The Eurovision Song Contest 2023 was filled with magnificent performances, heartfelt solidarity, and a unique collaboration between the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Ukraine.
As a result of Ukraine's victory in the previous year's contest, the UK took on the responsibility of hosting this year's event, bringing excitement to the vibrant city of Liverpool under the theme "United by Music." Produced flawlessly by BBC Studios, Eurovision 2023 showcased the extraordinary talent and eccentricity that has come to define this iconic international competition. The show started with a reprise of Ukraine's winning song, "Stefania" by Kalush Orchestra, as a symbolic display of support for Ukraine amidst the ongoing conflict with Russia.
The opening act featured a captivating video treatment, reminiscent of the grandeur of the 2012 Olympics, with surprise appearances from Joss Stone, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and even the Princess of Wales herself. Following this spectacle, the hosts took the stage. BBC commentator Graham Norton seamlessly transitioned between his role in the booth and co-presenting the show alongside Hannah Waddingham, Alesha Dixon, and Ukrainian rockstar Julia Sanina.
The following performances expressed the unique combination of modern pop and regional uniqueness that has come to be linked to Eurovision. The stage came alive with a mixture of catchy tunes and captivating visuals, from Austria's Teya & Salena's drum funk to Portugal's lively cabaret-styled song. Norton's witty commentary and humorous banter provided an additional layer of entertainment, carefully managing praise for the creative acts with subtly making fun of the less interesting ones.
Among the remarkable acts of the night, Sweden's Loreen emerged as a fan favourite with her powerful ballad "Tattoo". She left an indelible mark with her soaring vocals and catchy hooks. The competition was initially predicted to be a fierce battle between Sweden and Finland. Loreen won this battle and the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 and next year, Eurovision will be held in Sweden, Stockholm.
Finland was represented by Käärijä, who delivered a dynamic techno performance of his song "Cha Cha Cha". Sporting plastic green bolero sleeves, Käärijä's energetic choreography, including riding a human centipede of ballroom dancers, captivated the audience.
The event also featured a number of touching and unexpected moments. While Italy's inspirational ballad provided a show-stopping moment recalling a musical, Belgium's lovely diva-disco track transported listeners to the dance floors of the early '90s. Alessandra, a performer from Norway, caught the audience with her evocative theme, which sounded like the opening to a fast-paced Game of Thrones spin-off and featured lyrics about a ruling warrior.
Beyond the glitz and glamour, Eurovision 2023 was a symbol of solidarity with Ukraine, a nation facing ongoing challenges due to the invasion by Russia. The collaboration between Ukraine for Eurovision 2023 was a testament to the power of music, unity, and solidarity. Despite the challenging circumstances that prevented Ukraine from hosting the event, the UK graciously stepped in, embracing the opportunity to bring the Eurovision magic to Liverpool. The flawless production by BBC Studios ensured that viewers across Europe and beyond were captivated by the spectacular performances and the electric atmosphere.