Eurovision 2021: How to watch the grand final today for free
Here's when the final battle is being broadcast this weekend in the US, the UK and Australia.
Corinne ReichertSenior Writer
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
I've been covering technology and mobile for 12 years, first as a telecommunications reporter and assistant editor at ZDNet in Australia, then as CNET's West Coast head of breaking news, and now in the Thought Leadership team.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2021 is about to conclude, with the multinational competition returning after a year's hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hosting this year is Rotterdam, the Netherlands, which was slated to host Eurovision 2020 before its cancellation.
The first semifinal was broadcast on Tuesday, followed by the second semifinal Thursday. The highest-scoring entries from the two semifinals, along with the Big Five -- Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Spain, which bankroll the competition -- and the previous winner, the Netherlands, will compete in the grand final on Saturday.
An international version of singing competitions like American Idol and The Voice, Eurovision sees participating nations from the European continent (as well as a few outliers like Australia) hold national competitions to select a singer and song to represent their nation. Countries then compete against each other live on the Eurovision stage. In total, 39 countries are participating in Eurovision 2021.
Citizens in participating nations can vote on the winner -- although you can't vote for your own country -- and a national jury selected by each country accounts for half the vote.
Eurovision has been going since 1956 and helped launch the careers of international stars like Abba and Celine Dion. Last year was the first time the contest had to be canceled in its 65-year history.
The Eurovision Song Contest last week also announced that it will be launching the "American Song Contest," with all 50 states, Washington, DC, and the five US territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands and US Virgin Islands invited to compete. The American Song Contest will consist of several qualifiers before the semi-finals and grand final. It will be produced by Universal and Propagate, and helmed by the executive producer of The Voice.
How to watch Eurovision 2021 in the US
US times are as follows:
Semi-Final 1: Tuesday, May 18, 3 p.m. ET, noon PT
Semi-Final 2: Thursday, May 20, 3 p.m. ET, noon PT
Swedish streaming service SVT Play will be streaming the event for anyone to watch in your web browser. All you need to go is click and watch, assuming the service is not overwhelmed by a sudden global audience.
If you'd prefer to watch another international feed, note that many are geographically restricted to their host country. You can opt for a VPN to "relocate" your IP address and access the show from abroad (see UK and Australia options, below). See our list of Best VPNs, including ExpressVPN, Surfshark and NordVPN. They offer limited free trials, but are otherwise paid services.