Thank you SO much for following the Live Blog this evening – it’s been so much fun, and what a fantastic kick-off to this week’s Eurovision Live Shows. We’re off for a lie down, and we’ll see you back here on Thursday. As they say here in Liverpool – ta-ra!
Live Blog: First Semi-Final 2023
10 May 2023 at 00:12 CEST
Thank you for joining in!
10 May 2023 at 00:11 CEST
Watch to watch the press conference?
Each of our ten Qualifiers will soon be arriving at the press conference - you can watch the livestream on YouTube. Enjoy!
10 May 2023 at 00:09 CEST
The Grand Final is coming together…
…here’s what we know about the plan so far (these are in no particular order – the final running order won’t be decided until late on Thursday night).
Performing in the first half (order not yet confirmed):
Performing in the second half (order not yet confirmed):
🇺🇦 Ukraine (confirmed 19th)
🇬🇧 United Kingdom (confirmed 26th)
09 May 2023 at 23:32 CEST
The draw is happening soon - we'll update this post as we go...
We'll update this post as each Qualifier draws their half of the Grand Final - you can also watch the draw live on TikTok. Starting very soon!
🇭🇷 Croatia will perform in the SECOND HALF of the Grand Final
🇲🇩 Moldova will perform in the SECOND HALF of the Grand Final
🇨🇭 Switzerland will perform in the FIRST HALF of the Grand Final
🇫🇮 Finland will perform in the FIRST HALF of the Grand Final
🇨🇿 Czechia will perform in the SECOND HALF of the Grand Final
🇮🇱 Israel will perform in the SECOND HALF of the Grand Final
🇵🇹 Portugal will perform in the FIRST HALF of the Grand Final
🇸🇪 Sweden will perform in the FIRST HALF of the Grand Final
🇷🇸 Serbia will perform in the FIRST HALF of the Grand Final
🇳🇴 Norway will perform in the SECOND HALF of the Grand Final
09 May 2023 at 23:17 CEST
Draw announcements coming shortly…
Well, that was exciting. HUGE congratulations to our 10 Qualifiers, and commiserations to those who didn't make it through - Eurovision is beautiful, but also brutal. Thank you SO much for joining us, and we hope we brought a little something extra to your Eurovision viewing experience.
For the superfans, we're not done yet. Each of our finalists is stopping off on the way to the press conference to draw a slip of paper from a big bowl that will tell them whether they’re performing in the first or second half of the Grand Final. The draw is being broadcast live on TikTok, but we’ll also be there to share the results, so don’t go away! It might be 10-15 minutes or so, so replenish your snacks and take a bathroom break...
09 May 2023 at 23:12 CEST
We have our first ten finalists!
The first Semi-Final is done, and we have our results! Here’s the final list of qualifiers for Saturday’s Grand Final:
🇭🇷 Croatia / Let 3 - Mama ŠČ!
🇲🇩 Moldova / Pasha Parfeni - Soarele și Luna
🇨🇭 Switzerland / Remo Forrer - Watergun
🇫🇮 Finland / Käärijä - Cha Cha Cha
🇨🇿 Czechia / Vesna - My Sister’s Crown
🇮🇱 Israel / Noa Kirel - Unicorn
🇵🇹 Portugal / Mimicat - Ai Coração
🇸🇪 Sweden / Loreen - Tattoo
🇷🇸 Serbia / Luke Black - Samo Mi Se Spava
🇳🇴 Norway / Alessandra - Queen of Kings
09 May 2023 at 23:08 CEST
🏆 CONGRATULATIONS 🇳🇴 NORWAY 🏆
Norway’s Alessandra has qualified for the Grand Final of Eurovision 2023!
09 May 2023 at 23:07 CEST
🏆 CONGRATULATIONS 🇷🇸 SERBIA 🏆
Serbia’s Luke Black has qualified for the Grand Final of Eurovision 2023!
