Crank it as much as douze! It’s your final information to Eurovision 2023

It’s probably the most thrilling, unpredictable, surreal evening of tv. And this 12 months, it’s going down within the UK. Let this be your information for the acts to be careful for, the weirdest lyrics and a bluffer’s information to the scoring. Now if you’ll excuse me … ahem … let the Eurovision track contest start!

How we acquired right here

Final 12 months’s winners had been Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra with the track Stefania. It dominated the general public vote, receiving a file 439 factors (that’s the utmost 12 factors from practically each different nation) and 631 factors in whole. Historically, the winner hosts Eurovision the next 12 months, however the ongoing battle in Ukraine made that inconceivable. In order the UK’s Sam Ryder got here second (with Space Maaaaaaaaan), the BBC supplied to host.

Though the occasion is in Liverpool, that is very a lot a present for Ukraine. Kalush Orchestra will open the grand closing, adopted by performances from well-known Ukrainian entrants through the conventional Flag Parade (which Graham Norton as soon as described as “a brand new innovation … to make the night simply that little bit longer”). These acts embrace Jamala (winner of Eurovision 2016), Tina Karol (represented Ukraine in 2006), and Verka Serduchka (whose 2007 entry Dancing Lasha Tumbai is the stuff of Eurovision legend).

Timur Miroshnychenko, who commentated for Ukrainian viewers from a bunker in Kyiv final 12 months, will make frequent cameos from his commentary field within the area. And alongside hosts Hannah Waddingham (a sensational host, who after talking in French on the semi-finals, adopted it up with “a few of us Brits do hassle to be taught one other language”) and Alesha Dixon will probably be Julia Sanina, from Ukrainian band the Hardkiss. Norton will even one way or the other juggle presenting and commentating, with Mel Giedroyc filling in at any time when he’s on stage. (“Is he going to make use of a jet pack? Is it going to be on a zipper wire?” Giedroyc requested the BBC’s Eurovisioncast podcast.)

The interval will even function a collaboration between six Eurovision icons, from Iceland’s Daði Freyr (the entrant for the cancelled 2020 occasion and the 2021 contest, who wore a inexperienced jumper containing a Lego model of his personal face) to Liverpool’s personal Sonia, who represented the UK in 1993. For Eurovision followers, it’s a fever dream.

Ones to observe

Loreen from Sweden.
Between rock and a tough place … Loreen from Sweden. {Photograph}: Phil Noble/Reuters

Crank up the wind machine … Loreen is again! The winner of Eurovision 2012 is hoping to take the trophy again to Sweden, this time with a track known as Tattoo – which is at present the new favorite. It’s not as a lot of a banger as her final entry, Euphoria (actually, what track is?), however her efficiency actually stands out. A track all about combating for love, it begins along with her mendacity down between two LED screens, which appear like a large panini press that she slowly prises aside. The screens she used throughout Melodifestivalen, the Swedish TV present that chooses their entry, had been so big and hefty (reportedly weighing a tonne) that for Eurovision she’s having to make use of smaller ones on wheels, to allow them to be rolled out of the best way in time for the following performer. If Loreen wins, this would be the seventh time Sweden has gained the competition, matching all-time file holder Eire, who did not qualify.

She faces stiff competitors. Finland’s Käärijä is turning into a agency favorite. He additionally achieves a Eurovision first: a mixture of electronica, rapping and ballroom dancing. Cha Cha Cha options the performer rising from a picket field carrying a neon bolero jacket, singing about boozing (“There’s no tomorrow after I maintain a pint tightly”). He’s joined by dancers with demonic facial expressions who – because the track unexpectedly turns right into a catchy sea shanty – type a human centipede, which Käärijä rides like a horse (the dancers confer with this part as a “piggy practice”). That is peak Eurovision, and is so fully leftfield it would really win.

Release the piggy train! … Käärijä from Finland.
Launch the piggy practice! … Käärijä from Finland. {Photograph}: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Photographs

One other efficiency you’d solely discover at Eurovision is Croatia’s Let 3 with their track Mama ŠČ. Over the course of three minutes, they strip from clothes to their pants (enjoyable truth: they carried out with roses between their buttocks of their nationwide finals). Regardless of Eurovision banning data deemed political, this anti-war track one way or the other acquired by way of, though many imagine the lyrics to be about Putin (“That little psychopath / Warfare battle”). In addition they sing about tractors, which is interpreted by some as a reference to Belarus chief Alexander Lukashenko giving Putin a tractor for his birthday.

