Eurovision Finales 2023

The grand finale opens with what seem to be drumming riot police. Or is this a very confusing anti-war statement? I have a feeling there will be quite a bit of anti-war themes tonight!

We endure another rendition of last year’s winner, Ukraine, with folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra, before the flag parade of the finalists interspersed by short musical interludes from Eurovisions past.

Finally, our four hosts make it on stage, with Ukrainian singer, Julia Sanina and three UK hosts:  Hannah Waddingham (of Game of Thrones fame), Graham Norton and someone else. Famously, Eurovision hosts are unfunny and lack any charm whatsoever, but Hannah Waddingham absolutely nails it, her French is impeccable, and she is just so so excited to be there. Absolutely adorable!

We kick off the competition with Austria’s Who the Hell is Edgar? Applying minimum dance moves (literally just 2 steps to the left and 2 to right), Teya and Salena are flanked by multiple red wiggles that digitally proliferate into a literal army. Solid performance and 15th place.

More red wiggles for Portugal, a red frilly dress for Mimicat and clashing, fuchsia-coloured gloves, which may have cost points – 23rd.

Remo from Switzerland is next as is the first anti-war song. Remo, in an all-black, oversized, and glittery suit, means well, but in a boring way – 20th.

Sporting the best shoulder-length glove of the evening, Poland’s Blanka lowers the tone considerably, with a vacuous (albeit entertaining) number about showing her ex what they are missing out on – mostly some very energetic dancing in glittery outfits. 19th place.

Insomniac, Luke Black from Serbia is next with a musically and visually confusing performance – why are there deep-sea divers on stage? A deserved 24th place.

Far more comprehensible is France’s La Zara – an unmistakable French chanson that has been pimped up with disco beats and lasers. A glittery dress and dainty little beret (also glittery).  16th place.

Cyprian werewolf Andrew Lambrou is next, howling his way through Eurovision, barefoot in a black (oversized) suit that is missing its sleeves (showing off a nice set of guns). An inexplicable 12th place.

More howling and wailing from Spain – paired with unmotivated stage fog – an unsurprising 17th place

Sweden, one of the favourites is up next, Loreen (who already bagged the Eurovision title in 2012) appears in an outfit reminiscent of the Borg (inclusive of cybernetic fingernails) appropriately staged on a cube. Excellent wind machine action propelled a not very exciting song into first place! Stockholm, here we come!

Albania’s family-friendly Balkan pop makes it onto stage. Albina is dressed as a Klingon queen and brings big emotions, drama and more wailing… 22nd.

Glittery Marco from Italy is next, a gimmick-free and strong performance – a deserved 4th place.

Estonia’s Alika and the first (possibly only) grand piano of the competition… this one can play all by itself, leaving Alika free roam the stage in her mauve-coloured jumpsuit. Europe liked it – 8th place!

Now time to Cha-cha-cha with Finland’s Käärijä, a hot favourite and the entire stadium screams along. Finland clearly won the popular vote, but the jury found the song lacking – second place!

Easily the best plaits of the competition, Czechia’s Vesna struggle to hold the harmony but wear excellent pink pantsuits – and there is glitter! How did they make it to 10th place?

Australia is next and they have brought the 90s with them, inclusive of Kitt from NightRider, keytars and (glittery) shoulder pads. A very energetic performance that catapult Voyager into the top 10, but only just – 9th place.

Keeping with the 80s/90s theme, Gustaph from Belgium gives us a soulful number and has something Boy George about him (is it the hat) – 8th place! Was it the pink jodhpurs?

Armenia’s Brunette has excellent hair and is sending a message to her future lover – 14th place.

Moldova’s ethno-pop (inclusive or drums and annoying flute) takes over – Pasha’s manbun and bare chest came to no avail – 18th place.

Last year’s winner, Ukraine is next. With more Borg enhancements, Tvorchi rides Europe’s solidarity with the Ukraine and makes it into 6th place.

Norway’s Alessandra makes it onto stage, having raided, the Klingon wardrobe. The jury thought the song stank, and they would be right, but somehow the popular vote propelled Alessandra into 5th place.

German glam-rock Lord of the Lost is next and is swiftly relegated to last place. A bit undeserved, as the outfits were excellent!

Wearing an unremarkable orange dress without on-stage gimmickry, Monika from Lithuania delivers a solid and mesmerising chorus and is rewarded with 11th place.

