What is it like to watch Eurovision for the first time?

Eurovision 2023: Derby viewers on what it was like to watch Eurovision for the first time

Sweden (right) finding out they have won Eurovision 2023 and Finland losing out
The big moment that Sweden won Eurovision. Photo: Erin Cooke.

Eurovision returned to our screens again this year as the competition took place in Liverpool. In 2022, the United Kingdom finished as runners-up to Ukraine, who were unable to host due to Russia’s invasion of the country.

This year was the 67th year of the competition and it saw previous winner Loreen (Euphoria 2012) taking back her crown for Sweden.

Each edition of the contest brings in more and more new viewers – they may know nothing of the content but they perhaps know hit songs from previous years such as “Arcade” by Duncan Lawrence, “Flying the Flag” by Scooch and, of course, the biggest song to come from the competition, “Waterloo” by ABBA.

“I don’t know what I was expecting,” said first-time Eurovision viewer Kurt Rodgers, 24, of Derby. “It’s not usually my kind of thing, but my girlfriend’s house were having a get together, so I thought why not?”

The contest consists of 26 acts in the final – with countries from all over Europe as well as further afield (including Australia) taking part. The format takes place with each act performing one after the other with short, pre-recorded clips in between for stage set up.

After all acts have performed, the audience for each competing country (both those who took part in the semi-final as well as the final) gets to vote. For the first time ever in 2023, there was a ‘Rest of the World’ vote allowing those outside of Europe to vote. As these votes are counted, representatives of each country gives out their nation’s points from one to 12 – these are called the jury votes.

“I did start to lose a lot of concentration during the votes, it went on far too long for me.” Explained Elland Elliott, 21, another first-time Eurovision viewer, also of Derby. Once all audience votes are counted, they are announced in order of country with the least number of jury votes, to the country with the most being last.

Elland Elliott taking down her own scores for Eurovision
Elland Elliott taking down her own scores for Eurovision, Photo: Erin Cooke

“When the points were being given out it started to make more sense” added Elliott, “I even started like the hosts suggested to start my own voting (scorecard).”

This year’s Eurovision had four previous entrants returning, with the most famous being this year’s winner Loreen – the other three entrants were, Pasha Parfeny (Moldova), Monika Linkyte (Lithuania) and Marco Mengoni (Italy).

“I’m not sure I find it fair for previous winners to be able to compete again, I think it makes it unfair for newer entrants,” suggested Kurt.

Social media reaction to Loreen’s win was mixed:

Sweden’s win mean it will be hosted in their home country next year. This coincides with ABBA’s 50th anniversary of the Eurovision victory that excelled them to fame.