Ukraine takes the Eurovision Song Contest spotlight as the weirdest show on earth returns

London (CNN) It tells you plenty about the Eurovision Song Contest that Norway's participants -- two grown men in wolf costumes who sing about bananas and the imminent consumption of their grandparents -- are flying relatively under the radar this year.
The continent's garish and much-loved singing competition returns in Turin, Italy on Saturday, but only one group is commanding the spotlight in the build-up: Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra.
At first sight, the six-piece group seem to slot in comfortably with dozens of their more eccentric Eurovision brethren.
But getting Kalush Orchestra to the Eurovision stage took some doing, and their journey is deeply interwoven with the war at home.
"All members of the group are somehow involved in the defense of the country," Psyuk told CNN via email.
The group were forced to rehearse virtually until they were finally able to meet in Lviv after weeks of war.
Organizers banned Russia from the contest in February, 24 hours after an initial, widely criticized decision to allow it to take part.
"If it turns out that we will win, Eurovision 2023 will be held in Ukraine.
And here are some words this seasoned Eurovision reporter never thought he'd type: The United Kingdom might win this year.
With a tattooed, androgynous aesthetic and lyrics that liken his heart to a sex toy, Lauro is probably the bad boy of Eurovision 2022.
And the popularity of Eurovision in the southern hemisphere is testament to its growing strength, even in its seventh decade.
But winning would be uniquely significant for Kalush Orchestra, and it's hard to imagine a more popular victor in the tournament's history.