believe it either. But here we are.

Sam Ryder, a construction worker turned TikTok star, wowed people so much during rehearsals that bookmakers have been shortening his odds of winning all week.

Now, I know what you're going to say: "But surely Eurovision is all about politics". And to an extent, you're right. Countries often trade votes with their neighbours. If Greece and Cyprus don't award each other "douze points", it would probably provoke a diplomatic incident.

But several studies - here's the most recent one - show that political voting rarely affects the overall winner. In order to get enough points, you need a broad range of support that's impossible to achieve through favouritism alone. Political votes definitely affect the mid-table results, however, while the last-place positions are reserved for the worst songs.

This year, of course, politics are expected to dictate the outcome. Ukraine are the presumptive favourites, as public sympathy soars after Russia's invasion.