Eurovision 2023 finalists revealed after semi-final part one


Ireland, Malta, Latvia, the Netherlands and Azerbaijan are out of the running for Eurovision 2023. 

On Tuesday night, 15 countries performed at the M&S Bank arena in part one of two semi-finals for the chance to win a place in Saturday’s grand final. 

Ten acts made it through with Finland favourite Kaarija and Sweden’s former winner Loreen who was victorious in 2012 with her hit Euphoria, also secured a place. 

Hosted by Alesha Dixon, Hannah Waddingham and Julia Sanina, the stadium was lit up by an array of wacky, moving and colourful acts, while King Charles, Queen Camilla and the late Paul O’Grady starred in a opening video to kick off the show. 

The ten acts who made it through were; Croatia, Moldova, Switzerland, Finland, Czechia, Israel, Sweden, Serbia, Portugal and Norway. 

In a change to the rules this year, the decision of who goes through is entirely down to the public, with national juries being able to have their say during the final on Saturday. 

Eye-catching: Eurovision Kaarija, the entrant from Finland, whose real name Jere Pöyhönen, is a 39-year-old rapper who is from Helsinki is in Saturday’s final

On Tuesday night, 15 countries performed at the M&S Bank arena in part one of two semi-finals with Alesha Dixon, Julia Sanina and Hannah Waddingham hosting

On Tuesday night, 15 countries performed at the M&S Bank arena in part one of two semi-finals with Alesha Dixon, Julia Sanina and Hannah Waddingham hosting

Back again: Loreen, who won the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2012 with her epic anthem Euphoria, was bidding to represent Sweden again this year and secured her place

Back again: Loreen, who won the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2012 with her epic anthem Euphoria, was bidding to represent Sweden again this year and secured her place

31 countries will compete in two semi-finals with 10 from each going through to the Grand Final. 

Last year’s winner Ukraine automatically progressed to the Grand Final, along with the big five, comprising the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. 

The night kicked off with a performance from Norway. Alessandra performed Queen of Kings followed by Malta’s The Busker with Dance Our Own Party. 

Other countries performing were Serbia (Luke Black with Samo Mi Se Spava), Latvia (Aija with Sudden Lights), Portugal (Mimicat performing Ai Coracao), Ireland’s (Wild Youth singing We Are One). 

Croatian rock band Let 3, who first formed in the 1980s, gave it their all are through to the grand final.  Switzerland’s Remo Forrer followed and also got through to Saturday as did Noa Kirel from Israel, who is one of the country’s biggest stars and sang Unicorn. 

Other acts included former Euphoria winner Loreen with Tattoo for Sweden,  TuralTuranX, Tell Me More, representing Azerbaijan. 

Czechia’s act was Vesna with My Sister’s Crown got through, Mia Nicolai & Dion Cooper with Burning Daylight representing Netherlands and Eurovision favourite Käärijä did the Cha Cha Cha for Finland. 

Rita Ora performed a medley while X Factor’s Rebecca Ferguson also sang to the audience.  

Fireworks: Wild Youth, the entrant from Ireland didn't make it through to the final

Fireworks: Wild Youth, the entrant from Ireland didn’t make it through to the final

Out of the running: Sudden Lights, a band from Latvia didn't get the public vote

Out of the running: Sudden Lights, a band from Latvia didn’t get the public vote 

Dynamic duo: Mia Nicolai & Dion Cooper of the Netherlands sang  their hit Burning Daylight but didn't secure a place for Saturday night

Dynamic duo: Mia Nicolai & Dion Cooper of the Netherlands sang  their hit Burning Daylight but didn’t secure a place for Saturday night

Epic: The Busker from Malta put on a dazzling performance but failed to get the public vote and so crashed out of the competition

Epic: The Busker from Malta put on a dazzling performance but failed to get the public vote and so crashed out of the competition

Guitars: Music duo TuralTuranX representing Azerbaijan are out

Guitars: Music duo TuralTuranX representing Azerbaijan are out

Performance: Norway's Alessandra performed Queen of Kings during The Eurovision Song Contest

Performance: Norway’s Alessandra performed Queen of Kings during The Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision: Mimicat from Portugal performed during the first semi-final and has a place in Saturday's final

Eurovision: Mimicat from Portugal performed during the first semi-final and has a place in Saturday’s final

The newly-crowned King and Queen made a surprise appearance on the Eurovision Song Contest semi-final in a little cameo on BBC One.

Royal fans were delighted to see King Charles, 74, and Queen Camilla, 75, appearing in a pre-recorded video as the semi-finals kicked off in Liverpool this evening.

The royals featured in the opening credits, in a Welcome to Liverpool film which followed a young boy from the north-west city who learned his hometown is hosting the 2023 Contest.

Their Majesties made the cameo on the first night of the semi-finals, just weeks after they attended the M&S Bank Arena to officially open the stage for this year’s competition.

Also featured in the opening sequence is the late Paul O’Grady, who suddenly passed away last month at the age of 67.

A royal cameo! The newly-crowned King and Queen Consort made a surprise appearance in the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 Semi-final opening sequence

A royal cameo! The newly-crowned King and Queen Consort made a surprise appearance in the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 Semi-final opening sequence

The royal couple, 74 and 75, visited the M&S Bank Arena last month where they officially opened the Eurovision stage

The royal couple, 74 and 75, visited the M&S Bank Arena last month where they officially opened the Eurovision stage

Bringing the party: Rita Ora sent the crowd wild with a medley of her hits

Bringing the party: Rita Ora sent the crowd wild with a medley of her hits 

All eyes on her: The singer put on a daring display in a sexy leather bodysuit and lace up heels

All eyes on her: The singer put on a daring display in a sexy leather bodysuit and lace up heels 

Stunning: X Factor's Rebecca Ferguson performed during the semi-final

Stunning: X Factor’s Rebecca Ferguson performed during the semi-final 

Paul, who shot to fame as trailblazing comic drag act Lily Savage before becoming one of the country’s best-loved presenters and DJs, tragically passed away in March aged 67

But the TV favourite was remembered when he appeared with his beloved dog in a segment celebrating Liverpool, where this year’s competition is taking place.

Paul starred in the video alongside Paul Hollywood, Ukranian Strictly dancer Nikita Kuzmin and King Charles and the Queen Consort.  

Viewers watching at home became emotional when they saw Paul on their TV screens once more, smiling broadly whilst he mopped the floor with his pooch in the other arm. 

One wrote: ‘A gorgeous little nod to the great and utterly fabulous Paul O’Grady in the opening titles to Eurovision.’ 

‘So lovely to see Paul O’Grady in that opening and what an opening trailer that was. Amazing to see the King and Queen in it too and of course Ukraine the key part of it all,’ another fan added. 

‘Seeing Paul O’Grady was very touching,’ a different viewer chimed, while others said they were ‘sobbing already’. 

‘Paul O’Grady and kids in tracksuits holding hands. Sobbing already,’ one wrote. 

‘Paul O’Grady in the opening sequence I’m crying’, added another viewer. 

Hosts: Alesha hosted the first semi-final alongside Julia Sanina and Hannah Waddingham, which will see five acts sent home at the end of the show

Hosts: Alesha hosted the first semi-final alongside Julia Sanina and Hannah Waddingham, which will see five acts sent home at the end of the show

'I'm crying!': Elsewhere in the show, viewers were in tears as they watched the late Paul O'Grady make a surprise cameo in the opening credits of the semi-final

‘I’m crying!’: Elsewhere in the show, viewers were in tears as they watched the late Paul O’Grady make a surprise cameo in the opening credits of the semi-final

Loved: Paul, who shot to fame as trailblazing comic drag act Lily Savage before becoming one of the country's best-loved presenters and DJs, tragically passed away in March aged 67

Loved: Paul, who shot to fame as trailblazing comic drag act Lily Savage before becoming one of the country’s best-loved presenters and DJs, tragically passed away in March aged 67

Crying: Viewers watching at home became emotional when they saw Paul on their TV screens once more, smiling broadly whilst he mopped the floor with his pooch in the other ar

Crying: Viewers watching at home became emotional when they saw Paul on their TV screens once more, smiling broadly whilst he mopped the floor with his pooch in the other arm

The Eurovision semi-finals will take place across two days and feature an array of performances, including from Eurovision legends and Ukrainian and British stars. 

For the first time in the UK’s Eurovision Song Contest history, both semi-finals are being presented live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. 

