Jury Rehearsal: Vocal Assessment of all songs in the Grand Final of Eurovision 2023

Loreen at Eurovision 2023 for Sweden. Source : EBU

Tomorrow it’s time for the grand final of Eurovision 2023. 26 countries will compete for the trophy in the long awaiting final of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. But 50% of the results will already be decided tonight! Follow the jury rehearsal with us. In this blog you can read what we think of the vocal qualities of each country, and how we think the juries will react to their performance.

NOTE: The star ratings are our indication of how likely it is that the professional jury might vote for this performance. They do not display any personal preferences.

For more information on how to read this blog, check out our Jury Jargon Explanation. For updates on the show elements of the grand final, you can read blog our liveblog from the first rehearsal during the afternoon.

Please keep refreshing this blog to receive the latest updates. Timeslots are indicated in CET. Newest update always appears on top.

23:54 – Thanks for joining us

We’re wrapping up. Looking forward to the Grand Final tomorrow night!

23:47 – Bottom 6

In a rather jury unfriendly Grand Final, 6 songs fall below the pack. Serbia, Moldova, Germany, Croatia, UK and Poland will – for different reasons – not be appreciated by juries.

Croatia and Moldova are tonight’s clearest examples of FOP-effect songs. Germany and Serbia have divisive songs, and Poland disappointed with a rather flat composition. UK’s song is probably not jury food, and Mae Muller is not a great vocalist either.

23:38 – Big 5, Top 5

Behind Loreen, there is a group  of countries fighting for Jury Top 5 places, including several Big 5 countries. These are the countries: France, Italy, Spain, Armenia and Israel.

Italy and France both have class artists with really jury friendly songs. However, both Marco Mengoni and La Zarra experienced difficulties during their performances. Italy has a slight edge for us, but only very slightly.

Spain was on point; will juries finally vote for an ethnic song in their top 5? Armenia also features a lot of green flags and Israel might get the “Chanel-vote” from juries after giving her best performance of the week tonight.

23:29 – Loreen wins the Jury Final

It did not even need to be her best performance of the week, for her to be the best of the pack. We are very confident to predict Sweden as the Jury winner.

23:19 – Song 26 – United Kingdom – Mae Muller – I wrote a song

The first verse comes out okayish, however, Mae slides off a note (“trash”) at the prechorus. The backing vocalists carry her during the chorus. Second verse is without big mistakes. Compared to the meltdown from this afternoon, this is an acceptable performance, though Mae never fully convinces. The parlando part in the bridge is also solid, but the high notes at the end of the bridge go horribly wrong.

This Lily Allen styled “middle finger pop” does not have a lot of Eurovision precedent, however, when Ireland tried it with Brooke last year, televoters appreciated it considerably more than juries did.

23:14 – Song 25 – Croatia – Let 3 – Mama SC

It is obvious that this performance does not strive to be a vocal masterclass. However, the Let 3 lead singer makes mistakes even in the flatter parts of the verses. The final chorus features two big off-key notes on top of a performance that was already shaky at best.

The compositional break after one minute is a huge red flag for jurors, who previously punished many other songs for this kind of build-up. However, the most important problem with this entry is of course the performance. Between the outfits, the moustaches, the rockets and the quirky dances, this screams FOP-effect. In other words: jurors will not vote for this because they perceive it as a joke entry, as if the Croats are trying to fool them. Therefore they will rule it out in advance.

23:09 – Song 24 – Slovenia – Joker Out – Carpe Diem

The lead singer of Joker Out starts off with some nerves. He misses two notes in his first line – something he has not done before throughout these weeks. After that, he recovers. The rest of the song comes out not just on-key, but quite comfortable as well. This may not be the most difficult composition to sing in the composition. The performance is cheerful and potentially appealing for televoters, yet juries might perceive it as a gimmick.

We mentioned before that juries are no big fan of rock music. However, this type of pop rock entry, with some retro vibes incorporated, is the most jury friendly kind of rock imaginable.

23:05 – Song 23 – Israel – Noa Kirel – Unicorn

Noa improved a lot vocally during this week. Tonight, she delivers a solid first verse. In the first chorus, she is on the edge for 2-3 notes. The word “won’t” is her biggest adversary; the word “unicorn” comes out solidly every time. Second verse & chorus are both okay. Noa will never become one of this contest’s best vocalists, but she does not need to be, she only needs to be acceptable. And she clearly was that tonight and more than that. Best vocal performance of the week for Noa.

Not many people know this, but the Swedish schlager genre is actually a green flag for juries. They tend to appreciate it more than televoters. Biggest question is the dance break towards the end. Is this a potential Chanel / Fourreira effect? We think it might be, also because Noa’s dance is a lot more impressive than the one from Blanka by comparison.

