Liverpool's Eurovision grand final becomes most watched in history

The winner of this year's Eurovision, Sweden's Loreen, speaks exclusively to ITV News Arts Editor, Nina Nannar

The Eurovision Song Contest 2023 in Liverpool has become the most-watched grand final in history, the BBC has said.

The live broadcast saw an average of 9.9 million viewers and a peak of 11 million tune in to watch Swedish pop superstar Loreen make history and British entrant Mae Muller finish second-from-bottom, according to overnight ratings.

It has broken the previous ratings record which saw an average of 9.5 million people watch UK entry Blue compete in the competition in 2011 with the song I Can.

Last year, 8.9 million people tuned in to watch British hopeful Sam Ryder win over the audience with his uplifting pop song Space Man, which placed second to Ukraine in the competition in Turin, Italy.On Saturday night, former Eurovision champion Loreen became only the second person to claim the coveted trophy twice, telling ITV News it feels "surreal".

Representing Sweden, the vocalist, who previously triumphed in 2012, narrowly beat Finland’s Kaarija after the public and jury votes were combined.

She also gave words of comfort to the UK's Mae Muller, who finished second bottom of the leaderboard, saying: "You're amazing, you know that you're amazing."

Loreen performed her anthemic dance-pop song Tattoo for the international voting public, singing from an illuminated enclosed space on the stage.

It was a closely fought contest as Finland was awarded 376 points in the public vote, which saw the audience favourite fly to the top of the leaderboard, overtaking Sweden.

The 39-year-old's win also means she becomes the first woman to claim the glass microphone trophy twice.

"Right now everything feels surreal, I’m seriously overwhelmed," she told a press conference after her win.

"One feeling that’s taking over it gratitude, I feel so thankful for all of you."

The win ties her native Sweden with Ireland as the nation with the most wins, with seven apiece.

It also means the contest will take place in the home nation of Eurovision legends Abba on the 50th anniversary of their win in 1974.

But it was disappointment for the UK's Mae Muller who finished with just 24 points in Liverpool.

Below her on the leaderboard was only Germany’s heavy metal band Lord Of The Lost with 18.

Posting on Twitter in the early hours of Sunday, 25-year-old Muller said: “I just want to say thank u x i know i joke a lot but we really put our all into the last few months, not the result we hoped for but so proud of everyone & what we achieved on this journey. “Congrats to all the countries, I’ll never forget this journey and I love you all.”

At the end of the jury vote results, Loreen led with 340 with Israel’s Noa Kirel in second with 177 and Italy’s Marco Mengoni close behind in third with 176.

Loreen then scored a total of 583 points after the public and jury votes were combined, narrowly beat Finland’s Kaarija who scored 526.

Third place went to Israel with Noa Kirel's "Unicorn" finishing with 362 points. 

Swedish entrant Loreen Credit: Aaron Chown/PA

After she was announced as the winner at the M&S Bank Arena, Loreen returned to the stage and was handed the trophy by last year’s winners Kalush Orchestra of Ukraine.

She said: “This is overwhelming. I’m so happy and I’m so thankful.”

Addressing the crowd, she added: “Thank you for this, this is for you.”

The UK jury awarded its 'douze points', 12 points, to Sweden, with Catherine Tate reading the result from inside the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool.

Sweden entrant Loreen is presented with the trophy by Kalush Orchestra and Graham Norton after winning the Eurovision Song Contest. Credit: PA Images

Ukrainian presenter Julia Sanina was hugged by co-hosts Alesha Dixon and Hannah Waddingham as the show came to a close.

Dixon said this year’s contest was something “that will live in our hearts for a very long time”.

Loreen then took to the stage to perform her song Tattoo for a second time.

Hosts Hannah Waddingham and Graham Norton as the jury votes come in Credit: Peter Byrne/PA

Twenty-six acts performed at the M&S Bank Arena.

The city hosted on behalf of war-torn Ukraine, who won last year’s contest but are unable to host due to the Russian invasion.

The night opened with a pre-recorded video featuring last year’s winners Kalush Orchestra – and a surprise appearance from the Princess of Wales, playing the piano.

They were also joined by 2022 runner-up Sam Ryder playing guitar on the top of the Liver Building on the Liverpool waterfront, with Andrew Lloyd Webber on piano.

Following the contest Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tweeted: “Liverpool, you’ve done the United Kingdom and Ukraine proud. What a fantastic celebration for #Eurovision2023 Congratulations @Loreen_Talhaoui

“Sweden it’s over to you.”