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Live Blog: Sunday 30 April

Welcome to the Live Blog for Sunday 30 April (Day 1).

The Liverpool 2023 stage : Photo: Nick Robinson / BBC

Day 1 is done!

That's the first day of rehearsals done, and Eurovision liveblog season is well under way! How fun was that? Thank you for joining us, it's been a brilliant first day in the Liverpool arena. 

Tomorrow we’ll see the remaining artists performing in the first Semi-Final, and some of the acts from the second Semi-Final. Here’s the full line-up, so don’t forget to check back tomorrow for your faves.

🇮🇱 Israel
🇦🇿 Azerbaijan
🇨🇿 Czechia
🇳🇱 Netherlands 
🇫🇮 Finland 
🇩🇰 Denmark 
🇦🇲 Armenia 
🇷🇴 Romania 
🇧🇪 Belgium 
🇨🇾 Cyprus

We’ll be starting about 10:30 GMT/11:30 CEST, so we’ll see you then!

📺 WATCH: 🇸🇪 Sweden's first rehearsal 📺

Want to see what's been going on backstage today?

📺 WATCH: 🇲🇩 Moldova's First Rehearsal 📺

📺 WATCH: 🇨🇭Switzerland's first rehearsal 📺

🇸🇪 Sweden gallery is up!

It's our final gallery of the day, from Sweden's first rehearsal. Big up to the incredible Eurovision photography team, who are just getting warmed up...

Rehearsals are done...

...but the liveblog isn't. We've still got a Swedish gallery to share, and three more TikTok clips. But in the meantime we've left the arena to find a much needed cup of tea ☕️

📺 WATCH: 🇭🇷 Croatia's first reheasal 📺

🇲🇩 Moldova gallery is up!

Please enjoy these excellent pictures of Moldova's first rehearsal. 

🇸🇪 Sweden takes to the stage…

So the light box is back, but it's a smaller version than the one we saw at Melodifestivalen. It's also raised off the ground, so the bottom section can be wheeled onto the stage. The stage and the LED screen is a sea of swirling smoke, and the whole effect is incredibly intense.

It's Loreen, so obviously this performance is tighter than that catsuit and more polished than those terrifyingly long nails. Sounds incredible, looks incredible - the perfect finish to a brilliant first day of rehearsals. 

📺 WATCH: 🇮🇪 Ireland's first rehearsal 📺

And finally for today, it’s 🇸🇪 SWEDEN!

One final rehearsal for today, and it's Loreen from Sweden performing her song Tattoo. It's a big return to the Eurovision stage for Loreen, who of course won the contest in 2012 with arguably the biggest dance banger in Eurovision history. There's lots of interest in whether she'll be bringing the giant light box prop that made such an impact at Melfest - we will, of course, keep you posted. 

FUN FACT: Loreen’s favourite cheeses are Roquefort & Gorgonzola, which are both stinkier than Croatia’s ŠČ socks. 

🇨🇭Switzerland gallery is up!

While we're waiting for the final rehearsal of the day (Sweden, no biggie), please enjoy some pictures of Switzerland's first rehearsal. 

What do Björn Ulvaeus and Martin Österdahl have in common?

Apart from being Swedish national treasures, they're both featured on a special edition of the official Eurovision podcast. There's a link and some of the highlights on the story below! 

🇲🇩 Moldova takes to the stage…

There's so much to love about this performance from Moldova  – the huge drums, Sergiu the epic flute guy, Pasha's atmospheric vocals, the two backing singers with huge horned headdresses. It's the kind of ethno-banger we used to see a lot more often at Eurovision, and all together it creates a performance that’s pulsing through the arena floor. This is going to go BIG in the Liverpool arena next Tuesday. 

📺 WATCH: 🇵🇹 Portugal's first rehearsal 📺

Next up it’s 🇲🇩 MOLDOVA!

Time for a change of pace now, with Moldoval’s Pasha Parfeni singing Soarele și Luna. If you need emojis, this translates as ‘the sun and the moon,’ so that’s all very helpful ☀️🌙.

