Eurovision 2023, Grand Final, Part 2: Chronically Online Glam Metal

May the best Queen of Kings win!


I finally got the time to finish part 2 – it’s been A Time™.

Czechia (10th)
Vesna – My Sister’s Crown

The music video for this song is one of my favourites – the aesthetic goes so hard with each of the girls being dressed in this sort of distorted European fairytale style

it’s very Disney’s Descendents but for the likes of Baba Yaga and The Jezinkas so I was a little disappointed when come the night, all of the girls were dressed identically in pink doing the full spectrum of America’s Next Top Model high fashion poses

however my God was their ponytail rodeo impressive purely for the fact none of them came out of it with a black eye

but I did want everyone to have furious debates about who your favourite Vesna was like this was a trading card game – I’m torn between Dracula’s Daughter Vesna and Alphabetti Spaghetti Vesna (watch the video)

and yes, I do realise realise that talking about them like this does kind of go against the whole ethos of the song, the lyrics being my least favourite part of the whole thing – I love the poeticness of the Ukrainian, Czech and Bulgarian verses, the English portions are clumsy and I think sound a little goofy – and who knows, maybe they do in the Ukrainian, Czech and Bulgarian verses too, I can only go by the english translations.

Jury Score: 94
Public Score: 35
Total Score: 129 Points

Australia (9th)
Voyager – Promise

THEY FINALLY MADE IT! Voyager won the public vote at Australia Decides 2022 but in true Eurovision fashion were curb stomped by the jury who really wanted to send Jaguar Jonze of Arc instead

so nobody got what they wanted and we ended up with The Manic Pixie Dream Masked Singer instead

I liked Sheldon’s song but I was always a little sad that Voyager, who are a great showcase of Australian prog metal, weren’t doing Dreamer which sounds like something off the Lost Boys soundtrack. Under eurovision rules they obviously couldn’t do Dreamer this year no mater how hard it slaps and they were instead doing Promise which sounds like something off the Lost Boys soundtrack. They were also the only people rivaling Loreen bringing a giant toasted sandwich for biggest prop having brought an entire car on stage (the Keytar called shotgun)

Someone get The Eurovision Scale, they can still win heaviest prop! My favourite thing about the car was the fact in order to head off all the “he’s driving on the wrong side of the road!” jokes they just drove down the middle


They didn’t do brilliantly in the Televote, they came 20th which was rude, they, and I cannot stress this enough, had a hot guy having the time of his life with a keytar – WHAT MORE DO YOU PEOPLE WANT?

but they did phenomenally well with the juries, which is a surprise because the juries aren’t often kind to anything heavier than a dance break’s beat drop. They ended up topping the jury vote from both Iceland and Portugal, nearly choking on their sandwiches when they found out

Relatable, I’ve choked on a sandwich over less.

Jury Score: 130
Public Score: 21
Total Score: 151 Points

Belgium (7th)
Gustaph – Because of You

Gustaph had a fascinating Eurovision trajectory because when he won his National Final ahead of audience favourites, The Starlings, and Jury Favourite, Cherine, nobody was really featuring him and he often bottomed the pre-season rankings – to be fair, even he was shocked he’d won

then The Gustapharinas rose up, seemingly overnight chatter of a shock Gustaph Top 3 began. We were deep in our delusional era but the song is such a genuine queer banger, which is especially fun after Israel’s attempt to have one by brute force last year. It’s wonderfully evocative of the whole disco movement, to the point where you wonder if it was actual legally Eurovision because a lot of it sounds like samples from the early 70s but he was really pushing for that underground ballroom feel, showcasing drag performers and bringing vogueing star Pusscee West onto the stage

it was a really fun, uplifting performance and incredibly important to a lot of people right now and I’m so happy that he and his hat landed in the top 10.

