Eurovision 2023 Semi-final 1
Photos: Corinne Cumming / EBU

Tonight: Semi-final 1 of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023

Tonight the first 15 songs will compete in this year's Eurovision, and 10 will qualify for Saturday's Grand Final. See all the details, songs, and what to expect from Semi-final 1. Let the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 begin!

The 67th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest begins tonight!

15 songs will compete, but only 10 will qualify for Saturday's Grand Final. The show starts at 21:00 CEST, live from Liverpool Arena in the United Kingdom. The hosts are Julia Sanina, Hannah Waddingham, and Alesha Dixon. The running order was decided by the British broadcaster and producer BBC based on an allocation draw.

On Thursday, Semi-final 2 will find the last 10 qualifiers out of 16 songs.

Eurovision 2023 Scorecards

Lineup Semi-final 1

1NorwayQueen of Kings AlessandraAlessandra
2MaltaDance (Our Own Party) The BuskerThe Busker
3SerbiaSamo mi se spava Luke BlackLuke Black
4LatviaAijā Sudden LightsSudden Lights
commercial break
5PortugalAi coração MimicatMimicat
6IrelandWe Are One Wild YouthWild Youth
7CroatiaMama ŠČ! Let 3Let 3
8SwitzerlandWatergun Remo ForrerRemo Forrer
9IsraelUnicorn Noa KirelNoa Kirel
10MoldovaSoarele și Luna Pasha ParfeniPasha Parfeni
commercial break
11SwedenTattoo LoreenLoreen
12AzerbaijanTell Me More TuralTuranXTuralTuranX
13CzechiaMy Sister's Crown VesnaVesna
14NetherlandsBurning Daylight Mia Nicolai & Dion CooperMia Nicolai & Dion Cooper
15FinlandCha Cha Cha KäärijäKäärijä

After the 15 songs from the first Semi-final, a 1-minute preview of three of the six pre-qualified countries will be shown: Germany, France and Italy. These previews were recorded yesterday at the rehearsals.

Opening: From Ukraine to Liverpool

It all starts in a living room with a little Liverpudlian boy. He's watching the moment Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine was crowned as the winner of Eurovision 2022 with their song "Stefania." On the following segment, that same little boy is watching Graham Norton announcing Liverpool as the host city for this year's contest.

He runs to the kitchen to tell his mother, and then to his neighbors and friends to deliver the good news. The word is out and the whole of Liverpool starts preparing to host Eurovision 2023 on behalf of Ukraine. A calendar has marked the three important dates and a circle is drawn on the 9th, Semi-final 1.

Excited that the big day has finally arrived, the little boy turns on the TV to watch the live show but can't. The image is distorted and opens what seems to be a tele-transportation channel that brings him to the big Liverpool Arena stage.

He's joined by one of his friends, and after a short choreographed scene the opening performance takes place with a medley of "Together In Electric Dreams" by Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder, and Ukrainian song "Маяк" by The Hardkiss. Both are performed by one of the hosts, Julia Sanina and her band, The Hardkiss.

"Welcome to Liverpool"

A voice that sounds rather familiar, especially for the fans of the Spice Girls, announces the hosts: Julia Sanina, Hannah Waddingham, and Alesha Dixon, who are greeted with applause. That's the voice of Melanie C.

It doesn't take too long for Julia, in her black dress, to say the magic words: "Good evening, Europe! Good morning, Australia!"

Still on stage, the hosts introduce the competition and reinforce a few notes that the public should know, including the fact that the qualifiers will be 100% decided by the televote and that the voting lines will only open once all 15 songs have been performed. It's time:


12 minutes in, the first country on stage is Norway.


Before each of the 15 songs we'll see a small "postcard" while the stage is being prepared for the song. Each of the 15 postcards feature the same idea:

Being loyal to this year's slogan – United by Music – the postcards are meant to represent that unity. And for that they use a trail-blazing 360-degree drone technology that goes from Ukraine to the United Kingdom, and finally to the country being presented. The locations chosen reflect a connecting theme.

Each postcard ends with a "small word" technique that transforms a super-wide panoramic view into a tiny planet which the camera can fly in and out of.

