Well then, here goes nothing. With the unique situation Eurovision has found itself in this has been a Contest like no other, and tonight’s grand final is one for the ages. The BBC has pulled all the stops to create this one of a kind joint hosting experience.
It’s immediately apparent in the opening performance from reigning champions, Kalush Orchestra, that this is Ukraine’s show. Just in Liverpool’s gaffe. This blend of two locations is further bolstered by the exquisite flag parade sequence. The formalities and pleasantries will be run through, the stage will be set and then we’ll get to…THE SONGS.
#1 AUSTRIA 🇦🇹
Teya & Salena – Who the Hell is Edgar?
A song all about the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe inhabiting the songwriters to represent the plight of artists being underpaid by streaming services in the music industry. Now that’s how you open the show, and I bet you you’ll singing “Poe Poe Poe” in your head for at least the next four songs.
#2 PORTUGAL 🇵🇹
Mimicat – Ai coração
I had one of the best holidays of my life back in Lisbon in 2018 so now I basically shag anything Portugal since. Mimicat is a sensational performer and Ai coração is a beautiful song & stage show experience. This feels proper cabaret and if it doesn’t get you dancing along in your seat you have no soul.
#3 SWITZERLAND 🇨🇭
Remo Forrer – Watergun
Let’s start off by saying that Remo has a fantastic voice and the entry is staged really well. I can be positive.
That being said, he sings “I don’t want to be a soldier”. You can come from Switzerland lad, I wouldn’t worry about it!
#4 POLAND 🇵🇱
Blanka – Solo
This entry is akin to a dirty kebab and fries you have at 3am after many pints. Is it good for you? No. Can you be sure of it’s quality and origin? Absolutely not.
But do you still devour the entire thing without a moment’s thought? Of course you do.
And aptly, a kebab is very much a meal one should enjoy…Solo.
#5 SERBIA 🇷🇸
Luke Black – Samo mi se spava
During this performance you’ll see the words “THIS ENDS NOW”. I’m here to tell you that’s nowhere near true, it’s only song five. The only thing that should be ending now should be your first drink.
#6 FRANCE 🇫🇷
La Zarra – Évidemment
You’ll be sat at home thinking this is soooo French. And you’d be right. And wrong. La Zarra, like 1988 winner Celine Dion before her, is actually Canadian. Beyond that, this is a beguiling mixture of traditional French chanson and disco. She’s on a plinth which, for all we know, is a miniature Eiffel tower draped in cloth. Standing in front of an LED tricolour just to hammer home it Frenchness, c’est magnifique!
#7 CYPRUS 🇨🇾
Andrew Lambrou – Break a Broken Heart
If you’re playing the traditional Euroivsion drinking game “Drink on pyro” then don’t let this one lull you into a false sense of security. By the end of the three minutes you will be dead. And so early in the show as well!
#8 SPAIN 🇪🇸
Blanca Paloma – Eaea
Up next it’s the singing siren of Southern Spain. This could be a dark horse to top the jury vote after we’ve gone round the 37 countries. I wouldn’t expect the same positivity coming from those at home, it’s just not immediately accessible. It really is a lot wailing for three minutes, but good wailing though. Quality wailing.
#9 SWEDEN 🇸🇪
Loreen – Tattoo
2012 Eurovision Song Contest winner returns to do something that has only been done once before, p̶e̶r̶f̶o̶r̶m̶ i̶n̶ a̶ b̶i̶g̶ t̶o̶a̶s̶t̶i̶e̶ m̶a̶k̶e̶r̶ win the Contest twice. It’s not really groundbreaking in any way, it’s just a bloody good quality song. No argument from me if Loreen does the double.
#10 ALBANIA 🇦🇱
Albina & Familja Kelmendi – Duje
Last year Albania sent something that could’ve been sexy and exciting but they messed it up and it didn’t qualify. Rather than continue taking a risk they’ve fallen back on what they usually do, but with a family to make it all the more wholesome. If Spain was wailing but good, Albania is wailing but…maybe use this as your first pee break?
#11 ITALY 🇮🇹
Marco Mengoni – Due vite
Handsome Italian man sings and emotes a nice song. I miss Måneskin.
#12 ESTONIA 🇪🇪
Alika – Bridges
Nice Estonian woman sings and emotes a nice song. I miss Måneskin.
#13 FINLAND 🇫🇮
Käärijä – Cha Cha Cha
Here he is. Second favourite to win the bookies, first favourite to win with the me. This is fun, fun and yet more fun. There’s no better way to describe it better than the singer himself. It’s crazy, it’s party. It migh…it will win.
And I don’t miss Måneskin quite as much now.
#14 CZECHIA 🇨🇿
Vesna – My Sister’s Crown
Genuinely feel sorry for the Czechs having to follow Finland, but it’s such a quality entry that it still manages to hold it’s own. An empowering feminist anthem blends languages and the six vocals to create something rather spellbinding.
