Of the 37 countries competing at Eurovision 2023, twenty-four staged national selection shows to choose their singer for Liverpool.
Some, like Albania’s Festivali i Këngës, Italy’s Sanremo and Sweden’s Melodifestivalen, are decades-old formats that are very much part of their country’s cultural calendar.
Others, like Una Voce per San Marino and Serbia’s Pesma za Evroviziju, are relatively new formats.
Still others, like Spain’s Benidorm Fest and Belgium’s Eurosong, are old formats or festivals that have been resurrected and given a facelift.
But which show had you gripped the most? While you can certainly look at the eventual winner of the show, we’re also interested in factors like the depth of the field, the quality of the overall line-up, the tension and drama leading up to the final and the variety of music.
So whether you’re fangirling Finland’s Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu, looping songs from Poland’s Tu bije serce Europy, dreaming of an expanded Festival da Canção in Portugal or admiring the sheer determination and bravery of Ukraine’s Vidbir, we want to hear from you. Vote for your favourite shows below and then let us know which shows you chose in the comments section.
You can vote for as many shows as you want, but you can only submit your votes one time. Be sure to tick the box next to each show you want to support!
Nothing can get even remotely close to Sanremo for me, and it’s been like that for a few years. Not just the quality of the song and show in general, but the prestige and the significance that it has for Italian culture means that singers that are actually popular get to particiate. Doesn’t really happen in any other selection
I usually also like Sanremo and also the quality, but the show is way too long and there are too many breaks. That destroys every social evening.
Definitely UMK. The line up is small but mighty. Quality over quantity. Great build up with promos and interesting music videos. Reaction to each other songs is hillarious. English speaking friendly, with subtitles on every music video and English commentary. The show itself is excellent. The satisfying outcome is like a caramel topping on an already delicious cake.?
No, it’s too long. It gets boring ….
Oops, I thought it was about Melfest, my bad
Without Loreen and M&M MF would have been the weakest Melodifestival in hostory!
Lots of good ones:
* Estonia, Finland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine – each of these NFs had several great songs. Will definitely watch those in the future.
* Germany, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Serbia – overall decent.
* Belgium – I got a new favorite song out of it, so I won’t complain.
* Czechia – pretty much the same reason.
The rest were OK. I didn’t watch Poland or Malta’s.
Sanremo is the top, only the opening of the evening is pure class!
Here the video:
This year’s Melfest was far away any other NF. Any MF top 5 could be a top 10 at ESC.
Never! Without Loreen the weakest MF ever!
What did you smoke? Loreen saved SVT’s ass this year, btw gpi
I think you guys should separate the poll into two categories: 1) which one was the best musically/grabbed your attention as a musical feast?, and 2) which is the best in terms of organisation? Sure, these two often go hand in hand, but for me e.g. this year both UMK and Melodifestivalen were really boring musically (I only care about Käärijä and Tone Sekelius as a distant second) but I am absolutely loving the professionalism of both events, the production value, the transparency and fairness of the vote, etc. So, they were both “the best” in terms of organisation, but… Read more »
Serbia for me. Only problem with it is – boy, does it drag out! Sitting through it all was so gruelling that even I, a Beatles superfan all my life, was begging them to stop with all the endless Beatles covers and just announce the results.
I see you haven’t been following Sanremo 🙂
The only live orchestra is in Sanremo.
The stage was just perfect.
Lazza, Madame, Giorgia, Mengoni.
I don’t I need to add anything else…
FiK’s orchestra feeling slightly shaded rn.
I will give my opinions on the NFs that I followed, since I didn’t follow all of them: Sanremo: Like every year, Sanremo is my favourite NF of the season from the ones I’ve followed. And I also think that this year’s edition was perhaps my favourite Sanremo edition since I’ve started following the festival. Lots of great songs, with Il bene nel male being my favourite and a very worthy winner. I couldn’t ask much more from Italy this year. Please keep going! MGP: Norway put on a spectacular show, especially the grand final. I liked many songs, like… Read more »
Lots of good ones but Finland and Serbia had all-time great national final selections this year, so let’s go with them.
But shout outs to Norway, Portugal, Italy and Belgium, too!
Spain, although not as good as last year, did maintain a great level of quality, also!
The best? obviously SANREMO! Class and elegance
The rest of the selections are homologation and bad taste!
Homologation? Hm, this sounds oximated… but I’ll let it slide. BUT COULD YOU PLEASE HAVE CORRECT GRAMMAR? It pains me to see it.
