With this iconic music competition getting ever closer to taking place, the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 is set to be the 67th edition of this long-awaited musical competition, which has been running annually since 1956. With 37 countries taking part in this year’s running of the contest, there’s a lot that has already been unveiled and things that are yet to be revealed, and we’ll be taking a look at these exciting new aspects that can show why you should give watching Eurovision a try!
This year’s Eurovision Song Contest is to be held in Liverpool, as the UK hosts jointly with 2022 winners Ukraine.
Last year, Ukraine did the modern musical rendition of demolishing the rest of the field by getting an eye-watering amount of 439 points from the televote, in which fans from all participating nations voted, having exactly 200 points more than televote runner-ups, Moldova. Despite wanting to host, the current situation in the country made it impossible for Ukraine to host the contest, and as a result, the contest will be held in Liverpool, United Kingdom. The United Kingdom was able to finally break free from a very dark age in their originally flawless run through the contest, as the country hit a harsh downfall starting back in 2003, where pop duo Jemini was the first ever British act to finish dead last in the contest’s history, while also being the first British act to receive zero points. This started an era for the United Kingdom which was blighted by poor results, with the country only being able to make it to the top 10 once between their last place in 2003 and 2021, with a 5th place in 2009.
However, the United Kingdom had one of the biggest bounce-backs in recent memory, as Sam Ryder took a shock second-place finish with his hit song “Space Man”, even winning the jury vote over countries like Sweden and Spain, with Ukraine a further 91 points behind the UK. It’s the United Kingdom’s first ever time in the top three of the contest since 2002, where Jessica Garlick finished third with “Come Back”. Even after finishing last five times, it’s impressive to see that the United Kingdom’s interest in the contest was relit after Ryder’s efforts to improve the UK’s public and press perception after such a rough period of harsh results.
This year has some very interesting entries sent from all kinds of countries. The variety in entries is pretty clear, as the entries this year range from a Beatles-esque song coming from Azerbaijan’s representatives TuralTuranX’s “Tell Me More”, songs with satirical meaning that criticizes important issues in the music industry, seen in Austria’s entry “Who The Hell Is Edgar?”, by Teya and Salena, songs for a “Future Lover”, by Armenia’s Brunette and even a very hyped up pop entry from a former winner in the form of Loreen’s “Tattoo” being sent for Sweden.
Some notorious entries this year include Croatia, who sent Let 3, a modern rock band notorious for upsetting conservatives back in Croatia, and their entry “Mama ŠČ!”, which was revealed to be an anti-war entry filled with indirect lyrics (with emphasis on a certain president of a country which we won’t talk about. Take a wild guess) and just overall chaos. Poland sent Blanka and her song “Solo” after a very controversial national final, which was a show between ten acts to decide the winner, who would go on to represent Poland in Liverpool. All predictions were set on Jann and his entry “Gladiator” to win the national final, but the jury ranking him in the midfield ended his chances, which in turn gave Blanka the win.
Immediately after, there were many allegations that Polish broadcaster TVP had actually rigged the national final: the broadcaster changed the scoring system rules days prior to the show to make the jury voting more influential on the final score (which in turn caused Jann to come home 2nd after all juries placed Blanka 1st). The piece itself has even started a wave of memes involving the song being generally mediocre and Blanka’s even more mediocre pronunciation of the song’s English lyrics (such as saying “Bejba” instead of “Baby”).
Australia, who has competed since 2015 (where they entered as guests after broadcasting the contest for 40 years) sent Voyager with their entry “Promise”, a song which infuses progressive metal and electro pop, while Estonia’s Alika won the Estonian national final with “Bridges”, a powerful ballad with a strong message to follow it up. However, what about the “Big 5” of the contest? The “Big 5” is a group composed of the biggest financial contributors to the EBU, the contest’s organizer. It is composed of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Having had somewhat rough times in the contest prior to Italy’s return to the contest in 2011, they have all seemed to have stabilised well, so let’s check their entries!
France sent Canadian singer La Zarra with her song “Évidemment” (“Evidently”), a very bold and interesting tune which has seen a very warm reception from Eurovision fans. It's not impossible to think of a win for France after streaming the entry constantly. Plus, the last time a Canadian singer competed in Eurovision, they won! Just check who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1988 for Switzerland, and you’d be shocked! (Psst, it was Céline Dion!). Germany sent industrial metal band Lord of the Lost with “Blood and Glitter”, a hard-hitting song with many elements of glam rock encased in a song talking about the highs and lows of life. Marco Mengoni returns after 10 years since he first represented Italy back in 2013, with the song “L'essenziale”. He returns with the ballad “Due Vite”.
Onward to the last two countries of the Big 5, we have Spain: as they hosted the second edition of a very successful Benidorm Fest revival, with the first edition of this contest crowning Chanel with her song “SloMo”, which went on to finish third and getting Spain’s best result since 1995. This time, it was returning artist Blanca Paloma who won the festival with the song “Eaea”, a composition with a rich amount of meaning behind it, with Blanca having written the song in memory of her late grandmother. Blanca had previously competed in the first edition of Benidorm Fest last year, with the song “Secreto de Agua”, where she placed 5th in the Grand Final.
“Allá, la Blanca Paloma!” - Paloma had already attempted to win Benidorm Fest, the Spanish National Final.
There were an undeniably large number of rumours surrounding the representative for the United Kingdom, most notably Japanese-British singer Rina Sawayama, who was believed to be representing the country with her song “Frankenstein”. Rina is known globally for her great discography, ranging from songs like “Hold The Girl”, “This Hell”, “XS”, and many more. However, the BBC revealed that the British representative was set to be Mae Muller with her entry “I Wrote a Song”, which has been received positively and has assured that the United Kingdom’s interest in the contest has returned.
This year’s contest will have a total of four hosts, with three of them set to present in the semifinals. First on this list is British actress Hannah Waddingham, known for her work in series like Ted Lasso and Game of Thrones, British singer Alesha Dixon, a successful singer that has charted multiple times around the world and is also known to be a judge on many “Got Talent” shows, most notably Britain’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent: The Champions. Finally, we have Ukrainian artist Julia Sanina, known to be the frontwoman for Ukrainian alternative rock band The Hardkiss, who had previously competed in Ukraine’s national selection in 2016, coming incredibly close to winning, only losing out to the eventual winner of Eurovision that year, Jamala, in a tiebreaker. Joining them for the final is an iconic television show host in the form of Graham Norton, known for having his own show at BBC, titled “The Graham Norton Show”. He has also served as the television commentator for the BBC in the Eurovision Song Contest ever since 2009, replacing the legendary Terry Wogan.
The upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is set to be a spectacle like no other, with a myriad of upcoming surprises, interesting events, and fantastic entries which will make sure that this edition of Eurovision will be remembered by everyone after it is over. Want to watch it? You can watch live on YouTube, where the shows will be live-streamed. For the first time as well, we in Brazil will be able to vote, since this year’s contest is the first to introduce the “Rest of the World” voting, where viewers from non-participating countries can vote using an online platform, with one vote being equivalent to around 1 real. So why not give it a go and maybe stream the songs on Spotify or maybe even watch the finale? Tune in to watch the shows on the 9th, 11th, and 13th of May live at Liverpool, starting at 20:00 at Liverpool and 16:00 at São Paulo!