Entertainment

How and when to watch the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest if you're in the United States

The annual Eurovision Song Contest — the most immensely popular event most of your friends have never heard of — takes place this week. And even though the United States does not participate, you can still watch it all stateside.

Here's what you need to know about Eurovision — what it is, when it happens, who participates, and most importantly, how to watch.

What is Eurovision?

Eurovision is a European singing contest in its 63rd year.

Participants from a number of European countries perform — 43 this year — with one contestant from each country. Voting is determined by a combination of small, demographically-balanced juries and televoting. The jury points are announced and then televoting points are calculated and added to jury points. (American viewers will not get to vote.)

Think of it as "American Idol's" European great-grandfather. Or the Song Olympics. Or the Musical World Cup. It's a big deal!

There is no direct monetary prize for winning Eurovision, but the winner can make money off of iTunes sales or the future gigs earned from their Eurovision fame.

Eurovision fame? Don't scoff. We have ABBA (1974) and Celine Dion (1988) thanks to Eurovision.

This year's live shows will be hosted by Filomena Cautela, Silvia Alberto, Daniela Ruah and Catarina Furtado — all Portuguese actresses. Ruah is a Portuguese-American actress best known for playing special agent Kensi Blye in CBS' "NCIS: Los Angeles."

When is Eurovision?

The 2018 Eurovision Song Contest runs Tuesday, May 8, through Saturday, May 12.

There are two semifinals. The first semifinal is Tuesday, May 8, with the second semifinal on Thursday, May 10. The Grand Final is on Saturday, May 12.

Who participates in Eurovision?

The 2018 contest has 43 European countries (plus Australia) participating and takes place for the first time in Lisbon, Portugal (Portugal won the 2017 contest with the song "Amar Pelos Dois," performed by Salvador Sobral). Russia is back this year after a controversy at the 2017 contest, when their singer was not allowed to enter Ukraine for the competition.

The United States does not participate.

Here is a full list of all of the countries and performers for Eurovision 2018.

How can I watch Eurovision?

Eurovision 2018 will be broadcast by Rádio e Televisão de Portugal, but that probably doesn't help U.S. watchers much.

To watch in the United States, your best bet is a cable subscription that includes the LOGO network, which broadcasts the contest exclusively in the U.S. for the third year. But we'll get only the Grand Final show — live and commercial free — on Saturday. (For the semifinals, this site is worth a shot: rtp.pt/play.)

The broadcast starts at 3 p.m. (ET) May 12 on LOGO.

The LOGO broadcast will feature commentary from Michelle Visage of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and comedian Ross Mathews.

Streaming options: The show will simulcast on Logo’s website and the LogoTV mobile app, which will likely require a cable password. But there's also a simulcast on Logo’s YouTube channel, and that likely will not require a cable password.

And, of course, individual performances from Eurovision will go up on YouTube the day after.

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