23:02 – Song 22 – Lithuania – Monika Linkyte – Stay

Monika misses one note in the first prechorus (at “stay”). Chorus comes out strongly, with support from backing vocals. Second verse is strong and during the bridge and the final chorus, Monika comes loose. She starts to look, move and sing more comfortably. All in all a solid performance.

The composition is that of a classical mid-tempo pop song, with gospel influences. Both are well precedented green flags for juries.

22:57 – Song 21 – Germany – Lord of the Lost – Blood & Glitter

The lead singer of Lord of the Lost struggles with the lower ranks in the first verse. After that, he picks it up and gets through the rest of the song without mistakes.

Juries do not appreciate the art of grunting, even when done in a technically proper way. The hardrock genre is also quite divisive, which as we know is a red flag for the German jury vote. Combine that with the fact that this song openly combines two genres (big red flag!), and we have a rather jury unfriendly composition at our hands.

22:53 – Song 20 – Norway – Alessandra – Queen of kings

Alessandra is off-key immediately at the word “cage” first chorus. She misses three low notes in the first verse. The second chorus is solid, but the second verse starts off with two huge mistakes in a row (at “firestone”), and another one in the pre-chorus. The bridge is acceptable, and the high note is cut short but not off-key, after which the final chorus comes out solid again.

This song has a strong message of female empowerment, which is generally a big green flag with juries. Alessandra also competed in the seventh season of The Voice – Norges beste stemme in 2022, reaching the live shows. This live performance, however, may have ruined an otherwise good jury result.

22:49 – Song 19 – Ukraine – Tvorchi – Heart of steel

Tvorchi is not in top form tonight. Without ever being fully off-key, he struggles with several notes in the first verse and both choruses. This is the type of vocal performance where juries have to sit on the edge of their chairs for three minutes, expecting a potential mistake any moment – but Tvorchi never actually makes one.

There is some precedent suggesting juries appreciate songs in the R’nB-genre. The fact that the song is middle-of-the-road and mostly inoffensive, underlines that.

22:44 – Song 18 – Moldova – Pasha Parfeni – Soarele si luna

Pasha misses two notes in the lower ranks of the first verse. He misses a couple more during the second verse and pre-chorus. Not his best vocal performance of the week. In the final choruses, he also struggles with the slider-notes in “Soarele”, but without going fully off-key.

The act with the little person, however, has FOP-effect written all over it. Juries will perceive this as a gimmick, especially with the clothing and the way he is presented. On top of that, the song features highly ethnic elements which can be a red flag for juries, especially in Western Europe.

22:38 – Song 17 – Armenia – Brunette – Future Lover

Brunette sings well in the first verse, despite being on the edge at some of the low notes. After all, juries will notice the level of difficulty of this song and likely cut her some slack, especially since she gets through it without going off-key. Second verse and chorus are also strong, and Brunette gains confidence as the performance continues. After the dance break, the backing vocalists join in and she nails the big notes.

A big potential red flag for juries could be the genre change from the first minute of the song toward the rap part. Don’t get me wrong: juries actually rate rap music higher than televoters. But they also tend to dislike songs mixing multiple styles/genres.

22:32 – Song 16 – Belgium – Gustaph – Because of you

Gustaph experienced vocal issues during this Eurovision week, but he has progressed in the last few days. Tonight, again, he comes through most of the difficult notes in the chorus. Of course, this will never be a vocal masterclass, but the first two minutes were at least solid. In the final minute, Gustaph flies off the handle at two big high notes.

The woke-message of this performance combined with the outdated 70’s style could give juries reasons to vote for Belgium.

22:28 – Song 15 – Australia – Voyager – Promise

The lead vocalist of Voyager misses one note high in the first verse. After that, he quickly gets into the rhythm. The experience of this performer comes across, especially when he moves alongside the piano. At the second chorus, the backing vocalist who has been strong all week, goes off-key at the high note. It must be said, though, that juries could also reward Australia for having their backing singer sing live at all, instead of a backing tape. The lead singer makes one more huge mistake at the bridge – uncharacteristically, he has not missed that note all week. The final 20 seconds from the backing vocalist come out very strong as always.

The rock genre can be divisive, and therefore jury unfriendly, especially when the song gets louder / more toward the grunting side of the spectrum. Juries have rewarded rock performances in the past, especially when the vocals are impressive, like with Softengine in 2014.

22:24 – Song 14 – Czech Republic – Vesna – My sister’s crown

In the first verse after the start chorus, one of the girls slides off one note high. The harmonies in the choruses, however, come out strong anytime. There is not much to pick on vocally here.

This total package contains a mixed bag of clear green and red flags. Juries like rap music more than televoters do, they appreciate a well performed harmony and they might pick up on the woke-messages of female empowerment and anti-war. It is also presented in a much less offensive way visually compared to the video clip. Then again, the song also contains ethnic elements and a genre switch.

