Sweden’s Loreen took the Eurovision 2023 prize home becoming just the second artist to achieve the feat twice, after Ireland’s Johnny Logan.
In an extravaganza in Liverpool on Saturday, Sweden narrowly beat Finland to triumph for the seventh time in the contest, also catching up with Ireland as the country with the most wins in Eurovision history.
Loreen with the song “Tattoo” garnered a total of 583 points, while Finland’s Käärijä, who won the public vote, finished second with 526 points.
Israel’s Noa Kirel also had a strong showing, finishing in third place.
Cyprus’ own Andrew Lambrou received 126 points from public votes and juries, finishing a solid 12th. Among the rather unpleasant highlights of the night were the mere four points the Cypriot entry received from the Greek jury.
The 67th edition of the musical festival was held in the “City of Pop” on behalf of Ukraine, last year’s winner, which was unable to host this year because of Russia’s invasion.
Organisers had to walk a tightrope between putting Ukraine centre stage and steering clear of any overt political messages, which are not allowed in the contest.
Kalush Orchestra, 2022’s winner, mixed video recorded in Ukraine with live performance in Liverpool in an opening sequence that included a cameo appearance from Britain’s Kate, Princess of Wales, playing the piano.
But as the contest was underway, Russian missiles hit the western Ukrainian city of Ternopil, which is home to the electro-pop duo Tvorchi, this year’s contestants from Ukraine.
Local authorities, writing on Telegram, said the strike had injured two people.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was barred from addressing worldwide viewers – who numbered 160 million last year – by contest organizer the European Broadcasting Union.
It said that granting his request, which was made with “laudable intentions”, would be against the non-political nature of the event and its rules prohibiting making political statements.