The wait is over, the acts have arrived in the host city of Liverpool and the Eurovision Song Contest is finally here.
The United Kingdom is hosting this year’s competition on behalf of the 2022 winner, Ukraine.
When are the Eurovision semi-finals and final?
The Eurovision final takes place on Saturday 13 May at the M&S Bank Arena in the city’s waterfront.
It is the first Eurovision Song Contest to be held in the UK in 25 years.
The competition consists of two semi-finals and the grand final, all of which will be broadcast live on the BBC.
This year’s semi-finals will take place on Tuesday 9th May and Thursday 11th May, with ten countries from each show advancing to the finals.
In addition, Great Britain, Italy, France, Spain and Germany, as well as last year’s winner, Ukraine, have already guaranteed a place in this final.
26 countries are fighting for the glass microphone trophy.
Who will represent Great Britain?
Mae Muller will represent Britain with her track ‘I Wrote A Song’, the country’s first female Eurovision contestant in five years.
Born in 1997 – the year Britain last won the Eurovision Song Contest – she has already supported Little Mix on tour.
As in previous years, there was no national selection show on television.
Instead, the BBC selected the winner in consultation with a management company.
You can find all the entries for this year’s competition in our guide to all countries’ songs.
Can I still get Eurovision tickets?
The short answer is no. When tickets to all the Eurovision shows went on sale at 12:00 GMT on Tuesday 7 March, they were sold out.
A final batch was released at 12:00pm BST on Monday 24 April.
In addition to the three televised live shows – the semifinals and the final – there are six preview shows that double as dress rehearsals.
Prices ranged from £90 to £290 for the live semi-final shows and £160 to £380 for the live grand final. Tickets for the preview show range from £30 to £280.
Around 3,000 tickets have been made available to Ukrainians living in the UK.
How can I watch Eurovision?
More than 160 million people around the world are expected to watch the 2023 final.
In the UK, Eurovision is broadcast live on BBC One.
The BBC’s coverage will be moderated by Graham Norton, Hannah Waddingham, Alesha Dixon and Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina.
In addition, a dedicated fan zone at Liverpool’s Pier Head, close to the Arena, can accommodate up to 25,000 people.
Cultural events surrounding the competition include a submarine parade through the city and a rave taking place simultaneously in Liverpool and Kiev.
Why is the UK hosting Eurovision?
The Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 with their song Stefania.
Usually, the winning country hosts the competition the following year, but the ongoing war in Ukraine makes this impossible.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes the competition, invited the United Kingdom to host on behalf of Ukraine, as British contestant Sam Ryder took second place in the 2022 show.
It is the ninth time the UK has hosted the competition and the fifth time on behalf of another country.
How much does Eurovision cost?
Broadcasters from the 37 participating countries each pay an entry fee to the EBU. In recent years, these fees have totaled around £5 million. The BBC does not make its contribution public.
Russia was eliminated from the competition after its invasion of Ukraine.
BBC News has been told countries have been asked to pay more to make up for the loss. Three countries have said they will not participate due to the increase.
It’s also believed some broadcasters were concerned about the extra cost of shipping equipment to the UK now that it’s no longer a member of the EU.
The event is expected to cost the BBC between £8million and £17million to hold.
The UK government has pledged £10m for the operating costs, while local authorities in Liverpool have pledged £4m.
How does voting work?
The semifinals will be decided entirely by public voting by participating countries and people in the rest of the world.
The six countries automatically guaranteed participation in the final vote on only one of the semi-finals. On Tuesday it will be Germany, France and Italy. On Thursday it will be Great Britain, Ukraine and Spain.
It’s more complicated in the final. Each of the 26 countries has a jury whose members evaluate all final performances.
They award a fixed number of points to their top 10 acts: 12 points, 10 points, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two and one, respectively.
The jury results will be announced one by one by each country throughout the night.
The participating countries then award points to the other participants based on viewer votes and follow the same scoring system.
Public votes outside of Europe will play a role for the first time in 2023. Worldwide votes are combined and counted as if they were another country.
Why is Australia participating in Eurovision?
Long popular in Australia, Eurovision was invited to broadcast an act in 2015 as part of the competition’s 60th anniversary celebrations.
Since then it has been allowed to participate. Like European countries, it pays a fee to the EBU to fund the event.
However, Australia is barred from inclusion. If it ever won, it would have to name a European nation to host the competition on its behalf.
Other non-European countries, including Israel, are also allowed to participate as they are members of the EBU.
Eurovisioncast is available on BBC Soundsor search where you get your podcasts.