09 May 2023 at 23:06 CEST
🏆 CONGRATULATIONS 🇸🇪 SWEDEN 🏆
Sweden’s Loreen has qualified for the Grand Final of Eurovision 2023!
09 May 2023 at 23:06 CEST
🏆 CONGRATULATIONS 🇵🇹 PORTUGAL 🏆
Portugal’s Mimicat has qualified for the Grand Final of Eurovision 2023!
09 May 2023 at 23:05 CEST
🏆 CONGRATULATIONS 🇮🇱 ISRAEL 🏆
Israel’s Noa Kirel has qualified for the Grand Final of Eurovision 2023!
09 May 2023 at 23:04 CEST
🏆 CONGRATULATIONS 🇨🇿 CZECHIA 🏆
Czechia’s Vesna have qualified for the Grand Final of Eurovision 2023!
09 May 2023 at 23:04 CEST
🏆 CONGRATULATIONS 🇫🇮 FINLAND 🏆
Finland’s Käärijä has qualified for the Grand Final of Eurovision 2023!
09 May 2023 at 23:03 CEST
🏆 CONGRATULATIONS 🇨🇭 SWITZERLAND 🏆
Switzerland’s Remo Forrer has qualified for the Grand Final of Eurovision 2023!
09 May 2023 at 23:02 CEST
🏆 CONGRATULATIONS 🇲🇩 MOLDOVA 🏆
Moldova’s Pasha Parfeni has qualified for the Grand Final of Eurovision 2023!
09 May 2023 at 23:02 CEST
🏆 CONGRATULATIONS 🇭🇷 CROATIA 🏆
Croatia’s Let 3 have qualified for the Grand Final of Eurovision 2023!
09 May 2023 at 23:01 CEST
Are you ready for some results?
No, us neither. It’s too tense, and we don’t want to lose ANY of them. But only ten can make it through to Saturday's Grand Final, and we’re about to find out who they are. Executive Supervisor and Eurovision big cheese Martin Österdahl says we're GOOD TO GO, and he's the only person who has that kind of power.
Deep breaths, everyone. Let’s do this.
09 May 2023 at 22:55 CEST
Let’s meet three of the Big 5…🇫🇷🇩🇪🇮🇹
Six acts automatically qualify for the Grand Final – the Big 5 (France, Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK) plus the reigning champions Ukraine. But even though they don’t have to compete in the Semis, it doesn’t mean we can’t get a sneak peek. Tonight we’re meeting France's La Zarra, Germany's Lord of the Lost, and Italy's Marco Mengoni – we’ll meet the others in the second Semi-Final.
La Zarra, Lord of the Lost and Marco Mengoni have joined Alesha in the Green Room for a chat - we’re already plotting how to steal those Eurovision teacups. You can see all their full performances on the Eurovision YouTube channel - don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss anything!
09 May 2023 at 22:52 CEST
Dance lesson time!
Do we know all these dance moves from Israel, Käärijä and the Busker? Yes we do. Have we been practising in front of the hotel mirror in our spare time? Of course we have, we're 104% Eurovision now.
09 May 2023 at 22:46 CEST
The interval fun continues…
It takes a while to count the votes, so there’s plenty of time for some fun stuff. That means Alesha chatting to Timur Miroshnychenko in the commentary box, an unexpected visit from Ireland’s 2008 entry Dustin The Turkey in the Green Room, and 2015 winner/2016 presenter Måns Zelmerlöw playing a Eurovision guessing game with Filomena Cautela, who was one of the presenters in Lisbon in 2018. If you’re new to Eurovision, literally none of this will make sense. Embrace it anyway, we're here all week.
09 May 2023 at 22:41 CEST
It’s your final chance to vote!
A final countdown, and the voting is CLOSED. If your favourite doesn’t qualify and you didn’t vote, you only have yourself to blame. JUST SAYING.
09 May 2023 at 22:37 CEST
Ready for some Rita Ora?