Jury Score: 127
Public Score: 55
Total Score: 182 Points

Armenia (14th)
Brunette – Future Lover

Fun Fact: despite landing on the left hand side of the leaderboard for both the Jury Vote and the Televote, Armenia still landed on the right hand side once the votes were totalled. It’s a fun fact for us, not so much for Brunette.

Every year we have a new spate of Eurovision Pop Girlies and you have to pledge allegiance to one of them – most people seemed to hitch their wagon to the unicorn herself, Noa Kirel. Brunette was my pop girlie who could do no wrong, I mean, her song opens like this with her lying limply on what looks like a ramp a skatepark

it’s like we’ve opened the pining diary of a girl who just downed two bottles of wine, I’m hooked from the jump and I really love the rest of the song and her performance, it’s like if Ariana Grande cared to enunciate

she did suffer, as all the pop girls did this year, from a bad case of Chanelitis and included a mid-song dance break which I personally don’t think worked and of all of them felt the most obviously pulling from Slo-mo with the flickering lights but lacked any of the confidence and impact that made Slo-mo so impressive

the self-imposed faceplant was the oddest choice, and not the only time you’d see this move during the evening.

Jury Score: 69
Public Score: 53
Total Score: 122 Points

Moldova (18th)
Pasha Parfeni – Soarele și Luna

One of my favourite genres that crops up a lot at Eurovision is Electro-Folk – I think the one most people will be familiar with is Shum by Go_A but last year France sent Alvan and Ahez with Fulenn and it didn’t do great, so I was a little worried for Pasha because Soarele și Luna kind of falls between the two and could have gone either way, but if there’s one thing Moldova knows how to do, it’s BRING IT and I just adored the staging and costumes – it was a visual delight

and I enjoyed the break in the middle that looked like a bootleg Mortal Kombat game you bought at the flea market in 1997

Pick Your Fighter: The Magic Flute Owl or Dorm Room Gap Year Jesus.

Jury Score: 20
Public Score: 76
Total Score: 96 Points

Ukraine (6th)
Tvorchi – Heart of Steel

Seeing as we were hosting Eurovision in conjunction with Ukraine, the least the BBC could have done was make sure all of their presenters knew how to pronounce “Tvorchi” – there was far too much “Torchy” going on across their programming – The One Show deserves a cease a desist order.

This was pretty standard host country entry – it’s solid enough to put on a decent show with but not quite exciting enough to win because you really don’t want to have to host again, or contemplate the potential of having to host again. The staging was really cool though with the LED screens and the RoboCop of it all

and the sort of cyberpunk/digital future feel of the staging does explain why they conducted most of their interviews dressed like they were in one of the Matrix movies

I would join their incredibly fashionable Star Fleet.

Jury Score: 54
Public Score: 189
Total Score: 243 Points

Norway (5th)
Alessandra (Queen of Kings)

Alessandra was a busy girl on the night, not only was she having to perform at Eurovision she had to get there after her matinee performance as Anne Boleyn in Six: The Musical and declare a vote of no confidence in the leadership of Chancellor Valorum by the end of the night

Dystopian Empress Chic is one of my favourite Eurovision aesthetics and Alessandra was doing wonders with this look, and her song was pretty cool too – the sort of sea shanty, viking rowing rhythm was definitely a stand out of the night and I’m so happy that it was one of the 4 Eurovision songs that landed in the UK Top 10 following the competition.

Jury Score: 52 (did she burp halfway through?)
Public Score: 216
Total Score: 268 Points

Germany (26th)
Lord of the Lost – Blood and Glitter

Prior to this year, the Eurovision artist with the most songs in my mammoth 46 hours and 23 minute playlist (I have a problem, shut up) was Finland’s Blind Channel who are my favourite archetype of Sad Boys

I will never forget them painting their middle fingers red to symbolise flipping the bird to get around the no profanity rule – absolutely incredible teenaged boy galaxy brained logic, obsessed. However the illustrious title of Artist With The Most Songs Lost In The Playlist Void is now held by Germany’s Lord of the Lost, who appear to be putting on a polyamorous reboot of Titanic

I am SO mad that when they released their version of Wig In A Box from Hedwig and the Angry Itch last year, I didn’t tweet that it felt like they were making a Eurovision bid BECAUSE I THOUGHT IT. So If I have been granted this power of manifesting, Lord please give me Poets of the Fall for Finland, Manntra for Croatia and Normandie for Sweden.

