Thursday evening’s broadcast started by reaching a new Eurovision milestone with Norway’s That’s How You Write a Song being the 1500th entry ever to perform in the competition. Otherwise the evening proceeded as usual; the hosts were as embarrassing as always, and the interval acts were as bad as in Semi Final 1. This Semi Final did include a live performance though, in comparison with Tuesday’s show which only presented pre-recorded material. This live act, a parodic dance number performed by the hosts, was pretty embarrassing though so I’m not certain it was an improvement overall. We were also treated to another embarrassing episode of Planet Portugal, some behind-the-scenes material from the postcard shootings and a brief documentary of how a Portuguese Eurovision entry once played a significant role in Portuguese history signaling the start of a revolution. Don’t say that Eurovision isn’t political.
As usual it’s nice to be a Swede when it’s time for ESC history flashbacks. Loreen’s Euphoria from 2012 was included in the aforementioned dance number, and ABBA’s Waterloo was mentioned in this evening’s episode of ESClopedia (Måns Zelmerlöw’s Heroes was previously mentioned in the first episode on Tuesday). In Stockholm in 2016 Petra Mede sang “the interval act is your one big chance to fail to live up to Riverdance” which was quite funny. Funnier still, is the fact that since then ESC hosts seem to try to live up to Love Love Peace Peace performed by Petra and Måns only two days later.
But enough with the trivialities, let’s focus on what’s important – the competition.
Looking at the contestants of the second semi-final overall. it was a pretty weak show last night, which rewarded qualifications to some acts who hadn’t stood a chance had they’ve been competing in the first semi-final instead. 8 of the bookmakers’ 10 predicted qualifying entries made the cut for Saturday’s Grand Final. The main favourites – Norway, Sweden, Moldova, Hungary and Ukraine – are all among them, together with Australia, Denmark and The Netherlands. A poor performance from the Polish team, with DJ Gromee and Swedish singer Lukas Meijer, cost them the ticket to the Grand Final. In their place a brilliant and confident performance from Slovenian Lea Sirk qualified, together with the strange Balkan/house act from Serbia.
Looking at the list of qualifiers, we also need to point out the fact that tonight two more countries – Russia and Romania – were crossed out from the list of semi-final competing countries who’ve never failed to qualify for a Grand Final. Adding Azerbaijan’s miss on Tuesday, there’s now only two countries left in this exclusive club; Australia and Ukraine.
So, staying on for the rest of the week are thirteen men and six women, three Swedish compositions, a former Eurovision winner, eight beards, one cowboy hat, an old man with a flute, a burning staircase, four country break-dancers, two main sails, a funky violin, a fake tech failure, some gypsy trumpets and loads of flaming pyros.
These are the acts who proceeded to the Grand Final on Saturday, listed in the order they were announced during last night’s show.
Serbia: Sanja Ilić & Balkanika, Nova Deca
Moldova: DoReDoS, My Lucky Day
Hungary: AWS, Viszlát Nyár
Ukraine: MELOVIN, Under The Ladder
Sweden: Benjamin Ingrosso, Dance You Off
Australia: Jessica Mauboy, We Got Love
Norway: Alexander Rybak, That’s How You Write A Song
Denmark: Rasmussen, Higher Ground
Slovenia: Lea Sirk, Hvala, ne!
The Netherlands: Waylon, Outlaw In ‘Em