LIVERPOOL, UK — After 37 performances and two semi-final rounds, the finalists for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest have been chosen and the performance order for the final round has been announced.
Ten countries from each semifinal qualified for the Grand Final on Saturday, along with the "big five" -- Spain, Italy, France, Germany and the U.K., who automatically advance to the final round. Last year's winner, Ukraine, will also perform in the final, making 26 countries total. Each country's musical act must perform an original song.
The U.K. stepped in to host the contest for Ukraine this year amid the ongoing war with Russia. The final will be co-hosted by Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina and will feature a performance by Kalush Orchestra and other representatives of Ukrainian culture. Several thousand Ukrainian refugees in Britain have received tickets to attend.
The countries performing in the Eurovision Grand Final are, in order of performance: Austria, Portugal, Switzerland, Poland, Serbia, France, Cyprus, Spain, Sweden, Albania, Italy, Estonia, Finland, Czechia, Australia, Belgium, Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine, Norway, Germany, Lithuania, Israel, Slovenia, Croatia and the United Kingdom.
When is the Eurovision final?
The Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final is Saturday, May 13 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time (2 p.m. Central/1 p.m. Mountain/12 p.m. Pacific)
How to watch Eurovision in the U.S.
Peacock is the only platform airing the Eurovision Song Contest in the United States. The streaming service offers plans starting at $4.99 a month. The Grand Final will air live and be available to replay on Peacock.
What is Eurovision?
First staged in 1956, Eurovision was founded to help unite a shattered continent after World War II and to test nascent live-broadcasting technology.
Initially a sedate affair featuring crooners in ballgowns and tuxedos, it began to let its hair down during the swinging 60s and reached pop perfection in 1974, when ABBA won with “Waterloo,” propelling the band toward superstardom and jump-starting Sweden’s music industry.
Since then, the contest has expanded across Europe and beyond – Israel and Australia are both entrants – with ever-more elaborate staging and eye-popping costumes.
Eurovision also has become a celebration of diversity, with a huge LGBTQ+ following that celebrated when Israel’s Dana International became the contest’s first transgender winner in 1998.
Winners have ranged from Canadian chanteuse Celine Dion, who competed for Switzerland in 1988, to fright mask-wearing Finnish metalheads Lordi in 2006 and bearded Austrian drag performer Conchita Wurst in 2014.
Italian rock band Måneskin parlayed its 2021 Eurovision victory into a substantial international career, with gigs at major U.S. festivals and a stint opening for the Rolling Stones on tour.
Last year, Ukrainian folk-rap band Kalush Orchestra triumphed, delivering a morale boost for a country battling Russia's invasion.
Paul Jordan, an expert on the contest who is known as “Dr. Eurovision,” said the competition has become a treasured part of European culture.
“You can go to Spain, Slovenia, wherever -- everyone’s heard of it,” he said. “They may not love it, they may not like it, they may not watch it, but everyone’s heard of it. Everyone’s got an opinion. I think it’s really powerful, and it’s a brilliant icebreaker.”