How do you follow that? Well, you could just get pop megastar Rita Ora to sing a medley of her greatest hits, plus a rather fabulous version of Fatboy Slim's Praise You. We're having a sofa bop, whilst trying to hold a beer AND not to drop a laptop. Serious skills.
09 May 2023 at 22:32 CEST
The live blog got a plug!
Woohoo, Alesha Dixon has just plugged this live blog, which we’re now talking about IN the live blog. Eventually this whole thing implodes into a meta black hole.
09 May 2023 at 22:28 CEST
Let the interval performances begin!
You do NOT want to miss this – the interval starts with Ukrainian singer Alyosha and Liverpool legend Rebecca Ferguson, with a breathtaking performance called Welcome To Our House. It features a beautiful rendition of Ordinary World by Duran Duran, sung in both English and Ukrainian. Right now you could hear a pin drop in this delegation bubble.
09 May 2023 at 22:20 CEST
Time to start voting!
The voting is about to open – and the easiest way to do that is via the Eurovision app, so download it NOW. If you can’t remember what happened before Finland, here’s a handy reminder of all 15 performances – only TEN of them can make it through to Saturday’s Grand Final. How do you choose? Rather you than us, we’ve already adopted all these guys into the Eurovision family.
09 May 2023 at 22:18 CEST
Ready for a big Finnish? 🇫🇮
You don’t need to understand Finnish to get this song – the first half is all about Kaarija wanting a drink, expressed through the medium of a thumping techno/rap, and the second half is all about the consequences of that decision – mostly a joyful schlager anthem and Käärijä riding what his demonic dancers call ‘the piggy train’. It’s crazy, it’s party, and it's going VERY big in the hall.
09 May 2023 at 22:14 CEST
Let’s meet…🇫🇮 Finland
09 May 2023 at 22:14 CEST
Goodbye old life...hello Eurovision 🇳🇱
Time for a gorgeous power ballad, written by 2019 winner Duncan Laurence and sung by Mia and Dion, who use a rotating stage to create a really intimate and electric performance. The Netherlands are really good at this kind of thing, and the vocal harmonies are giving us goosebumps. Bit warm in here...
09 May 2023 at 22:10 CEST
Let’s meet…🇳🇱 The Netherlands
09 May 2023 at 22:10 CEST
Vesna want the Eurovision crown…👑
So Vesna are a well-known band in Czechia, and this female empowerment anthem features both pop and rap elements, with some bonus folk thrown in for good measure. It’s sung in a mix of English, Czech, Bulgarian and Ukrainian, by six women with a very polished dance routine and some fierce vocals. Choose love over power, Eurovision fans.
09 May 2023 at 22:08 CEST
Let’s meet…🇨🇿 Czechia
09 May 2023 at 22:07 CEST
🚨 Eurovision royalty spotted! 🚨
Sam Ryder just wandered by! We couldn't get a photo, he moves like the wind. Slow down that (s)pace, man.
09 May 2023 at 22:04 CEST
Tell us more, TuralTuranX...
Time for another mellow interlude between the bops, this time from Azerbaijan’s TuralTuranX, who are identical twins from Baku. There are some nice split-screen camera effects in this, and we love their heart-shaped plinth. The crowd are swaying, and there’s a lot of Eurovision love in the room for both their retro style and this classy performance.
09 May 2023 at 22:01 CEST
09 May 2023 at 22:00 CEST
Loreen’s stuck on Eurovision…
…and she’s back for a second time, having won the contest in 2012 with Euphoria – one of the biggest and most-loved songs of 21st century Eurovision. This time round she's singingTattoo - another dance banger that features Loreen trapped in a lightbox with terrifyingly long nails. The smoky staging and the intensity of Loreen’s vocal makes this a hugely memorable performance, and also our first wind machine of the night. Not surprisingly, the crowd has completely lost it.
