LIVERPOOL, England, May 13 (Reuters) – The finals of Eurovision 2023 kicked off on Saturday, with last year’s winner Kalush performing in a video for Ukraine and live in the northern English city of Liverpool on behalf of the country fighting against Russia. Invasion.
Organizers have walked a tightrope in this year’s competition, which has attracted 37 countries, not allowing overt politics to mirror the situation in Ukraine.
Britain’s Kate, Princess of Wales, makes a surprise appearance playing the piano in the opening segment of the video.
Inspired by 19th-century writer Edgar Allan Poe, “Who the Hell is Edgar?” The 26 acts that qualified for the grand final span musical styles from ballads to heavy rock to rap, starting with Austria’s Teaa & Salena.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, was banned from speaking to a global audience by the organizer of the European Broadcasting Union – 160 million viewers – last year.
It said granting his request, which was made with “laudable intentions”, was against the non-political nature of the event and its rules prohibiting the publication of political statements.
However, Ukraine is set to take center stage at the show, which is themed “United by Music.” Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina is a host, along with Hannah Waddingham, theater and TV show “Dead Lasso”, pop singer Alesha Dixon and TV star Graham Norton.
Fans arriving at the arena on the banks of the River Mersey were covered in flags from Ukraine, Britain and the other 24 competitors.
The arena holds about 6,000 and several thousand people can watch in the fan zone.
Pam Minto, 37, from Liverpool, said she was proud of her city and believed it would make Ukraine proud.
“We loved the whole event from start to finish across Liverpool, it was amazing,” he said.
Anastasia Iovova, a 31-year-old teacher from Ukraine who now lives in Leeds, northern England, said Liverpool felt like a foreign country.
“We’re very proud to be here, very proud to have people in England supporting us through everything, and we’re very grateful for that,” he said.
The winner is determined by a combination of points awarded by juries and spectators in each competing country, plus first-time spectators in other countries, carrying the weight of a participating country.
Reporting by Paul Chandle; Editing by Jason Neely
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