This isn’t Pasha’s first spin around the Eurovision stage – he competed for Moldova in 2012 too. Can’t remember who won that year…apparently a song called Euphoria. We barely remember it, so can’t have been a big hit.

FUN FACT: We met Pasha backstage at the Madrid pre-party, and can confirm his pre-stage warm up involves swaying and Wim Hof-style breathing exercises. 

🔥 Swiss PYRO 🔥

Who says you can't have pyro in a ballad? Remo Forrer is breaking all the rules, with a short interlude of smoke and red fireworks raining down from the roof. All VERY dramatic. 

🇭🇷 Croatia gallery is up!

If anyone can capture the psychedelic joy of Croatia's first rehearsal, it's Eurovision's amazing photographers. Please enjoy. 

🇨🇭 Switzerland takes to the stage…

By any measure, this is quite special. Watergun is a heartfelt and haunting ballad about the tragedy of war, and a universal call for peace. It’s clear that Remo feels a real connection to these lyrics, and his vocal is beautiful. Staging-wise, he has four contemporary dancers and also dances himself, which we weren't expecting. The staging for this was created by Sacha Jean-Baptiste, who was also responsible for Switzerland's G'jon's Tears in 2021 and Marius Bear in 2022. We'll see more of her staging later in the contest. 

It’s 🇨🇭 SWITZERLAND’S turn to rehearse!

Next up it’s Switzerland’s Remo Forrer, with our first big ballad of the day. It’s also the second song about war, but this one has a VERY different vibe. Remo is just 21, and was the winner of The Voice of Switzerland 2020, so he’s no stranger to a big TV audience. You can find out more about him on the link below.

FUN FACT: Remo’s drag name would be ‘Remy Raclette’. We LOVE this. 

🇮🇪 Ireland gallery is up!

While the stage is being re-set for Switzerland, here's a gallery of pictures from ireland's first rehearsal. 


Let 3's performance ends with the missiles emitting a shower of sparks over a group of men dancing in platform heels, vests and underpants. We would love to have been a fly on the wall for that health and safety briefing. Not sure the Liverpool arena has ever seen anything quite like that. 

📺 WATCH: 🇱🇻 Latvia's first rehearsal 📺

🇭🇷 Croatia takes to the stage…🚜

Well, this is fun. Let 3 kick off with their trademark extravagant costumes, mind-bending graphics and high fashion hat/dress combos, and then for the final chorus they all strip down to their underwear and wave huge missiles. They have an extensive track record of getting naked on stage, but they've kept it classy for a Sunday afternoon. Phew.

Read in English, the lyrics to this song feel like a nursery rhyme or a lullaby, but with tractors, kissing and war. It’s a three-minute epic that isn't sending us to sleep any time soon, but it IS making us want to go dancing. Whilst wearing a kilt and a sailor hat, at least until the final chorus. 

We've also heard there are going to be fireworks in the final run-through. Of COURSE there are.

Next to rehearse - 🇭🇷 CROATIA!

And now for something completely different. Not just from Ireland, but from…well, everything else that has ever graced the Eurovision stage, really. And when we say different, we mean entirely bonkers and amazing, obviously.

FUN FACT: In answer to our question about how long it’s acceptable to wear the same pair of socks for, Let 3 replied “If I’m wearing my ŠČ socks, I can wear them forever – they are even getting better when you wear them for a long time. I change them when the good smell goes bad, but all other socks I change every six hours.”

We’re not sure which member of Let 3 this was, but we’ll try to find out by using the backstage sniff test. Or maybe we can ask San Marino’s Piqued Jacks to smell them like an animal?

⚡️ Tonight, we have PYRO ⚡️

Ireland's Wild Youth have SPARKS. Huge jets of them, around the whole stage just before the final chorus. Definitely leading the pyro charge so far, but we've still got many, many performances to go. 

🇵🇹 Portugal gallery is up!

While we're waiting for an Ireland pyro update, here's a gallery of photos from Portugal's first rehearsal. Enjoy! 