Israel brings bad-ass girl attitude (and a very supportive bra). Clearly, the dance performance carried the song into third place, as Noah was often out of tune and out of breath.

How Slovenia’s boy-band Joker Out made it to the finals, we will never know. Rock clichés and a flat song – 21st place

Joke-entry Croatia delivers a serious anti-war message. The song and staging are nothing short of chaotic, ending with everyone standing in their undies on stage – 13th place

The UK entry is the last of the performances – with a dreadful song delivered vocally flat– at least the red wiggles were back. Second last for the UK!

While the world sends in its votes, we are treated by the ghosts of Eurovisions past performing classics: Beatles, Atomic Kittens, Dead or Alive, and the most relevant for Liverpool – You Never Walk Alone  – bringing everyone to tears.

My favourite part of Eurovision is next – the awkward presentation of the votes from each participating country. You can just watch the life drain from the eyes of hosts Hannah and Graham as the national presenters just go on and on and on….

Sweden ran away with the jury votes, plenty of 12 points to Sweden, and Finland dominated the popular vote, but fell short by less than 50 points.

While Sweden is the winner by points, Hannah Waddingham is the overall Eurovision Queen!

And there you have it! I am utterly exhausted – see you next year!

Mariella Herberstein & Club Douze Points

Sweden, Malta and France

Sweden – Cornelia Jakobs: Hold Me Closer

As a bitter Finn I naturally crave to say something negative about our “always better at everything”-neighbour Sweden, but I must admit I really like this song from the first listening – a rare jewel in Eurovision song contest! I like the appearance of the video, the slightly hoarse voice of Cornelia Jakobs and the catchy melody. It is a marvel, because I have a pre-decided and thus unfair tendency to dislike any breakup or goodbye songs (this song very literally fitting in the latter category). The very nice and not too repetitive lyrics written by Jakobs herself probably hit too close home with me due to my very recent move to Australia and might bias my perception on the song. But I stand by my statement, this is a really pleasant song and definitely one to make it to the finals.

Review by Sanni Silvasti

Malta – Emma Muscat: I Am What I Am

This song attempts to make an undeniably important point of individuality and the need of people to recognize and accept diversity in others. But jeez, what a Disney song… The only difference is that the songs in cartoon movies would never ever be this boring. The video could have saved a lot; the start was kind of good but towards the end the whole scheme got at least as corny as the song was boring. My suspicion is that this piece will be forgotten by the audience at the very instance the last tunes of the too much repeated “I am what I am” fades and thus it will not make its way to the finals. Props for at least having diverse people in the music video, though.

Review by Sanni Silvasti

France – Alvan & Ahez: Fulenn

The song starts by building a mental image of mystical women in a forest dancing to ethnic beats in torch light, and by the first chorus I am completely hooked! The whole performance is mesmerizing and hilarious if you read the translations of the lyrics at the same time.  Shadow spirits, beasts, lust, and heat are mentioned! It is very refreshing, however, that even though the theme of the song perhaps implies some pagan sex fest, the music video is not relying on overly sexualized naked women. Rather, vocalists are dressed in black and gold and are doing a good job at singing and being mysterious while a single dancer is there to add to the atmosphere of a near satanic rite. The song is catchy and definitely entertaining – I assume this one will make it to the finals but will not take the victory this year. I dance with the devil, so what!

Review by Sanni Silvasti

Sweden, France and Slovenia

Sweden – Voices by Tusse

I sure like the magenta velvet smoking jacket Tusse is wearing in the video, but, boy, does he drag out every note of this song…’can you heeeeeeaaaaaaaar a million voices’. I guess he needed to make it to the 3 minute mark. Not even the customary key change cheered me up.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

France – Voilà by Barbara Pravi

OMD (oh mon dieu) – France is going old school on us with a classic chanson, Piaff style. By 1’07” I developed cravings for Gauloise and cheap Beaujolais, contemplating the existential crisis of my life. Send help ….. or Denmark’s Fyr Og Flamme.

Review Mariella Herberstein

Slovenia – Amen by Ana Soklič

Featuring the mother of all key changes, Ana scales an impressive vocal range into a massive crescendo ably supported by a gospel choir. But without any of the usual trashy gimmicks, I doubt it will it be enough.

