This spring, the birthplace of the Beatles will have the honor of hosting the 67th annual Eurovision Song Contest. Liverpool, England was chosen to host the show this year, despite Ukraine’s win last year, due to the ongoing Russo-Ukraine conflict. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and European Broadcasting Union (EBU) have been working with Ukraine’s public broadcaster, UA:PBC, to organize the show with the tagline of “United by Music” and to still show Ukraine’s victory in 2022.
The songwriting competition first began in 1956 as an experiment: a live, transnational and simultaneous television broadcast across Europe with seven countries participating. This year, there are 37 participants from countries primarily around Europe.
Certain non-European countries, such as Israel and Cyprus, are permitted to enter the contest based on the reach of the European Broadcasting Area, which extends into some countries outside of the continent; the union can also invite them, as is the case with Australia. Notable winners from previous years include ABBA and Celine Dion.
In May, Liverpool will host two semi-finals and one grand final. The competing nations are divided between the semi-finals to compete for a spot in the grand final.
The top 10 competitors from each semi-final will qualify for the grand final, in addition to what the competition calls “The Big Five.” The Big Five comprises Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK. These countries are automatically guaranteed a spot in the grand final due to being the highest-paying donors contributing to the show’s funding.
The final 25 countries perform their songs in the televised final, after which voting is open to the general public of all countries within the EBU (even those not participating in the contest) and a national jury from each participating country. Once the scores are totaled, the winner of that year is announced, and the group plays their song again.
With the first two semi-finals set for May 9 and 11 and the grand final set for May 13, here is a quick look at this year’s contestants:
Vocalist Albina Kelmendi performs alongside her mother Albana, father Bujar, brother Albin and sisters Vesa and Sidorela. The family will be performing on stage together, singing their song “Duje.” The song is about the ups and downs of life and family and the role of familial love and is sung entirely in Albanian.
Lifelong singer-songwriter Brunette sings an emotionally-charged ballad, “Future Lover,” about a man she has yet to meet. Accompanied by a full orchestra, the young singer’s poetic lyrics are sung in English, except for the final few lines, which close the song out in Armenian.
Performing for the only country in Eurovision not to fall within the European Broadcasting Area is Voyager. Made up of five members — vocalist Daniel Estrin, guitarists Simone Dow and Scott Kay, drummer Ashley Doodkorte and bassist Alex Canion — the progressive metal band has been together since 1999 and has already toured the world several times. Their song, “Promise,” is an energetic rock song with a hint of synth interwoven within.
Competing with a satirical song titled “Who the Hell Is Edgar?,” dyadic team Teya & Salena will be representing Austria this year. The duo drew from their experiences as female songwriters, writing a song that captures how women work harder to gain credit for their work.
Twins Tural and Turan, going by the name TuralTuranX, are a pair of young street performers performing their song “Tell Me More,” inspired by 60s and 70s music, which can also be seen in the duo’s fashion sense.
Nicknamed the “pop prince” on the Eurovision website, Gustaph made his first record deal at 18 and has since risen to stardom for his vocal talents. Now, the openly LGBTQIA+ artist is competing on behalf of Belgium with his upbeat and uplifting song, “Because of You.”
Representing Croatia is the eccentric group: Let 3. Known for their social commentary and over-the-top performances and costumes, the energetic group is competing with their song “Mama ŠČ!.” The song joins the grouping of non-English songs, as all the lyrics are in Croatian.
Though he competed for the chance to represent Australia last year, this year, Andrew Lambrou was selected to represent his parents’ home country of Cyprus. His song, “Break a Broken Heart,” is a ballad full of emotion, torn love and renewed strength after the end of a relationship.
All-girl group Vesna brings the powerful message of women uplifting other women with their song “My Sister’s Crown.” With a sound somewhere between folk and pop and a colorful music video to accompany it, the song’s lyrics are a mixture of English, Czech, Ukrainian and Bulgarian.
Denmark contestant Reiley got his start on social media, amassing several million followers on TikTok and gaining immense popularity in South Korea. His soft-pop song, “Breaking My Heart,” contains light vocals and heartfelt lo-fi vibes.
Experienced performer Alika was selected as Estonia’s competitor, singing an emotional song titled “Bridges.” Alika wrote the piano-accompanied ballad to vent her anxiety when preparing to record a new song. Her powerful vocals bring the swells of emotion to life.
Käärijä is a singer, songwriter and rapper from Vantaa, Finland. In his song, “Cha Cha Cha,” the energetic (and often shirtless) artist combines rapped Finnish lyrics with metal-esque power chords, electronic music, pop and a German genre called Schlager.
France has chosen disco as their genre for this year, selecting self-taught musician La Zarra to represent the country. The singer’s glamorous Hollywood style channels Marilyn Monroe and she sings in poetic French during her song “Évidemment,” pairing tragic lyrics with a disco groove.
Coming from Georgia is a returning champion from Junior Eurovision, Iru. The singer won the junior songwriting competition in 2011 with her band Candy. Now singing “Echo” on her own, Iru has a lilting voice that is clean and powerful.
Representing Germany this year is Lord of the Lost, a genderfluid industrial metal band that already has a considerable fanbase in their home country. Their song, “Blood & Glitter,” is full of heavy guitar chords and powerful drums with lyrics about picking oneself up from hardship and
becoming even stronger.
Victor Vernicos is the youngest contestant to represent Greece in Eurovision. He will be performing his song “What They Say,” which draws inspiration from artists like Ed Sheeran and Coldplay in its acoustic guitar and piano backing. Despite his age, Vernicos’s full voice communicates the emotion in his honest lyrics.
