Highlights Eurovision Song Contest ESC 2023

Last ten finalists of Eurovision 2023 qualified in the second semi-final

Last ten finalists of Eurovision 2023 qualified in the second semi-final Image credits: Sarah Louise Bennett / EBU

All the finalists of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) 2023 are qualified. Tonight, Liverpool Arena hosted the second semi-final, in which ten of the 16 competitors guaranteed a spot in Saturday’s grand final.

The summary of the show

The opening featured a summary of the first semi-final, before entering the Liverpool Arena with the usual introductions by the hosts. Afterwards, the competing performances began.

  • 1. Denmark: Reiley – Breaking My Heart
    • To start, Denmark, with Reiley and the song Breaking My Heart. The artist, dressed in pink, starts by having his face surrounded by a heart in the TV graphics, before the shots open revealing the large structure that marks the scenography. After the presence of pink during a large part of the performance, the green is dominant in the end and the camera shots become wider.
    • Postcard: Lviv Opera House (Ukraine), Wales Millenium Centre (United Kingdom) and Copenhagen Opera House (Denmark)


  • 2. Armenia: Brunette – Future Lover
    • Brunette is Armenia’s choice for ESC 2023, with the song Future Lover. The artist begins the performance (dominated by shades of purple) lying on stage, and then sits down and gets up in the «rap» part of the song. The lightning evolves to black and white tones, returning to purple at the end.
    • Postcard: Boticanal Garden of Lviv University (Ukraine), Eden Project (Cornwall, United Kingdom) and Yerevan Botanical Garden (Armenia)


  • 3. Romania: Theodor Andrei – D.G.T. (Off and On)
    • Alone on stage with his guitar, Theodor Andrei defends Romania and sings the irreverent song D.G.T. (Off and On). The staging uses a lot the LED screens with many graphics… including representing the singer himself…
    • Postcard: Taras Shevchenko Statue (Lviv, Ukraine), Statue of the The Beatles (Liverpool, United Kingdom) and A Carriage with Clowns Statue (Bucharest, Romania)


  • 4. Estonia: Alika – Bridges
    • Estonia is represented by Alika and the ballad Bridges. The singer begins sitting next to a piano, but then gets up to move around the satellite stage. The lightning and the colors are dark, with shades of blue dominating. When the song gains momentum, Alika moves to the main stage, where it ends with yellow tones marking the graphics.
    • Postcard: Water Tower (Vinnytsia, Ukraine), Blackpool Tower (United Kingdom) and TV Tower (Tallin, Estonia)


  • 5. Belgium: Gustaph – Because of You
    • Gustaph and the song Because of You were chosen by Belgium. A danceable pop, with a retro vibe and full of joy. The performance begins with black and white tones that would mark a large part of it. With the singer are three dancers. Gustaph started on a platform, then went down the stairs to move around the stage. The LED screens are constantly used to display graphics and key parts of the song’s lyrics.
    • Postcard: Independence Monument (Kyiv, Ukraine), Angel of the North (Gateshead, United Kingdom) and Atomium (Brussels, Belgium)


After Belgium’s performance, the first commercial break took place. In the official feed, the broadcast continued in the commentary booth with a short interview with Graham Norton and Timur Miroshnychenko.


  • 6. Cyprus: Andrew Lambrou – Break a Broken Heart
    • After failing to represent Australia, Andrew Lambrou was chosen by Cyprus for 2023. He sings the powerful anthem Broken Heart. The artist starts alone in a darker stage, with some smoke. The cold tones are then replaced by hot tones, with a lot of fire in the final part of the song.
    • Postcard: Kyiv Sea Beach (Ukraine), Brighton Beach (United Kingdom) and Akti Olympion Beach (Cyprus)


  • 7. Iceland: Diljá – Power
    • A Islândia leva ao ESC 2023 Diljá e a canção Power. Sentada no palco mais pequeno nos primeiros segundos, a cantora está sozinha, com vegetação nos motivos gráficos e iluminação. Apesar de estar sozinha, Diljá movimenta-se bastante entre o palco principal e o palco satélite, dando dinâmica à atuação.
    • Postcard: Maniava Waterfall (Gorgany Mountain Ridge, Ukraine), Pistyll Waterfall (Powys, United Kingdom) and Kvernufoss Waterfall (Iceland)


  • 8. Greece: Victor Vernicos – What They Say
    • Victor Vernicos is the youngest participant at ESC 2023. He defends Greece with the song What They Say. The artist begins lying on stage and is accompanied by a staging that greatly explores the graphics on the LED screens and the lightning. Victor Vernicos, dressed in shorts, moves between the two stages as the song picks up the rhythm.
    • Postcard: Tarakaniv Fort (Ukraine), Dunluce Castle (County Antrim, United Kingdom) and Temple of Poseidon (Cape Sounion, Greece)


  • 9. Poland: Blanka – Solo
    • Blanka is Poland’s representative with a song that could well be a summer hit: Solo. But she is not alone on stage, being accompanied by four dancers. An exhibition that uses a lot of TV effects, almost giving a feeling of being watching a videoclip. Movement and color doesn’t miss, as well as many graphics on LED screens and even some fireworks.
    • Postcard: National University (Chernivtsi, Ukraine), Cambridge University (United Kingdom) and Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw (Poland)


