The Eurovision week always goes incredibly fast. 48 hours ago we still had 40 songs in the mix for the win, but in just a few hours we’ll have our final 25. 18 songs are in the running tonight in what is, in my opinion, the far stronger of the two semis. Such is the quality of tonight’s show I’ve only got one sure-fire qualifier and the rest are up for grabs.
So that one song that I’m certain to succeed this evening is Cornelia Jakobs’ Hold Me Closer representing Sweden. This heartbreak anthem is exactly the kind of song you’d belt after bottle and a half of cheap wine as you mainline ice-cream. We’ve all been there, we’ve all felt that sense of loss. This song has that universal appeal.
So much for me wanting Saturday to be more of a party!
There are, however, a number of countries who’ll be contributing to a more upbeat atmosphere tonight. Our neighbours across the Irish Sea are providing just the girly bop we need in the final. Brooke’s That’s Rich is an energetic three minutes perfectly showing off all her charm and charisma. It would be cruelly unfair were this not to make the final.
Georgia are bringing a steampunk circus-inspired 90s Britpop anthem that will fill the arena and television screen with a delightful splash of colout. The Czech Republic was close the show with an electropop banger staged in a HUGE light show. And then…then there’s San Marino. Achille Lauro has created a three-minute performance that will live long in the memory. This one really has to be seen to be believed!
Mika, Laura & Alessandro return to host with all the easy-going back-and-forth of three people meeting for the first time because their partners know each other. Pausini & Mika also perform a duet that’s bafflingly bad for two so talented. The proper interval act is Eurovision returnees, Il Volo. Despite one joining remotely due to Covid, the classical trio perform a rock-infused English language version of their hit, Grande Amore. This absolute batshittery is not to be missed!
From a UK perspective, this is the semi final for us to get excited about. Firstly, we can have our say and vote tonight. We must take our chance to influence the results and vote wisely (Czech Republic, Ireland, San Marino & Georgia advised!). Secondly, we will see an extended clip of Sam’s rehearsal. Finally, we’re all going to see just big a step up the UK have taken in terms of staging. Our boy’s gonna do us proud!
And by the end of proceedings, we’ll have our finalists. 10 from Tuesday, 10 from tonight and the Big 5 automatic qualifiers. After that, it will just be the small matter of picking a winner from the bunch.
Join Scott Mills and Rylan for semi-final on BBC3 at 8pm tonight.