The Eurovision Song Contest, the pan-European musical competition known to produce kitschy acts, will air live in the U.S. for the first time ever on Viacom’s Logo, the European Broadcasting Union said Monday.
Logo, which is available in nearly 50 million homes, will show the 61st annual competition’s grand final on Saturday, May 14, starting at 3 p.m. ET. It also will stream in the U.S. on LogoTV.com and the LogoTV mobile app.
This year’s contest will be held in Stockholm, after Sweden’s Mans Zelmerlow won last year’s competition with his song “Heroes,” with the semifinals to be held on May 10 and 12 followed by the grand final on May 14. Competing will be the 20 qualifiers from the semis, the Big 5 countries of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. and reigning champion Sweden.
“We are thrilled that the world’s biggest entertainment show is being broadcast live in one of the biggest TV markets for the very first time,” Eurovision Song Contest executive supervisor Jon Ola Sand said in a statement. “The Eurovision Song Contest is now a truly global phenomenon, and we are extremely happy that U.S viewers now get to join those all over Europe, Australia and Asia in experiencing the grand final of the world’s longest-running annual TV music competition.”
The contest also will be seen in the 42 participating nations, as well as in China, New Zealand, Kazakhstan, Kosovo and Portugal.
The Eurovision Song Contest reached nearly 200 million television viewers worldwide last year. The 61st edition celebrates the theme “Come Together.”
The contest’s voting rules have been changed this year. It will now see votes split, with each country’s jury vote cast first. Viewer votes across all countries will be added in later and announced at the end. The idea behind the change is that a song that scored poorly with the judges could still jump should the public really like it. In the past, the winner has often been known long before voting announcements came to a close.