Eurovision 2023 opens with acts walking Liverpool's 'Turquoise Carpet'
LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - Eurovision 2023 kicked off on Sunday when 37 contenders walked the "Turquoise Carpet" in Liverpool, the English city hosting the competition on behalf of Ukraine.
Under the banner "United by Music", the 67th edition of the song contest will comprise three live shows that will unite the cultures of Ukraine and Liverpool, the birthplace of the Beatles, organisers have said.
The "Turquoise Carpet" is Eurovision's version of the red carpet.
Ukraine was last year's winner but was unable to stage the event this year, as the winner usually does, because of Russia's invasion.
The country's Kalush Orchestra won the 2022 contest in Italy with its entry "Stefania", a fusion of rap and traditional folk music that garnered public support from across the continent to claim an emotional victory.
As last year's winner, the country has an automatic entry into next Saturday's grand final, along with the UK and the other "Big Five" members of the European Broadcasting Union: France, Germany, Spain and Italy.
The other 31 contenders will compete in semi-finals on Tuesday and Thursday for 20 places in the grand final.
Monika Linkytė, who will be representing Lithuania in the contest, said she felt honoured to be participating even though she felt a "lot of pressure on her shoulders". She will perform the song "Stay" in Thursday's semi-final.
(Reporting by Steve Hignett; Writing by Paul Sandle; Editing by Susan Fenton)