As a band Lord of the Lost fascinates me on a nuclear level – they’ve been around for a long time and tried a lot of different stuff, sometimes it has felt like they’re throwing metal spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks and as much as I am biologically programmed to love every metal band’s Religious Trauma Era (their Judas and Thornstar albums are great), personally, I love their stuff that has more of a morose burlesque quality to it, Swan Songs is catnip to me, and there’s elements of that in Blood and Glitter but most of their new stuff has left me a little cold, it’s very Chronically Online Glam Metal which I won’t pretend I’m above, it’s a 46 hour playlist, there are Some Choices™ in there but it’s hard to get around Leave Your Hate In The Comments as a main single. So I might not love Blood and Glitter but I love them and their online presence this year has been the most endearing thing in the world because they may look like crustaceans from the depths of the ocean hellbent on enslaving humanity

but they’re all so sweet – they did daily Instagram posts hyping the other artists up, they’ve been incredibly vocal about anti-queer rhetoric and they’ve done short cover versions of everyone else’s songs, which many of them sound the same, but their cover of Cha Cha Cha? It slaps, it’s SO GOOD and the cover art tickles me every time

they are My Guys™, and I adore them.

Jury Score: 3
Public Score: 15
Total Score: 18 Points

Lithuania (11th)
Monika Linkytė – Stay

Another of my favourite Eurovision Tropes: a nice girl in a nice dress having a nice time

I can’t say this performance particularly struck me and I was a little bit surprised by how well it ended up doing, especially in the public vote but there is a charm to it that felt very old-school Eurovision with the simple arrangement and backing singers in full view – it was an honest performance that didn’t feel like it was trying to be anything more than it was.

Jury Score: 81
Public Score: 46
Total Score: 127 Points

Israel (3rd)
Noa Kirel – Unicorn

Noa did manage to reign Pop Girl Supreme on the night, landing in the Top 3 – the song just doesn’t do it for me, I find the whole concept of singing how you’re “YAAAAAAS QUEEN SLAY! like a unicorn” to be juvenile and something I’d expect from Meghan Trainor

but while it is very Yassified Kidz Bop, I have to hand it to Noa because she performs the everloving shit out of it and you were going to watch and enjoy her dance break whether you liked it or not

I didn’t find solo work to be an enjoyable watch and honestly found what was mostly wild kicking to be as clunky as the “Feminine-feminine-femininal” chorus (I hate it, I hate it SO MUCH), but she hits a mean 45 degree angle

the group choreo was where the strength of the number lay, I just really wish she wasn’t going this hard to a song chanting “Unicorn”

I was a little disappointed not to see the triumphant return of my personal favourite thing to come out of this year’s Eurovision though, The Noacorn in her music video

the fact they lovingly rendered this NFT looking monstrocity and then only used it for 2 seconds of the video is extremely funny to me, as is the effort they put into branding this song with a hand gesture that looks like it’s localised sign language for “FUCK OFF!”

maybe I did love it all along?

Jury Score: 177
Public Score: 185
Total Score: 362 Points

Slovenia (21st)
Joker Out – Carpe Diem

You are legally and contractually obligated to pick a favourite Joker Out – is it Happy Drummer Joker?

Constantly Mugging To Camera Joker?

Sparkly Vest Joker?

Enviable Blouse Joker?

or Shadow of the Other Jokers Joker?

