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‘United By Music,’ Second Set of Winners Advance to Eurovision Final

tazz | May 11, 2023

LIVERPOOL, U.K. — The Eurovision Song Contest 2023, with the tagline “United By Music” on behalf of war-torn Ukraine, ushered in a second set of finalists on Thursday (May 11), with Australia, Austria and Belgium among the acts progressing to join favorites Sweden and Finland in Saturday’s Grand Final. 

Sixteen acts performed at the contest’s second semifinal, held at Liverpool’s 11,000-capacity M&S Bank Arena. Also progressing to the final were Albania, Cyprus, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia and Armenia. The six acts eliminated were Denmark, San Marino, Iceland, Romania, Georgia and Greece. 


Tuesday’s earlier qualifying round saw Croatia, Moldova, Switzerland, Finland, Czechia, Israel, Portugal, Sweden, Serbia and Norway move on. 

In total, 26 acts will perform at Saturday’s final, including the so-called “big five,” made up of host country United Kingdom, plus France, Germany, Italy and Spain. They all get a free pass to the main show because of their broadcaster’s financial contributions to the event. 

Ukraine also automatically qualifies because rap-folk band Kalush Orchestra won last year’s competition, held in Turin, Italy, with their song “Stefania.” The U.K., which finished second with Sam Ryder’s “Space Man,” stepped in to host this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in place of Ukraine because of its ongoing war with Russia. (The previous year’s winner gets the honor of hosting the following year.)

As with the first semifinal, Thursday’s show was hosted by British TV personality and singer Alesha Dixon, Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham and Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina

Compared to the earlier stage, Thursday’s show was a more subdued affair, but still contained its fair share of memorable performances. Chief among them was Australia’s Voyager whose song “Promise,” a surging synth-rock power ballad complete with screeching guitar solos and an almost death metal interlude, brought the show to an energetic close. While not in Europe, Australia is among the 37 nations taking part because the show has been broadcast there since 1983 and has developed a large fanbase. Australia first competed at Eurovision in 2015, initially as a one-off to commemorate Eurovision’s 60th anniversary, but it has been at a fixture at the show since 2019. 

Austria’s Teya and Salena also drew a big audience reaction for their electro-pop song “Who the Hell is Edgar?” Other popular acts were Estonia’s Alika, who performed her ballad “Bridges,” and a pyrotechnic-accompanied “Break A Broken Heart” by Cyprus’ entry, Andrew Lambrou

Outside the competition track, Mariya Yaremchuk performed a moving medley of Uktrainian national songs — joined by rapper OTOY and 14-year-old Zlata Dziunka — including a visually stunning rendition of “Shchedryk,” a song written 1914 that is more commonly known as “Carol Of The Bells.” (Yaremchuk previously represented Ukraine in Eurovision in 2014.)

A combined audience of 3.4 million people watched Tuesday’s semifinal in the U.K., according to host broadcaster the BBC, which is devoting extensive coverage across its television, radio and online platforms to the 67th edition of The Eurovision Song Contest. (This year marks the first time that the BBC is broadcasting both semifinals and the Grand Final live on its flagship terrestrial television network BBC One and digital catch-up service BBC iPlayer).

Other European and international broadcasters are also airing Eurovision live, helping make it the world’s biggest music competition. Last year, more than 161 million people across 34 countries watched the contest, according to organizers the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

Written by tazz

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