09 May 2023 at 21:57 CEST
Let’s meet…🇸🇪 Sweden
09 May 2023 at 21:54 CEST
🇲🇩 Drums please…
Moldova’s Pasha Parfeni takes to the stage for a barefoot ethno-banger about the sun and the moon. He’s accompanied by two drummers and Sergiu the epic flute guy, who is not only a talented musician, but is also planning to represent Moldova in the shotput at the Paralympics in Paris next year. The drums in this track pound through the floor of the Liverpool Arena, and even though it’s sung in Romanian, the crowd are all joining in. Do we know the words? Mostly no. Do we care? Also no.
09 May 2023 at 21:50 CEST
Let’s meet …🇲🇩 Moldova
09 May 2023 at 21:50 CEST
🇮🇱 Israel’s got the power…
…of a unicorn 🦄. We love an emoji-friendly song, almost as much as we love a light box, a troupe of hot dancers, and a super-polished pop routine.
Do you wanna see me dance? asks Noa (three times). Of course we do – it’s our first of three solo female dance breaks at Eurovision this year, and Noa is setting a VERY high bar. The crowd at the Liverpool Arena is going WILD for this. Phenomen-al.
09 May 2023 at 21:46 CEST
Let’s meet …🇮🇱 Israel
09 May 2023 at 21:45 CEST
Switzerland 🇨🇭 has a message…
This is our first ballad of the day, and it’s a really special one. Remo is singing about the tragedy of war and making a universal call for peace - it’s a song for our times, with staging that’s simple but really impactful. He’s also got a beautiful voice, so take a moment to relax enjoy a moment of heartfelt and haunting intensity in amongst all the uptempo numbers.
09 May 2023 at 21:42 CEST
Let’s meet …🇨🇭Switzerland
09 May 2023 at 21:41 CEST
Let 3 🇭🇷 are let loose…
If you’re thinking from this postcard that Let 3 seem a little…alternative, you ain’t seen nothing yet, babe. This whole performance is a technicolour spectacle that starts with what sounds like a Croatian nursery rhyme about tractors and war, and ends with five members of the band stripping down to their underwear. Welcome to Eurovision, everyone!
There are a LOT of Croatians watching this with us right now. The singalong they're all having is incredible.
09 May 2023 at 21:38 CEST
Let’s meet… 🇭🇷 Croatia 🚜
09 May 2023 at 21:37 CEST
When we rise, we rise like 🇮🇪 Wild Youth
Ready for our third band of the evening? Wild Youth are four mates from Dublin, and We Are One is the perfect embodiment of this year’s Eurovision slogan, United By Music. It’s a big old singalong inspo-anthem, and thousands of hands are currently in the air for the euphoric chorus.
Lead singer Conor is also sporting the most glittery jumpsuit of the competition – but if you can’t go full Vegas Elvis at Eurovision, when can you?
09 May 2023 at 21:35 CEST
Let’s meet… 🇮🇪 Ireland
09 May 2023 at 21:34 CEST
Hearts are pounding for 🇵🇹 Portugal…❤️
Portugal’s Mimicat is up next, with a big piano glissando kicking of three minutes of Portuguese cabaret fabulousness. Red is another big theme at this year’s Eurovision, so have a drink if that’s on your bingo card.
Ai Coração means ‘oh heart’ – it’s one of many songs this year not sung in English. If you want to sing along, you can find both the Portuguese lyrics and the English translation on the Eurovision website.
09 May 2023 at 21:30 CEST
Let’s meet…🇵🇹 Portugal
09 May 2023 at 21:30 CEST
Take a breath, everyone!
Time for a short breather while all those sudden lights are wheeled off - Alesha Dixon is doing an incredible Eurovision rap in the Green Room, and we demand a Mis-Teeq comeback tour.
Meanwhile Cheryl, Jay and Mike from the band formerly known as Buck’s Fizz are there too, queuing outside a red phone box. Maybe they're still making their mind up about who to vote for?