Review by Mariella Herberstein

Sweden & Romania


John Lundvik: Too Late For Love

Grammatical issues notwithstanding, John Lundvik’s “Too Late For Love” is a safe, straightforward dance ballad from this Euro-powerhouse. It’s true to recent form for Sweden, and to be honest if you played any of their last dozen entries over a clip of slow-motion rain I doubt whether viewers would be able to differentiate them. The strategy is effective enough having secured a top 10 finish for most of the last decade (we don’t talk about Bergendahl), but it doesn’t make for compelling listening. Get weird Sweden!

Review by Tom White


Ester Peony: On A Sunday

An incongruous county-blues guitar hook kicks off this gloomy electronic piece from Romania’s Ester Peony. In the great tradition of edgy alternative bands there is no hint as to what the title “On a Sunday” actually refers to, but the song carries the usual theme of love and the tremendous price it extracts from us all (are we thinking of the same thing?). The real star of the accompanying video is Ester’s husky companion, whose glossy coat, playful eyes, and regal attitude steal the show. I would very much like to scratch it behind the ears and rubs its belly, and I do hope Romania leans heavily into the canine theme for the live show, since the song and human performers are otherwise forgettable.

Review by Tom White

Ukraine and Sweden

UkraineMelovin: Under the Ladder

The live-rehearsal version of Melovin’s “Under the Ladder” is the story of man’s desperate search for a key, which doesn’t bode well for this X-Factor Ukraine alumnus come crunch time. The moody (and shaky) verse builds to a punchy chorus that admittedly has some pick-up and an appropriate number of “woah oh oh uh”s, but it’s too little too late for my money.

Review by Tom White

SwedenBenjamin Ingrosso: Dance You Off

The pressures of Eurovision are well known to select for mimetic extremes, yet the fidelity of Benjamin Ingrosso still took me by surprise. In a direct channelling of Justin Bieber & The Weekend, with a dash of Daft Punk underneath, the 20 year old Swedish national delivers the electro-pop banger “Dance You Off” (a threat? a promise?). The vocal style isn’t for everyone, such as me, but the rolling funk-bass is worth the price of admission, and there’s no denying the piece is on trend. I predict another strong finish for Sweden this year, but not enough to really stand out from the crowd.

Review by Tom White

UK, Montenegro, Sweden

UKNever Give Up On You by Lucy Jones

The UK are perennial underachievers at Eurovision and that was before Brexit, I’m not sure that the British voters realised what the Eurovision implications would be. This year’s entry Lucie Jones is, wait for it …… Welsh, she is from Cardiff, a bit of Wales that voted to stay so perhaps she should play on this a bit. The song is a rather breathless effort, it you are watching the broadcast I recommend it would to be a good 3 minutes and 14 seconds to make another drink or load the dishwasher.

Review by Matt Bruce


MontenegroSpace by Slavko Kalezić

Slavko Kalezić seems to split his time more or less evenly between the hairdresser, the gym and wherever you get manscaping done in Montenegro. He wants to take you to space so you can be as one, where he will, presumably, unleash some more of his thinly veiled innuendo.

Review by Matt Bruce

SwedenI can’t go on by Robin Bengtsson

The backup dancers in this number wear skivvies, dance with their hands in their pockets and drive Volvos. One of those things isn’t true. National stereotypes aside, Robin Bengtsson should do pretty well, I Can’t Go On is the kind of generic urban offering that seems to be quite popular these days and stands out against a procession of Euro-ballads. Finals for me.

Review by Matt Bruce

Moldova, Montenegro and Sweden


Falling Stars by Lidia Isac


So, I love anything astronomical, and Lidia serves up swirling galaxies on a bed of Balkan disco beat. I predict this will be on rotation at Club Med all around the Black Sea this summer (sadly Moldova has geographically been denied access to the Black Sea). Just a word of warning: listening to this more than three times will open a black hole in your heart!

Review by Mariella Herberstein



The Real Thing by Highway


Is this the real thing? Oh….that is quite disappointing then. The best thing about this performance is the dancer: a resolute, if not slightly angry young woman who, like I, seems to be quite disappointed with this entry from Montenegro.

Review by Mariella Herberstein



If I were sorry by Frans


Where was the Swedish Tourist Board when this video was made? Sweden has never looked so derelict.  Frans will attempt to win Eurovision glory back to back for Sweden, but I don’t know if teenage emo with a bit of ‘meh’ will win over the voting grandmothers of Eurovisionland.  Even if Frans is not sorry,  I surely am!

Review by Mariella Herberstein