📺 WATCH: Serbia's first rehearsal 📺

🇮🇪 Ireland takes to the stage…

Can confirm that the sequinned masks from the official video are nowhere to be seen – instead it’s Conor in a glam rock gold catsuit with flares. This staging also features our first stairs of the day - a horseshoe arrangement featuring ALL the LEDs. The whole performance looks and sounds fabulous, and we've already heard there's pyro incoming. Update on that shortly.

Even on the first rehearsal, it’s easy to imagine the crowd in the Liverpool Arena singing along to this euphoric chorus. If we weren’t typing furiously, our hands would definitely be in the air. 

It’s time for 🇮🇪 IRELAND!

We’ve already had two all-male bands today, and here’s a third. This time it’s Ireland’s Wild Youth, who are four mates from Dublin who’ve been making music since 2018. Their song We Are One is the kind of uplifting, singalong inspo-anthem that going to keep the party going halfway through this first Semi-Final.

Want to know more about Wild Youth? Of course you do - just click on the link below.

FUN FACT: The song that’s guaranteed to get Wild Youth on the dance floor? ‘September’ by Earth, Wind and Fire. A proper disco classic, and we like their style. 

📺 WATCH: 🇲🇹 Malta's first rehearsal 📺

🇵🇹 Portugal takes to the stage…

The opening piano glissando gives big I Will Survive vibes, but this performance is pure musical theatre fabulousness. The staging has been stripped back from Mimicat’s winning performance at Festival da Canção - still four backing dancers bringing the energy (we definitely spotted some Samba moves in there), but no sofas. The theme of the lighting and costumes is RED - Mimicat's dress is entirely made of red feathers, and we will not REST until we're wearing something very similar to Euroclub. 

Vocally Mimicat sounds incredible - this is a classy cabaret crowd-pleaser and the final note is HUGE. Just what we need to get us in the mood for a packed afternoon of rehearsals. 

Next up to rehearse, it’s 🇵🇹 PORTUGAL!

We're back from lunch, and it's time for Portugal! One of the great things about this year’s Eurovision is how many unique styles and performances there are, and Portugal is no exception. Mimicat’s cabaret-style number is called Ai Coração, which translates as ‘Oh heart’ – it’s the first of several ❤️-based songs in this  Eurovision this year.

While they’re setting up the stage for Mimicat’s first rehearsal, you can read a bit about her on the link below.

FUN FACT: If Mimicat was at a fun fair, we’d find her at the churros truck. And now we really fancy some churros. Can we get some delivered to the Liverpool arena? 

The Latvia gallery is up!

While we're enjoying some lunch, here's a gallery from Latvia's first rehearsal. 

📺 WATCH: 🇳🇴 Norway's first rehearsal 📺

It's time for lunch! 🥗

We're taking a short break for lunch now - we'll be back at 14:10 GMT/15:10 CEST for six more first rehearsals, starting with 🇵🇹 Portugal. See you back here soon! 

🇷🇸 Serbia gallery is up!

Would you like some pictures of Serbia's first rehearsal? Of course you would. 

🇱🇻 Latvia takes to the stage…

This performance uses the same style of atmospheric/sudden lighting as we saw at Supernova – it’s exactly the kind of track that lends itself to a big arena stage. Also lead singer Andrejs Reinis Zitmanis’ melancholy lyrics sound great - there's a lovely moment of quiet stillness at the end that's giving us ALL the feels. 

🧳 Luggage news! We've had an update from the band on the whole missing suitcase situation: "We don't have our costumes... the airline lost our luggage... but we heard they're coming today so it will be fine. First rehearsals are with the clothes we're wearing now so we'll be rocking with them."  Honestly? If they hadn't told us we wouldn't have noticed. They looked and sounded just fine to us. 

Are you ready for 🇱🇻 LATVIA?

Time for another band, and this time it’s Latvian alt-rock 4-piece Sudden Lights with their song Aijā. The song is sung in English but the title is in Latvian – apparently Aijā doesn’t have a direct translation, but it evokes the feeling of a Latvian folk song. While we’re waiting for the rehearsal to start, you can find out more about Sudden Lights on the link below.

