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Sweden’s Loreen wins Eurovision for the second time, UK comes second from last

By | Published on Monday 15 May 2023


The Eurovision Song Contest took place in Liverpool on Saturday with Sweden’s Loreen topping the leader board with her song ‘Tattoo’ and in doing so winning the event for a second time, something only one other performer has ever done. The UK’s Mae Muller, meanwhile, came second from last, just above Germany.

Speaking at a press conference following the show, Loreen said: “Everything feels surreal. I am seriously overwhelmed. This is so beautiful. One feeling I have in my body that’s taken over is just gratitude”.

She previously won in 2012 with the (far better) song ‘Euphoria’ and had been the favourite to take the trophy again throughout the run-up to this year’s Eurovision. Taking a strong lead in the jury voting, once the tally from the public vote was added she was 57 points ahead of second place Finland and 221 above Israel in third place.

“In 2012 everything was new for me”, she told reporters. “This time it’s like coming back to a family. We know each other by now. This experience was more motherly and effortless”.

The UK was hosting the event on behalf of last year’s winner, Ukraine, which was unable to stage the Contest due to its ongoing conflict with Russia.

Throughout this year’s proceedings, Ukraine was celebrated as much as possible without breaking the competition’s rules on remaining non-political. And Ukraine itself finished sixth in the grand final.

Overall, it was a slick and entertaining show, showing off the BBC at its best and highlighting why the UK really should make an effort to win Eurovision a bit more often. Even the usually fairly tedious jury voting section was made highly entertaining by the duo of Hannah Waddingham and Graham Norton.

All of which means it’s a shame that – after last year’s triumph with Sam Ryder achieving second place – the UK was back in the more familiar position of second from bottom.

The UK’s result seemed somewhat unfair given the song that was entered, with somewhere around the middle of the table feeling more appropriate. Still, there were a number of reasons why Mae Muller didn’t do well when it came to the voting.

It is true that the song itself was a key part of the problem; it simply did not seem to meet the mark. It also didn’t really feel like a Eurovision song – where largely lyrics proffering positivity and love win out, yet the UK sent one about getting revenge on an ex. Simple messages also go over well with the highly international audience, and ‘I Wrote A Song’ was full of lyrics tailored to British ears.

Not that many people would have been able to pick out many of those lyrics, thanks to a lacklustre sound mix for Muller’s performance. This was another issue. Plus she also performed last, which tends not to lead to victory, people already having picked favourites by that point, making it especially difficult for Miller as several similar and arguably better songs had already been performed.

And – if you want to get nerdy – the song’s tempo was dangerously close to 128bpm, which has historically been less successful at Eurovision.

Hopefully this doesn’t send the UK back to its previous position of just not bothering to put the effort in at Eurovision because we’re convinced we’ll lose anyway.

Sam Ryder’s success in 2022 shows that it isn’t a given that the UK won’t do well. And it really would be nice to see the event take place in the UK again based on an actual win – the last time that happened was in 1998, following Katrina And the Wave’s victory the previous year.

Watch Loreen’s winning performance here: