Eurovision 2023 semi-finals: BBC One schedule and a guide to the hosts and performers

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The first phase of the Eurovision contest is kicking off this week, as Alesha Dixon, Hannah Waddingham, and Julia Sanina host the Semi-Finals live in Liverpool

The Eurovision Semi-Finals, which see 31 different countries compete for a spot in the popular song contest, are being held this week in Liverpool

Both will be broadcast on BBC One in the lead-up to the Eurovision Song contest itself, and are set to be hosted by Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon, Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham, and Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina.

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Here’s everything you need to know about the Eurovision 2023 Semi-Finals.

What is happening at the Eurovision Semi-Finals?

The official BBC synopsis for the Eurovision Semi-Finals explains that “Alesha Dixon, Hannah Waddingham and Julia Sanina host the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, live from Liverpool. Rylan and Scott Mills are on commentary duty as different acts battle it out for a place in Saturday’s grand final.”

Who are the hosts?

Alesha Dixon, Hannah Waddingham, and Julia Sanina at the Eurovision Media Launch (Credit: BBC/James Stack)Alesha Dixon, Hannah Waddingham, and Julia Sanina at the Eurovision Media Launch (Credit: BBC/James Stack)
Alesha Dixon, Hannah Waddingham, and Julia Sanina at the Eurovision Media Launch (Credit: BBC/James Stack) | BBC/James Stack

Alesha Dixon previously performed with the hip hop group Mis-Teeq in the early 2000s, before going on to judge both Strictly Come Dancing and Britain’s Got Talent. Hannah Waddingham, meanwhile, is an actress and singer best known for appearing on Benidorm, Game of Thrones, and Ted Lasso.

Julia Sanina is a Ukrainian singer, and frontwoman of the band The Hardkiss. Sanina, who is one of the judges of the Ukrainian X-Factor, will also be hosting the Grand Final alongside Dixon, Waddingham, and Graham Norton. 

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Which acts are competing?

During the first Semi-Final on Tuesday, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Czechia, Finland, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Sweden, and Switzerland competed for a place in the Eurovision finale. The qualifiers from Semi Final 1 were:

  • Croatia
  • Moldova
  • Switzerland
  • Finland
  • Czechia
  • Israel
  • Portugal
  • Sweden
  • Serbia
  • Norway

During the second Semi-Final, Albania, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Iceland, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, San Marino, and Slovenia will be competing for the remaining places in the Eurovision finale. UK audiences will be able to vote in this Semi-Final.

When and how can I watch it?

The first Eurovision Semi-Final aired on BBC One on Tuesday 9 May at 8pm, with the second Eurovision Semi-Final airing on BBC One on Thursday 11 May at 8pm. 

You’ll also be able to watch both Semi-Finals on BBC iPlayer. 

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Will there be any special performances at the Semi-Finals?

Yes! During the first Semi-Final, Rita Ora, Ukrainian singer Alyosha, and Rebecca Ferguson (the Liverpudlian singer, not the actor) each did a special performance during the interval.

The second Semi-Final will feature a performance titled Music Unites Generations, in which former Ukrainian Eurovision entrant Mariya Yaremchuk leads a medley of different Ukrainian music with a cross-generational appeal. UK entrant Mae Muller will also preview her weekend performance. 

Where are the Eurovision Semi-Finals being held?

Both Eurovision Semi-Finals are being held in Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena, a venue at the heart of the city centre which will also host the Eurovision Grand Final itself.

How can I vote in the Eurovision Semi-Finals?

UK audiences can vote during the second Semi-Finals event. You can do so via either the Eurovision app, or via telephone and/or text.

When is the finale?

The Eurovision Grand Final is set to take place on Saturday 13 May at 8pm. 

Why should I watch it? 

It’s one to watch if you want to get the full Eurovision experience, from start to finish. 

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