Good evening Europe and good morning Australia, this is Liverpool calling! Tonight is the Grand Final Jury Show, during which the 37 juries around Europe and beyond will watch a full run through of tomorrow night’s live show and cast their votes. 26 countries will sing tonight – but only one can be crowned the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 tomorrow!
Sit back and relax, and let Eurovision Ireland’s own James Scanlan entertain and inform you. As always, feel free to tell me what you think and give your opinions about tonight’s Final and who your favourites are! I might even shout out to you in the blog!
REMEMBER! Tonight’s show is a closed affair, so only press and those present in the hall can watch in real time – if you want to know what’s going on, you’ll have to rely on my powers of description!
Also, half of all the scores you see awarded tomorrow will be decided tonight – so every note, every look down the camera, every moment… it all counts!! Who has their sights set on victory? Let’s find out!
LIVE BLOG STARTS HERE
Your excitement is understandable, but there are still at least 4 hours to go till show time! Come back later and experience all the fun and glamour of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 Grand Final Jury Show! 🇺🇦 🇬🇧
While you wait, why not learn how to say this year’s slogan “United by Music” in 50 languages, courtesy of Europe in a Day.
15 minutes till show time on this Eurovision Eve… yes, that’s what I call it! Don’t go too far, we’ll be starting soon!
There are 3 minutes till show time and the press feed has just gone live!
Here we go! Kalush Orchestra are wandering the streets of Liverpool and a haunting orchestral arrangement of Stefania plays… this song makes me teary eyed at the best of time, hearing it like that is even more beautiful…
The opening of Eurovision’s final is always a stunning affair, but Liverpool have really gone all in for this! Drummers, traditional Ukrainian patterns and costumes, Kalush perform in the giant hands of the eponymous Stefania… I’m happy to see that this is still Ukraine’s Eurovision being hosted in Liverpool on their behalf ❤
Sarah just pointed out one of the people in the opening act looked like me… I promise I’m not on stage!! Mostly because I wouldn’t be able to shut up about it if I was!! XD
Now it’s the time for the opening flag parade, a fairly new tradition at the contest but iconic none the less! It’s interspersed with Ukrainian Eurovision stars such as Go_A, Jamala, Tina Karol… Ukraine really have a belter of a back catalogue at this contest, don’t they?
VERKA!! I wondered when we’d be seeing her! DANZEN!!
Our hosts Alesha, Hannah, Julia and Graham, dressed in the colours of the United by Music logo – that’s a nice touch.
They’re certainly right, music is definitely in Liverpool’s DNA! And the city really has taken its duties as host very seriously!
Lovely Luxembourg are indeed back at Eurovision next year!! What a wonderful Eurovision Eve this is!! 🤩🇱🇺 Can’t wait to see what they bring to the table!
We’re not hanging around, and just as well as we’ve got 26 countries to get through!! It’s time for the first act!
AUSTRIA – Teya and Salena – Who The Hell Is Edgar?
The audience are chanting along with them and the moment it was announced they were opening the show, I knew we were in for a cracking start to proceedings! Teya and Salena give a vocally solid rendition of this bonkers but brilliant song – at times Salena looks like she’s not matching Teya’s (huge) stage energy, but it’s such fun we forgive her that. It’s a great start, I just fear for it being so early in the running order.
PORTUGAL – Mimicat – Ai Coração
I must admit, I was sad to see Portugal draw the dreaded second spot… but then again, that doesn’t mean it’s game over like some people say though! Mimicat is delightful, she hits every mark and this song is so jaunty and fun. Her voice is on point and she looks like she’s having the time of her life, which always goes down well. The audience reacted really well to her too! Brava Mimicat!
SWITZERLAND – Remo Ferrer – Watergun
Remo connects well with the camera and his voice is clear and powerful. In a year where war is very much at the front of Europe’s mind, an anti-war ballad is likely to go down well. The falling flares mimicking missiles are a stunning visual, part of me wondering if that’s in good taste… I didn’t think this would get to the final as it’s a bit slow (contrived has been thrown around too) and was relying on a televote, but Remo is showing us all exactly why he got here – his voice is undeniable!
POLAND – Blanka – Solo
For a song a lot of fans in particular had written off, I’m not surprised Poland are in the final. Vocally, Blanka feels like she’s playing it a bit safe and holding back which if there was a night not to do that, it’s tonight! But the routine is slick, well-choreographed and delivered convincingly. I suspect this will pick up more points from a televote than a jury, especially as I can hear the audience chanting “solo solo” with her!
