26 super facts about our 26 Grand Finalists13 May 2023 at 19:57 CEST
Things are hotting up for the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 Grand Final. While the artists warm up their vocal chords, let’s get the scoop on the acts behind the songs. Can you guess who’s been inspired by Salvador Dalí, and who has a popular snack tattooed on their ankle?
🇦🇹 Austria | Teya & Salena - Who The Hell Is Edgar?
Teya and Salena might be inhabited by the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe, but they’re also on the same wavelength as each other. When Marija Šerifović won for Serbia in 2007 with the song Molitva, both Teya and Salena decided they wanted to be on that stage one day. It was only recently that they discovered they had the same moment of inspiration. Spooky.
🇵🇹 Portugal | Mimicat - Ai Coração
Mimicat actually wrote Ai Coração around ten years ago (and if she’d entered it then, she’d have been competing against Emmelie de Forest’s Only Teardrops at Eurovision 2013). It sat in her pile of songs for a decade, as the original jazzy version didn’t fit her style. Mimicat even considered giving the song to another artist — and we’re so glad she didn’t! Finally, she submitted the song to Portugal’s National Final for 2023, and once it was accepted she got to work on a new arrangement, which she’s clearly thrown her heart into.
🇨🇭 Switzerland | Remo Forrer - Watergun
Remo Forrer has music running through his veins. He not only sings, but also plays the piano, guitar, and accordion — although he thinks his skills might be a bit rusty on that last instrument. It seems like Remo can turn his hand to any instrument he sets his sights on. As a Eurovision treat, he gave us an insight into his guitar skills in a duet with Luca Hänni, as they covered She Got Me.
🇵🇱 Poland | Blanka - Solo
Blanka spent a lot of time performing at open mic evenings across New York, with her mum going along with her. She always had her guitar in hand, and would perform her own songs, which she started writing at the age of 16.
🇷🇸 Serbia | Luke Black - Samo Mi Se Spava
Luke Black might be from a tiny town in central Serbia, but he lives in London after studying music in the UK at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. He’s taken inspiration from all around him, fusing Serbian pop and UK influences like Queen and Elton John. And of course, Samo Mi Se Spava also has a big dose of surrealism from his Salvador Dalí inspiration.
🇫🇷 France: La Zarra - Évidemment
Where does La Zarra get her fashion inspiration? She spends a good portion of her time at her friends' drag shows, and loves all the new outfits on display, and also loves watching Audrey Hepburn movies. And La Zarra can report, plenty of drag queens are already lip syncing to Évidemment.
🇨🇾 Cyprus | Andrew Lambrou - Break A Broken Heart
Andrew found fame through performing cover songs, and he took social media by storm. After getting the attention of record labels and now representing Cyprus in the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, Andrew’s story has come full circle — other people are covering his songs.
🇪🇸 Spain: Blanca Paloma - Eaea
One of Blanka’s other songs, Secreto De Agua, found fame as the eerie theme music for RTVE’s crime documentary series Lucía en la Telaraña. She also put it forward for Spain’s national final Benidorm Fest in 2022, but lost out to Chanel’s SloMo.
🇸🇪 Sweden | Loreen - Tattoo
Loreen has a few tattoos herself, and her favourite is a quotation in Arabic, which translates as “You suffer, you learn, you change.” She says she lives by this phrase, which is tattooed on her side.
🇦🇱 Albania | Albina & Familja Kelmendi - Duje
Music runs through the Kelmendi family’s veins, with the Kelmendi grandparents being musicians. Every single member of the family can sing, and they all play at least 2 instruments, one of which, for Albina, is the clarinet. Perhaps she can link up with Theodor Andrei and treat Liverpool to a performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto.
🇮🇹 Italy: Marco Mengoni - Due Vite
Marco might be more ready for Liverpool than he knows. At Sanremo in 2023 (the same festival where he got his Eurovision ticket) he sang a cover version of Beatles’ classic Let It Be — you can’t get much more Liverpudlian than The Beatles. And to make it even more UK-focused, he sang it with London-based gospel group, The Kingdom Choir.
🇪🇪 Estonia | Alika - Bridges
Alika was raised on rock music and grew up listening to classic bands like Led Zeppelin, ACDC, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, so we can expect all sorts of sounds from her in the future. If she were to collaborate with any other Eurovision 2023 artist, she would choose “rock guy” Käärijä.
🇫🇮 Finland | Käärijä - Cha Cha Cha
When Käärijä heard the first version of Cha Cha Cha, he and his producers had the idea to send it to the Eurovision Song Contest. They sent it on to his label, who agreed that it was Eurovision material. After a few more revisions, Cha Cha Cha set sail for Liverpool.
