Get out the sequin dress – it’s Eurovision week!

GUEST COMMENT: The first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 will be held on Tuesday. And there is a lot to look forward to. Norway opens the show with Alessandra and “Queen of Kings”.

Eurovision is supposed to be non-political, but the war in Ukraine characterizes next week’s competition. Here the Ukrainian electronica duo Tvorchi, which is Ukraine’s contribution, during a concert on the subway in Kyiv on Friday last week.
Published: Published:

May 6


This is a comment. Commentaries are written by Aftenbladet’s commentators, editors and guest commentators, and express their own opinions and analyses.

Our Norwegian hope currently rests on one sixth place on the betting listsand Alessandra has delivered solidly during the trials in Liverpool.

Sweden, which tops the odds list with former Eurovision winner Loreen, and Finland, which is in second place, take part in the same semi-final.

All three Nordic countries in this final are therefore predicted to qualify, and also to do very well in the main competition.

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Alessandra is going to Liverpool with “Queen of Kings”

Newly written songs

During the week we also get one for the semi-final on Thursday and the actual Eurovision final next Saturday.

Eurovision does not usually lack magnificent vocals, fiery dance breaks or imaginative scenography. Not so this year either, when 37 newly written songs from Europe, Asia and Australia are going into the fire.

It may seem obvious that all the artists provide original written material, but in a time where the TV schedule is otherwise filled with artists singing cover songs, whether it’s “The Voice”, “Hver gang vi møstos” or “Beat for beat”, is liberating in itself. And not at all unimportant.


Eurovision is often described in a somewhat condescending or ironic tone. And perhaps for a period it was a bit behind what was otherwise happening within “serious” pop music. So not in recent years, where the competition has given us gems like the now ubiquitous one “Snap” with Rosa Lynnfrom Eurovision 2022, and the mega success of Italian Moonlight.

That an Armenian artist, Rosa Lynn, suddenly became a world star is hardly something that would have happened without precisely a competition like Eurovision. For this is the annual reminder that the musical world is much bigger than Great Britain, the USA and one’s own homeland. In fact, it is perhaps also the annual reminder that countries like Georgia, San Marino and Moldova exist.

The slogan for this year’s competition is “United by music”. The logo is Ukraine yellow, as Liverpool are the reserve host for Ukraine, who won in 2022.


Eurovision is also a chance to look at the countries in a more positive perspective; not because something terrible has happened in one of the countries that is reported in the news here at home, but as they themselves want to present themselves in sound and image.

And Eurovision is a gigantic stage to do it on. Last year they had the two semi-finals and the final together 161 million TV viewersand in addition tens of millions followed the broadcasts on social media.

The presenters (former) are TV personality Graham Norton, rapper Alesha Dixon, Ukrainian singer and rocker Julia Sanina and actress and singer Hannah Waddingham.

In the corner of shame

Eurovision was built on the principle of peaceful, musical brotherhood across national borders in the wake of the Second World War. And for the most part, the competition has lived up to this ideal.

However, the competition has not been free from the political winds that have blown across the countries. Neighbors like to vote for each other, and texts that cross the lines of political neutrality appear as soon as they do. Sometimes it is judged to be within, other times texts, symbolism and stage performance have to be adjusted.

At the moment, there are also two nations that are in the corner of shame and are not allowed to participate. Russia is kicked out because of the invasion of Ukraine. Belarus was kicked out two years ago, because they sent a propaganda orchestra for the authoritarian regime and refused to send another contribution after being warned.

Allowed political sting

Will this year’s final be without political contributions? No, absolutely not. Switzerland sends the contribution “Waterguns”, which is an anti-war song, and which can easily be seen as a post against Russia’s warfare in Ukraine. And Croatia sends the band Let 3, who sing about dictators, rockets and tractors. The controversial contribution ridicules dictators and is a poorly disguised attack on Putin. It’s all wrapped up in a wild orgy of costumes, whimsical choreography and surreal music.

It seems that this year’s rule is to be neutral, – with the exception of when it comes to criticism of dictator Putin and his war against a neighboring country. Ukraine is also one of the most successful countries in Eurovision in recent years, which – if possible – makes the sympathy for them even greater among Eurovision fans.

Cyber ​​attack

Eurovision has been big in Russia, which has always sent its biggest artists and terrific stage shows. There are many indications that they do not take the ban lightly at all. Last year, when Russia was initially denied participation, pro-Russian hacker groups attempted to attack the vote during the semi-finals and final in Italy. This year, the organizers in Liverpool warn that they are prepared for the same and have allied themselves with experts both inside and outside the BBC, according to Dagbladet.

Last year, votes had to be discarded because of the hacker attacks. It could happen this year as well. The strength of the competition, however, is that it is so large, and also so decentralized, that it takes quite a lot before you are unable to reach a fair result.

So then it’s just a matter of finding the champagne and the palette dress and settling down for great entertainment with all the weird, magnificent, embarrassing and heartwarming Europe and its surroundings are ready to present on stage in the coming week.


Published: May 6, 2023 7:30 am

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