My quick guide to ESC Semi Final 1

Mikolas Josef (Czech Republic) Second Rehearsal | Photo: Thomas Hanses (EBU)

Mikolas Josef (Czech Republic) Second Rehearsal | Photo: Thomas Hanses (EBU)

Even if Sweden isn’t competing in this semi-final – and we’re therefore unqualified to vote – it will still be worth watching for sure, since as it happens, almost all the best songs were drawn to compete in this semi-final.

The evening offers 5 songs written by Swedes: Austria (Joacim Persson & Johan Alkenäs), Azerbaijan (Sandra Bjurman), Bulgaria (Joacim Persson & Dag Lundberg), Cyprus (Alex Papaconstantinou, Geraldo Sandell, Anderz Wrethov, Viktor Svensson & Didrick) and Finland (Joy & Linnea Deb). The performances of Azerbaijan and Cyprus are also staged by Swedish Sacha Jean-Baptiste. So, even if our Benjamin Ingrosso won’t be on stage this evening the show will still open and close with Swedish acts; Azerbaijan’s Aisel performing first and Cyprus’ Eleni Foureira last.

Among the songs of Semi Final 1 we also find the predicted winner if the odds are to be trusted; Israel. This super cool DJ and her captivating K-pop song delivers a message perfectly in line with the recent #metoo debacle. There’s also a wannabe Bond power ballad from Belgium, delightful gospel soul from Austria, opera-pop from Estonia, schizophrenic reggae/pop from Macedonia and a heart- and norm-breaking dancing couple from Ireland. And if you happen to see a camel or two somewhere, they belong to Mikolas Josef from Czech Republic.

My personal favourites this evening (in alphabetic order): Austria, Czech Republic, Israel, Lithuania and Switzerland.

Qualifying for Saturday’s grand Final according to the bookmakers’ odds: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Israel and Lithuania.

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