The biggest, kitschiest, campiest, and often most controversial song contest of the year is happening today, but viewers in many territories around the world won’t be able to see it. The Eurovision Song Contest may not be a household name in the United States, but it attracts about 186 million global viewers, and some 41 countries participate, mostly in Europe. The contest is presented by the European Broadcasting Union.
Eurovision’s Grand Final is scheduled to air tonight (Saturday, May 18) from Tel Aviv at 8 p.m. GMT (3 p.m. ET/noon PT). Twenty-six of the participating countries made the final, with acts from the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, and Australia being among the favorites, according to RadioTimes. You can find the full list here.
For cord cutters who want to stream the Eurovision Grand Final live online, you can easily do that on the event’s official YouTube channel, but only if you’re located in one of the participating countries. Unfortunately, the YouTube stream is geoblocked in the following territories:
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- United States
The EBU cites “rights issues” as the reason for the block in certain countries, and told Fast Company the issue is beyond its control.
For viewers in the United States who have grown to love the quirky song contest over the years, the block is especially disappointing because there is no way to see it on TV either. Viacom’s Logo TV, which aired the contest in years past, did not get the rights for 2019. Reached for comment, an EBU spokesperson said, “We are currently exploring other options so that U.S. audiences can continue to enjoy watching the Eurovision Song Contest.”
The good news is, the Swedish broadcaster SVT has been replaying the semifinals on its website, so American viewers will likely be able stream the Grand Final on-demand at some point after it airs.
In the meantime, the good citizens of Twitter will most certainly be sharing video clips of the best moments as they happen, so follow the #Eurovision2019 hashtag there for instant replays and all those sure-to-go-viral moments.