09 May 2023 at 21:25 CEST
A lullaby from 🇱🇻 Latvia
We’ve got quite a few bands this year, and Latvian alt-rock 4-piece Sudden Lights are bringing some Arctic Monkeys vibes. Aijā is sung in English but the title is in Latvian – Aijā doesn’t really translate into English, but the word captures the feeling of a Latvian folk song or a lullaby.
Sudden Lights sound amazing, and the lighting in this performance is stunning - there are tens of thousands of of lights in the Liverpool Arena, but Sudden Lights from Latvia have brought some extra ones.
09 May 2023 at 21:23 CEST
Let’s meet… 🇱🇻 Latvia
09 May 2023 at 21:22 CEST
Hello? It’s Luke Black from Serbia 🇷🇸
Time for a dramatic change of style now, with Serbia’s Luke Black emerging from his surrealist flower bed to sing Samo Mi Se Spava, which translates as ‘I just wanna sleep’. We feel you, Luke.
Serbia are very much in their avant-garde Eurovision era, and we’re 100% here for it – this is three minutes of electro featuring blue strobe lighting, throbbing bass and a general air of being trapped inside a post-apocalyptic video game. Intense, but brilliant.
09 May 2023 at 21:18 CEST
Let’s meet…🇷🇸 Serbia
09 May 2023 at 21:17 CEST
🇲🇹 Do you wanna dance with Malta’s The Busker?
Well, yes, obviously. Dance (Our Own Party) is a fun bop about social anxiety, and leaving the party early to go home and dance in your favourite knitwear. There have been many occasions in the past week when we should have heeded this advice.
This song features an epic sax hook, and our first costume reveal of the day – the band remove their sweaters to reveal…other, more sparkly sweaters. They’re asking if the crowd in the Liverpool Arena want to dance - if you're asking, they're dancing.
09 May 2023 at 21:15 CEST
Let’s meet…🇲🇹 Malta
09 May 2023 at 21:14 CEST
🇳🇴 Her name is Alessandra from Norway…
…and she’s opening tonight’s show with her operatic Scandi-banger Queen of Kings. She’s wearing exactly what you’d imagine a viking queen would wear for Eurovision, and this is a fantastic song to start the show. The bass on this track pounds through the Liverpool Arena - our fellow watchers in the delegation bubble are all clapping along, and the crowd in the arena is already going bonkers. Pace yourselves guys…we've all got 14 more songs to go…
09 May 2023 at 21:11 CEST
Let’s meet…🇳🇴 Norway
09 May 2023 at 21:11 CEST
Are you ready for some postcards?
Each performance will be introduced with a 40-second postcard that connects locations in Ukraine, the UK, and each act’s home country with a theme – for example bridges, parks, colourful buildings or beaches. So across 37 countries, we see a total of 111 locations around the Eurovision world. They’re lovely, so please enjoy each one – you can find out more about the postcards on the article below.
09 May 2023 at 21:06 CEST
Let’s meet our hosts!
We have three hosts this evening – actress Hannah Waddingham, Ukrainian musician and TV presenter Julia Sanina, and singer and presenter Alesha Dixon. They’re all absolute pros at this kind of thing, so expect a distinct lack of wobbly links.
Hannah’s our French speaker this year, and she’s doing a tres bien job of it. You can find out more about all this year’s presenters on the link below.
09 May 2023 at 21:04 CEST
Let’s be…United by Music
The British and Ukrainian kids from the opening video join us on stage to watch a beautiful musical performance that morphs 80s classic Together in Electric Dreams, into Mayak by The Hardkiss. For the uninitiated, The Hardkiss are a huge prog-pop band in Ukraine, and their lead singer Julia Sanina is one of tonight’s presenters.
09 May 2023 at 21:01 CEST
Eurovision 2023 has begun!
Ah, Te Deum, the official Eurovision anthem – how we’ve missed you. The show opens with a Welcome to Liverpool opening film, which is a lovely bit of storytelling that’s giving us ALL the feels. It's particularly lovely to see Paul O’Grady featured – for those of you who aren’t from the UK, he's a Liverpool TV legend who passed away recently.
