By Paul Sandle
LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - The Grand Final of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Liverpool, northern England, on Saturday, with acts representing 26 countries competing.
Here are seven acts to watch out for:
Duo Teya & Salena open the contest with the pounding "Who The Hell is Edgar?", a bizarre tribute to 19th century writer Edgar Allan Poe. The song's lyrics address originality in music, while the line "Zero dot zero zero three" refers to the royalty rate of $0.003 per stream which Spotify is said to pay.
France - one of the "Big Five" that has automatic entry to the Grand Final - has not won the contest since 1977. La Zarra, the stage name of Fatima Zahra Hafdi, is hoping to break the draught with her Edith Piaf-esque rendition of "Evidemment".
Sweden's Loreen is Eurovision royalty, having won the contest in 2012. She showcases her voice again this year with the euphoric "Tattoo", which she sings sandwiched in a gap between two blocks that expand as the song builds. She is leading the betting.
Käärijä, a rapper and singer sporting bright green bolero-sleeves and a bare chest, was a huge hit in the arena in Tuesday's semi-final with "Cha Cha Cha", a celebration of cutting loose after a week of hard work.
Although Australia could not be further from Europe, the country has participated in Eurovision since 2015. The country's hopes are riding on Voyager, a progressive metal band only outdone in the heavy rock stakes by Germany's Lord Of The Lost.
Electro pop-duo Tvorchi hope to repeat Kalush Orchestra's triumph in 2022. Their song "Heart of Steel" was inspired by Ukrainian's defence of Mariupol before it was occupied by Russian forces last spring.
Moustached rock band Let 3 don multi-coloured trench coats for "Mama ŠČ!", an anti-war song which they have said is not political. Its lyric about buying a tractor is said to refer to Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus gifting Russia's Vladimir Putin a tractor for his 70th birthday. They end their performance in sagging vests and Y-fronts.
(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Jason Neely)