Norway, Israel, Russia, Azerbaijan, Malta, Lithuania, Cyprus, Sweden, Belgium and Ukraine won by pass to the Eurovision Song Contest final on Tuesday 18 May in the first semifinals of the 65th edition of the competition.
At the ceremony, finalists were announced randomly. Slovenia, Australia, Northern Macedonia, Ireland, Croatia and Romania also played in the first semi-final, but failed to win a place in the final scheduled for Saturday 22 May.
The semi-final results are a mixture of jury votes and spectators. The organization states that the television broadcast took place during the live broadcast and that the jury members voted during the second rehearsal that took place on Monday 17 May.
The 16 nations that played on Tuesday, plus Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, returned in the first semi-final. The 10 finalists will join the Big Five and the Netherlands in the Grand Final on Saturday.
The Netherlands obtained the right to organize Eurovision after winning the 2019 edition in Israel, under the slogan “Arcade”, performed by Duncan Laurence – Remember Sabu Mag’s interview with the artist here. The 65th edition of the competition, which has been held annually in Europe since 1956, was supposed to take place in May last year, in Rotterdam, but the European Broadcasting Union, bearing in mind that the conditions have not been met, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to postpone it for a year.
Although the 65th Eurovision Song Contest is played by 39 countries, only 33 countries compete in the semifinals (16 in the first and 17 in the second). The remaining six countries – the so-called “Big Five” (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) and the host country (the Netherlands) – are guaranteed to reach the final.
In each semi-final, ten countries are selected. On Thursday, Portugal will compete for a place in the final in the second semi-final round.
“The Return of the Eurovision”: Presentations from the first semi-final
“Eurovision is back,” the narrator said at the start of the party, indicating that Duncan Lawrence was the winner of the last edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The singer, who represented the Netherlands in 2019, had the mission to open the night, introducing his new song.
The opening video clip featured a special “hijab”: Inês Lopes Gonçalves, a spokesperson for the Portuguese jury in 2019, appeared in the presentation video of Duncan Laurence’s performance.
“Good night, Europe. Good morning, Australia”, as usual, the presenters Chantal Janzen, Edesilia Rumbley, Jean Smet, and Nikki de Jagger. “Eurovision connects people more than ever,” they added, recalling the competition rules in English and French.
After calling the voting system, the bidders gave the green light to start the performances – in the first semi-finals contested in Lithuania, Slovenia, Russia, Sweden, Australia, Northern Macedonia, Ireland, Cyprus, Norway, Croatia, Belgium, Israel, Romania, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Malta.
1. Lithuania: The Roop – Discoteque
The revered Roop, who represented Lithuania this year, was tasked with opening the first semi-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest. On stage, the band, in yellow suits, performed “Discotheque,” a theme about dancing alone at home.
2. Slovenia: Anna Soklic – amen
After partying at the disco, it was Soklic’s turn to take over the stage. The contestant from Slovenia performed the song “Amen”.
3. Russia: Manisha – a Russian woman
On the other hand, the Russian artist Manisa defended the topic of “Russian women”. On stage, the artist surprised her with her maternity dress and where she left at the end of the first verses. In the end, the singer ended up surrounded by flames.
Manega revealed that he had received several threats on social media. The song “Russian Woman” was criticized by conservative groups, who considered the lyrics to express their hatred for men. He told the BBC: “I have received threats like: If you are going to sing like this for Russian women, we don’t want you here to live.”
4. Suécia: Tusse – Voices
The fourth artist to take to the stage was Tusse, chosen to represent Sweden in Rotterdam. On stage, the singer performed “Voices,” but his performance disappointed audiences.
5. Australia: Montaigne – Technicolor
The competitor representing Australia this year was not on stage. Young Montaigne presented the topic of “Technicolor” remotely, through a recorded performance and without editing.
6. Macedonia de Norte: Fasile – Here I stand
North Macedonia, with Vasil’s “Here I Stand”, was the sixth country to function. As for the performance, the singer decorated the bet on the mirrorball effect.
7. Ireland: Leslie Roy – Maps
Ireland was represented this year by Leslie Roy on “Maps”. During the performance, the singer toured paper scenarios that created the illusion that she would be in the middle of a large forest.
8. Cyprus: Elena Tsagkrinou – The Devil
The song continued with Cyprus. Elena Tsagrinou, amidst the flames and red lights, presented the theme of “El Diablo” and made the audience dance in Rotterdam Square.
9. Norwega: Tex – a fallen angel
With a performance reminiscent of Justin Bieber’s tour of “The Purpose”, Tex from Norway stepped onto the stage with giant wings to present the theme of “The Fallen Angel”.
10. Croatia: Albina – Tick-Tock
The squad was followed by Albina, from Croatia, who tried to win over the spectators and judges with the slogan “Tik Tok”. The artist gambled on stage with four dancers for a performance full of games of lights and visual effects.
11. Belgica: Hooverphonic – the wrong place
After the change of vocalist, Hooverphonic took the stage in eleventh place. The group representing Belgium performed the song “The Wrong Place”.
On social media, the show received praise from viewers.
12. Israel: Aiden Allen – Let me go free
Israel was the twelfth country to participate in the first semi-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest. This year, the country played all its cards under the slogan “Set Me Free”, played by Eden Alene.
13. Romania: Roxen – Amnesia
Then, the song’s parade continues with Romania, represented this year by Roxin, who will introduce the theme of “amnesia” – the country decided to keep the artist who will sing in 2020, with the idea changed.
14. Azerbaijan: Effendi – Mata Hari
Accompanied by four dancers and a giant golden ball on stage, Effendi brought a little bit of Azerbaijani tradition with the theme of “Mata Hari”.
15. Ukraine: Go_A – Shum
It was followed by Go_A, from Ukraine, who decided to bet on “Shum,” a topic that mixes popularity with electronics, world music and pop.
16. Malta: Destiny Chukunyere – Je Me Casse
The saying goes that the latter is the first, and the fate of (Malta), with the issue of “Je Me Casse”, is one of the favorites to win. The singer had the task to close the concert.
To the second semifinals
In addition to Portugal, San Marino, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Austria, Poland, Moldova, Iceland, Serbia, Georgia, Albania, Bulgaria, Finland, Latvia, Switzerland and Denmark are participating in the second semifinals.
The semi-finals and finals will have an audience to watch live, with the organization selling 3,500 tickets for each show this month. In addition, according to the information available on the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest, the government of the Netherlands has authorized the organization to also have audiences for six training sessions.
This year, “all delegates, artists and the production team are following a strict protocol and will not have contact with members of the audience.”
With the song “Love On My Side”, Portugal had, for the first time, a Eurovision, an all-English song, composed by Tatanka, the lead singer of The Black Mamba.
Tatanka is a co-founder of The Black Mamba, a 2010 band that moves into the world of blues, soul and funk.
Parallel to The Black Mamba, Tatanka began a solo career in 2016, “on a more personal record and returning to his roots, telling stories and presenting original subjects in Portuguese”. The first album “Pequeno Barulho” has arrived in 2019.
Portugal competed in the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 1964, but was absent from five editions (in 1970, 2000, 2002, 2013 and 2016).
Between 2004 and 2007, inclusive, and in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2019, Portugal failed to reach the final.
Portugal won the competition for the first and only time in 2017, under the slogan “Loving Both”, performed by Salvador Sobral and composed by Luisa Sobral. After winning, Lisbon hosted the competition the following year.