Synth Alert: Here's When and Where to Get Your Europop Fix Watching Eurovision 2023

It's Eurovision time for another year, with Perth's Voyager representing Australia with their progressive pop metal track 'Promise'.
Sarah Ward
Published on May 08, 2023

It isn't every day that Australia busts out a pop-metal tune to compete on the world stage. No, just at Eurovision 2023. Apologies to whatever's been getting a workout on your playlist over the past few weeks, but May is here, which means that Eurovision is here. And, so are a whole bunch of synth-heavy Europop tunes — plus that Aussie riff on a on Europop tune — that'll worm their way into your head.

This is Christmas for pop songs belted out competitively in a glitzy ceremony filled with eye-catching outfits, with the the 67th Eurovision Song Contest kicking off at 5am AEST on Wednesday, May 10. Doing the honours for Australia, starting in the second semi final at 5am AEST on Friday, May 12, is Perth synth-metal band Voyager. Their track: earworm 'Promise', which'll have "it's gonna be alright" lodged in plenty of brains from the moment that the band take to the stage.

For newcomers, Eurovision started back in 1956 as a competition between a mere seven nations. Now, more than six decades later, it's a glitter-strewn and spandex-fuelled global musical phenomenon. Thirty-seven countries not only in Europe but from elsewhere will compete in 2023 — hello Australia — and viewers tune in en masse to watch, sing along and add new pop tunes to their queues.

This year's host city is Liverpool in the United Kingdom, in a break from Eurovision tradition. The song contest usually unleashes each year's contenders in the country responsible for the past year's winner — and in 2022, Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra won for 'Stefania'. But due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, Eurovision will be held in the UK for the first time in a quarter-century. Thanks to duo TVORCHI, a huge hit on their homegrown charts, Ukraine will still defend its title with the song 'Heart of Steel'.

Australians keen to tune in will be directing their eyeballs to SBS, with the broadcaster's usual annual celebration of all things Europop returning for another round. 2023 marks 40 years of the network showing Eurovision, in fact. When Voyager play their track, they'll be up against performers from 15 other countries, including Brunette from Armenia, Belgium's Gustaph, Diljá from Iceland, Joker Out from Slovenia, and Austria's Teya & Salena. Also in the same show: Aussie Andrew Lambrou, who is competing for Cyprus, his parents' homeland, with 'Break a Broken Heart'.

If Voyager makes their way through to the grand final — with only 21 acts making the cut, and France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Ukraine automatically guaranteed spots — you'll also want to get up early on Sunday, May 14. Or, even if they don't, that's when this year's winner will be anointed. Of course, for those who can't tear themselves out of bed before it's light and can somehow manage to avoid the internet and social media, both semis and the grand final will also screen in primetime on the same dates.

Wondering who Voyager are? And why you didn't get a say in their Eurovision selection? Unlike past years, there was no Eurovision — Australia Decides event and public vote to choose who'd score the Aussie berth; however, the five-piece band featuring Danny Estrin on vocals and keytar, Simone Dow and Scott Kay on guitar, Alex Vanion on bass and Ash Doodkorte on drums has been vying to represent the country since 2015. In 2022's Australian vote, they came in second to Sheldon Riley, who took the country to 15th spot in last year's Eurovision grand final.

Now that it's time to watch along, SBS' usual local hosts Myf Warhurst and Joel Creasey are once again overseeing the Australian coverage. And if you can't decide whether to beat the sun or wait and host a party at sensible hour, it's worth remembering that Australians can indeed vote for Eurovision, but only until around 15 minutes after the last song is performed in each live semi-final broadcast and about 40 minutes after the last track ends in the grand final. In a big change to past years, voting is open to everyone in all finals — whether you're from a country participating in that final or not — and the artists who get through from the two semi finals to the grand final will be solely chosen by the audience at home.

Still remaining the same: the rule that says Australians can't actually vote for Voyager, because no one can vote for the country they represent.


Semi final one: 5am AEST on Wednesday, May 10 on SBS and SBS on Demand
Semi final two: 5am AEST on Friday, May 12 on SBS and SBS on Demand — featuring Voyager
Grand final: 5am AEST on Sunday, May 14 on SBS and SBS on Demand

Semi final one: 12pm AEST on Wednesday, May 10 on SBS on Demand
Semi final two: 12pm AEST on Friday, May 12 on SBS on Demand — featuring Voyager
Grand final: 3pm AEST on Sunday, May 14 on SBS on Demand

Semi final one: 7.30pm AEST on Friday, May 12 on SBS
Semi final two: 7.30pm AEST on Saturday, May 13 on SBS — featuring Voyager
Grand final: 7.30pm AEST on Sunday, May 14 on SBS

SBS' Eurovision 2023 coverage runs from Wednesday, May 10–Sunday, May 14. For more information, head to the broadcaster's website.

Images: Sarah Louise Bennett / Corinne Cumming.

Published on May 08, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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