Scooch, Egdar Allen Poe and 6 more unforgettable moments from Eurovision 2023 semi-final 2
The second Eurovision 2023 semi-final saw 16 countries face off, and from explosive music to fictional children’s characters it was a night to remember.
After the chaos of the first semi-final on Tuesday (9 May) – which saw Alesha Dixon rapping, Rita Ora stealing the stage with her star power and a Grindr mix-up which had the gays gagged – it didn’t seem possible to get more off the rails. But the second Eurovision semi-final has proven us wrong.
The event, which took place in Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena, saw Armenia, Estonia, Belgium, Cyprus, Poland, Slovenia, Austria, Albania, Lithuania and Australia win over the public and catapult themselves to the Grand Final taking place on Saturday, 13 May. That means Denmark, Romania, Iceland, Greece, Georgia and San Marino came to the end of their Eurovision journey – but not without a bang.
Alongside the results the night also delivered proof that Eurovision host Hannah Waddingham is officially a national treasure; songs about underpaid music artists told through the medium of 19th century American poets; and the absolutely classic UK move of trotting out a fictional children’s character for every nationwide celebration.
So without further ado here are the seven most fever-dream like moments that took place at the second Eurovision 2023 semi-final.
The drag trio that left fans shaking in their boots
During the second interval, our fabulous hosts Hannah Waddingham, Alesha Dixon and Julia Sanina disappeared into the on-stage Queen Machine and in their place arrived the drag trio to end all drag trios. Singing a medley of songs titled “Be Who You Wanna Be”, this powerful platforming of drag queens at a time when it is so under attack left fans on cloud nine.
They sang their way through LGBTQ+ anthems including Jessie Ware’s “Free Yourself” and En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind” to the backdrop of an eclectic dancing entourage. To put it simply, they were the moment and proved yet again that Eurovision is the home for queer joy.
Scooch making a triumphant return to Eurovision
16 years after their era-defining camp performance of “Flying The Flag (For You)” at the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki, UK Eurovision veterans and British pop sensations Scooch made the most chaotic return to the Eurovision arena ever.
They may have crashed out of Eurovision in 22nd place back in the day but their airline-themed, innuendo-packed tune will be seared into the mind of a whole generation of Brits, not least this year’s Eurovision UK act Mae Muller who confirmed Scooch was her first memory of the iconic singing competition.
Oh and of course they joined in on a conga line with Peppa Pig.
Albania absolutely serving with the ultimate family ballad
Albania’s act Albina and the Kelmendi Family was literally a family affair as they got up on stage with a powerful ballad on family love and gave what needed to be gave. Albina particularly stole the night with her stunning bedazzled corset set to red strobe lights.
They came, they saw and they conquered the Eurovision stage with their transcendent Albanian ballad “Duje” and for that we salute them. Of course the comfortably sailed through to the Grand Final, so we’ve not seen the last of them yet.
In short, it’s giving mother, father, brother, sister, uncle, aunt and everything in between.
Austria’s Eurovision entry getting possessed by the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe
When Austria’s Teya & Salena performed their crowd-pleasing tune “Who The Hell Is Edgar?” it soon became clear exactly who the hell Edgar actually was. That’s right – the Austrian duo penned their dance song about being possessed by infamous 19th century poet Edgar Allan Poe and honestly, it bangs.
Historians will spend centuries unpacking the lyrical genius of the line “Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe.” Alongside the historic haunting theme, they also managed to tackle the very real issue around the poor pay artists receive for their songs being streamed on Spotify. Scholars and activists!
Belgium’s Gustaph bringing everyone to tears with his queer joy anthem
Belgium’s feel good queer Ballroom anthem “Because of You” was performed by Eurovision backup singer turned main act Gustaph. The tune encompasses everything special about Eurovision: singing about chosen family, accepting yourself for who you are, dancing the night away and the importance of LGBTQ+ rights.
He performed on stage with his best friend, and in the audience his visual director and husband Jeroen Lommelen beamed on with pride. The cherry on top was no doubt Gustaph bursting into tears of joy after finding out Belgium qualified for the Grand Final. Seriously, grab some tissues.
Hannah Waddingham slaying as per usual
Ted Lasso star and Eurovision enthusiast Hannah Waddingham won over everyone’s heart at the second Eurovision semi-final with her raw enthusiasm, epic facial expressions and absolute joy exuding from her radiant smile. And, naturally, she stunned with her strapless yellow minidress, dropped some fluent french and boogied the night away like the queen she is.
Did someone say new national treasure?
Peppa Pig doing the conga. Yes, really.
And we’ll finish this round up with the most memorable moment from the night, the beloved children’s cartoon character Peppa Pig casually rocking up because why not? She joins a proud history of non-competing fictional characters making a Eurovision cameo including Santa Claus, The Wombles and Moomin Papa.
And she was leading that conga line right around the Liverpool arena, leaving Brits in hysterics and everyone else extremely confused.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2023 Grand Final will air on Saturday, 13 May from 8pm BST on BBC One in the UK.
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