The grand final of Eurovision 2023 took place in Liverpool, England with an Ukrainian influence. The opening segment featured a video performance by last year’s winner, Kalush Orchestra in Ukraine, and a surprise video appearance by Kate, Princess of Wales playing the piano. The event aimed to strike a balance between reflecting the situation in Ukraine and avoiding overt politics, as political statements are prohibited in the contest.
The grand final included 26 acts representing a variety of musical styles, ranging from ballads to heavy rock to rap. The first performance was Austria’s Teya & Salena with their song “Who The Hell is Edgar?” inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. Although Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy requested to address the worldwide viewers, the request was denied by the European Broadcasting Union due to the non-political nature of the event.
Despite the restrictions, Ukraine featured prominently in the show with Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina serving as a presenter alongside Hannah Waddingham, Alesha Dixon, and Graham Norton. Event of theme was “United by Music.” Fans in attendance at the arena and the fan zone displayed flags of Ukraine, Britain, and the other 24 participating countries.
The arena in Liverpool has a capacity of approximately 6,000, and additional fans watched the event in the fan zone. Attendees expressed their pride in the city of Liverpool and their support for Ukraine. Pam Minto, a support worker from Liverpool, described the event as amazing and hoped it would make Ukraine proud. Anastasiia Iovova, a Ukrainian teacher living in Leeds, expressed gratitude for the support from the UK and the sense of home that Liverpool provided.
The winner of Eurovision is determined through a combination of points awarded by juries and viewers in each participating country. For the first time, viewers from other countries also had the opportunity to vote, with their votes carrying the weight of one participating country.
The Eurovision 2023 grand final successfully showcased a diverse range of musical talents while incorporating elements inspired by Ukraine. Despite the restrictions on political statements, the event aimed to unite people through music and celebrate the talents of the participating countries.