Katrina And The Waves singer says ‘gods are shining’ on Eurovision

The Katrina And The Waves frontwoman has said the “gods are shining” on this year’s Eurovision Song Contest but she would have liked to see Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky speak at the final.

Katrina Leskanich, who became the last UK winner of the competition after performing Love Shine A Light with the band in 1997, spoke after coming off stage at the Eurovision Village in Liverpool on Saturday ahead of the grand final, which is being hosted by the city on behalf of last year’s winners Ukraine.

She said: “I think everybody’s trying extra hard to make it about Ukraine and make it really super special and coming from a different place.

Eurovision 2023
Hosts (left to right) Alesha Dixon, Julia Sanina and Hannah Waddingham during the semi-final 2 of Eurovision Song Contest at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

“This is like the most beautiful day that they’ve ever had in Liverpool and I hate the word blessed but, you know what I’m saying?

“It’s like the gods are shining on this Eurovision.”

She said she would have liked to hear Mr Zelensky speak at the final, after it was revealed the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) declined his request to address the audience.

Leskanich, 63, said: “It’s an ugly war, we all know that, there’s nothing more that can be said about war except how f****** heinous and awful it is.

“But this is about, the UK stepped up.

“I’d love to see him just say ‘thank you, Liverpool’. That’s kind of all he needs to say.

“Because there’s support out there. People are showing up draped in gigantic Ukraine flags and waving Ukraine flags and everybody’s remembering this.

“So it’s a very, very different kind of Eurovision that will never be forgotten.”

While backstage at the fan village, Leskanich bumped into fellow winner Sandie Shaw, who was the first UK act to win in 1967 with Puppet On A String.

The pair, who said they had not met for about two decades, hugged and posed for a photo together.

Leskanich said there was a “bond” with fellow UK winners.

She said: “It’s like a secret club. There are just five of us.”

Eurovision 2023
Mae Muller of the UK during the dress rehearsal for the Eurovision Song Contest final at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool (Aaron Chown/PA)

But she said she did not think there would be a sixth UK winner after Saturday’s final, in which Mae Muller is due to perform I Wrote A Song.

“I think Mae is very cool, she’s a really cool girl,” she said.

“Have you seen the acts this year? It is full on. Whether Mae’s song is going to rise its head above… I think she’ll probably have a career, which is great, but I don’t think she’ll win.”

She said she thought Finland’s Kaarija looked “really strong” but predicted there could be a “big upset and expressed her love for Croatian act Let 3, who strip off to vests and underpants on stage.

She added: “How can you top that? Grown men running around in smelly old knickers – I mean that’s Eurovision.”