FUN FACT: Sudden Lights’ answer to the question ‘What’s the most British thing you’ve ever done?’ is “Having a beer at the airport even though it's before 8am”. Your liveblog team is now carrying that shame on behalf of all Brits. 

💨 Serbia are SMOKING 💨

For the final rehearsal, Luke unleashes smoke from the backpacks worn by their backing dancers, just for the final chorus. It makes the whole thing feel even more apocalyptic. It's also our first pyro of the day, but probably not the last. Well played, Serbia. 

🇲🇹 Malta gallery is up!

While we're waiting for Serbia's final rehearsal, here are some pictures from Malta's rehearsal. Enjoy!


Latvia's Sudden Lights are in Liverpool, but their luggage is not, so they have no outfits for their first rehearsal today. They believe it's currently in Germany - maybe Lord of The Lost Luggage could bring it over?

🇷🇸 Serbia takes to the stage…

Samo Mi Se Spava is a indie/techno number sung/whispered in a mix of English and Serbian – the title translates as ‘I just wanna sleep’. Right now we’re fine, Luke, but in a week we’re going to feel this song in our very tired bones. 

Staging-wise, Luke has brought the huge bed* prop from the Serbian National Finals, along with four masked dancers trailing long hoses - we've heard a rumour that smoke is going to come out of those, so we'll update when we see the pyro rehearsal. With the pulsing bass and video game graphics, the whole thing is dark and surreal and hypnotic - definitely a performance viewers won't forget.  

*Oyster shell? Giant leaf? Flower? Abstract art? We’re not sure, but it looks comfortable.  

🇳🇴 Norway gallery is up!

While we're waiting for Serbia to start, please enjoy these exclusive pics of Norway's first rehearsal. 

🇷🇸 SERBIA’S first rehearsal

Next up to rehearse this morning is Serbia’s Luke Black, singing his atmospheric track Samo Mi Se Spava. Luke has a growing global fanbase - he’s recently completed a sell-out tour of China – you can find out more about him on the link below.

FUN FACT: The app Luke uses the most is the calculator, which tells us that Luke is the guy who ALWAYS gets stuck with working out the split of the bill after dinner with friends. Every group needs a Luke. 

🇲🇹 MALTA takes to the stage…

This is a great fun bit of retro funk/pop, with an epic sax hook 🎷. Staging-wise, The Busker have brought ALL the props, with a four-part set that features a party house (featuring the Destiny cardboard cutout!), a yellow park bench and a lamppost, a red car and a tiny room with a sofa. The band dance between each part of the set, and it's a clever bit of visual storytelling in 3 acts. 

OK, who had Maltese sparkly costume change on their Eurovision bingo card? The chunky sweaters are swapped out for silver sequins for the final chorus. ‘I feel better, in my sweater,’ sings Jean Paul, which is a sentiment every British person can relate to. It may be raining in Liverpool, but if The Busker are asking, we're dancing.

Incidentally, we have quite a few bands this year, and notably few sadballads compared to recent contests – even the heartbreak songs are bops. Which means the crowd is going have to pace itself, because nobody wants to be all danced out before Finland wrap things up.


Are you ready for 🇲🇹 MALTA?

A change of style now, as Malta’s The Busker invite us to Dance (Our Own Party). It’s a song about social anxiety, and quitting the party and going home to dance in your sweater. We’ve all been there, Malta.

You can find out more about the band and their journey from busking on the streets of Valletta to the huge Eurovision stage on the link below. 

FUN FACT: All three members of The Busker are dog owners - Jean is dad to Ringo the Beagle, Sean is the proud owner of Tinu the French Bulldog, and Dav has 3 rescue dogs called Mowglee, Cookie and Noch. So by our calculations that’s five Buskerhounds in total 🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶


No pyro for Norway - we were banking on some steam jets, at least. Will Malta be the first delegation to crack out the fireworks? We're thinking possibly not, but who knows? it's Eurovision.

Let’s talk about…staging

In terms of rules, it’s much the same as last year. Treadmills, giant trumpets, hamster wheels  – you can have whatever props you like as long as they comply with rules around size and set-up time. Steam jets, fireworks, glitter cannons – fill your pyro boots. Need graphics? No problem, there’s a huge LED backdrop and a lighting rig that that curves up over the stage.

