The first 2016 Eurovision Semi Final is over and 10 countries have qualified for the Grand Final on Saturday. They are as follows:
Eurovision 2016 qualifiers - semi-final one
Russia will be joined by Armenia and Azerbaijan who all maintain their 100% record. Armenia are fifth favourites to win Eurovision and their chances have grown with a second half slot in the final.
Azerbaijan’s Swedish produced entry Miracle was safely steered into the final by Samra. Songwriter Henrik Wikstrom has a strong pedigree in Eurovision and the Swedish selection show Melodifestivalen. The song was submitted for the finals but didn’t make the cut. It now goes up against Sweden’s entry in the final. They sing in the first half of Saturday’s final.
One of the biggest cheers of the night came up as Douwe Bob qualified for The Netherlands. The popular country song continues to build momentum and the dark horse is ready to battle it out in the final on Saturday where he will perform in the first half of the final.
Another massive fan favourite that qualified was Austria. The young Zoe has been carried on a wave of support for her French language song Loin D’ici, being moved to tears after the 3000 capacity crowd sang her song to her at one of the official parties earlier this week.
Austria scored nul points on home ground last year after Conchita Wurst’s 2014 win took Eurovision to Austria for the first time since 1966. Austria will sing in the second half of the final on Saturday
Hungary qualified for the final for a fifth year in a row. Freddie’s powerful vocals helped his entry Pioneer through but he drew a first half slot for the final during the Winners’ Press Conference.
Czech Republic has qualified for the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time ever with the aptly named song I Stand.
The powerful ballad has been popular amongst journalists and fans in Stockholm but many thought its chances would be hampered by following Russia in the running order. They’ve drawn a slot in the first half of Saturday’s final.
Croatia were absent from Eurovision last year but a successful return see’s Nina’s Lighthouse take them back to the final for the first time since 2009. Croatia have been rewarded by drawing a spot in the second half of the running order on Saturday night.
Cyprus have created history by qualifying for the final for two consecutive years. The small island nation has never done that before. Rock band Minus One maintain Swedish songwriter Thomas G:son’s impressive Eurovision record with Alter Ego. They slot into the second half of the Eurovision final running order.
Malta were made to wait as the last country to be announced. Ira Losco, the former runner up is five and a half months pregnant.
It was a little harsh of producers, who decide the order in which the countries are announced, to leave her in suspense but the audience went wild when the Maltese flag flashed up. Malta have drawn a place in the second half of the Grand Final running order.
More history was made as Greece failed to reach the Eurovision Song Contest final for the first time in their history. Argo’s entry Utopian Land fell at the first hurdle leaving the huge Greek fan club in shock. The song contained ethnic dancing that has helped them through to the final many times before. Greece and Bosnia and Herzegovina both included rap in their entries. Neither qualified.
They were the only one of three Balkan countries to make it to the Eurovision Final, Bosnia Herzegovina and Montenegro were both eliminated. It’s Bosnia’s first elimination in a semi final.
The big shock of the night was Iceland failing to qualify. Greta Salome had been gaining momentum all week and was thought to be a contender to win the semi final. The curse of returning performers getting knocked out in the semi final has struck again.
It’s the second time that a returning singer for Iceland has gone out against expectation. Selma took Iceland to second place in 1998 and returned in 2005. She was the second favourite to win Eurovision but crashed out at the semi final hurdle. All the Nordic countries were eliminated as Finland and Estonia both missed out on a place in the final.
10 more countries will qualify from Thursday night’s second semi final. The show will be broadcast on BBC4 at 8pm.