Sweden Level Up With Ireland In Historic 7th Eurovision Win Ahead Of Finland – But Not Without Controversy – While Liverpool Was The Star Of The Show

Swedish ‘Tattoo’ singer Loreen has taken home the Eurovision trophy from Liverpool, thanks to an incredible jury sweep, just in time for the 50th anniversary of ABBA’s 1974 win in Brighton. The victory means that Sweden now matches Ireland’s incredible 7 Eurovision wins, and Loreen joins Johnny Logan as only the second person to win the contest twice.

It was Käärjiä from Finland however who captured the hearts of Eurovision viewers with the instantly memorable, ‘Cha Cha Cha’.

Meanwhile, in other news, Luxembourg yesterday made the surprise announcement that they will be returning to the contest next year after a 30 year absence.

Sweden had been the bookies’ favourite to win Eurovision right from the moment Loreen announced she was entering Melodifestifalen, the country’s national song competition. Her song, ‘Tattoo’, has so far amassed an incredible 58.3 million streams on Spotify alone since its release on February 25.

Meanwhile, ‘Cha Cha Cha’ from Finland’s Käärjiä, was the breakout fan favourite, and while it’s only had slightly less than half the number of Spotify streams as ‘Tattoo’, at just over 22 million, it’s found its way into the brains of people all over the world, an incredible feat in itself considering the song is entirely in Finnish.

Finnish singer Käärjiä has himself been the darling of the contest, and his “bromance” with Bojan Cvjetićanin, of Slovenia’s Joker Out, captured everyone’s hearts.


The voting system for the 67th Eurovision Song Contest changed this year, with the semi-final results based on televote alone. This saw ‘Cha Cha Cha’ win resoundingly with 177 points. The second place holder in the semis was Australia, with a total of 149. Sweden actually only managed 135 points in the semi finals, in fourth place behind Austria’s Teya and Salena, who amassed 137 points with ‘Who The Hell Is Edgar?’. Additionally, Finland scored seven top votes in the semi-finals, compared to Sweden’s 2.

The jury was back for the grand final however, with their votes counting for half the total score, and this is what gave Sweden the edge to overtake Finland. 15 juries out of a total of 37 gave Sweden their top score, taking their jury total to 340, while Finland managed only two “douze points”, from Norway, and interestingly, Sweden. Finland reciprocated and gave their Nordic neighbour their own 12. The jury awarded Sweden 340 points, while Finland only received 150, putting them in fourth place behind Israel and Italy, who scored 177 and 176 respectively.

Meanwhile, in the grand final televoting, a whopping 18 countries gave Finland their top score, while Sweden didn’t manage any. This year saw the introduction of the “rest of world” vote, meaning that those fans outside the EBU region could have their say, and that group gave their top score to third finalist, Israel’s Noa Kirel, with her song, ‘Unicorn’. Finland’s televote score was a whopping 376, compared to Sweden’s second place 243.

Not surprisingly, the result came as a shock to both the live audience and those who had watched from around the world. The hosts had to repeatedly tell the audience in Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena to “shh!” and “be nice”, but it didn’t stop the crowd chanting “Cha Cha Cha” during the reading of the votes.

Social media erupted as well, with many suggesting the jury results were “rigged” to ensure a Swedish win to coincide with the 50th anniversary of ABBA’s historic win in Brighton, way back in 1974.

While this might sound like a conspiracy theory, but it’s not without foundation. ABBA’s victory effectively put Swedish music on the world map, and set in motion the incredible machine that’s made Sweden the superstar of the music industry, with producers such as Max Martin, and not forgetting the members of ABBA themselves. Even Swedish streaming powerhouse Spotify owes its success to Sweden’s first Eurovision win, because before ABBA, nobody outside of northern Europe paid much attention to what the country was doing.

There’s further ramifications to Loreen’s second victory. It means that Sweden now holds joint first place with Ireland as Eurovision champions, each country having won a total of 7 times. Ireland however has not qualified for the Eurovision final since 2018, and the last time they even visited the top 10 was in 2011, when Jedward finished in 8th place with ‘Lipstick’. Even before Jedward, Ireland’s best result was Brian Kennedy’s 10th place in 2006, and before that, Eamonn Toal’s 6th place in 2000 (prior to permanent semi-finals being introduced in 2004). In fact, the last time Ireland reached the top spot was way back in 1996, when Eimear Quinn won with 162 points for her song, ‘The Voice’. It’s to be noted that year had semi-finals, which saw Eimear qualify in 2nd place with 198 points. If Ireland continue in their Eurovision slump then that first place may well slide away even further.

