Tens of thousands of Eurovision Song Contest fans have been descending on host city Liverpool all week and the party culminated on Saturday night with the Grand Final at the M&S Bank Arena.
We saw some eye-catching performances in a pair of semi-finals at the dockside venue, with bookies’ favourite Loreen cruising through on Tuesday for Sweden with her song Tattoo. Finnish track Cha Cha Cha also proved to be a real hit with the fans.
The remaining places in the final were decided on Thursday night when synth-rock band Voyager closed the show with a memorable performance for Australia that included electric guitars, plenty of long hair, pyrotechnics and a car on stage.
The twenty acts that made it through from the two semi-finals were joined in Saturday’s final by Ukraine, who qualified as last year’s winners, plus France, Spain, Germany, Italy and the UK.
Hosts Alesha Dixon, Hannah Waddingham and Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina were joined by Graham Norton for the final.
Pre-song contest favourites Sweden took an early lead after the jury vote but Finland won the public vote by a huge margin, taking over 300 points to make for a tense finale. But in the end Loreen reclaimed top spot with the final result of the evening.
We reported on all the action live from Liverpool. You can see how it all transpired below.
Eurovision 2023 Grand Final - live
Anyone who has been into town today will know it is absolutely heaving. There are fans from all over Europe and the UK enjoying the sunshine. In Castle Street every street table is occupied by groups eating and drinking. There will be a few good parties in town tonight!
We have been out and about ourselves, taking it all in ahead of tonight’s final - In pictures: Thousands descend on sunny Liverpool for the Eurovision 2023 Grand Final
Late night trains
Merseyrail will be running late night services for Eurovison fans tonight. They will continue on most lines until after 2am. The service will also run more frequently to allow fans to travel with ease after the final ends. More information here.
At the Eurovision Village
We’ve already had Sandie Shaw - who gave the UK its first ever Eurovision win when she claimed victory in 1967 - and now it’s time for the Vengaboys to get the party started.
Who is going to win?
The bookies make Sweden, Finland and Ukraine the front-runners to win the Song Contest but it’s the public vote that really counts. So, we hit the streets of Liverpool to ask the throng of Eurovision fans who they want to be crowned as champions.
Eurovision hors d'oeuvres
Just over an hour to go until the final begins, at around 8pm. We had a sneak peek at rehearsals on Friday and our reporter Emma Dukes described it as a mind blowing show. You can read her behind-the-scenes report here.
And there is a little snippet of what’s to come here:
How does the final work?
The Grand Final begins at 8pm and after all 26 of the acts have performed on stage the public will be able to vote for their favourite.
Fans can vote using the official Eurovision App or go directly to www.esc.vote – the new voting hub for the Eurovision Song Contest.
For the very first time viewers watching in eligible countries not participating in this year’s competition will also be able to vote, as ‘rest of the world’.
Once verified, each country taking part will give two sets of points (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12) to their favourite songs; one set is given by a jury of five music industry professionals from that country, and one set given by voting public.
At the end of the Grand Final, the song that has received the most points wins the iconic trophy, and is performed once more.
At the fan park
Someone should tell him Ireland didn’t make it through. I’m sure he’ll enjoy the craic all the same.
The fans have been well entertained in the village in the build up.
Just minutes to go now, quickly get the drinks and snacks in. Austria will be opening the show with an ode to horror writer Edgar Allan Poe... not a usual topic for Eurovision.
And we are off....
Last year’s winners Kalush Orchestra get us underway witha medley of songs.
“As expected, everyone’s buzzing over Kalusch Orchestra’s performance,” says Emma.
Introductions and cheers
All the acts are being introduced to the arena. Big cheers for Italy, Austria and Sweden but the biggest is for Gustaph of Belgium... until Mae Muller comes out for the UK.
Hosts Alesha Dixon, Hannah Waddingham and Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina are joined by Graham Norton for the final.