22:20 – Song 13 – Finland – Käärijä – Cha cha cha

Käärjä misses two notes in the first verse. The chorus and the second verse are solid. This is a very flat composition, making it easier to sing (something a jury will notice). During the final minute of the song, he is slightly out of breath at times and misses three more notes.

With the techno and metal elements, the bondage staging, the gimmicky title and the in-your-face performance, this is a very divisive performance. This kind of love-or-hate entry tends to have a very big televote / jury vote split. While Käärijä is a potential televote winner, he might not get into the top 10 with juries. The best Eurovision precedent for this genre is Iceland 2019, which finished 8th with juries in the semi final, and 16th in the final.

22:15 – Song 12 – Estonia – Alika – Bridges

Alika is slightly on the edge twice in the first verse and another time in the second verse. Choruses come out well, but Alika is clearly more comfortable when she can go big, compared to when she has to go small. That same issue arises during the bridge, where she misses one note low. All in all, the big high notes provide her with plenty of bonus points to come across a strong vocalist.

Looking only at the composition, we would have to note that this is not the standard juryfriendly ballad due to the a-typical build-up. There are no clearcut verses and choruses, the song moves along in Lisa Andreas-style. However, when we look at the staging with the piano, the camera movements, the dress, and the way Alika moves and presents herself – we must conclude that this performance is catered mainly to juries. And they might appreciate it more than televoters do.

Alika claimed victory at the eighth edition of the Estonian talent show Eesti otsib superstaari in 2021.

22:10 – Song 11 – Italy – Marco Mengoni – Due Vite

Marco experiences a slight timing issue at the start of the song. He seems to recover, but has another slight stumble in the first chorus. It does not appear to effect the vocal quality of the performance, as Marco does not miss a single note – and you don’t feel like he is going to. The way Marco deals with his issues, shows a true professional and we still think juries will reward him for that.

The San Remo ballad has proven its value to Eurovision juries over these past 10 years. In his previous participation, he had only a very small discrepancy between jury vote and televote. Marco Mengoni rose to fame after taking part and winning X Factor Italia in 2009

22:06 – Song 10 – Albania – Albina Kelmendi and Familja Kelmendi – Duje

Albina misses one note low in the first verse. Harmonies in the pre-chorus are solid. The song’s melody is not that difficult to sing in itself, but Albina throws in a few high ad-libs toward the end, and she nails those higher notes. Vocally there is nothing wrong with this.

There is plenty of Eurovision precedent for this type of southern Balkan ballad (the kind that has more cultural alignment with Greece/Turkey/Bulgaria than with Croatia/Serbia/Slovenia). From those precedents, we can conclude two things. One: the genre has similar popularity among televoters and among juries. Two: both constituencies tend to value it more in a smaller semi final field, than in a Grand Final field. Albina finished second in The Voice of Albania in 2014.

22:02 – Song 09 – Sweden – Loreen – Tattoo

Loreen experiences slight discomfort at the lower ranks in the first verse, particularly at the word “goodbye”. After this start, she gets up to steam during the first chorus. We see a performer who is not only vocally strong but also confident and competent on the stage.

The term “Mans-factor” is named after Mans Zelmerlöw and not Loreen, because her first performance was more artistic and probably more directed at televoters looking for something new. This performance caters to juries more because it allows Loreen to strot the stage like a superstar, like a winner. Which she is – now.

This song has a lot of green flags for juries, too. Classical build up, radio friendly contemporary sound without being too much “out there”. But make no mistake: the artist is the biggest selling point for juries here.

21:54 – Song 08 – Spain – Blanca Paloma – Eaea

Blanca delivers the strongest vocal performance of the night thus far. Performing a technically very difficult song, she is not only on-key all throughout – she also comes across comfortable. Juries can sit back in their chairs knowing that Blanca will not make a mistake. Combined with a pinpoint choreography that is managed into detail, and that Blanca also delivers while singing at the same time. In other words: Mans-factor.

Estimating the jury vote, this is a trade-off between craftsmanship, charisma and strong vocals on the one hand, and a divisive, ethnic composition on the other side. The balance could just tip in Blanca Paloma’s favor, especially because this song – divisive as it may be – will likely not be perceived as a gimmick.

The problem estimating the outcome for Spain, is that there is very little precedent for a song that ethnic to be liked by juries. “Suus” (Albania 2012) is the one that comes closest in comparison.

21:49 – Song 07 – Cyprus – Andrew Lambrou – Break a broken heart

Andrew almost gets through the first verse without mistakes, but he misses the very last note (“heart”) low. Pre-chorus is shaky, and then we get to the chorus. That chorus comes out okay due to the heavy backing vocal support. Second verse is much weaker than the first, with several missed notes. Andrew also goes off-key twice during the falsetto notes at the bridge. It only gets worse from here, with two big mistakes in the final chorus as well.

