Eurovision 2021 semi-final
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Eurovision 2021 semi final: What channel is Eurovision on in the UK?

It's the first semi-final tonight!

Eurovision 2021 kicks off this week with two semi-final rounds before the Grand Final on Saturday.

But how do the semi-finals of the musical competition work, and where can you watch it all?

Eurovision fans – this is your indispensable guide!

Eurovision 2021
Let the fun and tactical voting begin! (Credit: BBC)

How will the Eurovision 2021 semi-final work?

It’s the Grand Final of Eurovision 2021 on Saturday May 22, but before then fans will see the semi-finalists battle it out to win a place in Saturday’s big show.

The ‘big five’ (France, Germany, UK, Italy and Spain) automatically qualify, as does the host country.

So it’s down to 16 nations to fight for the 10 remaining places.

In tonight’s first semi-final, Lithuania, Slovenia, Russia, Sweden, Australia, North Macedonia and Ireland take part.

Read more: Eurovision 2021: Amanda Holden joins Graham Norton in coverage of the event

Alongside them, Cyprus, Norway, Croatia, Belgium, Israel, Romania, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Malta will also appear.

With each nation’s choice performing live, it’s down to a panel of industry experts to sort out the wheat from the chaff.

Viewers at home can also vote for their favourite acts via phone, text or through the Eurovision app.

Rotterdam Ahoy Arena
Rotterdam hosts this year’s competition (Credit: YouTube)

Where is the semi-final being held?

After a break in 2020 because of the Covid pandemic, Eurovison returns with a bang this year.

Because the Netherlands were the last country to win it, all the festivities come from the Rotterdam Ahoy Arena.

The Netherlands’ winner in 2020 was Duncan Laurence with the toe-tapping tune, Arcade.

And Duncan will be kicking off proceedings tonight with a rendition of his winning tune.

Scott Mills
Scott presents the semi-finals (Credit: BBC)

Where can I watch the show and who’s hosting?

The first Eurovision semi-final is broadcast live from Rotterdam tonight and can be seen on BBC Four from 8pm.

Unfortunately, Rylan Clark-Neal had to pull out of presenting duties today because of illness.

Monitoring and reporting on events from the Netherlands are Sara Cox, Scott Mills and singer/football star Chelcee Grimes.

Making her Eurovision presenting debut, Chelcee says: “I am super excited!

“I remember watching when I was younger, so to go from being a fan, to being a part of the show is surreal!”

Graham Norton will host Eurovision 2021
Graham’s back on BBC One as host on Sturday (Credit: BBC)

When will the final be on and who’s representing the UK?

The final takes place from Rotterdam on Saturday May 22, and Graham Norton is set to return to the presenter’s box.

Graham has been hosting the show since 2009.

Read more: Eurovision 2021: UK entry James Newman reveals song he will perform, Embers

When it comes to this year’s UK entry, James Newman will be belting out his song Embers to the assembled crowd and the audience at home.

In 2019, the UK finished 16th, so let’s hope James does better!

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