Eurovision 2023 – My Top 12

The entries for this year’s Eurovision have finally all been released! To celebrate, here’s how I would give out my 12 points.

1. PORTUGAL – Ai Coração by Mimicat

Portugal is prone to sending songs that stand out amongst the rest of the competition – and this fun and jaunty song is no exception! With a song title that translates to “Oh, heart”, Mimicat serves us a dramatic entry. I particularly love the use of strings – they really elevate the song.

2. ITALY – Due Vite by Marco Mengoni

“Due Vite” (meaning “Two Lives”) took a while to grow on me. After my first listen, I wrote it off as another bland ballad. But only a few weeks later, it’s ended up being in my Top 12 – and for good reason! Marco Mengoni has an extraordinarily pretty voice, able to carry a lot of emotion. I love how the song builds, with Mengoni’s voice gaining strength as it goes on.

3. MOLDOVA – Soarele si Luna – Pasha Parfeni

A Eurovision return! Pasha Parfeni first represented Moldova back in 2012 with the song “Lăutar“. I enjoy both entries but think “Soarele si Luna” is definitely the better of the two. I’m a big fan of artists who incorporate older or more traditional instruments like flutes into pop, and this song meshes its genres perfectly.

4. GERMANY – Blood & Glitter by Lord Of The Lost

Representing glam rock on the Eurovision stage, Lord of the Lost bring a lot of the energy that’s been missing from this year’s line-up. They’re a lot of fun and I keep finding myself singing the chorus to myself whilst I’m doing the dishes. Though somewhat repetitive, there are lots of little details that give the song extra flavour – I especially love the little spacey pew pew sound effects in the chorus.

5. MALTA – Dance (Our Own Party) by The Busker

Maybe an iconic sax is a bit overdone for the average Eurovision fan… but not for me!

Another song that I keep singing to myself, here’s a feel-good indie pop tune delivered by a really likeable band. Maybe there isn’t anything very new or different about this song, but I don’t mind. Sometimes you just want some good ol’fashioned indie pop to dance to.

6. LATVIA – Aijā by Sudden Lights

Absolutely loving this indie rock entry from Latvia. The song is brimming with melancholy and I’m a big fan of how it ends – with a very calm, soothing verse sung in Latvian (the rest of the song is in English). The title translates roughly to “Hushaby”, the sound you might make whilst rocking a baby to sleep. With this knowledge, a story is able to unfold – you really get the sense of someone attempting to rock themselves gently to sleep, whilst all their anxieties swirl around their head.

7. CROATIA – Mama Šč! by Let 3

When I first heard the studio recording of this song, I was really enthusiastic about its inventiveness – it’s a rock song that’s very playful when it comes to form, embracing operatic styles and even featuring some choice tractor sounds. It’s an anti-war song that mocks dictators, and the tractor sounds are a reference to when Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarussian president, gifted Vladimir Putin a tractor for his 70th birthday.

All great stuff! I do however think their visual messaging needs a lot of work, as currently the onstage presence to me at least reads as unsympathetic towards women and the trans community. I don’t think this is the message they are going for at all, but it doesn’t sit well with me that their way of mocking dictators is to simply dress them in “women’s clothes”. I am really hoping that Let 3 and their team can come up with a more compelling way to ridicule fascists rather than these outdated schoolboy taunts.

8. SLOVENIA – Carpe Diem by Joker Out

Another indie rock entry! This one’s a little faster and more danceable. I’d be ecstatic if this came on in a club.

I’m always a fan of seeing more rock in Eurovision, especially when the act sings in their native tongue. The band’s frontman (as well as the rest of the band) have tremendous stage presence and style – I think these are ones to look out for!

9. AUSTRIA – Who the Hell is Edgar? by Teya & Salena

Now here’s a song and performance we can get behind, both thanks to how catchy it is and how great their message is.

The song uses the real life of Edgar Allen Poe, famed author who worked tirelessly in the name of creation, to talk about the way artists struggle today. In the bridge, Teya & Salena sing: “Zero dot zero zero three / Give me two years and your dinner will be free / Gas station champagne is on me / Edgar cannot pay rent for me”. The number (0.003) refers to the amount that Spotify pays artists per stream – between $0.003 and $0.005.

And not only are they tackling massive streaming services, they’re also delivering the catchiest tune of the competition! Cannot wait to see how they present their song on stage.

10. AUSTRALIA – Promise by Voyager

In 2022, prog rock band Voyager took part in Eurovision – Australia Decides (the song competition where Australia’s entry is selected) with their song “Dreamer” and came 2nd place. I was pretty gutted – they were by far my favourite Australian entry that year (and were even on my Fantasy Eurovision 2022 post). So I was ecstatic to see the band return in 2023 with their new song “Promise”.

“Promise” is just as good; with a slow build that leads to a super fun and catchy chorus. I love the dynamic between the two singers’ voices and how the song sways from slow to fast. There’s a fantastic keyboard solo near the end that I look forward to each time. This song just delivers.

11. CZECHIA – My Sister’s Crown by Vesna

This is an absolutely gorgeous, goddamn, beautiful song. Totally different from anything else entered this year; this song has been one of my favourites ever since its initial release.

The song can be interpreted on multiple levels. Some listeners see the song as being about sisterhood and women standing up for fellow women. Others, as the song is sung in English, Bulgarian, Czech and Ukrainian, view the song as a protest piece, with the singers representing Ukraine and her neighbours, standing up against fascism.

However you interpret the song, it’s a powerful release that is equal parts affecting and catchy. I’ll be very surprised if this song does not do well.

12. FINLAND – Cha Cha Cha by Käärijä

What a bop. I love everything about this song as well as Käärijä’s stunning performance, from his weird little tongue actions to his violent head-banging.

This hyperpop track is constantly being played on loop in my home. It is full of energy and so danceable. The song is actually about using alcohol as a coping mechanism when lost and uncomfortable in a crowded party full of strangers. The blaring sirens and the chaos of the song encapsulate the inner panic perfectly. You wouldn’t know that from listening to the song though (unless, of course, you speak Finnish). The song is incredibly fun and danceable.

What else can I say? It’s just an absolute tune.

Image sources:

Cover image of Käärijä:

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