image credit: Sarah Louise Bennett / EBU
Late last night – or in the early hours of this morning, if you prefer – the official Eurovision Twitter account published the producer-determined running order for the grand final of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest:
Let the overanalyzing begin (including by us!) https://t.co/oH3iukMTJE
— escgo! (@escgo) May 11, 2023
As we know, the official line is that the producers don’t know the results of the semi-finals and their only priority is to deliver a balanced and entertaining line-up. Realistically, though, even if they don’t have access to the actual scores from Tuesday and Thursday night, there are plenty of other metrics – chart success, betting odds, local and international fan hype – that they can incorporate into their decisions along with factors like genre, colour schemes and the need to get massive props on and off stage in the space of 30 seconds.
This unofficial knowledge is reflected in the 2023 “draw”, where we see the familiar pattern of a bunch of big favourites – in this case, Sweden, Italy and Finland – sandwiching a couple of songs that can be assumed to have narrowly qualified from the weaker semi-final (Albania and Estonia). If Loreen is to take a second victory for her and a seventh for her country, she’ll become the first person to do so from a single-figure running order position since Sertab Erener in 2003.
Earlier in the grand final, France find themselves in 6th again, while the show will be opened by Teya & Salena from Austria. While going on first is often preferable to being in the 2nd-4th region (although even that seems quite strong this year), the placement of a big fan favourite so early in proceedings could indicate that their semi-final performance didn’t connect with the wider audience as much as it did with those in the hall in Liverpool.
In the second half, Czechia is perhaps surprisingly early, kicking off the usual slight lull of entries that won’t be expected to trouble the scoreboard too much – and it’s interesting to see Lord Of The Lost getting the peachier draw of the rock bands despite the impact Australia’s Voyager seemed to have made in closing last night’s semi-final. The up-tempo girl bops are all reasonably spaced out near the end, so Norway, Israel and the (pre-drawn) United Kingdom can’t be too sad about that.
And perhaps most notably of all, Mae Muller will be preceded by Slovenia and Croatia – the first time those countries have both qualified in the semi-final era. While a late running order position doesn’t have to indicate a good result in the semi-final, it would be unusual for both of them to be borderliners, so the implication is that either Joker Out or Let 3 did rather well in their respective semi.
In any case, we don’t have long left to find out. Until then, let the speculation and anticipation continue!