I agree that Sanremo was the best, but you don’t need to put the other national finals down
Everyone said that it was awful melodifestivalen and the way they presented results killed all the suspense but wiwiblog zombies still vote for it
Best selections were San remo, serbia and portugal
best: Moldova’s Etapa Nationala
worst: Eesti Laul, Melodifestivalen (both so dull with so predictable results)
Sad to see how the Danish final went from a really strong one (early 2010’s) to such a weak one right now…
My fav was MGP!
UMK, Benidorm fest and Belgiums Eurosong are my faves but Serbia, Portugal and Norway had great selections too
I voted for UMK and Vidbir. Both teams put on great shows. UMK had a fantastic overall package. That Vidbir went ahead at all was astonishing, and it didn’t just go ahead, they did it brilliantly.
Really can’t be stressed enough.
Belgium – the final stagings (bar cherine) were great for the country’s standards, but I feel they picked the wrong song!
My top-5, in that order:
2. Pesma Za Evroviziju (really close to being my first).
3. Benindorm Fest
5. Eesti Laul
Honorable mentions: Sanremo, Belgium’s Eurosong, MESC (not even joking, 5-6 good songs in the Grand final and a good organisation for such a cheap selection were wpenough for me)
(I do believe that Melodifestivalen was rather weak this year to be honest, Loreen, M&M and Smash Into pieces were great but not enough to alone carry 4 Heats, a SF and a GF).
*Also adding Unser Lied Für Liverpool in the honorable mentions.
We gays LOVE a poll…
It makes us feel the experts even though in the end se dont know shhhh…
I had posted a top 45 of the season before, Portugal has 9 entries and Serbia has 8, so those would obviously have to be my picks for best NFs of 2023. Elsewhere, Italy is always one to follow and Madame’s song in particular will always be one of my favorite SR tracks + Spain, Ukraine, Estonia, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland and Latvia all have one entry that is among my big favorites of the year (Estonia has actually got 2). Final mention to Albania, which has the hardest selection to follow, there was some nice stuff to check out… Read more »
Do u watch all those NF?? Do u have Friends? Just kidding… Or not.
You’re the one posting drunk ramblings on an ESC site on a Saturday night, so don’t lecture me, fool. No, I obviously did not watch all of that.
Calling selections best when you didn’t even watch them hmmm
Ahaha, another little troll has somehow decided to respond I guess. I checked out the songs for almost every single selection and I’m basing the ranking mostly on the songs themselves, so that was enough, but I did actually watch plenty of them too, including the hyped ones like Portugal, Spain, Italy, Serbia, Finland and so on.
UMK by a mile! No need for silly semi-finals full of filler songs, just one big show with 6 quality acts is enough.
I was really surprised by Belgium’s Eurosong! The production/staging was impressive and Gustaph, Chérine and Gala Dragot had amazing songs. I have very high hopes for future editions of Eurosong. Serbia’s PZE was top quality too, they’re killing it lately.
Regardless of the result, Belgium’s Eurosong got off to a good start! I hope they keep it going 🙂
Belgium can’t choose, so no, only internal
Belgians have good taste, I trust them. The Starlings only won the televote because of their name, just like how Anders Bagge won the televote in Melfest 2022 because of his name.
Eurosong had a strong start, I have no doubt they’ll have an even stronger show next year.
Eesti Laul, MGP and UMK this year for me. I’m glad we had 24 (!) national finals this year (didn’t realise that before).
Some national selection shoutouts: The child ballet dancer during Romania’s interval act. The neuroatypical child performer and father from Brazil during San Marino’s final. May he get his wish and perform for Brazil’s The Voice! (I ugly cried during that segment) Seeing Kalush Orchestra at various contests (Denmark, Albania, etc.) Duncan Laurence performing (live?) at Supernova and Pabandom is naujo Duncan Laurence guest judging for the semi-final at Pabandom is naujo The Maltese hosts’ song/dance Eurovision medley. That’s some skill and dedication! Mata Hari at Poland’s final 🙂 Sudden Lights and Theodor performing at Moldova’s final. And, oh my god,… Read more »
I will always love Eesti Laul and Melodifestivalen, but this year my winner is UMK. Congratulations, Finland! 🙂
Overall, this felt like a solid year for National Finals.
The UMK team really did a great job didn’t they! They also put a lot into the build-up to the final and have done well to promote Kaarija after his win.
Best national finals this season:
Most top notch songs: Moldova
Best staging and production: Ireland
Most optimal number of songs: San Marino
Most transparent and unbiased voting process: Poland
Ohhh at first when I saw Moldova I was like wtf and then I read the whole thing I got it! Colin your brains are a whole nother level!
I’m sorry but when it comes to “top notch songs”, Romania would like to have a word with you.
