The Best And Worst Eurovision Song Contest Moments And Who Will Win In 2023?

By Ian John
May 10, 2023

This week is Eurovision Song Contest week across Europe (and some far flung parts of the globe) and the excitement ahead Saturday’s annual festival of music is palpable.

Last year’s winners were the Ukraine, who pipped the UK’s Sam Ryder to top spot once the popular votes had been added to those selected by the juries of the nation’s competing and voting.

However, due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, it was decided early in the decision-making process that Kyiv would not be able to host this year’s contest, so as runner-up, the United Kingdom offered to step in and host the tournament on behalf of Ukraine.

And in a prolonged battle between the three famous UK cities, Liverpool held off Birmingham and Glasgow to be named as the host for the famous contest.

In this article, we are going to take a look at the history of Eurovision, some of its memorable, funny, brilliant and downright awful moments as well as taking a look ahead at which countries are the favourites to win this year’s event.

And of course, we’ll give you the odds on those countries from bet365 Sport, alongside our pick for which country we think will earn the most “douze points” over the course of the night to win!

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The History of the Eurovision Song Contest

Organised each year by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and based on the San Remo Music Festival, which has been held in Italy since 1951, the Eurovision Song Contest showcases all the good, some of the bad and lots of the absolute craziness of the countries competing in the event.

The event was first contested in 1956 in Lugano, Switzerland and from its very beginning its aim was to feature songs from countries across Europe which could then be voted upon, points awarded and then the winner declared after the voting.

Only seven countries competed in the first tournament, which was won by the Swiss singer Lys Assia in a win for the host nation, but the tournament has grown exponentially since then and now rather than a one-day event, two semi-finals featuring 20 countries apiece are contested to whittle the field down to the 26 for the Final.

The ‘Big Six” – England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Portugal all qualify automatically for the final.

  • Voting

For the Eurovision Song Contest final, each of the countries entering the tournament were given a chance to award points to the songs they felt were the best.

Points have traditionally been awarded in the form of 12 points for the most popular song, 10 points for the second most popular then from 8 points down to 1 for the next eight best songs on the night.

Countries are barred for voting for their own entrant in the competition and some countries votes tend to be given to their most friendly neighbouring allies, such as Greece and Cyprus who tend to give each other 12 points every year regardless of how good, or bad, the song entered into the contest is.

For many years, panels would decide the way the points would be awarded for the best songs for each country and the winners decided on those point allocations alone.

But now, there is a phone vote where the tallies given to each country are added to the jury votes to decide the winner, which means that even if an act wins the Jury vote, they may not win the contest once the popular votes are taken into consideration.

This is what happened last year when Sam Ryder finished top in jury votes, but lost out to a huge public vote for Ukraine.

Given the increasing number of countries voting and competing in the event, countries typically only announce where there top two points awards are going, with the other points shown on screen when it comes their turn to vote.

The Best of Eurovision

Over the years there have been some fantastic Eurovision moments, so let’s take a look at five of the very best:

  1. Abba Win Eurovision – 1974

From the moment their musical director walked on in a Napoleon outfit, Swedish group ABBA were always looking likely winners of the contest. Then when the first few bars of probably the most identifiable Eurovision song ever were played, the win was in the bag.

This was the beginning of a musical odyssey which continues to this day after selling millions of albums all over the world.

YouTube video
  • Riverdance Stuns Viewers – 1994

When there is the interval between the final song and the start of the voting in Eurovision, we have been treated to some absolutely awful entertainment in the middle of the show. But in 1994, Ireland changed all that.

Composed by Bill Whelan, Michael Flatley, Jean Butler and their team performed Riverdance, almost seven music of performance art that stunned the watching world and led to Flatley becoming a household name across the globe.

Oh and to cap a great night in Dublin, the Irish entry “Rock ‘n Roll Kids” was the clear winner of the event meaning Ireland had won the contest for three years in a row.

YouTube video
  • Greece And Cyprus Voting

I did mention this earlier, but Greece and Cyprus annual awarding each other 12 points, or at least high value points, is one of the highlights of the competition, even if the audience has cottoned on to what is happening.,

The video below covers almost 30 years and it happens every year and still continues to do so right up to today! Just watch this weekend to see this year’s annual love in between the Mediterranean neighbours.

YouTube video

And to prove it…

YouTube video

In the 31 times Cyprus has been able to vote for Greece in the final, it has awarded the 12 points maximum 26 times. Last year Cyprus jury voted Greece top with 12 points, but just 10 points in the televote. Similarly Greece gave Cyprus 10 points in the televote, and 12 points in the Jury vote.

We’ve also seen similar voting patterns for the likes of Romania & Moldova, the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and a number of former Soviet states have voted for Russia when they were not banned from the competition.

The Worst Of Eurovision

Some of the best moments are when things go wrong in Eurovision and there is that moment of Schadenfreude when everything goes pear-shaped.

Watch out for Graham Norton’s fantastic “Oh Lena, you idiot!” when a poor German girl announces the wrong country for 10 points.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTdwup_v2bU

And as for some of the songs…well…

YouTube video
YouTube video

And my personal favourite that I did vote for…

YouTube video

Who Wins This Year’s Eurovision?

We started with Abba and Waterloo and it may be another good year for Sweden as bet365 has their entry as the ½ hot favourite to win this year.

I do wonder about that as I think the public vote may well be swayed heavily again by the events happening in the Ukraine, who are 15/2 to repeat their success of last year.

Finland, who last won with Metal rockers Lordi, are 11/5 second favoutires with France joint third favourites with Ukraine on 15/2.

The UK are one of the outsiders at 40/1 with Norway (20/1), Israel (12/1) and Spain (16/1) the only other countries rated as better than a 40/1 chance.

Seeing how last year was so influence by the public vote, I think Ukraine could be the bet again this year, even if Sweden do have the better song.

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