Exclusive:Eurovision 2023: Dr Eurovision on Liverpool's 'electric' atmosphere as UK takes up hosting duties for Ukraine

Dr Eurovision himself, Paul Jordan, spoke to NationalWorld about the UK picking up hosting duties from Ukraine and Mae Muller's chances in Saturday's final

Thousands of music fans have descended on Liverpool for the biggest party of the year. 

The Eurovision song Contest 2023 has landed in the UK, with millions of people across the continent due to join in with the grand final on Saturday. It marks the first time the contest has been held in the UK since 1998. 

Hosting duties were passed on after last year’s winner Ukraine were unable to host due to the ongoing war with Russia. The party has instead transferred to Liverpool, which has truly become the world in one city, welcoming fans and delegations from across the world.

Paul Jordan, also known as Dr Eurovision, spoke to NationalWorld about this year’s contest, the importance of having Ukraine front and centre, and who could surprise on the big night.

Liverpool’s atmosphere is ‘electric’

Paul spoke to me just upon arriving in Liverpool for the party, and the buzzing atmosphere was undeniable from the get-go. “It's electric. Everyone's having a great time,” he said.  

“There's volunteers around, there's loads of cultural stuff, there's little side events. There really is something for everyone.”

It’s important to remember that the contest has landed on UK shores on behalf of Ukraine, with the influence of the war-torn country being woven through the build-up and broadcast of the contest itself. 

“[Ukraine winning] was a really powerful moment last year. It just goes to show that you know people at that time were thinking of the people in Ukraine.”

President Volodymyr Zelensky had been hoping to make a direct address to the contest and its estimated audience of around 200million people. The European Broadcasting Union prohibited this from happening as a stance of remaining apolitical. 

However, the Ukrainian influence is still prevalent, with Paul saying that the celebrations from Liverpool have so far been “very special and really respectful of Ukraine, adding: “It comes through on the TV and from walking about the city.

The UK is hosting Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine. (Credit: PA)The UK is hosting Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine. (Credit: PA)
The UK is hosting Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine. (Credit: PA)

“They've got the Ukrainian-designed songbirds in the city, they've also got lots of cultural walks to represent Ukraine - you name it, they've got. 

“Sam Ryder said it best when he said it’s Ukraine’s contest but we're having it at our house and I think that's a really nice way of looking at it.”

Eurovision resurgence in the UK

The success of Sam Ryder at the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 cannot be understated. The singer blew the lid off of the UK’s Eurovision expectations, finishing in second place behind Ukraine giving the country its highest placement since 1997. 

Paul says that the moment has sparked a resurgence in appreciation for the competition. “The tone seems to have changed,” he said.

“I really hope that this is the start of a new beginning and a resurgence, a renaissance. It’s happened in other countries too like the Netherlands, Germany, even Italy.”

The hope for further Eurovision success post-Sam Ryder rests on the shoulders of 25-year-old Mae Muller with her tune ‘I Wrote A Song’. But will it continue the trend? 

Mae Muller is representing the UK in Eurovision 2023. (Credit: Getty Images)Mae Muller is representing the UK in Eurovision 2023. (Credit: Getty Images)
Mae Muller is representing the UK in Eurovision 2023. (Credit: Getty Images)

“I think there's a good pop song, it just depends on the live performance. I think closing the show can be a blessing and a curse.

“It might stick in people’s head but there’s 25 songs before it so people might feel a little jaded, that might be where they are filling up their drinks and snacks.

“You can come second one year and then the second last next year. It very much depends on how you do on the night but I don't think we should be disheartened if that happens.

“Let's keep on the right track. We’ll see where we are five years down the line.”

Ones to watch out for

Sweden emerged as an early favourite to lift the 2023 trophy after 2012 champion Loreen was confirmed to be making a comeback. She will take to the stage on Saturday to perform her song ‘Tattoo’ - but is the win as stuck-on as everyone thinks? 

“I think it's between Sweden and Finland but it’s quite unpredictable. Sweden could do it but I think the hype is because of her previous win and people are expecting her to do well.”

Loreen’s competition comes in the form of Käärijä’s industrial metal-electronic dance hit ‘Cha Cha Cha’. It has already creeped up in the bookies odds and become a fan favourite in the lead up to the show.

“Finland, for me, I think there's nothing else like it in the contest. It really stands out.

“But the issue will be the juries - I think the juries will really crucify it but the public will really go for it in a big way.”

But it may not be a two-horse race at night. The show is packed with energy and varying genres, meaning that the unexpected could breakthrough on the night

“I think Cyprus is a bit of a dark horse that came across very well in the semi-final. Also people love a bop - Poland, they don’t have the best singer but it’s really good fun. Moldova too, there's something about that I think the juries will really like.”