On Saturday night, acts from 26 different countries will take to the stage in Tel Aviv for the final of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
One of them will be 21-year-old Michael Rice, who will be flying the flag for the UK with his song Bigger Than Us.
Like many participating acts, Rice has spent the last few months criss-crossing Europe in the hope of securing votes from our continental neighbours.
We asked British singer SuRie, the UK’s representative at the 2018 contest in Lisbon, to give her tips on how to come through the competition unscathed.
1) Ignore the bloggers
Eurovision is unique, in that the very first rehearsals go on YouTube straight away.
Nowhere else would you find that. You wouldn’t get Taylor Swift’s next arena tour online before it was ready.
It’s very difficult to ignore the comments. For every 99 positives, there will be one negative and that’s the one that gets in, especially as you get more tired and fragile and vulnerable.
Try hard to get a perspective on the comments if you do read them, but try not to read them at all.
Trusting your team, and yourself, is more important than what Barry from Bognor thinks of the lightbulbs or your trousers.
2) Bring headphones
The dressing room cubicles in the Eurovision village are quite something. There are no roofs – there are barely any walls – so it gets incredibly loud, non-stop.
When everyone starts vocally warming up, it’s a unique sound indeed.
I survived by downloading a lot of podcasts, audiobooks and quite chilled playlists.
I also got a good set of headphones to balance all that out.
3) Protect your voice
Being in Eurovision is long and arduous. Your singing voice needs to be on top form, so you need to keep yourself healthy.
The amount of interview requests that come in is huge, and that can take a toll on your speaking voice too.
Remember you don’t have to do every single blog request that comes in, and that not every DM [direct message] needs a response.
The platform to engage with fans is amazing, but you’re there to sing – that’s your job.
4) Keep things fresh
There’s a danger of going into autopilot. The way to avoid that happening at crucial moments is to feed off the audience.
There’s always someone to perform to, even in rehearsals, and they could be hearing your song for the very first time.
Their reaction in that moment will be brand new and fresh and you need to hang onto that spontaneity.
5) Just keep singing
Even if you prepare as much as you can, there might still be surprises on the night.
[Surie’s performance last year was interrupted by a stage invader who grabbed her microphone before being removed.]
But the show must go on. If something unexpected happens, there is a performer’s instinct that kicks in immediately.
I had an amazing Eurovision experience and the 10 seconds on stage that were not invited did not taint what was an incredible opportunity.
I didn’t anticipate Eurovision would give me quite so many life lessons to navigate and process, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
6) Get back to the day job
The post-show blues is a real thing. The comedown is hard and it always is.
But because I was used to being an independent artist it wasn’t a surprise to me when the support network went away and it was back to being alone in the studio.
Five days after Lisbon, I went on tour, which was amazingly therapeutic. I then went straight into recording a concept album that meant a huge deal to me.
You’ll be fine if you have something you can throw yourself into next.
8) Never say never
If the invite came to do it again, I’d of course consider it. It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of and there’s so much to love about it.
But if I was lucky enough to get the opportunity again it would have to be with a song I’d written, so that I was really proud of what I was putting on stage.
It’s nice to pass the baton on, though, and I wish Michael well. I know he’s in for the time of his life.
I hope he has the most incredible time in an amazing city.
The Eurovision Song Contest final will air on BBC One on 18 May from 20:00 BST. SuRie’s new single, Only You And I, is out now.