LIVERPOOL, England, May 13 (Reuters) – The grand final of Eurovision 2023 kicked off on Saturday as last year’s winning Kalush Orchestra performed video in Ukraine and live in the northern English city of Liverpool hosting on behalf of the country battling Russia. Invade.
Organizers walked a tightrope between reversing the situation in Ukraine and moving away from overt politics impermissible in the contest, which this year attracted 37 countries.
Britain’s Kate, Princess of Wales makes a surprise appearance playing the piano in the video in the opening clip.
The 26 grand finalists span musical styles from ballads to heavy rock to rap, beginning with Austrian Tia and Salina’s rendition of “Who The Hell is Edgar?” , a wonderful track inspired by the 19th century writer Edgar Allan Poe.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was banned from addressing viewers worldwide – who numbered 160m last year – by regulator the European Broadcasting Union.
It said granting his application, which came with “commendable intentions”, would be against the non-political nature of the event and its rules prohibiting making political statements.
However, Ukraine is set to feature prominently in the parade, which has the slogan “Alone in Music”. Ukrainian singer Julia Snina presents alongside Hannah Waddingham, star of the stage and TV show “Ted Lasso”, pop singer Alesha Dixon and TV star Graham Norton.
Fans arriving at the stadium on the banks of the River Mersey unfurled the flags of Ukraine, Britain and 24 other competitors.
The arena can seat about 6,000 plus many thousands more who can watch in the fan area.
Pam Minto, a 37-year-old support worker from Liverpool, said she was proud of her city and hoped to make Ukraine proud.
“We loved the whole event around Liverpool from start to finish, it was amazing,” she said.
Ukrainian Anastasia Yovova, a 31-year-old teacher who currently lives in Leeds, in northern England, said Liverpool felt at home abroad.
“We are very proud to be here, very proud that the people of the UK support us in everything, and we are very grateful for that,” she said.
The winner is determined by a combination of points awarded by the jury and viewers in each competing country, as well as first-time viewers in other countries, who will bear the weight of one participating country.
(Reporting by Paul Sandel). Editing by Jason Neely
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