Last night (18 May) saw the first Eurovision semi-final take place in Rotterdam, with acts including Ireland’s Lesley Roy.
The 2021 contest will go ahead in Rotterdam this year, after the 2020 instalment was called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 65th edition of Eurovision was one of the first high-profile cancellations of the pandemic, with the 41 acts scheduled to compete eventually featuring in a non-competitive virtual show on the weekend the final would have taken place.
This year, acts who can travel to Rotterdam will perform live on stage, while those unable to will submit recorded performances.
Here is everything you need to know about the first semi-final.
How did the first semi-final work?
Sixteen countries participated in the first semi-final.
Those countries, plus Germany, Italy and the Netherlands voted for their favourite performances.
Belarus was originally allocated to participate in the semi-final, but was disqualified from the contest after submitting an entry in violation of the rules.
Within hours of the release of ‘Ya nauchu tebya (I'll Teach You)’ by Belarusian band Galasy ZMesta, a Change.org petition was started requesting Belarus' disqualification from Eurovision 2021 due to lyrics which were interpreted as celebrating "political oppression and slavery".
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) issued a statement asserting that due to the political nature of the song, it did not follow the rules of the contest, and offered Belarus an opportunity to submit a second track.
The new song – ‘Pesnya pro zaytsev (Song About Hares)’ – was again rejected by the EBU, who said the track “was also in breach of the rules of the competition”.
Who were the contestants?
Sixteen entrants vied for a place in the Eurovision 2021 grand final as part of the first semi-final.
The full list of participants in the first semi-final was as follows:
|3||Russia||Manizha||Russian Woman||Russian, English|
|6||North Macedonia||Vasil||Here I Stand||English|
|8||Cyprus||Elena Tsagrinou||El diablo||English|
|11||Belgium||Hooverphonic||The Wrong Place||English|
|12||Israel||Eden Alene||Set Me Free||English|
|16||Malta||Destiny||Je me casse||English|
Australia’s current travel restrictions meant Montaigne was unable to travel to Rotterdam to perform. She instead submitted a ‘Live-on-Tape' performance.
What were the semi final 1 results?
Ireland’s Eurovision Song Contest entry Lesley Roy missed out on qualifying for the final of the competition.
The singer-songwriter delivered an energetic performance of her song ‘Maps’ live in Rotterdam, but it wasn’t enough to see her through.
Norway, Israel, Russia, Azerbaijan, Malta, Lithuania, Cyprus, Sweden, Belgium, and Ukraine made it through to Saturday’s final.
Russian singer Manizha gave an eye-catching performance of her song Russian Woman, which focused on female empowerment. The artist came on stage in a large, multicoloured dress before emerging from the garment in a red boiler suit.
Australian entry Montaigne, who failed to qualify for the final, performed her song Technicolour remotely after being unable to travel to Rotterdam for the competition.
In addition to Ireland and Australia, Croatia, North Macedonia, Romania, and Slovenia also missed out on a place in Saturday’s final.
How can I watch semi final 2?
The second semi-final will be broadcast on BBC Four on 20 May in a programme hosted by presenters Rylan Clark-Neal and Scott Mills, and singer Chelcee Grimes.
The broadcast will begin at 8pm.
The final of the competition will air on BBC One on 22 May at 8pm in a special programme hosted by Graham Norton. It will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 in a programme hosted by Ken Bruce.
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