This film captures perfectly how the city has thrown everything at Eurovision – we’ve been made SO welcome here. Since the weekend the city has been buzzing with fans and music and colour, and the people of Liverpool have done Ukraine proud. We can’t tell you how much we’re enjoying our stay in your warm and beautiful city.
09 May 2023 at 20:54 CEST
🚨 FIVE MINUTE WARNING 🚨
Grab snacks, drinks, friends and loved ones, score sheets, tiny flags, extra snacks. We're nearly good to go!
09 May 2023 at 20:38 CEST
Meanwhile, over on TikTok...
...there's a rather fabulous montage of photos taken at the Turquoise Carpet launch on Sunday. We'll be sharing some of these photos as we introduce each artist this evening.
09 May 2023 at 20:34 CEST
Have you met Jake and Alfie yet?
We've become tiny bit obsessed with the #DogsOfEurovision this year - they've bought some furry joy to every day. We love this video introducing Jake and Alfie, two of the Arena sniffer dogs. Enjoy!
09 May 2023 at 20:30 CEST
Why support one nation...
...when you can pick two? You can be all about Finland on a Tuesday, then Spain on Saturday. The big question is, who are these guys supporting on Thursday?
09 May 2023 at 20:02 CEST
Are you up to date on the podcast?
The amazing Steve Holden has created FOUR podcast episodes in the past three days, and they're all AMAZING - chats with Marco Mengoni, Mia and Dion, TuranTuralX, La Zarra and all the gossip from the Turquoise Carpet on Sunday. Steve has now interviewed every one of the 37 acts in this year's Eurovision, which must get him some kind of sparkly medal, surely? You can find all the latest here.
09 May 2023 at 19:57 CEST
If there's one thing British fans understand...
...it's how to queue. It's all very civilised outside the Liverpool Arena, well done everyone.
09 May 2023 at 19:53 CEST
The crowds are gathering outside...
The gates are open, and the fans are filing in...can we just take a moment to celebrate this level of commitment to the outfit? 🇫🇮
09 May 2023 at 19:46 CEST
What can we expect from tonight?
We watched the dress rehearsal for the first Semi-Final earlier today, so we can tell you that you can expect a REALLY fun and uplifting show tonight. Some great musical performances, some fabulous coming together of UK and Ukrainian culture, some quirky British humour, and 15 bangers, bops and ballads on the Eurovision stage – you won't want to miss a single minute. Here’s tonight’s running order.
Who will make it through? It's decided 100% by televote this evening, so the power is in your hands...you can find out more about this year's voting procedure here.
09 May 2023 at 19:09 CEST
Have you downloaded the Eurovision app yet?
You definitely should, it will make it easier to vote later. You can find all the info you need here.
09 May 2023 at 19:08 CEST
We've bagged a live blog sofa...
So this year’s delegation bubble is spread across three floors – on the ground floor is the dressing rooms and hair and makeup, then one floor up is a café area where delegations can get food and drink and enjoy the natural light from the glass atrium and an outdoor bit (for smoking and taking in the view across the Mersey).
But on the top floor is the delegation lounge – it’s got sofas and beanbags and a HUGE screen. We got here early and put a towel down on the best seat in the house, because we don't want to miss a THING.
09 May 2023 at 18:59 CEST
Welcome to the first Eurovision Semi-Final of 2023!
Good evening/Доброго вечора Europe, and welcome to the Live Blog for the first Eurovision Semi-Final! It’s Heidi keeping you company this evening from the Liverpool Arena – we’ll be bringing you all the pre-show gossip, backstage breaking news and minute-by-minute details of the live show, which starts at 20:00 GMT/ 21:00 CEST.
By the end of tonight’s show our first 15 Semi-Finalists will be just 10 Grand Finalists, and not long after we'll know if they’re going to perform in the first or the second half of the Grand Final on Saturday. We’ll be keeping you company every step of the way, so stay with us. It’s almost time for us all to be #unitedbymusic…