The final begins in Turin with Ukraine and the United Kingdom among the favorites

The Pala Alpitour venue in Turin before the start of the Eurovision Song Contest 202 final (AFP via Getty Images)

the Eurovision the finals started in Torino as 25 countries compete to be declared the winners – with Ukraine and the UK among those expected to do well.

Millions of people around the world are ready to listen to the pop extravaganza, tit 66th time the competition has taken place.

Ukrainian entry Kalush Orchestra band are heavily backed to win by the bookmakers, who have estimated they have a 60% chance of clinching the top spot.

Their song, “Stefania,” was written as a tribute to the singer’s mother, but took on added poignant significance after Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of the country on February 24.

The six-member group received special permission to leave the country to represent Ukraine in the contest, with one of the original members remaining to fight. The others plan to return as soon as the contest is over.

UK entry Sam Ryder should also do well with his effort, “Space Man,” with the bookmakers estimating he has about a one in ten chance of winning.

If he pulls off the feat, he would be the UK’s first winner since 1997, when Katrina and the Waves claimed victory with ‘Love Shine a Light’.

UK's Sam Ryder during dress rehearsals (Getty Images)

UK’s Sam Ryder during dress rehearsals (Getty Images)

Sweden’s Cornelia Jakobs and Italian duo Mahmood & Blanco are also among those who should do well.

The winner is chosen equally by a jury of music experts in each competing country and voted on by the public.

The winner takes home a glass microphone trophy, with previous winners seeing a significant boost in their careers through their success.

The event is hosted by Italy after Italian rock band Måneskin won last year in Rotterdam.

The Rome-based band was catapulted to international fame after their victory, opening for the Rolling Stones, appearing on numerous magazine covers and at Coachella.

Speaking before the finale, band guitarist Thomas Raggi said: “The only advice we can give is to give it your all, you have three minutes, go ahead, smash the stage, and the rest will follow.”

Twenty groups have been chosen in two semi-finals this week and will compete against the Big Five from Italy, Great Britain, France, Germany and Spain. These countries have permanent places in Eurovision due to their financial support of the contest.

Russia was excluded this year after its invasion of Ukraine, a move organizers said was intended to exclude politics from the competition that promotes diversity and friendship between nations.

The contest is broadcast live in the UK on BBC One, with commentary by Graham Norton, from 8pm until around midnight.