Eurovision 2023: Last 10 finalists have been selected
At the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest, 16 countries presented their songs. Ten made it to the final on Saturday.
Overall, the second Eurovision Song Contest semi-final on Thursday was a quieter affair than the first one on Tuesday, where almost every act seemed to be having a party on stage.
For the second event, more solo artists performed all by themselves on stage, without dancing or big special effects beyond lighting and projections of visuals.
The audience seemed to prefer the party mode on stage, however.
Quieter songs had more of a hard time, with the exception of Alika from Latvia, who played and sang a ballad on the grand piano. It was written by Wouter Hardy, a composer also involved with the 2019 winning title, "Arcade." With a voice that can move from silky smooth to powerful, Alika is in Saturday's grand final.
For Armenia, Brunette sang her way into the hearts of the audience with a ballad that ended in rap, along with some expressive dancing.
From house to ethno pop
Cyprus went for a typical Euroivision ballad, languidly performed by young Andrew Lambrou—an act with lots of pyrotechnics that made it to the final.
Belgium's Gustaph offered a timeless vocal house number with dance interludes, an approach that is visibly popular among numerous acts this year. The audience liked it, so Belgium will be on stage again on Saturday.
Poland sent the singer Blanka into the race with a typical summer hit and a bit of a Britney Spears attitude. She, too, gets to compete again on Saturday along with her dance ensemble.
The audience also liked Albina & Familja Kelmendi's number. The Albanian ethno pop song features traditional singing and drums.
Get ready for indie rock and prog rock
Joker Out performed for Slovenia, and the audience enjoyed their mix of alternative pop and electro so much that the band is in the final on Saturday, too.
Lithuania's Monika Linkyte offered a ballad that culminated into a powerful pop song with the poignant harmonies of a gospel choir—another song voted into the final.
For Austria, Teya & Salena sang and danced their nicely staged song about Edgar Allen Poe. The audience knew the words and sang along; the duo will be on stage again on Saturday.
Voyager from Australia, too had a song worthy of the final (see photo at the top, with the car on stage). Their powerful progressive rock song almost sounds like a rock opera.
Australia and the Eurovision Song Contest have a 40-year history. The competition has been broadcast there since 1983. Australia started participating in the contest in 2015, as an associate member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes the song contest. This year may be the last time, as the contract between Australian television and the EBU is about to expire.
Grand final has 26 acts
The 10 acts voted in on Thursday compete alongside the other 10 from the first semi-final.
The artists from the so-called 'Big Five' countries—England, France, Italy, Spain and Germany—do not have to qualify, as these countries are the event's biggest financial contributors.
Last year's winner, Ukraine, is also earmarked for the final with the Tvorchi duo. Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine has made it impossible to host the competition there, so the UK, which came second last year, stepped in to host the event on behalf of Ukraine.
An audience of about 11,000 people can follow the grand final live at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool. Tens of thousands are expected to watch on screens set up around town, and about 180 million people should be tuning in worldwide.
Reunion with Eurovision stars
The program surrounding the actual contest is impressive.
Kalush Orchestra, last year's winners from Ukraine, will be there, as well as quite a few Eurovision celebrities from past years including Duncan Laurence (winner 2019), Ukrainian stars Jamala (winner 2016) and Verka Serduchka (runner-up 2007), Italy's Mahmood (runner-up 2019) and Israel's Netta (winner 2018).
German fans have something to look forward to this year, too, as the German entry by the band Lord of the Lost looks likely to break the "curse" of zero points, with a chance of at least enough points for the midfield.
This article was originally written in German.
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