As the weeks count down until Liverpool welcomes the world for the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, the BBC announces the line-up of live musical performances set to star in the Semi-Finals.
Broadcast for the first time on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, both Semi-Finals offer entertainment for all audiences, whether new to Eurovision or an existing fan.
To mark the start of the Eurovision Song Contest, Semi-Final 1 will open with host Julia Sanina performing part of ‘Маяк’ by her band The Hardkiss. Translating from the Ukrainian for ‘Lighthouse’, this performance – forming part of an incredibly powerful opening act – will symbolise in many ways how the UK is ‘United by Music’ with Ukraine through hosting the 2023 Contest on behalf of the 2022 winners.
Broadcast on Tuesday 9th May, Semi-Final 1’s interval sees global superstar Rita Ora deliver a show-stopping medley of some of her biggest hits. Holding the record for the most top 10 singles in the Official Charts by a British female artist and having accumulated 10 billion streams, Rita will also perform the world exclusive of her brand-new single Praising You to millions watching across the globe.
Ukrainian singer Alyosha – who represented Ukraine in Eurovision 2010 – will perform alongside Liverpool’s very own critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter, Rebecca Ferguson. Like many Ukrainian women in 2022, Alyosha was forced to leave her country and loved ones behind to seek refuge; Alyosha will share her personal journey through a new, haunting arrangement of British musical heavyweight Duran Duran’s ‘Ordinary World’. Creatively led and produced by Freckled Sky and TRI.Direction, in partnership with BBC Studios and UA:PBC, Alyosha and Rebecca will tell a story of hope, courage, and support for the people of Ukraine from across the world.
Semi-Final 2, broadcast Thursday 11th May, sees two live interval performances.
‘Music Unites Generations’ explores the connection between generations of Ukrainians and the music they love. Mariya Yaremchuk, who represented Ukraine in Eurovision 2014, leads a contemporary montage of some of the most well-known pieces of music from the country. As we travel through time, the piece ends with a stunning collaborative performance from rapper OTOY, 14-year-old Ukrainian Junior Eurovision representative Zlata Dziunka, and Mariya. Together, they show that for generations of Ukrainians, music is the light that overcomes darkness.
Also in the interval, a performance called ‘Be Who You Wanna Be’ celebrates how Eurovision is a place for everyone – no matter who you are. Three extraordinary drag performers lead into a jaw-dropping routine of high-end pop performances along with a troupe of eclectic dancers. They represent the huge spectrum of fans – regardless of age, nationality, or background – who revel in being a part of Eurovision every year. With a medley of fabulous songs and incredible staging, it’ll be a performance that viewers remember.
Kate Phillips, BBC’s Director of Unscripted, says: “There won’t be a moment to miss during these very entertaining and very tense Semi-Finals.
“Good luck to all the countries involved as they compete for a place in what’s going to be an unforgettable Grand Final.”