🇨🇿 Czechia | Vesna - My Sister's Crown
When Covid lockdowns hit in 2020, Vesna used the time wisely. They spent their days recording a new album, Anima, which brought in their distinctive dreamy, folk feel. There were probably a few Zoom calls and banana bread bakes as well. Once the lockdowns were lifted, they got straight on the road and started an acoustic tour.
🇦🇺 Australia | Voyager - Promise
Voyager love to play with genres. They’ve submitted a whole collection of songs to their national selection in past years, channeling different musical vibes. Promise finally gave them the ticket to the Contest, and this song features screamo sections, which are largely thanks to band member Alex.
🇧🇪 Belgium | Gustaph - Because Of You
Gustaph is not just a performer, he’s a professor of pop. He’s got a Master’s in jazz vocals and now teaches pop music, including songwriting, technical vocals, and ensemble. That paired with his previous experience on the Eurovision stage might be why he’s become a nurturing figure within this year’s group of artists.
🇦🇲 Armenia | Brunette - Future Lover
Brunette started singing when she was just 4 years old, and got stuck straight into lessons to hone her craft. She was only a teenager when she started writing her own songs. A little further down the line, and she’s written her own Eurovision Song Contest 2023 entry, Future Lover.
🇲🇩 Moldova | Pasha Parfeni - Soarele şi Luna
Pasha Parfeni’s Eurovision journey has been a long one. And when it came to writing Soarele şi Luna, he was inspired by something surprising — techno. After going to a techno festival, Pasha knew exactly what kind of song he wanted to send to Eurovision 2023.
🇺🇦 Ukraine: TVORCHI - Heart of Steel
Jeffery has got two dogs at home in Nigeria, but it’s been so long since he saw them that he doesn’t think they’d recognise him now. Jeffery and Andrii met while at a medical university in Ukraine, and they formed their band in 2018. Even in that short time, they’ve released 4 albums, each one topping the charts in Ukraine. Let’s hope Jeffery’s dogs are watching Eurovision and cheering on Ukraine.
🇳🇴 Norway | Alessandra - Queen of Kings
For Alessandra’s very first singing competition, she sang ABBA’s Dancing Queen. So perhaps it’s fitting that her all-time favourite Eurovision song is Waterloo — even if she can’t always remember the lyrics. We forgive you, Alessandra!
🇩🇪 Germany: Lord of the Lost - Blood & Glitter
Lead singer Chris might be all blood and glitter, but he does have a soft side. When two abandoned kittens were found on the streets of Poland at just two weeks old, he took them in and gave them a loving home in Hamburg. Sweet.
🇱🇹 Lithuania | Monika Linkytė - Stay
Monika has competed at Eurovision before, but this time it’s different. In 2015, she performed This Time with Vaidas Baumila, and she had no part in writing the song. But for Stay, Monika co-wrote the song with her friend Krists Indrišonoks. They had 3 weeks to write the piece, but they sat down one evening and the whole thing flowed out. Musical magic.
🇮🇱 Israel | Noa Kirel - Unicorn
Noa Kirel might be an Israeli superstar, but she still got some advice ahead of her Eurovision performance. Eurovision 1998 winner Dana International told Noa to stay calm and focus on the performance and herself, without worrying about the background noises. And Noa likes to think she channels Dana International’s energy, by being a “good diva” - leading the team around her and staying focused.
🇸🇮 Slovenia | Joker Out - Carpe Diem
The Joker Out boys really love to party, and they’ve got a favourite new karaoke track — Gustaph’s Because Of You. The band are so full of energy that they decided against using pyro in their Eurovision Semi-Final performance, as they decided that their spark would be enough.
🇭🇷 Croatia | Let 3 - Mama ŠČ!
Anyone who’s seen Let 3 perform Mama ŠČ! won’t be surprised to know that the band is known for big, theatrical stunts. Take their album Jedina (The Only One), of which only one copy was made, and which they refused to sell. At their next concert, Let 3 took that one copy and dramatically destroyed it.
🇬🇧 United Kingdom: Mae Muller - I Wrote A Song
Look closely and fans might spot a Tunnock’s teacake tattooed on Mae’s ankle (perhaps it was the inspiration for Loreen’s song for Sweden, Tattoo), and a fan once gifted her a giant teacake. For the benefit of non-UK Eurovision fans, a Tunnock’s teacake is a chocolate-covered marshmallow biscuit wrapped in shiny foil.
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