The all pink outfits was a choice, but it’s still an incredible song.
#15 AUSTRALIA 🇦🇺
Voyager – Promise
YES. F***ING. PLEASE. There are rumours and hearsay that this may be Australia’s final Eurovision entry and if that’s the case they really are going out with a bang. Electronic prog-esque rock bringing that 80s sound kicking and screaming into 2023
Oh and Simone on bass was born in Falkirk so…SCOTLAND!!!
#16 BELGIUM 🇧🇪
Gustaph – Because of You
Eurovision? Camp? Oh yeah, I suppose it is.
This is possibly the biggest turnaround within the community from a song being chosen to being at Eurovision. Deried when chosen, to a firm favourite. This is a queer party anthem that will leave a smile on your face. Hat Daddy coming for those televotes.
#17 ARMENIA 🇦🇲
Brunette – Future Lover
Seven songs have won from 17th in the running at Eurovision. I can assure you, tonight that will not become eight. Potential pee break #2.
#18 MOLDOVA 🇲🇩
Pasha Perfeni – Soarele și luna
I’ve never done drugs but one imagines if you were drop a tab in a forest this is the kind of thing you would see. And I promise, I mean that entirely as a compliment. Pasha is a sublime performer and brings the archetypal Moldovan fun with a darker style and a dance beat. Hard not to like.
#19 UKRAINE 🇺🇦
Tvorchi – Heart of Steel
Ukraine just get Eurovision. A polished performance with sublime vocals and impressive staging. This a genre we don’t get at the Contest so remains to be seen how well this will do, but it’s an impressive defending winner’s performance.
#20 NORWAY 🇳🇴
Alessandra – Queen of Kings
Wee Alessandra was amongst the bookies’ favourites for a long time but as we have gone further into this process it’s felt like the momentum behind Queen of Kings has fallen away.
That said, this is still a thumping pop tune and Alessandra still packs a proper punch which will likely do well with those voting at home. Like Ukraine, Norway just know how to do Eurovision.
#21 GERMANY 🇩🇪
Lord of the Lost – Blood and Glitter
The lead singer of the band performed in leopard skin leggings and a pair of pants with a cat’s face over the crotch over them in the first rehearsal for the final. And still, that’s tremendously understated compared to what you’ll see tonight.
Full on gothic metal is perhaps not something you’d expect at Eurovision but really it fits like a glove. A very well-moulded red leather glove.
Monika Linkytė – Stay
Sometimes a beautifully sung ballad with a catchy hook in another language is just what you want. This is what we’re getting from Lithuania and it just speaks to me. It’s a beautiful song and Monika has a gorgeous vocal. I couldn’t ask for more.
Oh, and one of the backing singers works in a Waitrose in Essex. Making her the first of two singers on stage tonight to hail from the region. No prizes for guessing the other.
#23 ISRAEL 🇮🇱
Noa Kirel – Unicorn
Repeated exclamations of…
“You wanna see me dance?”
“You wanna see me dance?”
“YOU WANNA SEE ME DANCE?”
…sort of leaves one feeling like we don’t have a choice. If she’s so insistent on dancing why ask the question? This kinda feels like four or five songs melded into one. So chances are there’ll be at least one element you’ll enjoy.
#24 SLOVENIA 🇸🇮
Joker Out – Carpe Diem
The lead singer of this band has spent the weeks of Eurovision buildup basically flirting with anyone and everyone. One cheeky glance down the camera lense and you’ll probably see why they’ve been falling for it. This may be the first case of televisually transmitted pregnancy we’ll ever see.
Oh, and the song’s a banger too. Suppose I should mention that.
#25 CROATIA 🇭🇷
Let 3 – Mama ŠČ!
Bless the Swiss thinking they were sending a delicate anti-war song that would resonate with the Continent. Nope. It’s this one. This utterly ludicrous punk opera masterpiece is one that cannot be missed. With repeated veiled digs at a certain “psychopath” you don’t have to read too far between the lines.
Oh, and there’s a suspicion there may even be more clothes shed than there were in the semi final. You were warned.
#26 UNITED KINGDOM 🇬🇧
Mae Muller – I Wrote a Song
And finally, as if fate would have it the United Kingdom were randomly drawn in last place. So it’s up to Ar Mae to take us over the line. It’s a bangin’ end to the show and Mae’s personality shines through but after last year, do adjust your expectations. This one isn’t going to be that high up in space…man.
The competing songs are followed by two utterly astounding interval acts. Sam Ryder returns to the Eurovision stage to perform his new single. He’ll be joined by someone *pretty special* on drums. Then the medley of former Eurovision acts performing some of Liverpool’s greatest hits is just sublime. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry…it’ll change your life.
Finally, Graham Norton and the star of this week’s proceedings, Hannah Wadidngham, will take us on whistlestop tour of Europe to gather the jury points. This will be followed by the audience vote and finally, after all this build up…
Finland will win the Eurovision Song Contest.