Unlike recent years, those mostly show images of the artists' countries.

Commercial Breaks

After song number four (Latvia), the evening's first commercial break takes place:

For the viewers without commercials, we have Alesha Dixon performing a rap about Eurovision 2023.

After that we have Hannah, who's next to a British phone booth with a line of people who want to vote but can't because the show hasn't ended just yet. On that queue we find three of the members from Bucks Fizz (UK 1981).

After song number 10 (Moldova), the second commercial break takes place:

Hannah announces there are a few songs yet to be performed and a short video clip is shown. Shortly after, the next artist (Loreen) is introduced by Alesha.

Interval Act: Rebecca Furguson, Alyosha and Rita Ora

After all 15 songs have been performed, it's time to start the voting. All countries in Semi-final 1, along with the three pre-qualified countries Germany, France and Italy, can vote in this Semi-final.

In new outfits, the three presenters explain the rules and are quick to open the voting:


A recap follows. After that, fun facts about Eurovision 2023 are mentioned such as 3,000 makeup brushes, 150 microphones, 29 commentators and so on.

A new video clip of the moves and shakes of Eurovision follows.

It's time for the first interval act. Rebecca Ferguson and Alyosha (Ukraine 2010) perform a new version of "Ordinary World" by Duran Duran. In this performance, Alyosha's personal journey is shared, and focused on how she had to leave Ukraine given the current war.

The visuals also serve to support Ukraine and ends with its country flag.

Another recap takes place and shortly after, it's time for British singer, Rita Ora, to perform a medley of her biggest hits and present her new single.

Before the voting closes, a short video about the story of Eurovision that culminates with Kalush Orchestra's victory is played and...


The voting is now closed, but we still have a few moments to go through.

Alesha joins Ukrainian's commentator Timur Miroshnychenko in his booth and go back to last year's images of him commentating Eurovision 2022 live from a bunker, and his moment of celebration when Kalush Orchestra were announced as the winners.

Måns Zelmerlöw (Sweden 2015) and Filomena Cautela (host of Eurovision 2018) are the characters of the last segment: the first part of a face off between the two of them to guess qualifiers and non-qualifiers of previous years.

It's almost time for the results, but first a quick chat with some of the contestants before we're introduced to the songs from the pre-qualified countries.

Pre-qualified countries

There are six countries that are automatically pre-qualified for the Grand Final which consist of last year's winner, Ukraine, and the "Big-5" countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Before the announcement of the result, we're presented with three of the five pre-qualified countries for the Grand Final. These three countries will also broadcast and vote in Semi-final 1.

In this Semi-final, it's Germany, France and Italy.

A short interview with the three artists is shown along with a preview of their songs, recorded yesterday evening.

We're ready to find out who 10 qualifiers are, and Martin Österdahl, the boss who oversees everything related to Eurovision, announces that all is set for the qualifiers announcement.





The voting procedure has changed from the previous years. In the semi-finals, there will be no juries. Viewers in some of the non-participating countries ("rest of the world") will now be able to vote online. These online votes will have the same weight as one participating country in both of the Semi-Finals, as well as the Grand Final. Each country and "rest of the world" will have one set of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12 points to give.

  • The 10 songs with most points will qualify for the Grand Final.
  • Each of the 15 countries participating in Semi-final 1 will vote.
  • The pre-qualified countries Germany, France and Italy will broadcast and vote in Semi-final 1.
  • Each country will have televoting, which results in a set of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12 points.
  • "Rest of the world" can vote online, which results in a set of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12 points.
  • The voting results will not be revealed before the Grand Final has finished on Saturday.
  • Only the 10 qualified songs will be revealed, and in random order.

About the author: Pedro Santos (Portugal)

authorPedro comes from Lisbon, Portugal. He's 30 years old and graduated in journalism. He has attended Eurovision Song Contest three times live - 2018, 2019 and 2022 - and covered the show twice more (2021, 2023) but his first Eurovision memory takes him back to 2007 when Sarbel delivered his catchy "Yassou Maria" performance. Pedro's favorite Eurovision song is Albania's 2015 "I'm Alive" by Elhaida Dani which is also his favorite Eurovision edition.

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