Eurovision 2023: Who are the favourites to win the world’s campest music contest?
As fans get ready for the epic, glittery and joyously queer grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest, you might be wondering which country will end up taking home the coveted microphone trophy.
The finale of the annual song contest, which is arguably the campest event in the calendar, will kick off on Saturday (13 May) at 8pm, at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool.
Despite Ukraine winning the 2022 competition, the war-ravaged nation is unable to host the contest due to its ongoing conflict with Russia. The UK, who came in second place last year with Sam Ryder’s “Space Man”, is taking over hosting duties instead.
Presented by Drag Race UK judge Graham Norton, British presenter and singer Alesha Dixon, Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina and brand new national treasure and official internet ‘mother’ Hannah Waddingham, Eurovision 2023 is expected to garner an audience of over 160 million viewers worldwide.
The Eurovision winner’s trophy was designed by a glass artist, Kjell Engman of Kosta Boda. In the shape of a traditional microphone, it’s made of solid, transparent glass and features sand-blasted and painted detailing.
The countries qualifying for the grand final are Austria, Portugal, Switzerland, Poland, Serbia, Cypress, Sweden, Albania, Estonia, Finland, Czechia, Australia, Belgium, Armenia, Moldova, Norway, Lithuania, Israel, Slovenia and Croatia.
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Five nations are automatically included in the final due to their financial contributions to the event –Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK – along with last year’s winners, Ukraine.
Who are the favourites?
Sweden’s entry Loreen is no stranger to Eurovision, as she won the contest back in 2012 with her smash hit track “Euphoria”, which stormed single charts around the continent and remains a popular Eurovision song and Pride anthem.
The Eurovision veteran is returning to the stage this year with “Tattoo” and said she is extremely happy to be coming back to the show this year, as Eurovision is “the antidote to negative energy”.
“I’m so happy about [returning]”, she said. “You don’t even realise. I can’t even express in words how happy I am. To be able to do this together with you guys … there are no words for it.”
Bookies have given the Swedes a 4/9 chance of victory and a win by Loreen tonight would see Sweden take home its seventh Eurovision title.
Finland’s entry Käärijä has already become a viral icon of the 2023 competition well before the final, after an hilarious BBC blunder saw a look-a-like fan interviewed live on air.
Käärijä’s iconic outfit – a torso-less getup with green puffy sleeves and a spiked collar – has led to a few copycats, which of course can be confusing to an untrained eye.
“OH MY GOD BBC North West Tonight interviewed a Käärijä fan thinking it was HIM,” TV critic Scott Bryan screamed on Twitter.
Alongside Lorren, Käärijä with his track ‘Cha Cha Cha’ is considered one to watch tonight and betting odds have given him a 5/2 chance of victory.
Israel’s Noa Kirel and her song “Unicorn” have also been handed strong chances by bookmakers, with a 9/1 chance of winning.
A poppy track about self-acceptance, “Unicorn” has already had more than three million hits on YouTube since the semi-final aired on Tuesday, suggesting fans are loving what Israel has to offer this year.
“I felt like every one of you was with me. I promise to do everything – and I mean everything – to keep making the people of Israel happy in the grand final,” the Times of Israel reported her as saying.
The UK’s Mae Muller is not expected to replicate Sam Ryder’s stunning performance from last year, which saw him land second place, but she still has the chance of a top 10 finish.
The “I Wrote A Song” singer has been handed a 66/1 chance of victory, suggesting you should place your bets elsewhere – unless you’re feeling daring.
The singer told PinkNews ahead of the competition that it is an honour to be accepted by the LGBTQ+ fans of Eurovision.
“It’s a huge honour, you know? I’ve always wanted my music to create a safe space that everybody’s welcome [to], so the fact that that’s what’s happening, that’s all I’ve ever really wanted,” she said.
“Every show that I’ve ever done, I’ve always wanted it to just feel like everyone is welcome. That makes me very happy.
“I always feel welcomed in LGBTQ+ spaces as well. I love going to gay clubs. I feel really safe, and I have a lot of fun there. So I feel like it’s only right that I’m returning the favour.”
The Eurovision Song Contest grand final takes place on Saturday (13 May) and airs on BBC1 from 8pm.
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