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Thursday 21 September 2023 Dublin: 12°C
# Eurovision
Tractors, unicorns and Edgar Allan Poe: Ten acts to look out for at tonight's Eurovision final
Graham Norton joins the presenting lineup for tonight’s show from Liverpool.

LAST UPDATE | May 13th 2023, 8:30 PM

Daragh Brophy reports from Liverpool:

IRELAND WON’T BE featuring – but that doesn’t mean tonight’s Eurovision grand final won’t be worth a look. 

Rehearsals have been under way at the Liverpool Arena for over two weeks and, since Monday, the acts, crew and presenters have been engaged in a gruelling schedule of live dress rehearsals and public, ticketed shows. 

Graham Norton will be joining the presenter lineup tonight, alongside the trio who helmed the weekday semi-final shows: Alesha Dixon, actor Hannah Waddingham and Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina. 

The Corkman will be also be presenting the scoring section, alongside Waddingham, in the final hour. 

Last year’s victors, Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra, will open the show with a re-imagined  and re-arranged version of their winning song, Stefania, featuring cameos from the likes of Andrew Lloyd Webber and the UK’s 2022 runner-up Sam Ryder. 

And as the UK is hosting on behalf of Ukraine, you can expect plenty of other Ukrainian themes and touches throughout. 

In terms of any other Irish interest (in addition to Norton’s presence) dress rehearsals for the final did at least feature a joke about Johnny Logan – but considering our recent run of luck at Eurovision don’t be surprised if that also fails to make the final.

If you’re not familiar with the 2023 entries, here are a few acts to look out for.

As usual with the song contest they run the gamut from brilliant to bizarre – sometimes all before the first chorus. 

In no particular order, here are our picks to tune in for:


Electro duo TVORCHI were selected to perform at the contest in a national final held in a Kyiv metro station that doubles as a bomb shelter. 

Bookies are giving pretty good odds on another win for the war-ravaged country, but however well they eventually do tonight you can expect the song to be met with a thunderous reception.  

When is it on? 19th spot in tonight’s running order


Eurovision Song Contest / YouTube

A rollicking Shakira-meets-the-pirates anthem.

The song has pretty stiff competition from two other Nordic countries but with its demented pace, sustained high notes and some turbo-charged choreography it’s pure Eurovision and can expect to feature in the top ten, if not higher. 

When is it on? 20th


Eurovision Song Contest / YouTube

Hints of alternative rock and 1990s Britpop. It takes a while to get going but listen to it twice and you’ll probably be whistling it for the day. 

It won’t win. But then most of them won’t win.

When is it on? 24th


Eurovision Song Contest / YouTube

Noa Kirel is a big star back home and – considering Eurovision’s popularity in Israel – there’s a massive Israeli press contingent here to follow her fortunes. 

The staging of her song, Unicorn, has been going down a storm with audiences in preview and semi-final shows this week, particularly the dance break. (‘Risqué’ is probably the most accurate way to describe it – not that that’s a word anyone really uses in real life).

When is it on? 23rd


Eurovision Song Contest / YouTube

Mae Muller’s entry isn’t a patch on last year’s from Sam Ryder but it’s got a pretty catchy chorus and they won’t be embarrassed in the scoring. 

Expect huge cheers in the venue when she comes on. 

When is it on? 26th


Eurovision Song Contest / YouTube

The most unlikely tribute to Edgar Allan Poe you’re ever likely to hear. The repetitive chorus (Poe Poe Poe, Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe) has been inescapable around the press area in Liverpool this week.

When is it on? 1st


Eurovision Song Contest / YouTube

Yes, Australia are still in the contest. According to their ongoing deal with organisers the EBU, however, next year’s contest will be hosted by another Eurovision country on their behalf should they actually win. 

There’s probably little danger of this track from rockers Voyager troubling the top spots but it’s great fun and if someone told you it had been number two in the charts for a month back in 1984 you wouldn’t be surprised. 

When is it on? 15th


Eurovision Song Contest / YouTube

Mama ŠČ! (Mama Bought a Tractor) – the bizarre, tempo-shifting, anti-war anthem from veteran punks Let 3 has captured the imagination of fans here at the contest, and images of the band seem to be everywhere. 

They end up in their underpants by song’s climax – a sight that left Marty Whelan a little disturbed in rehearsals.

When is it on? 25th

Sweden … and Finland

Eurovision Song Contest / YouTube

It’s between these two for the title. 

Sweden’s Loreen won back in 2012 with Euphoria and could become the first woman to claim two Eurovision titles with a victory in Liverpool tonight (Sweden would also equal Ireland’s record of seven song contest titles if named as winners).

She’ll have stiff competition from Finland’s Käärijä, who, with his distinctive costume, trademark snarl and a mesmerising, nightmarish stage show has proved a hit with the audience both at the preview and semi-final shows and online (so much so that one poor unfortunate BBC reporter mistook a dressed-up Eurovision superfan for the rapper, billing him as the ‘Finland entrant’ in her broadcast).

The talk is that professional juries might lean towards Loreen but that Finland have more of a shot of coming out on top when the viewer votes are tallied. 

Sweden are 9th in the running order and Finland are 13th.

We can expect a winner to be named just before midnight. 

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