SERBIA – Luke Black – Samo Mi Se Spava
“Hajde Luka!” someone yells from the audience! They certainly love him. With its haunting and avant-garde staging, this is definitely going to prove popular with the voting audience. But Luke’s vocals are perfect, every run through of this has sounded flawless, so a jury should respond well to him too. I don’t think this will win outright, but can see it doing Top 10 easily. And yes, listening to an audience of several thousand people scream “Game over, bitch!” is unintentionally hilarious!!! 😂
FRANCE – La Zarra – Évidemment
The first of the Big 5 performing tonight and one I’d argue who is in the running for the trophy! La Zarra looks coiffed and styled in her towering sparkly gown and gives us a confident rendition of her song as she connects flawlessly with the camera at every turn. Wow… she hit that note with aplomb! Brava La Zarra, that was incredible and France should be very proud of that performance – that is going to do very well!
Sarah makes an interesting point about France being so early in the running order, but with a performance like that, I don’t think they need to worry!
A quick break while we look back over the fun and games of the semi finals -including a conga line led by Peppa Pig… sentences you think you’ll never write…
CYPRUS – Andrew Lambrou – Break A Broken Heart
Dressed in black and smouldering barefoot and muscly down the camera, Andrew is going to have a televoting audience salivating. Vocally he feels much more there tonight than he was in yesterday’s semi, which is great to see. Feels like he’s not straining, so juries will note his technique. I love the staging for this, it’s simple but conveys the energy and emotion of the song. A few of those last notes sounded a bit off, but on the whole, a solid performance from Cyprus!
SPAIN – Blanca Paloma – EaEa
If the audience’s reaction was any barometer of success for Eurovision, then Spain would have this stitched up – their fans always make their feelings known, and loudly!! This is very edgy and blends modern elements with very traditional ones. Part of me thinks juries will really respond well to this because of that. But I still fear that it’s a touch too polarising for outright victory like some people are predicting. What I will say though is it’s a very intense and dramatic performance and Blanca is stunning! I’ll be interested to see where this lands on the scoreboard.
A quick plug for Junior Eurovision to remind the wider audience of Europe that the event exists – and they’re right, Yerevan put on a spectacular show last December!
I suspect this break is here to get Blanca’s set off stage and to get a now infamous cube/sandwich press on!
SWEDEN – Loreen – Tattoo
I’ll be honest, it took me a long time to warm up to this song – but I did get there eventually! With her trademark husky tones and plenty of close up camera work, Loreen is making this look effortless. I feel like there’s a narrative being built up that she’s going to walk to the top of the podium – and with this performance, topping the jury vote is possible. It’ll come down to whether Europe’s televoters agree… but a masterful performance nonetheless!
ALBANIA – Albina & Familja Kelmendi – Duje
I was delighted Albania made it to the final this year! This is staged perfectly for the mood of the song, with it’s red lighting juxtaposing with darkness. The family harmonise beautifully together and I suspect the Albania diaspora will get behind this to drive it up the scoreboard. The one thing I can see working against this (and Sarah just messaged to say the same!) is that coming after one of the hot favourites, people might still be talking about Sweden through most of this… poor Albania, having to follow both Austria and Sweden… that’s two tough acts to follow, but after that confident and pitch-perfect performance, I’m left thinking if anyone can, it’ll be Albania!
ITALY – Marco Mengoni – Due Vite
Italy can do Eurovision in their sleep and of course Marco sounds incredible. The staging with the acrobats on the trampolines is an unusual touch, but works. Some people have noted a bit of aloofness/disdain in Marco’s performance style and while he is vocally as emotive as ever, he singing a lot to the arena and not the camera – but when he does connect, it’s powerful and instant. Just a shame it’s a little infrequent. You can’t discount Italy at any given time, and this will hover up points.
ESTONIA – Alika – Bridges
Alika is a talented singer and Bridges is a sweet song with meaning and powerful lyrics. But I think Estonia is going to struggle this year and that’s nothing to do with Alika or the song. I think it’s fallen in a rough spot between Italy and Finland and that’ll be a problem. This will have its fans among the juries, I just hope they remember they like it when we’re all chanting CHA CHA CHA in about 2 minutes from now… a real shame, as Alika has such a clear and commanding voice.
