Eurovision 2023 final was the most watched in the competition’s history

Eurovision 2023 Loreen

The grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 was the most watched in the history of the competition, the BBC has revealed.

The iconic song contest took place in Liverpool, which was selected as the host city on behalf of last year’s winner, Ukraine. 

Ukraine was unable to host due to the ongoing conflict in the Eastern European nation, which was invaded by Russia in February 2022.

The decision to give the northern city the opportunity to host Eurovision has breathed life back into the city’s queer scene, according to Liverpool’s LGBTQ+ community.

In the UK on Saturday (13 May), there was a five minute peak of 11 million viewers, with an average of 9.9 million people tuning in to watch the show, which equates to a television share of 63 per cent. 

It smashed the previous rating record of 9.5 million viewers during the 2011 grand final, where boyband Blue represented the UK and finished in 11th place with “I Can”. The 2022 final was watched by an average of 8.9 million people.

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“What an incredible contest!” the BBC’s director of unscripted Kate Phillips wrote in a statement shared on Twitter.

“It was unforgettable, unmissable event television on a scale never seen before delivered by the BBC to viewers across the UK and millions more watching around the world.” 

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She added: “The fact that so many millions of people tuned in reflects just how significant Eurovision has become and truly underlines the theme behind this year’s contest, United by Music. 

“We really hope we did Ukraine proud.”

The competition was won by bookies’ favourite Loreen, who made history as the first woman – and only the second person – to ever win Eurovision twice.

The Swedish singer took home the prize with her power ballad “Tattoo”, a victory which came 11 years after her 2012 win with hit track “Euphoria”.

However, following up on last year’s second place position thanks to Sam Ryder’s “Space Man”, the UK did not fare so well.

This year’s entry, Mae Muller, came second to last with just 24 points for her track “I Wrote A Song”, after performing last in the running order.  

Her result was still better than the UK’s performance in 2021 – dead last with zero points for James Newman’s “Embers”.

Posting on Twitter following the grand final, Muller admitted the result was not ideal but was proud nonetheless. 

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“I just want to say thank u x I know I joke a lot but we really put our all into the last few months, not the result we hoped for but so proud of everyone & what we achieved on this journey,” she wrote. “Congrats to all the countries, I’ll never forget this journey and I love you all.”

Liverpool’s mayor Steve Rotheram praised everyone involved in making Eurovision happen, saying it has been a “reminder of everything that unites us – our passion for life, stories, history, music, dance and art”.

“It has been our honour to host this year’s contest on behalf of our friends in Ukraine and, it is my hope, that we have put on a show that has celebrated and commemorated the very best of Ukrainian culture,” the Labour mayor wrote.

Rotheram added: “As we come together to celebrate our global community, we should not forget the only victory that truly matters is an end to war.” 

Loreen performs on stage after winning The Eurovision Song Contest 2023 Grand Final at M&S Bank Arena. (Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

Claire McColgan, director of Culture Liverpool, was similarly full of praise for the northern city.

In a statement, McColgan said: “As all the sequins, disco balls and flags get packed away and the numbers regarding economic impact and the crunching of figures come out. I want to reflect on what this city has done well, because it is important.

“In cities that aren’t London, it is easy to have one narrative, one story, a history that can dominate your present.

“But Liverpool is different, Liverpool is complex. And that’s why I love it. It has highs and lows like nowhere else. It has a big outspoken heart and an opinion for basically everything. It is contrary and confrontational. Kind and emotional. And it loves to party.

“That’s why Eurovision has supersized here. Everything that is brilliant about Eurovision, especially this special year that we are hosting it on behalf of Ukraine, fits with Liverpool.

“The bonkers-ness, the brashness, the heart and the authenticity, everything we have done has had Ukraine in the centre of it, because that is who we are.” 

She added councils across the UK will see “the power of investing in culture” if they look at Liverpool right now.

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