The grand final of the 67th Eurovision Song Contest, which will be aired live from Liverpool, will round up the competition on Saturday. In a competition that has for seven decades caught the shifting mood of a continent, there will be catchy choruses, a kaleidoscope of costumes, and tributes to the spirit of Ukraine.
Here are some things to look forward to as artists from all over Europe and beyond compete for the continent’s pop crown.
Who is in the race?
37 nations sent acts to Eurovision this year that were chosen through internal broadcasters’ or national contests. Normally, the winner of the competition the previous year hosts, but this time, the runner-up, Britain, is doing it on behalf of the winner, Ukraine.
The final will take place on Saturday at the Liverpool Arena, which is located next to the River Mersey in the port city where The Beatles were born. Twenty-six nations will participate. The champion from the previous year and the “Big Five” nations, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom, all automatically qualify.
Albania, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Israel, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, and Switzerland make up the remaining 20 finalists, who were determined by public voting in two semifinals on Tuesday and Thursday.
Eurovision is hugely popular in Australia
Spirit is important in Eurovision, not simply geography. Australia is a great fan of Eurovision and was given permission to enter the contest in 2015. Israel and Azerbaijan are two other foreign competitors.
Who Are the Favorites This Year?
It’s difficult to pick winners for a competition whose prior champions have included acts like ABBA and the Finnish cartoon metal band Lordi, but bookmakers think that Swedish singer Loreen, who won Eurovision in 2012, is the favorite to win again with her power ballad “Tattoo.”
With his pop-metal party song “Cha Cha Cha,” Finland’s Käärijä won over the crowd in the semifinals. Canada’s La Zarra, who is representing France, is also well-regarded for her song “Évidemment,” which is reminiscent of Edith Piaf.
Never undervalue outliers though, such as Croatia’s Let 3, whose song “Mama!” is pure Eurovision camp: an antiwar rock opera that sounds like a cross between Monty Python and “Dr. Strangelove.”
What takes place in the final?
The event will be moderated by longtime BBC Eurovision host Graham Norton, “Ted Lasso” actress Hannah Waddingham, British singer Alesha Dixon, and Ukrainian rocker Julia Sanina. Around 6,000 fans are expected to attend.
Each competing act is free to design its own staging, but must perform live vocals and adhere to a three-minute time constraint. The more extravagant the dancing and flashier the pyrotechnics, the better.
A competition known for honoring cheesy pop will take on a somber tone as a result of Russia’s conflict in Ukraine. The winner from the previous year, the Ukrainian folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra, will perform at the start of the concert. The 2016 competition winner from Ukraine, Jamala, will provide a performance paying homage to her Crimean Tatar heritage.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, is one individual who won’t be present. He requested to speak at the championship via video, but the European Broadcasting Union, the event’s organizer, stated “regrettably” that would violate “the nonpolitical nature of the event.”
How Is a Winner Chosen?
Viewers in the participating countries can cast their votes via phone, text message, or app after each act has performed, however they cannot vote for their own country. The aggregate “rest of the world” votes are given the weight of one individual country this year, making it possible for viewers in non-participating nations to cast their ballots online for the first time.
National juries of music industry professionals also award their favorite songs between one and twelve points, with announcers from each nation appearing to reveal which song received the coveted “douze points” (12 points).
Each nation receives a single score that is the sum of the jury and public votes. Obtaining “nul points” (zero points) is seen as a national disgrace. The U.K. has experienced this destiny on numerous occasions.
How Can I Watch Eurovision 2023?
National broadcasters that are a part of the European Broadcasting Union, such as the BBC in Britain, and the Eurovision YouTube channel both air Eurovision. It may be shown in the US on NBC’s Peacock streaming service.