Highlights Eurovision Song Contest ESC 2023

Find out who are the first ten qualifiers for the final of Eurovision 2023

Find out who are the first ten qualifiers for the final of Eurovision 2023 Image credits: Corinne Cumming / EBU

The first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) 2023 was held this Tuesday, qualifying the first ten finalists for next Saturday.


The show in summary

The semi-final began with the «story» of ESC going to Liverpool through the eyes of a young fan. From a VT, he moved to the arena and two children were dancing in a mirror to the sound of Together in Electric Dreams. The opening act was followed, with a performance by Julia Sanina with several dancers. Afterwards, the hosts entered the stage, with the usual introductions and welcome messages before the contest itself.


  • 1. Norway: Alessandra – Queen of Kings
    • To start the competition, Alessandra, from Norway, takes the stage. A danceable electro-pop with the song Queen of Kings. The empowerment message is accompanied by a choreography in which the singer is accompanied by four dancers.
    • Postcard: Kyiv National Library (Ukraine), Liverpool Central Library (United Kingdom) e Deichman Library (Oslo, Norway)


  • 2. Malta: The Busker – Dance (Our Own Party)
    • Malta brings The Busker with the song Dance (Our Own Party). The staging recalls some former Maltese representatives, in a performance marked by a lot of movement and colorful lighting and graphics.
    • Postcard: Bus in Lviv (Ukraine), red double-decker bus (London, United Kingdom) and Mellieħa (Malta)


  • 3. Serbia: Luke Black – Samo mi se spava
    • In 2023, Serbia presents Luke Black and the song Samo mi se spava. The singer begins lying on a big prop, in a dark environment, before getting up as the music picks up the pace. There are five dancers. The graphics on TV then take on the form of a video game, in a fight against the «monster» that is a constant in the staging.
    • Postcard: Contemporary Sculpture Park 3020 (Lviv, Ukraine), Tate Art Gallery (Liverpool, United Kingdom) and Belgrade Museum of Contemporary Art (Serbia)


  • 4. Latvia: Sudden Lights – Aijā
    • The rocky sound took the stage at the ESC 2023 with Sudden Ligths, who represent Latvia with the song Aijā. The band is on a stage, illuminated with orange lights. A performance well suited with the style of music, in terms of energy, scenery and dynamics.
    • Postcard: EcoSpace Pods (Kyiv, Ukraine), Boscombe Beach Huts (Bournemouth, United Kingdom) and Melnsis (Latvia).


After Latvia, there was a short commercial break. The official feed went on with a a visit to the green room where there was even a moment of rap with one of the hosts. In addition, the hosts also talked with Bucks Fizz.


  • 5. Portugal: Mimicat – Ai Coração
    • It’s Portugal turn, with Mimicat’s cabaret and the song Ai Coração. Red is the dominant color throughout the entire performance, in which the singer is always accompanied by four dancers. Lighting and choreography mark the Portuguese staging.
    • Postcard: St. Sophia Cathedral (Kyiv, Ukraine), Ely Cathedral (Cambridge, United Kingdom) and Panteão Nacional (Lisbon, Portugal)


  • 6. Ireland: Wild Youth – We Are One
    • The band Wild Youth represents Ireland with the song We Are One. A typical band set, with orange dominating the light at an early stage. There are stairs and lighting to give color to the entire performance, always lively.
    • Postcard: Ivano-Frankivsk (Ukraine), Isle of Wight (United Kingdom) and Sally Gap (Ireland)


  • 7. Croatia: Let3 – Mama ŠČ
    • Croatia has one of the most irreverent performances with Let3 and the song Mama ŠČ. A satire and critique to the war unleashed by Russia in Ukraine and the regime of Vladimir Putin, with extravagant costumes and props… including replica missiles. About three minutes that don’t go unnoticed.
    • Postcard: River Port (Kyiv, Ukraine), Whitby Harbour (United Kingdom) and Rijeka Harbour (Croatia).