Let 3 from Croatia.
High hats … Let 3 from Croatia. {Photograph}: Phil Noble/Reuters

Ukraine routinely qualifies for the finals having gained final 12 months, and their entry this time is Tvorchi with a catchy electronica monitor known as Heart of Steel. Additionally by way of are the Massive 5, nations that pay probably the most for the operating of the competition (yep, it’s a factor). This contains France’s entry Évidemment by the splendidly fashionable La Zarra, a catchy track that oozes sophistication. And, in fact, there’s the United Kingdom’s Mae Muller with I Wrote a Song, which appears like a industrial pop banger moderately than a track put ahead by the BBC as a result of it sounds Eurovision-y. It’s all the higher for it.

Will Muller, who performs final, come up high? It’s laborious to say. She faces a whole lot of sturdy pop contenders, from Norway’s Alessandra and her catchy Queen of Kings (put together for each glass round you to shatter throughout her excessive be aware) to Israel’s Noa Kirel who performs Unicorn (she ends with the phrases “EUROPE, YOU WANNA SEE ME DANCE?” after which, my phrase, does she observe by way of).

The easiest lyrics

For an extra stage of enjoyable throughout Eurovision, be sure to swap on the subtitles. It has been a classic 12 months of Eurovision lyrics to this point within the semi-finals. Austria’s Who the Hell Is Edgar?, by duo Teya & Salena, is a catchy, hypnotic quantity about being possessed by the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe (no, actually). The track is a satirical swipe on the music business, with the road “zero dot zero zero three” referencing the 0.003 cents artists generally obtain for every stream of their music.

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La Zarra options “In my hell backyard, the vegetation are watered with goals and tears.” Let 3 utter the road “crocodile psychopath”, then recite all the alphabet (in fact they do). Romania’s Theodor Andrei contains an eyebrow elevating “I’m beggin’ you, I’m on my knees / Take your garments off, step on me” in D.G.T. (Off and On). And Armenia’s Future Lover by Brunette goes full Alan Partridge with “I simply wanna make artwork, learn books and simply discover somebody who likes me sufficient to kiss my face.”

Luke Black of Serbia.
‘Recreation over!’ … Luke Black of Serbia. {Photograph}: Martin Meissner/AP

Serbia’s Luke Black in Samo Mi Se Spava sings the road “I simply wanna shut my eyes and simply get it over with,” which, opposite to what you may assume, shouldn’t be a touch upon watching the Eurovision track contest. At one level, he shouts the phrases “sport over” – hear out for the group yelling again “BITCH,” a phrase he carried out within the weeks operating as much as the competition however needed to reduce out.

Oh God, the factors!

As common viewers will know, there are two units of factors dished out. The primary are by juries from every collaborating nation, who award factors from one to 12 (however not 11) to nations that made it to the ultimate. It’s the half the place a consultant says “Thanks for a beautiful present!” with an ungainly delay and Norton makes barbed feedback about all of them. (“Fairly the costume. When it’s completed will probably be beautiful,” he mentioned about one announcer’s outfit in 2017. “Two factors for us? Thanks. We’ll go to,” he mentioned to Montenegro’s announcer throughout a low-scoring 12 months for the UK. Additionally hear out for his annual sarcastic “Is that Paris?” each time a presenter pops up in entrance of the Eiffel Tower.)

After this, the general public votes from viewers are doled out, who additionally give votes to nations to a most of 12. So as to add suspense (and, heck, confusion) these scores are grouped then introduced in reverse, beginning with the nation on the backside of the leaderboard. These lowest-scoring nations due to this fact have nowhere to cover, with 4 nations in 2021 receiving “zero factors”, together with the UK.

And simply when you’ve got used to Australia collaborating, that is the primary 12 months that the remainder of the world can vote, too. However don’t fret! As a substitute of with the ability to vote individually, their votes are grouped making the equal of 1 collaborating nation (so 12 factors). And, fortunately, they don’t get jury votes. I’m undecided we will all stand watching a rustic like Ecuador allotting factors at 4am.

However the pleasure of Eurovision is its unpredictability. With so many votes, so many entries (and a lot alcohol), you by no means know the way it’s going to finish. When Kalush Orchestra gained final 12 months, beating Sam Ryder, Norton completed his commentary with the road “Most likely some relieved folks again on the BBC – it appeared a bit dodgy there for a minute. We’re going to must host?” Quick ahead a 12 months, and right here we’re.

The Eurovision Tune Contest grand closing is on Saturday at 8pm on BBC One.

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