I have to stay completely unbiased when it comes to My Surrogate Boys™ – they’re the Sudden Lights I made along the way and I’m a bit obsessed with them – it was just such a fun performance, immaculate vibes throughout and I would go to a gig of theirs in a heartbeat and cannot wait to add their future releases to my Playlist Void.

Jury Score: 33
Public Score: 45
Total Score: 78 Points

Croatia (13th)
Let 3 – Mama SC!

There are only two places where you’d come across a performance like this: Eurovision and a club that only opens every 15th full moon and is on the bill with acts that include a performance of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata using only rotary phones and a slam poem performed by a woman covered in gravy

Let 3, who have been doing their shock-rock thing since 1986, are truly a force of nature and this is just the perfect, cutting, lampooning of dictators that an anti-war song should be instead of a drippy, dreary ballad that could be applied to anything. If you’re going to say it, say it with your whole y-fronts

of course the juries tanked them and I’m sure not just because of the looming threat that if they won they’d perform it again stark naked – a threat I very much believe they would have carried out.

Jury Score: 11
Public Score: 112
Total Score: 123 Points

United Kingdom (25th)
Mae Muller – I Wrote A Song

Mae had it rough because someone out there decided that the best act to put before her was the one that was bound to have everyone still discussing it over the next act and by the third verse I was still shouting “TRAKTORA!” against my own will

the other problem Mae faced was the fact she is a great recording artist – the studio version is really good and insanely catchy, but she’s not the strongest live performer and by all accounts was struggling with the pre-competition vocal rest with her vocal coach basically putting her in the Eurovision Cone of Shame

and come the night the vocals were a bit patchy and whispery but she put on a great show and I adored the graphic staging

I’m not entirely sure why she’s dressed like she’s hosting the opening party for her second nail salon and is about to go live on instagram to thank everyone

but she also looks damn good, so go on, Gaslight, Gatekeep. Girlboss to your heart gives out, I support you.

Given that there was a little bit of fandom disappointment that the Rina Sawayama rumours didn’t come to fruition (and someone on Team Rina should have quashed them) I’m glad everyone eventually embraced Mae because she was clearly one of us

I’m so glad Sam Ryder invented social media savvy contestants last year – it’s the best realisation that the UK organisers have ever had.

Jury Score: 15
Public Score: 9
Total Score: 24 Points

And that’s it! I’m sorry these took so long to get out, between being sick and drowning in MasterChef it’s been a bit of a rough time, so I shall leave you with the final leaderboard:

1Sweden’s Most Talented Panini583
2All Aboard The Piggy Train!526
3Bonk! Go to Unicorny Jail.362
5Presidential Alert: It’s a Bisexual Banger268
6We Can Rebuild Him, We Have The Technology243
7Gustaph and Gustaph’s Hat182
8Estonia’s Ghostly Pianist168
9That’s a Traffic Disorder151
10The Ponytail Rodeo129
11Lithuania via 2002127
12Cyprus’s Gun Show126
13The Anti-war Song Your Ordered123
14My Fair Grande122
16France’s Second Best Lighthouse104
17The Spanish Red Wool Crisis100
18Man vs Owl96
19Use promocode POLAND for 40% off at Shein93
20The Anti-war Song You Got92
21My Good Slovenian Boys78
22Eastenders: The Albanian Musical76
23Portugal’s Happiest Art Teacher59
24Serbia’s Unhappiest Teenager30
25Come What Mae24
26The Lord of My Heart18

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One thought on “Eurovision 2023, Grand Final, Part 2: Chronically Online Glam Metal

  1. Jill

    I’ve said this about a million times in the last two weeks but if you’d told me this time last year that the 2023 act I’d absolutely fall in love with the most this year was a prog rock metal band from Perth fronted by the world’s swaggiest immigration lawyer, I would have not believed it – but then! I heard them play Dreamer at London Eurovision Party! And THEN I MET THEM. Honestly, Voyager trash for life now, they’re the best.

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