  • 10. Slovenia: Joker Out – Carpe Diem
    • Slovenia is another country that is represented by a band and in its own language. Joker Out sing Carpe Diem. A trip to the indie of 1990s/2000s, with quirky but fitting clothes. The band is on the satellite stage, but some of the members then move to the main stage before ending up back on smaller stage, lined up bowing. The band’s name, Joker Out, can be read on the background LED screen.
    • Postcard: Tetris Hall Rooftop (Kyiv, Ukraine), Goodness Gracious Roof Bar (United Kingdom) and Radio Slovenija Rooftop (Slovenia)


  • 11. Georgia: Iru – Echo
    • Iru defends Georgia’s color with the song Echo. A power ballad, with some etnich vibes. The staging is fitting: dark tones in lighting and graphics. Oh, but remember the dark tones? The lighting changes completely for a bright, eye-catching ending.
    • Postcard: Old Town (Lviv, Ukraine), Port Sunlight (United Kingdom) and Old Town (Tblisi, Georgia)


Once Georgia’s performance ended, the second TV commercial break took place. On the official broadcast, a VT with Luke Evans was shown, speaking about the history of ESC and its purpose to unite through music.


  • 12. San Marino: Piqued Jacks – Like an Animal
    • A band represents San Marino at ESC 2023: Piqued Jacks, with a rocky sound of the song Like an Animal. The red tones are dominating the lighting and the LED screens. The group is on the bigger stage with their musical instruments. Perhaps the performance has less dynamic than one might expect from the musical genre. The vocalist goes to the satellite stage later on, and the scenography gains more colors.
    • Postcard: Kamianets-Podilskyi (Ukraine), Herstmonceux Castle (United Kingdom) and Guaita Tower (Monte Titano, San Marino)


  • 13. Austria: Teya & Salena – Who the Hell is Edgar?
    • The duo Teya & Salene is in charge to represent Austria with the irreverent dance-pop song Who The Hell is Edgar?. As in the official music video, a typewriter appears at the beginning, but in the background LED screen. It also serves to include dancers; or rather, more dancers than the four real dancers on stage. Red dominates the colors. To make it clear that the song refers to Edgar Allen Poe, the writer’s image is displayed on the background LED screen at the end.
    • Postcard: Lviv Town Hall (Ukraine), Sheffield Town Hall (United Kingdom) and Vienna City Hall (Austria)


  • 14. Albania: Albina & Familja Kelmendi – Duje
    • In Albania, ESC 2023 is a family affair: Albina & Familja Kelmendi sing Duje. Balkan sounds brought from Eastern Europe, with a maximum of six people on stage, heavy use of LED screens to display graphics and complement the lighting. In the final part, pyro joins, with flames flanking the stage.
    • Postcard: Arboretum Sofiyivka (Uman, Ukraine), Sefton Park (Liverpool, United Kingdom) and Grand Park of Tirana (Albania)


  • 15. Lithuania: Monika Linkytė – Stay
    • In yet another comeback to ESC, Monika Linkytė represents Lithuania once again, now with the song Stay. Reddish and purple tones dominate the performance, in which the singer begins alone on the main stage, before being joined by four backing singers on the satellite stage where they remain until the end.
    • Postcard: Khotyn Fortress (Ukraine), Eilean Donan (Scottish Highlands, United Kingdom) and Trakai Island Castle (Lithuania)


  • 16. Australia: The Voyager – Promise
    • It’s not every year (let alone every day…) that you can see a sports car on the ESC stage. This happens with The Voyager, who represent Australia with the rock song Promise. One of the members starts performing inside the car. Closed camera shots give way to wide shots as the rhythm intensifies, revealing the remaining elements of the band. Rock sound closing the semi-final, but, funny enough, pryo only appears at the end.
    • Postcard: Glass Bridge (Kyiv, Ukraine), Clifton Suspension Bridge (Bristol, United Kingdom) and Matagarup Bridge (Perth, Australia)

The parade of competing songs ended and, of course, the voting lines were then opened to the public vote, followed by a first recap of the performances.

The first interval act brought well-known artists to the stage: Mariya Yaremchuk, Ukraine’s representative at ESC 2014, Zlata Dziunka (who defended the country at Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2022) and the rapper OTOY joined in a performance to the sound of Ukrainian traditional compositions.

After a second recap of the performances, the voting lines were closed. The second interval act followed, with three drag performers in an inspiring act: Be Who You Want.

Then, Filomena Cautela and Måns Zelmerlöw played the second part of the quiz about qualifiers/non-qualifiers in past editions of ESC… and they ended up drawn (4-4). In the following segment, four young British children made a tour to the backstage of the event.

Also before the presentation of the qualifiers, clips of the performances of three pre-finalists were broadcast: Spain, Ukraine and United Kingdom. The artists were also interviewed.

Finally, the moment of strong emotions arrived: the announcement of the qualifiers: Albania was the first country to be revealed, while the last was Slovenia – in completely random order.



(By order of announcement; click on the song titles to watch the performances)



(By allocated order; click on the song titles to watch the performances)

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Bernardo Matias

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