Eurovision 2023: Ranking the Big Five entries

Two of Eurovision’s Big Five countries had a resurgence in 2022. Both the United Kingdom and Spain made the top three in the Grand Final after years and years in the doldrums of the leaderboard. Have they, and their Big Five counterparts, kept up the reputation of Eurovision’s automatic qualifiers? Callum Rowe ranks their 2023 entries. 

5. Spain

Image – RTVE / Valero Rioja

As a piece of music without the visual accompaniment of a live stage show, Eaea isn’t a hugely pleasing listen. 

Blanca Paloma is, do doubt, a stunning singer. She carries the track and is the centrepoint for attention. The music is minimalistic and sounds spiritual, but it offers little in the way of a hook to give it a lasting, enjoyable impact.

The song will fare well on stage in Liverpool because of its artistic prowess visually, but the overall composition doesn’t please me. 

4. Germany

Image – VDPictures

There’s a lot to unpack in Germany’s entry this year. Blood & Glitter, by industrial rock band Lord Of The Lost, is a chaotic creative concoction. The beat thumps and stomps almost non-stop through the track with frontman Chris Harms dipping in and out of a roaring horror vocal.

As with most Eurovision songs, the more you hear them, the more you at least tolerate them; Blood & Glitter is just the same. There’s something strangely melodic about Harms’ voice mixed with the near-anthemic composition. 

It’s far from being Germany’s worst entry of the last disastrous decade, but it isn’t the best either. 

3. France

Image – SLAM

This is pure and utter class from one of Eurovision’s fallen angels. Once a powerhouse, France seldom reaches for higher heights at the contest. Until now. 

Évidemment by La Zarra is a musical masterstroke. The song is a fascinating fusion of old-meets-new of the French music scene, straddling both mid-20th century chanson culture and modern-day production experimentalism. 

2. Italy

Image – Andrea Bianchera

Italian music sweetheart Marco Mengoni is back in Eurovision, a whole decade after his rousing debut. 

Mengoni has matured musically since competing with 2013’s L’essenziale, but his sense of feeling hasn’t disappeared. 

Due Vite had to be cut down significantly to meet the three-minute rule, but the song hasn’t suffered as a result. The first minute is pared back in comparison to the later arrangement, allowing Mengoni to create an intimate connection. Later, the composition is grand and elite, making it sound like an Italian Eurovision classic. 

1. United Kingdom

Image – Harry Carr / Capitol Records UK / EMI

Another year, another song representing the United Kingdom that sounds box-fresh and chart-ready. The change in leadership of the country’s selection process has paid off once again. 

25-year-old singer-songwriter Mae Muller would have been pie-in-the-sky thinking to represent the UK just two years ago, but things have changed. Muller already has a successful career to-date, and is bubbling with enthusiasm to represent her country. 

I Wrote A Song is a synthy, sassy, stomper of a track. It’s the sort of thing British Eurovision fans have been crying out for from the UK for years. The track’s wordless chorus maximises its reach for an appreciative audience. 

There’s work to do live, but that doesn’t take the shine off this as the relevant, pleasurable pop record.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s