Eurovision 2023: Who Are The Frontunners And Are They Any Good?

Here are the 12 acts you should definitely be keeping an eye out for at the final in Liverpool.
A selection of this year's Eurovision winners
A selection of this year's Eurovision winners
Alexey Furman/Jeff Spicer/Getty/Aldara Zarraoa/

With Eurovision returning to UK soil for the first time in 25 years, it’s safe to say that there’s more excitement around this year’s contest than there has been in decades.

On Saturday night, the most weird and wonderful night in European music is set to take place in Liverpool – where we’re hosting on behalf of Ukraine – and we’ve already dusted off our flag bunting, thrown together a picky buffet and instructed everyone we know there is to be no talking during the three minutes that Mae Muller is on stage.

Or Loreen, for that matter.

With 26 competing acts set to take to the stage, there are just two big questions remaining: Who are the favourites to win? And, more importantly, are they any good?

Well, to make things easier for you, we’ve rounded up 12 of the main acts to watch out for on Saturday night (plus our verdicts and their betting odds, via William Hill)...

Loreen – Tattoo

Representing: Sweden

Odds: 1/2

Our verdict: The Queen of Eurovision is back to reclaim her crown – and she stands a really strong chance of achieving the rare double win.

More than a decade after changing the game with her signature tune, Euphoria, Swedish singer-songwriter Loreen is back on the Eurovision stage with a new entry that keeps the elements we loved about her first winning track, but still takes things off in a totally different direction.

Where Euphoria was a club-friendly dance song, Tattoo is an atmospheric ballad that wouldn’t sound out of place on Madonna’s Ray Of Light album. Mix that with Loreen’s signature powerhouse vocals and more of the unique staging she brought to Eurovision first time around, and this year’s competition really is hers to lose.

Käärijä – Cha Cha Cha

Representing: Finland

Odds: 3/1

Our verdict: If the song title “Cha Cha Cha” puts you in mind of Craig Revel Horwood and those first few weeks of Strictly Come Dancing, we’d recommend making sure you’re sitting down before you hit play on this one.

Käärijä’s entry mixes aspects of heavy metal, electronica, Traditional Scandi schlager and even a hint of country up in what’s undoubtedly this year’s most chaotic entrant.

Throw in some hair-raising racy choreography, an irresistible call-and-response chorus and Käärijä’s instantly-iconic bare-chested ensemble, and it’s not difficult to work out why Eurovision fans are already going mad for Cha Cha Cha.

Tvorchi – Heart Of Steel

Representing: Ukraine

Odds: 15/2

Our verdict: A year on from Kalush Orchestra’s victory in Turin, Ukraine’s performance at this year’s contest looks set to be one of the night’s most powerful moments.

Tvorchi frontman Andrii Hutsuliak has already spoken about how his entrant was written during the siege of Mariupol in 2022, and even if the lyrics aren’t explicitly political, the message of power and resilience still shines through.

Sometimes gotta let it go, sometimes gotta look away, sometimes you just gotta know when to stick your middle finger up in the air,” the duo sing on the opening verse, before continuing in the chorus: “Don’t care what you say, don’t care how you feel, get out of my way, I’ve got a heart of steel.”

Given the show of solidarity Eurovision voters showed to Ukraine in 2022, coupled with another strong entry this year, there’s no reason the country couldn’t pull off that oh-so-rare double win.

La Zarra – Évidemment

Representing: France

Odds: 10/1

Our verdict: Fans of glittery pop from the likes of Roisin Murphy, Jessie Ware, Alison Goldfrapp and Kylie Minogue, this is one for you to keep an ear out for.

Blending cool disco vibes with the high drama France has become so brilliant at delivering on the Eurovision stage (we’re looking at you Barbara Pravi and Bilal), Évidemment is, quite frankly, the campest of this year’s entries. And to be clear, we’re absolutely here for it, and can’t wait to lip sync for our lives along with La Zarra on the night.

Blanca Paloma – Eaea

Representing: Spain

Odds: 20/1

Our verdict: One thing we love about Eurovision is when artists take elements of their country’s traditional music, and give them a more modern and contemporary twist. That’s exactly what Blanca Paloma has managed with Eaea, a fusion of Spanish flamenco and twinkly electronica.

Eaea’s chorus might not be the easiest one in the competition to sing along to, but those layered harmonies and repeated sequences are completely hypnotic, and we just know Blanca Paloma will be planning something just as engrossing with her staging, too.

Alessandra – Queen Of The Kings

Representing: Norway

Odds: 20/1

Our verdict: Yes, we all love a bit of experimentation. We’re here for cerebral, thought-provoking, avant garde music as much as anyone. But sometimes, when you’re sitting down to watch the Eurovision Song Contest, what you really want is an absolute massive banger to knock you off your feet.

Enter: Alessandra.

A capital-B, capital-S Big Song, Alessandra’s entry is empowering, energetic and boasts a chorus you’ll find yourself already singing along with on the first listen alone – plus, she’s got the vocal ability and stage presence to carry it off.

