Watch now: the first semi final of Eurovision 2023

by Stefano 10,263 views

The day has come! The moment millions of Eurofans across Europe, Australia and the World have been waiting for has finally arrived. Tonight live from M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool the 67th edition of the longest running televised music competition will begin. The United Kingdom hosts the Eurovision Song Contest for the ninth time, an all-time record.

If you have not followed the 2023 Eurovision season at all you still have a few hours to catch up. If you have, you probably know by heart what will follow. The first semi final of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will air live tonight from Liverpool. The United Kingdom has received the honour of hosting the contest after having placed second last year in Turin.

But why Liverpool? In the immediate aftermath of the victory of Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine with the song Stefania, the European Broadcasting Union released a statement in which they declared that security in the Eastern country could not be guaranteed for all participants due to the ongoing Russian invasion. Hence, the honour fell on the second placed, the United Kingdom. More information on this choice is available on Eurovision.tv.

The BBC will host the 67th edition of our beloved contest on behalf of Ukraine. It is only the first time since 1980 that the contest does not take place in the winning country. Liverpool becomes tonight the sixth British host city after London, Edinburgh, Brighton, Harrogate and Birmingham.

The show

The 67th Eurovision Song Contest will see the participation of 37 countries. The first fifteen will compete tonight, and as usual the ten best placed countries at the end of the evening will advance to the Grand Final scheduled on Saturday 13 May 2023. Tonight’s hosts are Julia Sanina, Hannah Waddingham and Alesha Dixon. The slogan of this year’s edition is United by music.

The opening of this year’s contest will be dedicated to Ukraine: Julia Sanina will inaugurate the show performing Mayak and Together in electric dreams. The former is a recent single of her band The Hardkiss. Furthermore, the interval act will see former Eurovision entrant Alyosha (2010) singing Ordinary world together with Rebecca Ferguson. Finally, world star Rita Ora will appear with a medley of her successes and even her brand new single Praising you.

Tonight’s contestant will be introduced by the traditional postcard of the duration of 40 seconds. This year the BBC went for a 360° drone technology. The introduction will begin each time in a location in Ukraine, then move to another location in the United Kingdom and finally land in the artist’s country. The three locations will be connected by a specific theme linked to the activity of choice of each artist.

Tonight’s contestant

The draw for both semi-finals took place on 31 January at St. George’s Hall in Liverpool. The exact running order was revealed on 22 March on YouTube:

Notable comebacks and anecdotes

This semi final will offer a couple of notable comebacks in the contest. First and foremost: Loreen is back at Eurovision! She triumphed in Baku in 2012 with her iconic Euphoria. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts to represent Sweden again, she won Melodifestivalen this year in Stockholm and will fly the Swedish flag in Liverpool with Tattoo. Moreover, Pasha Parfeni from Moldova has already represented the Eastern country the same year of Loreen with the entry Lăutar. He placed 11th in the Grand Final with 81 points.

Interestingly, the Czech Republic will partake for the first time under their newest English name Czechia. Furthermore, this is the shortest semi-final since 2014 with only 15 participating countries. They are tied for the lowest number of acts in one single Eurovision show since Eurovision 1970 in Amsterdam, which saw the participation of 12 countries due to multiple boycotts.

The vote

The EBU has decided to bring a substantial change to this year’s structure of the contest. The semi-finals will be decided by the televote only. Viewers from tonight’s participating countries will have all the power to decide of the outcome. In addition, viewers from FranceGermany and Italy will also be able to cast their vote in this first semi-final.

But this is not all: a new set of votes will make its debut tonight. Viewers from non participating countries will be able to cast their vote under the Rest of the world. These countries collectively will distribute the same amount of points as one participating country (one set from 1 to 12 points).

The ten countries with the most televote points will advance to the Grand Final, whereas the remaining five will unfortunately abandon this year’s competition. The ten lucky entrants will be announced at the end of the show in random order. Stay tuned on ESCToday.com for the results!

In order to vote, verify the information provided by your national broadcaster if you reside in a participating country or are eligible to vote under the Rest of the world. You may also download the official Eurovision app. Remember, you cannot vote for your own country.

How to watch

The first semi-final of Eurovision 2023 will air live at 21:00 CEST.

You can follow the show through the national broadcasters of the participating nations, with local commentary, or via the live stream on eurovision.tv and the official Eurovision YouTube channel. The list of participating national broadcasters is available here.

Who is your favourite tonight?
Let us know with a comment below!