This is the type of ballad that juries tend not to like as much, due to the synthesizers and the more modern bombastic effects. However, it is a composition that is very difficult to sing. Juries might have rewarded that high level of difficulty, had Andrew actually sang the choruses all by himself. As mentioned several times before during this week, he is carried heavily by his backing vocalists.

Andrew took part in X Factor Australia in 2015. Whether that is enough to cover for his mediocre vocal performance, remains to be seen.

21:43 – Song 06 – France – La Zarra – Evidemment

La Zarra starts solid during the first verse, however, she misses a note at the word “Faire” at the prechorus and another one in the last word of the first chorus. In between, she sounds solid, but not convincingly. There is not a strong Mans-factor here as we might have hoped for, not the comfortable expression of an experienced superstar. She does not make any mistakes, but the bonus points we were expecting, were not there. Long high note towards the end comes out just fine.

The composition has strong retro vibes, which is generally a good sign for the jury vote. Jurors tend to vote for more outdated songs than televoters.

21:39 – Song 05 – Serbia – Luke Black – Samo mi se spava

Luke has struggled all week with the first few notes while lying on his back. Juries will appreciate the level of difficulty that singing while lying on the floor comes with – but only if you get through it. And Luke does not come through tonight. After this start, Luke is not often clearly off-key, but he will definitely be accused of panting notes instead of singing them. Juries have always punished singers for that fact, with Edurne (Spain 2015) being the best example.

All those techno and rock elements together make “Samo mi se spava” a very divisive composition, that people will probably either love or hate. That helps with televoters but it’s a red flag for juries in the current way the voting system is set up.

21:35 – Song 04 – Poland – Blanka – Solo

Vocally this is a rather flat composition, not difficult to sing. Blanka is still on the edge of the layout notes on two occasions for the first verse. No huge mistakes, but she definitely does not allow jurors to sit back in their chairs. The same thing happens three more times in the second verse. The choruses come more easily, partly because of backing vocal support, partly because these notes come easier for Blanka. The bridge after the dance break is also solid.

This type of “beach pop” song is generally not suited for juries. There have been exceptions to this rule, most notably Cyprus 2018 and Spain 2022, however those entries were driven by extraordinary performers. And while Blanka did incorporate a dance break into her song, I find it hard to believe juries will make an exception for her the way they did for Chanel. There is also some precedent for juries perceiving a hologram as a gimmick. Blanka took part in Top Model in Poland in 2021 but I doubt this can save her.

21:31 – Song 03 – Switzerland – Remo Forrer – Watergun

Remo battles through the low notes in the first verse. He is on the edge for some of the notes, without fully missing one. The chorus is clearly more within his range, and he shows off strong vocals in that part of the song. Second verse flawless. Remo has a trademark voice, a sound that jurors will remember. High note towards the end comes out great, too. Remo Forrer won The Voice of Switzerland in 2019; potentially a big green flag for juries.

Juries do not automatically like all ballads. They do, however, have a soft spot for this kind of ballad, with a classical build-up.

21:26 – Song 02 – Portugal – Mimicat – Ai Coracao

Mimicat starts solid. Vocals have never been a major issue for this song. She misses a note at the very first sentence of the second verse, but recovers quickly. The long high note in the final chorus comes out fluently.

There is very little precedent for this genre in Eurovision. However, there are valid reasons top resume the style is not jury friendly. The burlesque genre is rather sexually loaded – which can bring along bad associations – and the song also has some ethnic influences.

21:22 – Song 01 – Austria – Teya & Salena – Who the hell is Edgar?

Teya and Salena are solid through the first verse as they have been all week. The high notes at the chorus are slightly more difficult, but no major mistakes at the start. Second chorus is a bit weaker, with the word “body” going off-key twice in a row. Bridge vocals are solid, however at the final chorus the duo misses another two notes. Vocals for this song are not difficult, particularly the verses are rather flat.

Will juries perceive this to be a joke entry? Will the FOP-effect apply? Fact is that the Eurovision performance is less gimmicky/offensive than the videoclip. Lyrics about ghosts, however, can still be perceived as offensive in more conservative countries.

Teya took part in Talent Show Starmania in 2021 (8th) and Salena in The Voice of Germany in 2017 (live rounds). Talent show participation can be a green flag for juries.

21:19 – Let’s get serious

After 20 minutes (!) it’s time to quit the pranks and get serious. We finally will get started with the actual contestants.

21:16 – Graham Norton

The ESCDaily jury does not appreciate a “presenter” who only shows up for the Grand Final.

21:09 – Not just any blog

Team ESCDaily has studied jury results extensively over the past few years. We are confident that we know what jurors are looking for in a Eurovision performance. And tonight, we will describe each performance for you through the eyes of a juror! Stay with us, we’ll start soon!

21:06 – Here we go

The rehearsal started right on time!

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