Twenty-six countries, each with three minutes to convince juries and the voting public: Britain hosts the Eurovision grand final on Saturday night on behalf of last year’s runaway winners Ukraine. The heavily tattooed and plant pot hat-wearing Kalush Orchestra took away the coveted glass microphone trophy with their hip-hop/folk music mash-up “Stefania” last time around. But Russia’s conflict with Ukraine hopes of staging the contest and welcoming legions of frenetic Europop fans to the country, forcing organisers to look elsewhere for a venue. Liverpool — home of The Beatles, giants of world music and also Atomic Kitten — stepped in, turning the city in northwest England a sea of yellow and blue for a week-long build-up. “While the eyes of the world will be on Liverpool this weekend for Eurovision, our hearts will be with the people in Ukraine who are fighting for their sovereignty and survival,” Britain’s Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said. “If there was any justice this final would be taking place in Kyiv but we are honoured in the UK to be able to host this event on their behalf and to welcome legions of fans and media.” Ukraine’s entry this year is “Heart of Steel”, an electro-pop offering by the band Tvorchi inspired by the siege of the Azovstal plant in Mariupol. During last year’s contest, Kalush Orchestra singer Olef called from the stage: “Please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Azovstal right now.” But bookmakers are not predicting a second successive win. Favourite going into the climax of a week of celebrations and preliminary rounds is Sweden’s Loreen, with her offering “Tattoo”. Loreen previously won in 2012. If she emerges victorious, she will join Ireland’s Johnny Logan as the only other two-time winner. Rapper Kaarija, representing Finland, is the second favourite, with his offering “Cha Cha Cha”, which the BBC described as “an intoxicating blend of industrial metal and hyperpop”.He would be the first Finnish winner since the monstrously disguised heavy metal band Lordi’s “Hard Rock Hallelujah” in 2006.