UNITED KINDOM – Love it or loathe it, the Eurovision Song Contest attracted over 160 billion viewers last year. This annual music competition brings together countries from across Europe and beyond to showcase their musical talents.
The competition has been running since 1956 and has become an iconic event in the European cultural calendar, attracting millions of viewers and fans from around the world.
The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest featured contestants from 37 countries. Each participating country selects a song to represent them in the competition, which is then performed live on stage in front of a global audience. The winner of the competition is decided by a combination of jury votes and public votes, with each country awarding points to their favourite songs.
One of the most unique aspects of the Eurovision Song Contest is the diversity of musical styles and cultural influences represented in the competition. From pop and rock to folk and traditional music, the competition offers a platform for a wide range of musical genres and styles to be celebrated and shared.
The Eurovision Song Contest has launched the careers of many famous musicians over the years, including ABBA, Celine Dion, and Conchita Wurst. However, it has also been the source of controversy and debate, with some critics arguing that the competition has become too commercial, and that the voting system is biased towards certain countries.
Last year´s winner
Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine were last year’s winners. They formed as an offshoot of the rap group Kalush, which focused on blending modern hip-hop sounds with the motifs found in the traditional music and art of Ukraine.
This year, as they opened the show, they were joined by Kate Middleton, The Princess of Wales who performed piano. The introduction was pre-recorded from The Crimson Drawing Room of Windsor Castle.
A #Eurovision surprise 🎹
A pleasure to join Kalush Orchestra in a special performance of last year's winning @eurovision entry.
Enjoy the show, Liverpool pic.twitter.com/y4WDuWvOvb
— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) May 13, 2023
This year´s event
Normally the winners from the previous year host the event. However, due to the ongoing situation in Ukraine, after the Russian invasion, the UK played host on their behalf. The semi-finals and final took place at the Liverpool Arena.
The semi-finals took place on Tuesday 9th and Thursday 11th of May, with the final taking place last night. A total of 26 countries made it through to the final. These included the UK, Spain, Ukraine, and hot favourites, Sweden who did not disappoint.
In the end, Loreen from Sweden won with the song “Tattoo”. Moreover, Loreen is the only woman to have won Eurovision twice. The only male to have done so was Ireland´s Johnny Logan. However, it was the jury vote that allowed the Swedish singer to hit the number one spot even though she was second in the public vote.
The number two spot went to Finland who although they won the public vote, did not gain enough points to take on Sweden.
Sweden will therefore host the 2024 event, which co-incidentally marks the 50th anniversary of ABBA´s memorable victory with “Waterloo”.
The UK´s entry was “I wrote a song” by Mae Muller. The song was about channelling positivity after a breakup. The UK were in the final slot to sing which is often felt to be a more disadvantadged position and to bring bad luck. Moreover, it seemed this was the case, as the UK entry finished second last ahead of the German entry.
Winner of Benidorm Fest 2023, Blanca Paloma performed “Eaea”. This powerful performance was a flamenco tribute to her grandmother, Carmen.
Blanca Paloma and her team of dancers ended the competition in 17th place.
Both Spain, and the UK had automatically qualified for the final. Along with France, Germany, and Italy, they were part of the “big 5” who had secured their place in the final of Eurovision 2023. They did this by making large financial contributions towards the iconic event.