The temperature is rising to such a level on Merseyside - that our Professor of Eurovision, Pete Devine - has been forced to temporarily decamp over the border into Wales - to cool down. But fear not: he'll be back at his post for a massive night on Saturday - and Mag North has despatched his Grand Final costume - which includes Roller Boots, a 'Free Selby' Vest - and Sparkly Hot Pants.
And the 26 acts going through to the BEST EVER Eurovision Grand Final IN LIVERPOOL on Saturday have officially been confirmed.
The 10 countries who have made it through to the grand final after an epic first round on Tuesday are Croatia, Moldova, Switzerland, Finland, Czechia, Israel, Portugal, Sweden, Serbia and Norway.
Meanwhile, Malta, Azerbaijan, Latvia and the Netherlands failed to qualify alongside Ireland’s Wild Youth.
During Thursday’s second round it was confirmed that ten more acts had qualified: Cyprus, Estonia, Belgium, Albania, Lithuania, Poland, Austria, Australia, Armenia and Slovenia.
Greece, Denmark, San Marino, Georgia and Iceland failed to make it through.
The 20 countries who have qualified will now be joining last year’s winner Ukraine, as well as UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
The second semi-final on Thursday paid tribute to the music of Ukraine with a performance by Maria Yaremchuk, Zlata Dziunka and Otoy featuring music from the country from throughout the years including the Christmas carol, Carol Of The Bells, which is based on the Ukrainian song Shchedryk.
And if all this isn't enough: Nicki French, who sang Don’t Play That Song Again, in 2000 for the UK, is also in Liverpool all week to entertain the fans with her latest release of the single Love Games and a Eurovision album of songs. She said: “This year we have stepped up to the mark and what is fantastic for those of us who love Eurovision is that the whole country is fully joining in the excitement – even King Charles!”
Trio of hosts Britain’s Got Talent star Alesha Dixon, Ted Lasso’s Hannah Waddingham and Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina also transformed into drag queens by walking into a ‘Queen Machine’, before a troupe of performers took to the stage for a medley of hits including Free Your Mind by En Vogue and a remix of Free Yourself by Jessie Ware.
Thursday’s show saw Belgium with Gustaph perform Because Of You, a house music-flavoured dance track featuring euphoric piano stabs, as the star wore parachute pants and a wide-brimmed hat with a backing dancer performing a vogueing routine.
Polish pop singer Blanka made an impact with her track Solo, a summery tune with a catchy hook reminiscent of Ariana Grande’s music.
Viral TikTok duo Teya And Salena, the first female pairing to compete for Austria, performed their quirky dance-pop track Who The Hell Is Edgar?
The catchy song is about being possessed by the ghost of 19th century Gothic author Edgar Allan Poe, but is also a commentary on the struggle of female writers to be taken seriously in a male-dominated industry.
Australian veterans Voyager, a five-piece from Perth known for their space rock, delivered a bombastic performance of their synth-laden track Promise.
In a pre-recorded segment, Welsh actor Luke Evans recalled the nearly seven-decade history of the contest, which he said had emerged out of a ‘continent in recovery’ from the Second World War to become ‘Europe’s most raucous election’.
Elsewhere, alongside Rylan Clark and Scott Mills’ commentary, Mag North was over-the-moon to see Peppa Pig make a surprise appearance, which left fans truly baffled.
Bringing us all back to reality, Scott Fitzgerald, the UK entrant in 1988, who sang Go (and also finished runner up to a little known singing artist representing Switzerland, but losing out by one point to the now global superstar Céline Dion) said: “I won’t be in Liverpool for the contest, but we must keep Ukraine firmly in the spotlight and I know the city will do them proud.”
There was also a surprise appearance from pop group Scooch, who competed for the UK in 2007 with Flying The Flag (For You) but came 22nd with only 19 points.
For the first time in the competition’s nearly seven-decade history, people from countries outside the contest were able to vote for their favourite act, as their votes were converted into points that had the same weight as one participating country.
In another change for 2023, only viewers’ votes decided which countries qualified onwards from the semi-final stage.
This meant acts will not have to face the judges until they reach the grand final stage.
The Eurovision Grand Final airs Saturday, May 13 at 8pm on BBC One and iPlayer.