the very King of England, Charles III, and his wife, Queen Consort Camillathey were loaded of the lighting of the ‘Liverpool Arena’, the stage where the Eurovision Song Contest will take place on May 13. East the first time in 25 years that the UK is hosting the event (and not because it won the previous edition). The last time the country won the contest was on May 3, 1997 when Katrina & the Waves defended Love shines a light at the ‘Point Theatre’ in Dublin. Unfortunatelythe victory of the famous interpreters of Walking on sunshine, did not prevent its dissolution – with several disagreements between the two – very soon after.

a landslide victory

Katrina Elizabeth Leskanich (from Topeka, Kansas) led the British-American group that completed “three waves”: Kimberley Rew, Alex Cooper and Vince de la Cruz. They had trained in the early 1980s, in Cambridge, and had obtained a enormous international success with the famous Walking on sunshine, a fun and upbeat song, “despite the fact that we weren’t particularly happy, we were a typical young, insecure and pessimistic band”, confessed its author, guitarist Kimberley Rew, in The Guardian. When in 1997, they decide to participate in Eurovision, they are preceded by a long career of almost two decades., with nine albums released. was something unusual for a candidate In this musical competition, although the group has experienced a period of inactivity.

May 3, 1997the four components of Katrina & the Waves went to the Point Theater in Dublin (Ireland) and represented the UK with the song Love shine a light (written by Kimberley). We remember that that year, Spain had chosen Marcos Llunas (the son of Dyango), who finished in an honorable sixth position with the song Sin rancor. The victory of the “precarious and pessimistic” quartet was overwhelming. Received 227 pointsout of a total of 288: 10 countries gave the group the highest score and they edged the second-placed country (hosts Ireland) by 70 points. It was, until then, the highest score in the festival’s history and the first time in 16 years that the UK has won the competition. His previous triumph dated back to 1981.

“Everyone told us we weren’t going to win”

“When we were at Eurovision, We didn’t feel any pressure because everyone told us we weren’t going to win.”remembered Katrina on ITV’s This Morning in 2022. Additionally, she pointed out: “I I had never seen the competition before I knew I was going to be in it. The BBC handed me a bunch of tapes and told me that I saw them all to find out what the show was about”.

He also confessed that criticism rained down on him for being an American national and winning the Festival representing the UK. In an interview with The Shortlisted magazine, she said: “It was an incredible honor to win. But it was a problem for some English people that I was American; they said ‘Why can’t we take a English singer?’, or “Can you try to speak like an Englishman?” And I said “No, I can’t do that!” »

Love shines a light provided that the group his best position in the charts and the theme became a hit across Europe. It was their first major hit since Walking on sunshine in 1985. It entered the Top 5 in Austria, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. In 2022, the Daily Telegraph listed him as The best British participation in Eurovision. However, the band disbanded shortly after. Leskanich left in 1998, after some disagreements with his colleagues. follow up legal disputes that prevented Katrina from using the name. Although The Waves’ Attempts to Find a New Katrinathe three remaining members they disbanded permanently in 1999.

Katrina: ‘Sam Ryder won’t win’

In total, the UK won five times Eurovision since its first edition in 1956. The first was Sandie Shaw in 1967 with “Puppet on a string”. And the last, Katrina & the Waves with Love shines a light in 1997. The song, who has since held the record for the highest score for a British competitorhe was surpassed in 2022 by Sam Ryder when Spaceman added 466 ‘points’ and was ranked number 2.

It seemed clear that Ryder — who starred in one of the big moments of the night at LOS40 Primavera Pop 2023 — wasn’t going to win. Katrina herself announced it on ITV a few days before the festival:Sam Ryder will not win. Ukraine will win, it’s a political vote and we have to give it to Ukraine”. And he bet: “He has a viking “look” which I think will work for him as an actor. And the song is beautiful. What else do you want?”.

Indeed, Ukraine won (Kalush Orchestra – Stefania). And, even though Sam Ryder didn’t get the top spot, he did. end UK’s bad run at Eurovisual event (In 2021, James Newman finished in last place with “zero” points.) His second place in Turin with Spaceman – followed by Chanel with SloMo – and the impossibility of being able to do so in Ukraine due to the Russian invasion, forced the European Broadcasting Union break with tradition for the first time in history: celebrate the event in the winning country.

SO, the 67th edition of the Song Festival will be held on May 13, 2023 at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, the birthplace of the Beatles. The UK prepares to host the event for the first time since 1998, when it was made at the “National Indoor Arena” in Birmingham. On April 26, 2023, nothing less than thhe king Charles III of England and the queen consort, Camila, were in charge of the “official switching on” of the stage lights. The same in which we will see Blanca Paloma sings Eaea, a tribute to her roots, flamenco and her grandmother Carmen.

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