This year’s Eurovision Song Contest 2023, coming from the music-historically important Liverpool, was, to put it briefly, probably the qualitatively best ESC in recent years. Since last year’s winner Ukraine was not able to host the contest in their own country for reasons known to us, the runner-up United Kingdom was allowed to host with the support of Ukrainian television.
This year the number of songs that can be defined as rock and “metal” was relatively high. Finland, Australia, Germany, Slovenia sent musically brave choices to Livepool. These paid off after the final scoring in some places, but not in others: Finland with Käärijä’s song “Cha Cha Cha”, my personal favorite of the night, failed to take the win in the end despite a strong audience voting and came in second with this wonderfully weird Metalcore song.
Neo-rockers Voyager managed to grab a great ninth place for Australia. A song that unfolded beautifully over the full three minutes and even included growl- and synthwave-moments at the end.
Slovenia was one of my highlights, but only managed 21st place with “Carpe Diem” by the band Joker Out. And Germany once again managed to keep up the tradition of last place. I’m not a Lord of the Lost fan, it’s not my cup of tea, but the last place was not okay compared to some other disastrous entries. For me personally the song and the performance were good in relation to other participants.
There were in itself a few songs that I didn’t think were good in any way, there were some songs that I thought were above average compared to the last few years and of course some songs that can only be seen in this form at the ESC or at the ESC in the form of musical performance accepted by the viewer (I mean you Croatia!). This time Poland, Cyprus and Israel delivered three incredibly trivial songs for me.
Poland sent Blanka and her song “Solo” into the race, a very unimaginative summer song that just didn’t work. In addition, a weak dance performance that looked too much like Beyonce. Place 19 was absolutely deserved.
The 12th place went to Cyprus and I didn’t understand that at all. I was surprised that Andrew Lambrou made it to the semifinals. But, and this is just a constant at the ESC, good looking men with a high throat voice and a poor outfit work quite well when they are surrounded by a pyro show.
But the biggest negative surprise was Israel, 3rd place is completely overdone for my taste. For me just a much more modern song than Poland had, but had a stronger dance performance that still does not justify the 3rd place for Noa Kirel.
Italy competed with a classic soulful Italo-Pop ballad which got too many points for my taste, but I just have a little weakness for such songs. A positive surprise was Gustaph’s seventh place for Belgium with his good mood pop anthem Because of You. Jamiroquai meets 90s Europop. Wonderful that such a song did so well. Mention must also be made of Croatia. Even if “Mama ŠČ!” by Let 3 is not a musical hit, it is the middle finger towards Putin and Lukashenko that is inherent in this song. If you want to check it out, please watch the performance in the final, it’s much better than the one in the semifinal. Spain sent an interesting song to the ESC with the song “Eaea” by the singer Blanca Paloma, a first classical Spanish folk song that gradually developed more and more dark tones. Unfortunately, the song was quite monotonous over time and gave away its potential.
My Personal Top 5 is as follows:
5.) Remo Forrer – Watergun (Switzerland, 20th place)
This great anti-war song impresses especially with Remo Forrer’s voice. The minimalistic song really ensnares the voice and lifts it up a notch from the impact. We have to emphasize again what great acts Switzerland sent to the ESC in the last years, that’s wonderful.
4.) Vesna – My Sisters Crown (Czech Republic, 10th place)
The chorus still gives me goosebumps. The song that had the best (feminist) message for me. Bass-heavy, wonderful sound structures that with the Czech-English lyrics unfold a grace and force that I had rarely experienced at the ESC. Here I can only recommend to catch up the performance on Youtube.
3.) Loreen – Tattoo (Sweden , 1st place)
Right away, the song has not undeservedly won. The outcry on the social media channels I can not fully understand. But what I also didn’t fully understand are the many 12 points from the jury. Nevertheless, it remains a powerful electro ballad that has been one of the best of this evening. Loreen’s voice is still absolutely fantastic and the stage show was perfect.
2.) Teya & Salena – Who The Hell Is Edgar (Austria, 15th place)
What a great song and strong start into the final. And probably also one of the cons. The audience was also visibly negatively surprised that the song wasn’t ranked higher. The song is about Edgar Allen Poe who is in the body of one of the singers and writes brilliant lyrics, but due to the lousy payment on streaming services are not successful. The stage show, the dancing, the hook that immediately stuck in your ear, great song that makes it to my summer playlist for now.
1.) Käärija – Cha Cha Cha (Finland, 2nd place)
For me the winner of the evening who unfortunately didn’t make it. With a softer metalcore song, great stage presence with dance interludes that forced me to participate in front of the TV instance, Käärija was given by far the most points from the audience vote. I had the impression that this was also for him a form of victory.
A small thank you to my ESC Watchgroup with whom I experienced the evening together. This makes the ESC a lot more fun.