FINLAND – Käärijä – Cha Cha Cha
They’re screaming for him the moment he appears! Käärijä has the audience in a frenzy and I suspect this will win the televote by a landslide (I’ll be voting for it for sure!) Käärijä is a natural showman and a joy to watch – I’m left wondering if juries will go as wild for his growling Finnish lyrics as the rest of us will. He always gives it his all and tonight is no exception! Have we just seen the winner? Quite possibly!
CZECHIA – Vesna – My Sister’s Crown
Following the absolute whirlwind of chaos that is Finland was never going to be easy, but Vesna hold their own with a very confidence and poised performance. They harmonise well and the staging is clear and cohesive, which I can see juries rewarding. I suspect Ukrainian lyrics will help it come the televote too. I wouldn’t be surprised if this gave Czechia their best placing at the contest to date, and deservedly so!
AUSTRALIA – Voyager – Promise
From the first moment I heard this song, I knew this would go down a storm in the arena and I’m not disappointed! Australia have staged this brilliantly – the look, the vocals, the lights, the camera… it’s all coming together exquisitely and the band look like they’re having the time of their lives, which is always so incredible to watch!! There are always rockers on juries and this won’t be short of love – well done Voyager, you’ve done Australia proud!
Australia have struggled in televotes in the last few years, Sarah notes… which is true, though I find it hard to believe that will struggle, it was epic!!
BELGIUM – Gustaph – Because Of You
There’s a lot of love for Gustaph in the hall, they’re cheering the moment he starts singing! He seems a touch nervous, can’t decide if that’s actual nerves or if he’s really revving up the energy because he knows what is at stake. The problem is, this is affecting his voice and few notes are wandering in directions I don’t think they’re meant to. He pulls it back together by the end of the song though, to his credit. A high energy performance all around though, and the fans will love him for it!
“Doesn’t everyone have a private collection of Eurovision DVDs?” – I certainly do! I’ve got the CDs too (yes, I’m old school like that!)
Mel Giedroyc and a butter churn… that cannot be unseen… ever…
ARMENIA – Brunette – Future Lover
Brunette gives a very intimate and gentle start to her performance, though she’s still swallowing some of the sounds in “be good, do good, look good” – no such problems when she starts rapping though!! Parts of this staging I LOVE and parts of it look a bit messy, but I applaud the intention. Vocally, she’s one point and I suspect being the only Caucasus country in the final will help it garner a fair few points. As for the televote, I think the legendary Armenian diaspora will see it do very well!
MOLDOVA – Pasha Parfeni – Soarele și Luna
If trance music had existed in the medieval period, I think it would have sounded a lot like this! Pasha Parfeni and Go_A collab anyone? I feel like Moldova know how to get themselves noticed for a Eurovision televote and this will be no exception. It’s a very confident and esoteric performance from Pasha and I guess it’ll depend how many jurors enjoy this kind of music – but that performance should put Moldova in good stead, good job Pasha!
Gosh, they’re really pushing the app this year, aren’t they?
Our would-be hosts and reigning winners, Ukraine are up next!
UKRAINE – Tvorchi – Heart of Steel
Much like I said about Italy, Ukraine now how to Eurovision – there’s a reason they’ve got more trophies at this contest than any of their East European neighbours! Tvorchi give a very slick performance, interesting graphics and visuals (though noticeably different from their national final staging). Vocally, feels like there’s a little struggling going on at some points, which is a shame – but listen to that reaction, I don’t think anyone really minds! Bravo Ukraine. Europe are with you and we are beyond thrilled you are here tonight ❤
NORWAY – Alessandra – Queen of Kings
Norway were tipped early as one of the countries to beat at this year’s contest and Alessandra is a livewire of a performer – which is interesting that she seems a little preoccupied and like she’s walking through things. She’s also trilling and lingering vocally in places she hasn’t previously, which feels like a dangerous strategy when there are people judging your performance – and I think doing that cost her that note at the end… pride cometh before a fall, and I feel like show boating came home to roost quite quickly…
GERMANY – Lord of the Lost – Blood and Glitter
Looking not unlike a punk glam rock macaw with clipped English diction that sounds like it’s come out of Richard III that moves into those guttural throaty roars…. there’s a lot going on here, but the audience are lapping it up, as I suspected they would! It’s a little repetitive but I think/hope a televote will respond to this well. Juries, I’m not so sure, but then again there are always rockers on juries… I like to think that’ll be enough to get Germany out of the last third of the scoreboard for once!