  • 8. Switzerland: Remo Forrer – Watergun
    • The ballad Watergun, from Switzerland, is performed by Remo Forrer, who has four dancers on stage with him moving with long ribbons. After a darker start, the performance turns red with the lightning and the fireworks at the peak of the music.
    • Postcard: Buchak Lake (Ukraine), Loch Ness (Scottish Highlands, United Kingdom) and Zurich Lake (Switzerland)


  • 9. Israel: Noa Kirel – Unicorn
    • Noa Kirel represents Israel with the song Unicorn. The artist starts inside a tunnel-like structure, which she leaves when the tone picks up. She is joined by five dancers, with the performance getting movement and color in the catchy chorus.
    • Postcard: Urytski Rocks (Skole Beskids, Ukraine), Stonehenge (Wiltshire, United Kingdom) and Masada Fortress (Israel)


  • 10. Moldova: Pasha Parfeni – Soarele și Luna
    • Ethnic sound on stage with Moldova. Pasha Parfeni is back on ESC stage and sings Soarele și Luna. With the singer, there are four more members, dressed in traditional costumes. Use and abuse of lights and LED screens on the floor, not to mention smoke.
    • Postcard: Skole Beskids Forest (Lviv, Ukraine), Sherwood Forest  (Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom) and Orhei National Park (Trebujeni, Moldova)


Before the Swedish performance, there was a short commercial break, but the online broadcasting went on with a summary of the ESC 2023 opening ceremony that took place last Sunday.


  • 11. Sweden: Loreen – Tattoo
    • For bookmakers, Sweden is the biggest candidate to win ESC 2023, with the song Tattoo. Loreen’s performance doesn’t change radically from Melodifestivalen. Darker stage, with a lots of smoke. The singer is in a structure where she gradually raises, as well as the «ceiling», as the muisc gains momentum.
    • Postcard: Anti-Circe Island (Uman, Ukraine), St. Catherine Island (Tenby, United Kingdom) and Enholmen Island (Sweden)


  • 12. Azerbaijan: TuralTuranX – Tell Me More
    • The twins TuralTuranX and the song Tell Me More represent Azerbaijan. The performance begins with the black-and-white TV screen, which later is colorized. A sound with modernity, but which refers clearly to other decades and artists (such as the Beatles). The performers end the performance over a broken heart.
    • Postcard: Kyiv Independence Square (Ukraine), Birmingham Centenary Square (United Kingdom) and Baku Boulevard (Azerbaijan)


  • 13. Czechia: Vesna – My Sister’s Crown
    • Another of the irreverent and danceable acts of this semi-final, My Sister’s Crown is performed by Vesna representing Czechia. The group is dressed in pink and uses LED screens to display parts of the song’s lyrics and other graphics. Performance with movement in all dimensions of the stage and with constant interaction between Vesna’s members.
    • Postcard: Green Maze (Zhytomyr, Ukraine), Peace Maze (Castlewellan, United Kingdom) and Yew Maze (Loučeň Castle, Czechia)


  • 14. Netherlands: Mia & Dion – Burning Sunlight
    • Mia and Dion, representatives of the Netherlands with the song Burning Sunlight, enter the stage alone with the lightning focused on both of them. They separate when the music picks up pace, with the lights creating the effect of the sun at that moment. They then come together again in front of the illumination of that Sun that marks the background.
    • Postcard: Comfort Town (Kyiv, Ukraine), Portmeirion (Gwynedd, United Kingdom) and Zaandam (Netherlands)


  • 15. Finland: Käärija – Cha Cha Cha
    • Wooden pallets on stage? Well then, it’s a sign that Finland’s turn has come. The last song of the night is Cha Cha Cha, by Käärijä, and with him are four dancers. Another act that is very irreverent and a strong candidate to the top places. Full of movement, the lightning is a stong component of the performance being weill suited to the techno/electronic sound. It will not leave anyone indifferent.
    • Postcard: Podil Ferris wheel (Kyiv, Ukraine), Wheel of Liverpool (United Kingdom) and Skywheel (Helsinky, Finland)



After all the performances, the voting lines were opened and the first recap of the acts was broadcast. This was followed by the interval act by Alyosha and Rebecca Ferguson, before a second recap… which preceded the performance of the renowned artist Rita Ora.

After a VT narrated by Graham Norton about the Ukraine and the United Kingdom at ESC, the voting lines were closed. Subsequently, there was a short interview with the well-known Ukrainian TV commentator, Timur Miroshnychenko.

It was followed by another VT, this time with Filomena Cautela (co-host in 2018) and Måns Zelmerlöw who played a quiz about ESC historical facts. It was the 2015 winner who scored more points, before a new «duel» in the second semi-final.

Before the finalists were announced, clips from the performances of the three pre-finalists that voted in this semi-final (France, Germany and Italy) were presented. The artists were also interviewed afterwards.

As usual, the show ended with the big annuncement of the qualifiers in a random order, being Croatia the first to be revealed and Norway the last one.



(Qualifiers by announcement order; click on the song titles to watch the performances)

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Bernardo Matias

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