The acts for Eurovision 2023 have officially been welcomed to this year's hosting city with an opening ceremony.

The Turquoise Carpet ceremony opened on Sunday afternoon (May 7) in Liverpool, which is preparing to host the grand final next Saturday (May 13) on behalf of last year’s winners Ukraine.

Although Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine won last year’s competition, due to the ongoing war in the country, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) invited the UK to host on Ukraine's behalf because Sam Ryder was the runner-up in 2022.

Liverpool welcomes all 37 Eurovision acts to the city

Hosted by Olympian Sam Quek and Ukrainian presenter Timur Miroshnychenko, the ceremony invited all 37 acts to take to the carpet for a warm welcome to the city.

Eurovision fans lined one side of the carpet, waving flags and scarves to support their countries.

Norwegian act Alessandra was first to arrive on the carpet, where entrants had their photos taken and were interviewed.

According to PA News agency, she said: “I feel so blessed. I feel so nice here. I’m the first one out and that’s an honour.”

Conor O’Donohoe, from Irish band Wild Youth, said: “It’s all starting to feel very real. Everyone’s getting here now, all the press are here and family are starting to fly in, so it’s all starting to kind of really settle in.”

The contestants wore their finest for the occasion, with Croatian group Let 3 taking to the carpet in bustled gowns accessorised with military-style peaked hats and facial hair.

In scenes reminiscent of 1981 UK Eurovision entry Bucks Fizz, the group whipped off their gowns while having their photos taken to reveal white petticoats and vests.

Latvian group Sudden Lights paid homage to Liverpool’s most famous music act the Beatles by recreating the outfits worn on the Abbey Road album cover.

The National Lottery’s Big Eurovision Welcome to take place

The ceremony will be followed by The National Lottery’s Big Eurovision Welcome outside St George’s Hall.

Among the artists set to perform for a crowd of almost 30,000 is band Frankie Goes to Hollywood, who will reunite after their split in 1987.

Other acts with a Liverpool connection on the line-up include girl group Atomic Kitten, funk band The Real Thing, and The Lightning Seeds – singers of the football anthem Three Lions.

Former Eurovision winners Conchita Wurst, who represented Austria in 2014, and Ukraine’s Jamala, who competed in 2016, are also on the line-up for the gig, presented by AJ Odudu and Joel Dommett.

Highlights of the concert will be shown on BBC One on Monday from 6.30pm.