Music

Eurovision is here and guess what? The UK’s good at it now

Can the UK win Eurovision 2023? What do you get for winning? What has Frankie Goes to Hollywood got to do with it? We have the answers

Eurovision 2023 trophy

The Eurovision trophy. Photo: Corinne Cumming / EBU

Yes, in circumstances no-one would have seen coming when the UK crashed to nul points in 2021, Sam Ryder took us to second place last year. Ukraine won but sadly can’t host due to the war, so Eurovision 2023 came knocking on the BBC’s door and we’re all heading to Liverpool. 

The songs range from the sublime to the ridiculous (sometimes, both at once). Be prepared for the return of a Eurovision queen, this time in a toastie machine; a man with a magnificent bowl cut who’s brought a big crate and a couple of singers possessed by the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe.

Standard, really.

Where will Eurovision 2023 be held?

The contest takes place at the Liverpool Arena.

What date is Eurovision 2023?

The final is on May 13, with the semi-finals on May 9 and May 11.

What channel is Eurovision 2023 on?

There’s a change this year as the semi-finals are also on BBC One alongside the Saturday night final. All the countries aside from the Big Five (plus Ukraine this year, as they won last year) have to win their way through the semi-finals. 

Why is there a big five at Eurovision?

The Big Five are the broadcasters who make the biggest financial contributions to the European Broadcasting Union, who run this whole thing. As a result, they get priority boarding and go straight through to the final.

Loreen
Loreen. Image: Supplied

Who will win Eurovision 2023?

At the time of writing, and with a warning everything could change at any second, there is the possibility the UK is going to witness two coronations in a week.

Sweden’s Loreen has been the favourite for months, and it wouldn’t be the first time she’d won Eurovision. In 2012, she won with a song called Euphoria. If you don’t think you know it, have a quick listen, it may sound immediately familiar.

Tattoo sounds Euphoria-esque but with a slower build, with an intro that plays to a national brand as it has ABBA-esque touches, before building to a big old dance beat. The stage performance is quite something, as it simultaneously looks Hollywood-esque and as if Loreen is sitting in a giant toastie machine. Somehow, both classy and ripe for many jokes.

Second favourite, Finland’s Käärijä, presents a stage show which somehow looks like a cross between Strictly Come Dancing meets The Human Centipede. The song combines a bit of rap, a bit of singalong and a bit of crashing through a crate. The arena crowd is gonna lap it up.

Otherwise? Ukraine cannot be discounted given ongoing support for the country and its record of success in the contest, and France’s La Zarra has a potentially epic song with some huge notes if she can pull it off live. To describe it? Imagine the most French song possible, then add some Frenchness. 

Eurovision 2023: Mae Muller
Mae Muller. Photo: Eurovision

Can the UK win Eurovision 2023?

The UK probably won’t win this year but will be hoping to build on last year’s result. Our act, Mae Muller, wrote a song called… er… I Wrote A Song and it’s a very radio-friendly track. The trick will be converting a nice background listen to a show-stopping stage performance.

Who definitely won’t win Eurovision 2023?

Oddly, we find ourselves in a situation where almost all the good songs come from the big five and semi-final one. So almost every song in semi-final two stands no chance, alongside countries some way off the top 10 in the odds like Ireland.

There is one highlight from that second show, Austria’s Who The Hell Is Edgar by Teya and Selena. The plotline on the surface is a writer who sings about being possessed by the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe but, beneath the surface, it’s a cutting song about artists struggling to make money out of the music industry. The repeated refrain, 0.003, is a dig at the small amount of money often paid by streaming services to be shared by artists and everyone involved in a track when they’re played.

Eurovision 2023: Teya & Salena
Teya & Salena. Photo: Eurovision

Could someone else win Eurovision?

A health warning: someone else could come out of nowhere and win. It feels more predictable than usual but never assume it’s over until it’s over.

What do you get for winning Eurovision?

Three things: a) a classy trophy, b) the chance to perform again at the end and c) a large bill for your country’s broadcaster as they host the thing the following year.

In fairness, you get a ton of exposure internationally which can work out well (ask Måneskin or Duncan Laurence). Mind you, like The X Factor, you don’t need to win to do well. Ask Rosa Linn, who finished 20th for Armenia in 2022 and still went viral.

And finally, what does Frankie Goes to Hollywood have to do with all this?

Liverpool is, of course, the home of The Beatles (you may have heard some reference to that particular band) but has a big music scene well beyond the Fab Four. One of the city’s biggest bands, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, are reuniting to play live for the first time in decades. They’ll perform at The National Lottery’s Big Eurovision Welcome – basically, the opening ceremony – outside St George’s Hall in Liverpool on May 7, alongside other acts with a connection to the city like Atomic Kitten and The Lightning Seeds, and past Eurovision winners Jamala and Conchita Wurst.

Read all our Eurovision coverage here.

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