Sweden and Finland might be among the bookies’ favourites, but we definitely wouldn’t count out their Scandinavian cousins in Norway, either.

Teya and Salena – Who The Hell Is Edgar?

Representing: Austria

Odds: 50/1

Our verdict: Charming, catchy and absolute bucket-loads of fun, there’s a lot to love about Austria’s entry this year on multiple levels.

If you want to just enjoy the song on face value, as a fun little ditty about being possessed by the spirit of gothic author Edgar Allen Poe with a toe-tapping beat and sing-a-long chorus, then you absolutely can. But underneath it all, the song’s lyrics slyly highlight the struggle of songwriters in the music industry today (“0.003,” Teya and Salena sing at one point, referring to the residuals for songwriters in the streaming era. “Give me two years and your dinner will be free”), and point out that even a writer as celebrated as Edgar Allen Poe would struggle to make a living in 2023.

It’s this second layer of meaning that we think might win over the skeptics who weren’t won already sold at the first “Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe...”.

Mae Muller – I Wrote A Song

Representing: UK

Odds: 33/1

Our verdict: Fresh from Sam Ryder putting the UK firmly back on the Eurovision map with his runner-up placement in 2022, Mae Muller is here to hopefully carry on the our successful streak with this contemporary offering.

Sounding more like UK chart hits by artists like Dua Lipa, Mabel or Little Mix than what many would associate with Eurovision, Mae’s tune about taking the high road after a break-up has all the attitude we’ve already come to expect from the London-born singer-songwriter and is one of the most dance-able tunes at this year’s contest.

Quite how high it’ll place on the leaderboard in a year with bangers that really bang and heart-wrenching ballads remains to be seen, but one thing we’re sure of is that wherever she comes in the final ranking, Mae’s going to do the UK proud on her home turf.

Vesna – My Sister’s Crown

Representing: Czechia

Odds: 66/1

Our verdict: Czechia has a bit of a complicated history with Eurovision, failing to qualify for the final a total of six times of the 10 it’s previously been part of the competition.

With My Sister’s Crown, though, Vesna definitely don’t need to worry.

The song boasts an empowering message about female solidarity, a completely unique genre-spanning sound and a chorus you can’t help but sing along with (well, mouth along at least, seeing as we don’t actually know what they’re singing for most of it).

As if all of that wasn’t enough, it even has its own TikTok-friendly dance routine, which we’ll be demonstrating for our Eurovision party guests come the final.

Voyager – Promise

Representing: Australia

Odds: 150/1

Our verdict: Rock is famously hit-and-miss when it comes to Eurovision, and we’ll confess that the first time we saw Voyager, we were left questioning whether they’d be bringing anything to the party we hadn’t already seen done better by previous winners like Måneskin and Lordi – not to mention a fair few of the other bands competing in 2023.

Well, it’s always good to admit when you’re wrong isn’t it?

Meeting at the midpoint of 80s hair rock, synth-pop and heavy metal, it’s a musical smorgasbord that works so, so well, and frontman Daniel Estrin has so much charisma it’s hard to imagine this not being a favourite with the voting public.

As a sidenote, Australia’s contract with the EBU runs out after 2023, meaning Voyager could well be their last entrant. However, the band are proof that Australia more than deserve their place at Eurovision, so hopefully this won’t be the last we see of our cousins in the Southern Hemisphere.

Let 3 – Mama ŠČ!

Representing: Croatia

Odds: 100/1

Our verdict: If any of this year’s entries is going to divide opinion, it’s going to be Croatia’s Let 3.

Sound-wise, the band’s entry Mama ŠČ sounds like a cross between a nursery rhyme and mumblecore, which is peculiar enough itself, without things then taking a completely chaotic turn as we veer into punk rock territory.

At first glance, the translated lyrics might sound like utter nonsense (“mama bought a tractor... armageddon granny”) but they’re actually a subtle skewering of Putin and other politicians – all completely coded, of course, as Eurovision forbids explicitly political messages.

Now, we also need to talk about the visual side of things too. As well as the song’s messaging, there’s a lot to look at too, with a mix of military motifs and flamboyant colours. And then there’s the stripping off at the end – who knows how that’s going to play out on the stage in Liverpool.

Whatever your opinion of the song and the stage presentation, this is going to be an unmissable one at Eurovision in 2023.

Alika – Bridges

Representing: Estonia

Odds: 150/1

Our verdict: Every year in Eurovision’s sea of ballads, there’s always at least one that cuts through, and we reckon this is the one for 2023.

Accompanied by simply a haunting piano (or maybe that should be “haunted piano” seeing as it plays itself on stage while Alika sings... spooky!), this powerful ballad has proved to be a real grower among Eurovision fans.

If Alika can pull out it of the bag on the night (and with a voice like hers, there’s every possibility she will) this could be Estonia’s best result in 20 years.

This year’s Eurovision final will air live on BBC One at 8pm on Saturday 13 May.


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