Mae Muller has admitted her second-from-bottom Eurovision finish was “not the result we hoped for”, as figures showed the grand final in Liverpool was the most watched since the current format of the contest began in 2004.
The live broadcast saw an average of 9.9 million UK viewers and a peak of 11 million tune in to watch London-born singer Muller finish 25th with I Wrote A Song, according to overnight ratings.
Germany was the only nation to finish below the UK, on 18 points.
Posting on Twitter in the early hours of Sunday, 25-year-old Muller said: “I just want to say thank u x i know i joke a lot but we really put our all into the last few months, not the result we hoped for but so proud of everyone & what we achieved on this journey.
“Congrats to all the countries, I’ll never forget this journey and I love you all.”
The disappointment comes just 12 months after the UK finished second behind Ukraine when Sam Ryder wowed with his hit Space Man, which saw 8.9 million tune in.
Commiserations came from the BBC, which organised the contest in partnership with the European Broadcasting Union.
As the show ended, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tweeted: “Liverpool, you’ve done the United Kingdom and Ukraine proud.
“What a fantastic celebration for #Eurovision2023 Congratulations @Loreen_Talhaoui. Sweden it’s over to you.”
The live broadcast on Saturday set a new TV ratings high for Eurovision since the semi-final/grand final format was established in 2004, beating the previous record of 9.5 million in 2011, when the UK was represented by Blue with the song I Can.
BBC director of unscripted Kate Phillips said: “What an incredible contest. It was unforgettable, unmissable event television on a scale never seen before delivered by the BBC to viewers across the UK and millions more watching around the world.
“Sweden took home the trophy in spectacular style and 2022 winners Ukraine were at the heart of the show. Liverpool welcomed the world’s biggest singing competition with open arms and embraced it beyond all of our expectations.
“The fact that so many millions of people tuned in reflects just how significant Eurovision has become and truly underlines the theme behind this year’s contest, United by Music. We really hope we did Ukraine proud.”
It was Sweden’s Loreen who stormed to victory on the night, making history as the first woman and second person to win the song competition twice after her win in 2012.
She scored a total of 583 points after the public and jury votes were combined, narrowly beating Finland’s Kaarija who scored 526.
Loreen’s win with Tattoo also means that Sweden will host the competition next year on the 50th anniversary of Abba winning Eurovision with their hit Waterloo.
After she was announced as the winner at the M&S Bank Arena, Loreen returned to the stage and was handed the trophy by last year’s winners Kalush Orchestra of Ukraine.
She said: “This is overwhelming. I’m so happy and I’m so thankful.”
Her win means she equals the record held by Irish singer Johnny Logan, who triumphed at the contest in both 1980 and 1987.
The Ukrainian entry, the brooding electronic duo Tvorchi, scored 243 points and came sixth.
The night opened with a pre-recorded video featuring last year’s winners Kalush Orchestra – and a surprise appearance from the Princess of Wales playing the piano.
They were joined by Ryder playing the guitar on the top of the Liver Building on the Liverpool waterfront, with Andrew Lloyd Webber on piano.
Former Ukrainian contestants Go_A, Tina Karol and Jamala, who won for Ukraine in 2016, performed in between this year’s hopefuls arriving for the flag parade.
But there was no appearance from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was barred from addressing the event.