Also we now have a close-up of the fur-clad tables in each green room pod. Obsessed. 

Corinne Cumming / EBU

🇳🇴 Norway takes to the stage…

So what are we going to see today? Is it going to be the sackcloth and chains of the official video, or the black and gold viking sass queen vibe of the MGP final? Well, we can confirm that it's very much the latter, with Alessandra in a fabulous metallic bustier with serious power shoulders and a black cape. She's accompanied by four backing dancers with giant glo-sticks, backed by icy blue lighting.  

Staging aside, this song is a HUGE female empowerment battle cry, with the drums vibrating through the floor of the Liverpool Arena and that whistle note at the end lifting the roof off. This is It’s going to be such a fantastic opener for the first Semi-Final and the crowd here is going to be VERY up for it. All together now…laidadadilaida.

If there are any fireworks/steam jets/other pyro they'll be deployed in the final rehearsal of this session, so we'll keep you posted. 

First up this morning is…🇳🇴 NORWAY

First up this morning is Alessandra from Norway, who’ll be opening the first Semi-Final with her operatic Scandi-banger Queen of Kings. The rehearsal will be starting in a few minutes, but in the meantime you can find out more about Alessandra on the link below. 

FUN FACT: The most British thing Alessandra has ever done is put milk in her tea ☕️. Note to all international visitors planning a trip to Liverpool in the next couple of weeks - you ask for tea, it's going to contain milk unless you specify others. But it's lovely that way, so embrace the milky goodness. 

Welcome to the Liverpool arena!

We’re watching today’s rehearsals from the Green Room area in front of the stage - Right now the sofas are quite comfy, but ask us again in ten hours. We’re also VERY taken with the heart-shaped table in each green room pod – they are purple and wrapped in faux fur, and we’re already plotting how we can smuggle one home. 

No water features or live plants this year, but the curved lighting rig over the stage is spectacular – SO much rainbow neon. 

The Liverpool 2023 stage Nick Robinson / BBC

Excitement levels: 🤩🤩🤩

Are we excited? YES. Will we run out of adjectives by the end of the day? NO, because English is a grandiloquent language and we’re not afraid to use every synonym for ‘spectacular’ we know. 

Also emojis. SO many emojis, becoming increasingly tenuous as the day goes on. Can we add a rule that all Eurovision songs must have titles that work as emojis? We’re thinking ‘Pizza Slice’, ‘Heart Eyes Cat’, or maybe ‘Unicorn’. Oh wait, Israel got the memo. Well done, Israel 🦄

We might also include a fun fact about each artist, because we know all their darkest secrets. OK FINE, they filled in a questionnaire. 

So who's rehearsing today? 🎤

Today is all about ten of the acts performing in the first Semi-Final – they’ll be rehearsing in order, with the exception of Israel, who are rehearsing first tomorrow. We’ll be watching from the Green Room right in front of the stage as each act makes the most of their half-hour rehearsal slot. And it is STRICTLY half an hour, there’s a big clock and everything. 

On the schedule today:
🇳🇴 Norway
🇲🇹 Malta
🇷🇸 Serbia
🇱🇻 Latvia
🇵🇹 Portugal
🇮🇪 Ireland
🇭🇷 Croatia
🇨🇭 Switzerland
🇲🇩 Moldova
🇸🇪 Sweden

We're kicking off at around 10:30 GMT/11:30 CEST, so join us then!

Good morning, Eurofans!

Hello Eurovision fandom, and a warm welcome to our very first Eurovision 2023 Live Blog! Heidi will be leading the charge today, bringing you all the latest news, gossip and backstage happenings from the Liverpool Arena.

If you're new here, the live blog is the place to get a peek behind the scenes at today’s first rehearsals - these happen behind closed doors so the artists have the space to polish their performances, but we have special access. So for now it’s just our words, followed later by some photos and an EXCLUSIVE 30-second TikTok clip of each first rehearsal, which we'll post a link to later.