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The first semi final went without a hitch last night and we now have 10 qualifiers that will join Germany, UK, France, Spain, Italy and Sweden in the final on Saturday. I thought it was a very slick show and they have certainly cut back on the costs of staging this event this year without losing any of the atmosphere and excitement that fans enjoy about Eurovision. In fact I would say that the smaller venue has increased the atmosphere somewhat with only around 11,000 capacity in the Malmo Arena.

The introductions were short and the host Petra Mede was very professional albeit a little strict sounding and quite regimented. However, her attention to being precise was a good approach as it meant less messing around with silliness and cringeworthy gimmicks and gags. (Remember the rhyming couplets in Denmark?)

I predicted my 10 qualifiers on Monday and I was reasonably accurate. I got 6/10 correct this year, not as good as last year, but okay. Here are the 10 countries that have made it through to Saturday’s final.

  • Denmark
  • Ukraine
  • Lithuania
  • Belgium
  • Moldova
  • Estonia
  • Netherlands
  • Ireland
  • Belarus
  • Russia

A very good mix of music has progressed and although I felt a couple of acts had missed out, I am happy with the results. There were only really two countries that I was surprised had qualified. Lithuania and Belgium. The former had no stage presence and the song’s lyrics are a bit strange, but I suppose we can’t all be Paul Simon or Bob Dylan. Belgium was decent and his performances have definitely improved since I first heard him sing it live, but I felt that Austria and Croatia had performed better on the night and did enough to make it through.

Not to be for them this year though and we head into Thursday’s second semi final eagerly and hope that we can get yet another good set of songs to battle it out with the 16 that are already there

Did I mention the giant? Yes, Ukraine’s singer Zlata Ognevich was carried onto the stage by a giant – Igor Vovkovinkiy  who is 7 feet 8.33 inches tall! and is the tallest living person in the United States. His role was pretty pointless because that was the extent of it, but it certainly made it memorable. Moldova’s Aliona Moon had some excellent video projection on her dress and the use of the rising platform was put to good use here.

And so I enjoyed the first semi final and look forward to the second one on Thursday, a preview of which you will be able to read here Thursday morning, so I hope you’ll check back and perhaps leave your comments on Eurovision so far or indeed anything I have had to say on the contest. Who have been your favourite songs? who do you think will win?