Eurovision is upon us this May 2023, and the contestant lineup has finally been set. Artists from around Europe (plus Israel and Australia) are chosen by various processes depending on the country, some by hand-selected juries of musicians from the competing nations, others by a national contest that most American viewers will recognize as resembling American Idol or The Voice. Most national competitions conclude between the end of January and mid-March, so there's been a flurry of announcements, with the final stragglers hoping to make a splash as the last entries unveil their acts.
Only two years ago, in 2021, it seemed like the U.K. had zero chance of winning, let alone hosting, with a zero from both the juries and the popular vote that year. However, in 2022, the U.K. division switched from National Contest selection to jury vote, which chose TikTok artist Sam Ryder. The result was a second-place finish behind Ukraine. Considering the state of Maripol currently, a substitute hosting gig, the contest was held in Liverpool on behalf of the war-torn country.
Perhaps it is not a surprise that for their 2023 selection, the U.K. again went with a jury-selected artist, Mae Muller, whose collaboration "Better Days" with Neiked and Polo G was a European pop hit in 2021. She was selected by a team headed up by TaP Music, a global music management and publishing company. In true Eurovision sappy style, the number she's singing is called "I Wrote A Song."
The U.K. is in a funny position, one that's highly unusual. In most cases, the country that wins hosts the contest, which is extremely expensive, so 99 times out of 100, the artist who represents them is good, but not too good, so it doesn't end up winning back-to-back years.
However, the U.K. didn't win in 2022, and considering how poorly the country showed for years before hitting the nadir in 2021, it seems that the goal is to show this is not a fluke. Moreover, Ukraine, which did win, hasn't had to pay to host since the contest is being held in Liverpool (which, considering current events, is understandable). So it, too, has submitted an artist with an eye on winning the contest for a second year in a row. (Considering the popular vote will be on their side, that's entirely possible.)
Ukraine's act Tvorchi is an electronic music duo whose song, "Heart of Steel," is about the dangers of nuclear warfare. They were chosen via a national contest, Vidbir 2023, via a combination of the popular vote and a three-person jury; the members were also selected by popular vote.
The other 35 contestants have also been selected, with four joining the U.K. and Ukraine going straight to the Grand Final on Saturday, May 13. They are France's La Zarra, with "Évidemment," Germany's Lord of the Lost with "Blood & Glitter," Italy's Marco Mengoni with "Due Vite," and Spain's Blanca Paloma with "Eaea."
The other 31 contestants, as usual, are being whittled down to 20 in two Semi-Finals, held on the Tuesday and Thursday before the Grand Final. Here's the lineup, with those going through to the Grand Final BOLDED:
Tuesday, May 9, First Half:
Norway, "Queen of Kings" by Alessandra
- Malta, "Dance (Our Own Party)" by The Busker
Serbia, "Samo mi se spava (Само ми се спава)" by Luke Black
- Latvia, "Aijā" by Sudden Lights
Portugal, "Ai coração" by Mimicat
- Ireland, "We Are One" by Wild Youth
Croatia, "Mama ŠČ!" by Let 3
Tuesday, May 9, Second Half:
Switzerland, "Watergun" by Remo Forrer
Israel, "Unicorn" by Noa Kirel
Moldova, "Soarele și luna" by Pasha Parfeni
Sweden, "Tattoo" by Loreen
- Azerbaijan, "Tell Me More" by TuralTuranX
Czechia, "My Sister's Crown" by Vesna
- Netherlands, "Burning Daylight" by Mia Nicolai & Dion Cooper
Finland, "Cha Cha Cha" by Käärijä
Thursday, May 11, First Half
- Denmark, "Breaking My Heart" by Reiley
Armenia, "Future Lover" by Brunette
- Romania, "D.G.T. (Off and On)" by Theodor Andrei
Estonia, "Bridges" by Alika
Belgium, "Because of You" by Gustaph
Cyprus, "Break a Broken Heart" by Andrew Lambrou
- Iceland, "Power" by Diljá
- Greece, "What They Say" by Victor Vernicos
Thursday, May 11, Second Half
Poland, "Solo" by Blanka
Slovenia, "Carpe Diem" by Joker Out
- Georgia, "Echo" by Iru
- San Marino, "Like an Animal" by Piqued Jacks
Austria, "Who the Hell Is Edgar?" by Teya & Salena
Albania, "Duje" by Albina & Familja Kelmendi
Lithuania, "Stay" by Monika Linkytė
Australia, "Promise" by Voyager
The Eurovision Song Contest Semi-finals will be streamed live worldwide starting Tuesday, May 9, and then again on Thursday, May 11.
The Grand Final will stream on Saturday, May 13, 2023, the latter of which Americans will be able to vote in for the winner. All three broadcasts begin at 3 p.m. ET in America on Peacock.