Hey! Moldova wasn’t THAT bad! The final song had good staging!
Happy April Fools, everyone! (It was when I posted this) 🙂
I love Moldova’s winning entry, and Aliona’s Du-ma as well. The issue is with the majority of the songs sorrounding them. I think that bottom 10 from Moldovan auditions would’ve been my last in Benidorm, Sanremo, MGP, FdC, ect.
(To Dani): Romania at least had 5 solid to good entries, which among 12 of them, is still 41.66%. Granted, most of the remaining ones are *very weak*, but still, Moldova had more (IMHO).
Top notch is for sweden
In terms of diversity and level of songs: Finland, Spain, Norway, Serbia, Belgium, Germany
In terms of lols: Moldova auditions (that is usual), Romania (they now hide the replay of their final, they only uploaded a cut version on youtube), Ireland (deleted the full replay from their website)
And, of course, Sanremo being in its own league of diversity, uniqueness and iconicness (that is usual too)
Moldovan auditions aren’t lols, apart from national treasure that is Ricky Ardezianu whom we respect so much, and the atrocious thing that is Sasha Bognibov
lots of own language entries this year, Lisa Volk deserved the final too i thought
I’m still hesitating between FdC and Vidbir. Retrospectively, these were the two strongest selections for me.
In my opinion, the best national finals were those of Finland, Lithuania, Spain and Serbia this year.
Sweden’s was unremarkable (though it could be worse, Heat 4 saved SVT’s ass this year) and Norway’s was overrated imo. Sanremo this year wasn’t as good as 2022 or 2021 imo, but it was fine still. As for the rest, I didn’t like them or I didn’t put enough attention to them.
Also, hot take: Norway can’t be among the best if they let autotune be used in live performances.
Italy and Norway both used autotune in certain cases. In Sanremo, it’s most noticeable with Olly, and in MGP, with Jone. Autotune is a tool used to distort the vocals and give it that metalic feel at times. What you probably wanted to say is using pitch correction, in which the microphone is fixed in a way that it soothens the vocals if the ever go off-key. I’m not sure whether that was used in MGP, and if so, how many artists did it. It was, frankly, super-unclear from the broadcaster.
Italy does have musical credibility, and the usage of autotune is very obvious, contained to certain parts of the song, and used for artistic purposes only. My winner Lazza also used it a bit. I think that Jone from Norway also used it well. My concern for MGP, which is neither confirmed or denied, is that the artists were also free to use pitch correction. I am positive that none of the Sanremo artists ever used that to mask their vocals. I don’t think that all of the singer in MGP used it either. For example, it’s obvious that Elsie… Read more »
I must add Portugal, Belgium and Ukraine to my bunch of best national finals this year, almost forgot them. I’ve got too much going on irl, sorry
My Top 3 Sanremo MGP UMK As a fan of Italian music, in and out of the Bubble, Sanremo is always a special event in the calendar, as I always have a few regulars of my Spotify in there, in and out of the competition (Like both Marco and NEK) and I got to hear news or have guests I like and care of (like Francesco Arca). UMK and MGP had been pretty high quality this year, with less of the rubble Mello suffered from (no shade). I liked, followed and added to their respective national playlists a good chunk… Read more »
MAJOR props to countries who put effort into their NF and actually want to win ESC!!!
Some major shade there…
When talking about the selection’s quality, it’s important to make a difference between: Having the highest number of top notch songs (Finland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Estonia) Having the highest average of all songs combined (Finland, Czechia, Italy, Germany, Ukraine) Having the best developed rules in the selection / least problematic voting. I’d probably go with Serbia, Croatia, and Sweden here – I love the 50/50 systems using the percentage system for the audiences. Serbia and Croatia would go ahead of Sweden, as I’m still not completely sold on the age-based app. Estonia also comes on top, as I like the… Read more »
PS. I believe that Norway, Belgium, and Germany also used the 50/50 system with percentage for televoting this year, so I’ll include them too. Even if I’m still perplexed about how it went down in Belgium in practice.
Poland used the 1-12 system, no? Meaning that no matter how much the winner got, they’d be placed only 2 points ahead.
Hmm… now I see that Serbia actually used the same pointing system. I have no idea why I thought they used percentages… Oh, I remember… because I said that the point difference between Luke and Princ was so small that even if they used percentages, Luke would’ve won. At least Serbia had more jury members and they seem un-corrupt, unlike their Polish counterparts.