LITHUANIA – Monika Linkytė – Stay
There was a little discussion earlier amongst us at Eurovision Ireland and other selected websites that someone like Monika could well be in line to take an unexpected 1st in the jury vote. She sings beautifully, the song is uplifting and life affirming, they harmonise like a dream and the audience is chanting along with them… I would be thrilled if that happened, I love everything about this song and would to see it do well – I think Lithuania are definitely a dark horse this year, so well done girls! You’ve done an incredible job!
ISRAEL – Noa Kirel – Unicorn
From a dark horse to a mythological one, Noa exudes confidence as she sings down the camera. This is stage produced to within an inche of its life and while I can hear Noa is trilling and showing off her vocal skills, she’s doing it much more convincingly than other acts have tonight. As for that dance break… phenomenal! I’ve noticed Israel have crept up in the betting odds over the last few days… well, people keep saying the winner might be a surprise…
SLOVENIA – Joker Out – Carpe Diem
Watching these guys in the semi final, I was honestly blown away – everything about this performance works so well! The band connect exceptionally well with the camera, they’re having fun, the staging is simple but energetic and fun, and more importantly doesn’t overshadow the band. Though having a later draw in the running order made me question their chances, I feel confident saying Slovenia are on track for their best result at this contest for a good few years… possibly ever!!
Those of a nervous disposition, look away now… it’s Croatia!
CROATIA – Let 3 – Mama ŠČ!
If there was ever a song that I thought the juries would try to kill with fire, it’s this glorious bonkers ode to farm machinery. Love them or loathe them, we’ll be talking about this one for a good few years to come! This has televote Top 3 written all over it, especially being this late in the running order (eg, when an audience is largely drunk and completely uninhibited!!) If it manages to garner a few points from the juries, I’d be surprised. But I think 12 points from a Ukrainian jury and possibly hundreds more from the televote!
UNITED KINGDOM – Mae Muller – I Wrote A Song
Performing to a home crowd is always a huge boost and they’re screaming for Mae in Liverpool! Visually there is a lot going on with the bright colours, dancers and giant faces of Mae… but she feels like she’s holding back vocally and tonight really isn’t the time to do that. She’s got the confidence in her movements and swagger, but I wish there was a little more power in her vocals – mind you, hitting that note, maybe she was saving herself for that. As Graham says, what a way to end the show!
So there we go – 26 countries have done their part – while we’re waiting for the opening of the mock televote, I’m going to wait for the recap and compile some thoughts about who stands out and some predictions ahead of tomorrow night – brb!
Eurovision 2023 is shaping up to be an incredible night and I know it sounds cliched, but it’s tricky to pick out a winner. A lot of the bookies favourites have bunched up near the beginning/middle of proceedings, which is odd. That being said, as we’ve discussed in the blog already a good song will stand out wherever it lands in the running order.
One thing that did strike me listening to the recap, Spain and Sweden sound quite similar to an untrained ear. Lithuania, Australia, Italy and Armenia all stood out on listening to the recap, alongside pre-contest favourites Sweden, France and Finland. Only Austria, who I would have pegged as a Top 10 finisher, seem to have got lost by performing so early. Will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow night!
At the moment, I’m not convinced Sweden will stroll up to victory like some think they will. Loreen will be up there, for sure, but I think Käärijä is going to give her more of a battle than some expect and I can still see a road in which France or Italy pull a surprise victory off. Ufff… this is hard!!
While I’ve been debating all this, superstar Sam Ryder is performing his latest track Mountain – first time I’ve heard this, it’s really good! And he is such a dynamic performer – fun fact, I know Sam’s music teacher from when he was at secondary school!
Graham Norton now interviewing Jan Leeming, except it’s not really her… this would be confusing if you didn’t know how stand ins work!
Julia speaking with displaced Ukrainians from all over the country who are seeking refuge in the UK in the audience. As heart breaking as it is for you to be here, you are most welcome here ❤
Two coronations, one week – yes indeed! And watching the coronation of Charles III in the Eurovision Village last weekend was definitely a memorable experience!
We’re going into interval acts now, but to leave you some surprises for tomorrow night, I’m going to wrap things up now. After all, after this we have the fake voting segment and that doesn’t count towards anything and is more for the hosts to rehearse!
Thank you for joining me tonight, hope you’ve enjoyed my thoughts and comments on everything going on – just one more sleep till Eurovision 2023!!! We’ve seen the winner – but did we spot them yet?
Thank you Europe and good night!
Author: James Scanlan
Categories: #Eurovision, Albania, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Blog, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Eurovision 2020, Eurovision 2023, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Live, Live Blogs, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, Ukraine
What a fab opening !