Radio DJs Scott Mills and Rylan will bring UK audiences their colourful commentary, while Alesha, Julia and Hannah host.

And Alesha sent Eurovision fans wild as she harked back to her Mis-Teeq days by performing a rap about the competition. 

The Britain’s Got Talent judge, 44, was branded an ‘icon’ by viewers – who were equally impressed by the sign language interpreter kept up with her. 

Alesha hosted the first semi-final alongside Julia Sanina and Hannah Waddingham, which will see five acts sent home at the end of the show. 

The songstress looked incredible in red bow crop top which teased a glimpse of her toned stomach and voluminous hot pink trousers. 

As the host rapped while presenting a segment, viewers took to Twitter to comment on the surprise performance.  

‘Alesha Dixon is rapping really quickly and Woman 3 is keeping up with every word. She’s an icon,’ one wrote. 

Another added: ‘Honestly the first semifinal has been on for 30 minutes and it’s already iconic and so gorgeously done. Hannah Waddingham speaking French: sexy Alesha Dixon rapping: iconic Paul O’Grady in the intro: sobbing.’

While a third viewer chimed: ‘Oh, Alesha’s still got it. I’d forgotten her rapping in Mis-Teeq.’ 

‘Alesha Dixon rapping is peak Eurovision craziness,’ said another. ‘I’m so confused why is Alesha Dixon rapping’, typed a different fan. 

Special: But the TV favourite was remembered on Tuesday night as he appeared with his beloved dog in a segment celebrating Liverpool, where this year's competition is taking place

Special: But the TV favourite was remembered on Tuesday night as he appeared with his beloved dog in a segment celebrating Liverpool, where this year’s competition is taking place

Talent: Bake Off's Paul Hollywood, who was born in Cheshire, iced a cake

Talent: Bake Off’s Paul Hollywood, who was born in Cheshire, iced a cake 

Poignant: Ukranian dancer Nikita Kuzmin, who is a favourite on Strictly, also appeared in the opening credits

Poignant: Ukranian dancer Nikita Kuzmin, who is a favourite on Strictly, also appeared in the opening credits 

Racy performance: Noa Kirel from Israel is one of the country's biggest stars and sang Unicorn

Racy performance: Noa Kirel from Israel is one of the country’s biggest stars and sang Unicorn

Return: Pasha Parfeni from Moldova previously performed in 2012 in Azerbaijan and came 11th

Return: Pasha Parfeni from Moldova previously performed in 2012 in Azerbaijan and came 11th 

Cool: Luke Black of Serbia performs on the stage

Cool: Luke Black of Serbia performs on the stage

Putting on a show: Croatian rock band Let 3, who first formed in the 1980s, gave it their all

Putting on a show: Croatian rock band Let 3, who first formed in the 1980s, gave it their all 

Latvia: Aija with Sudden Lights battled it out for a place in the final

Latvia: Aija with Sudden Lights battled it out for a place in the final 

She's back! Alesha sent Eurovision fans wild as she harked back to her Mis-Teeq days by performing a rap about the competition

She’s back! Alesha sent Eurovision fans wild as she harked back to her Mis-Teeq days by performing a rap about the competition

Impressed: As the host rapped while presenting a segment, viewers took to Twitter to comment on the surprise performance

Impressed: As the host rapped while presenting a segment, viewers took to Twitter to comment on the surprise performance

There is also a special commentary team on BBC Radio Merseyside, which will include Claire Sweeney and the winner of The Voice of Eurovision talent search, which is currently underway to discover new Liverpudlian talent.

This year’s Eurovision Grand Final has the Royal seal of approval. During a visit to the venue, the Liverpool Arena, the King told the UK entrant Mae Muller that he would be ‘watching with great interest’ and ‘egging her on’. ‘Thank you. No pressure,’ she joked.

At last year’s contest, held in Italy, the UK fielded its strongest entry for years with Sam Ryder‘s Space Man, but no one begrudged the Ukrainians their victory with Kalush Orchestra’s ebullient Stefania.

For the grand final commentary on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, Graham and comedian Mel Giedroyc will take turns in the commentary box to bring those watching at home their unique and expert views on the 2023 acts. 

Eurovision Semi-Final Part Two will take place on Thursday, on BBC One at 8pm.  



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