Actually, I don’t want to blow the horn to my own country, but while the revived Dora has never been among the strongest selections song-wise, it has arguably one of the best systems of voting overall. Not only that we use a 50/50 system, but we implement percentages in the televoting, and the juries are 50 different people, living in 10 different towns across the country. The chances of setting-up the voting are quite low. During these five editions, the juries and the televoters had the same winner in four cases, and the only time they didn’t, the televoting champion… Read more »
I just judge an NF by how many good songs there are. Your way sounds better, though.
Surprised to see Melodifestivalen so high up. MGP, Benidorm Fest, UMK the standouts for me. Eesti Laul was brilliant this year definitely a dark horse.
2 Pabandom iš naujo!.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch any national finals this year. I usually don’t watch many of them. Sometimes I’ll watch one or two final nights, but this time I’ve just been busy?
Usually one I often watch is the last night of Sanremo but this year I sort of forgot and last year I got a little bored after a while.
Maybe i’ll catch it next year. Hearing positively of Benidorm has got me curious and maybe i’ll catch that next year too
How ridiculous! Everyone was saying how bad Melodifestivalen is and now it’s the 3rd most voted here. We finally need to stop this brainless Swedish supremacy at Eurovision every year
Honestly, I’m surprised too. Melodifestivalen was unremarkable this year and it wasn’t outright horrible because Heat 4 saved SVT’s ass
Difficult, really. The song selection wasn’t brilliant this year. But the event itself down in Kent nine. It’s huge, epic, Paul’s in the viewers, generates interest, and deserves positivity because it’s bloody epic.
For me, Finland came top because of the sons election and Serbia, a surprise second. Yes, I gave a vote to Sweden As as well. – i watched in each week, with a couple of friends, some drinks and a good time was had by all.
Yes, I complained it wasn’t as good as normal, but it’s epic and hard fun over the six weeks.
Sorry for the typos above, I use my phone to dictate it and it hasn’t quite worked. Good luck interpreting.
It actually turned out good this year!
Call me “brainless”, but I voted for selections that had a lot of songs I liked this year. For me, Melfest fits that bill, simple as that.
I think the problem is that the question is very unspecific. What does it mean “the best”? Serving the best music, or being the best organised event? Was Melodifestivalen groundbreaking and innovative musically? Hell no. It was full of over-produced decent quality pop Sweden is known for, but there was nothing fresh or unique there. Was it exciting? Hell, no. Since Loreen was a clear favourite, it was also quite unsuspenseful (although I much prefer it that way than the alternative, see the case of Poland). But at the same time: Was it well-organised? Hell yes. Was is high production… Read more »
Finland, Spain, and Serbia are definitely among the best. Great entries, awesome staging, and solid delivery. (Some opening/interval performances of Serbia are not the best. But Konstrakta is epic.)
Some countries have very good entries and nice delivery, but, at least I personally have some reservations about the winning songs (e.g. Belgium and Ukraine.)
The most letdown is, without doubts, Poland.
Norway without a doubt
I gladly gave a vote to Germany and Belgium, two countries whose selections far surpassed my initial expectations
Benidorm Fest, El festival que quieres, El que TU quieres 🙂
Voted Poland, because it gave us BEYBAH and Booty Booty Booty Booty Booty so bad
Thank you for reminding me of that ‘let’s GO for nothing’ Booty moods *lol*
Id say Benidorm Fest mostly BC It is my country BUUUUT problem IS they are too focused on diversity… For them diversity of Styles, music, sounds seem to be more important than just choosing what’s “BEST” and therefore i am not so sure if we are the BEST. We are better than most for sure but maybe not “the BEST” .. anyway we have good weather and the beach nearby. And sex.
I think most Eurovision European fans need more sex and lees Eurovision. But i am drunk.
Benidorm had like 4 entries i really liked
Portugal, Finland and Serbia had the best preselections.
The worst one was undoubtely in Poland
Melfest any day!
Sanremo, because of the hours upon hours of live orchestral music.
San Remo for me IS like my grandmother showing me her old records.
Are u really that gay?
Ragazzino, it’s time for you to get the rubbish out…
Seriously, never come to my house then.
Maybe if we meet on grindr…
Try saying that to the fresh Madame or Lazza
Serbia’s #PZE23 was the best for me, followed up by Sanremo and Benidorm Fest. Also I liked UMK.
Portugal warmed my music-geek heart. It’s the one I’m sharing with my skeptical American friends.
Portugal. I like them
You should check out FdC from 2017 upwards then if you haven’t already, some of my favorite and most iconic NF entries are in there.
I plan on doing this once the grand final is over. 🙂
First time we’ve seen Loreen outside the top two
The title is at the top of the screen just in case you missed it. <3
I don’t think they missed it…