Iceland’s contestant, Diljá, has always dreamed of representing her country in Eurovision; that dream will come true this year. Though a new name on the music scene, Icelandic people grew to quickly love her and her song, “Power,” which promotes self-improvement and empowering oneself without needing others.
Hailing as Ireland’s competitor is Wild Youth, a four-piece band that has an alternative-pop sound. They won their Eurovision spot playing on “The Late Late Show” and have opened on tour for artists like Niall Horan and Lewis Capaldi. Most of their songs — including their Eurovision entry, “We Are One” — are written by frontman Conor O’Donohoe and have an upbeat tone.
Fully confident in their selection, the Israeli selection committee announced Noa Kirel as their participant eight months before the deadline. Singing since she was 14, the pop star enjoys performing spontaneous shows for fans and will be representing her country with the confident song “Unicorn.” The lyrics are mostly in English, with several Hebrew interludes and speaks of embracing power in individuality.
Marco Mengoni performs his song “Due vite” as the representative from Italy. Experienced in his musical career, the singer will compete on Italy’s behalf with his strong vocals and heartbreaking Italian love song.
Competing for Latvia is the quartet Sudden Lights. The title of their song, “Aijā,” is in their native language of Latvian and has no known English equivalent as of now. However, the lyrics of the song are sung in English, as the group wanted the song to be felt by as many people as possible. The band members wrote the song to try and provide comfort for all the dark things happening in the world.
Monika Linkytė is back again after representing Lithuania in 2015. Her song, “Stay,” is a powerful ballad with messages of striving for self-love. Though mainly in English, the lyrics “Čiūto tūto” are repeated throughout the song. Those words are commonly heard in Lithuanian folk dances as magic enchantments.
The Busker, a band, will be representing Malta this year with “Dance (Our Own Party).” The song is pop, funk and soul with a unique saxophone accompaniment. The lyrics of the song dive into the experience of social anxiety and leaving a party to hang out with friends in a more
Moldova’s contestant, Pasha Parfeni, represented the country at Eurovision in 2012, and now he is back.
This time, he is joined by his wife, Iuliana Perfeni, for the song “Soarele și Luna” — which she wrote. The song is in Romanian and has a folk sound, with a booming timpani drum and intricate flute notes.
Mia Nicolai and Dion Cooper were paired up by the 2019 Eurovision winner Duncan Laurence and his partner. Together, Nicolai and Cooper deliver an emotionally-charged performance of their song “Burning Daylight,” their voices blending together seemingly perfectly.
Alessandra is the Norwegian-Italian singer-songwriter who will be representing Norway at Eurovision 2023. Her entry, “Queen of Kings,” is her debut single, making her widely known on TikTok. The song is centered around a message of self-love for people of all ages and all genders.
Blanka is the half-Polish, half-Bulgarian singer who will be representing Poland with her song “Solo.” The song has a very upbeat vibe, with lyrics to match. “Solo” is all about being confident and happy by oneself after a breakup.
Portugal’s contestant this year will be an artist by the name of Mimicat. Her voice is soulful and sultry all throughout her fast-paced song “Ai Coração.” Translating to “Oh, Heart,” the song’s lyrics are quick Portuguese, sounding like the perfect soundtrack for a ballroom dance.
Theodor Andrei is a singer, composer and actor who has been performing in theater and voice-acting for a significant portion of his life. Now, he will be representing Romania with his song “D.G.T. (Off And On).” The entry has a sassy attitude and a rock sound, with half-Romanian and half-English lyrics.
The Piqued Jacks are an alt-rock band competing on behalf of San Marino with their song “Like An Animal.” Despite being from a small town, the group has a big stage presence to bring to the
Serbia has chosen young indie-techno-pop artist Luke Black to compete in Eurovision this year. Having gained the title of the “Serbian pop alchemist” from his media back home, Black combined experimental, indie, pop and cinematic sounds with terse lyrics in Serbian to create the song “Samo mi se spava.”
Performing for Slovenia is the five-person band Joker Out. Their sound has been described in many ways, from “shagadelic rock ‘n’ roll” to “energetic but seductive softboi rock.” All members are reportedly huge Eurovision fans and will be bringing their cheery mood and Slovenian lyrics to the competition with their song “Carpe Diem.”
Spain’s selection committee chose singer Blanca Paloma to represent the country in the songwriting contest. Her song, “EAEA,” was inspired by the sounds of flamenco and heavily syncopated beats underneath the Spanish lyrics. The entry is immensely representative of the singer’s love of blending modern styles with those that have yet to be explored.
Returning to Eurovision is the 2012 winner, Loreen, back again with her song “Tattoo.” The singer’s distinctly enchanting voice pairs with her general artistic expression and passionate pop sound to potentially win for the second time.
21-year-old Remo Forrer will be singing for Switzerland this Eurovision. Despite his young age and face, the performer has a deep and rich voice and his powerful vocals that bring his
selected song “Watergun” to life. The song’s meaningful lyrics were inspired by the war and conflict of today’s world and the consequences of what society does and does not do.
Ukraine is hoping to defend its current Eurovision championship title with TVORCHI. The duo will be competing with their song “Heart of Steel,” which has a modern electronic vibe with English lyrics (and some Ukrainian thrown in) about pushing through hardship to reach freedom in thought, expression and feelings.
Representing this year’s host country is Mae Muller, a singer-songwriter with a sassy attitude and a large social media following. Her song “I Wrote a Song” is a perfect dismissive breakup song about building oneself up after heartbreak instead of letting it break them down.