The show made much of previous Eurovision contestants and winners, with Iceland’s Daði & Gagnamagnið, and Israel’s Netta just 2Much was made of previous Eurovision contestants and winners, with Ireland’s Jedward, Iceland’s Daði Freyr, and Israel’s Netta just 3 of the many. Jedward were special guests at both the second semi final and the grand final, and this week performed at Euroclub, as well as in the pre-final fan party yesterday afternoon in the Eurovillage, while Netta and Daði & Gagnamagnið had a part in the interval performance. This also included Italy’s Mahmood, Sweden’s Cornelia Jakobs, Duncan Laurence from The Netherlands, as well as Liverpool’s very own Sonia, who came second in the contest for the UK back in 1993. Additionally, Jedward were special guests at both the second semi final and the grand final, and this week performed at EuroClub, as well as in the pre-final fan party yesterday afternoon in the Euro Village. They even made a surprise turn as Eurovision’s “admin” on Twitter:

Which brings us to Luxembourg. The tiny landlocked country, bordered by Germany, France, and Belgium, had been a part of the inaugural Eurovision Song Contest back in 1956, and have won an amazing 5 times, in third place behind Ireland’s, and now Sweden’s, 7. Luxembourg won in 1961, 1965, 1972, 1973, and 1983. Interestingly, their second consecutive win was the reason why the UK hosted the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, which saw ABBA’s victory with ‘Waterloo’. Luxembourg left the contest after the 1993 competition, but announced over this week they will return next year.

Speaking of the Grand Duchy’s return, Martin Österdahl, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest said:

“We are thrilled to welcome back Luxembourg to the Eurovision Song Contest after 30 years. The country has one of the most successful records in the Contest with 5 wins in the first three decades of the competition alone. We very much look forward to working with RTL on their return to the world’s biggest live music event in 2024.”

It remains to be seen what a 21st century Luxembourg can bring to the Eurovision table. Given their small size and population, only 9 of their previous 37 entries have been native Luxembourgers. Will they open up their entries once more, like Switzerland and San Marino, to those people without any connection to their country? Watch this space.

Finally, we must give credit to the true star of Eurovision this year, the city of Liverpool herself. Stepping in to host in stead for Ukraine, who were are still under siege from Russia’s illegal invasion, the dock city in England’s north-west pulled out all the stops and brought a Eurovision Song Contest to beat all. The broadcast was faultless, the BBC’s incredible talents bringing an event to remember to the world stage, amazingly only days after covering King Charles III’s coronation. Additionally the people of Liverpool all put their weight behind the contest, the final result being one which will be remembered for decades to come.

Both semi-finals and the grand final ensured that Ukraine were given their rightful status, as winners of last year’s competition, and the “postcard” video clips from each contestant beautifully including scenes from not just the artists’ home countries, but also Ukraine and the UK.

British singer Alesha Dixon, British actress and singer Hannah Waddingham, and Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina were announced as hosts for all three events, with Graham Norton joining them for the Grand Final, while Ukraine’s Timur Miroshnychenko (who had co-hosted the 2017 contest) co-hosted the “Turquoise Carpet” and Opening Ceremony events with Samantha Ann Quek.

Kudos must be given to whoever came up with the idea of inviting Ms Waddingham onto the presenting team, as she proved to be not just a stand-out host but an absolute revelation. Given her stunning appearance, her multi-lingual talents, and her four-octave vocal range, would it be too much to ask if the UK could consider selecting her to represent the UK in 2024?

Eurovision is over for now, but roll on next year! In the meantime, enjoy the live performance below from Finland’s Käärjiä and ‘Cha Cha Cha’. We challenge you to resist the earworm. Cha cha cha cha!

Käärijä - Cha Cha Cha (LIVE) | Finland 🇫🇮 | Grand Final | Eurovision 2023

About the author

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.

Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email lisa@essentiallypop.com