The official start of Eurovision 2017 kicked off in the early morning hours today with the first semi-final deciding 10 of the countries that will be competing in Saturday’s grand final.
As expected, the first stage of the competition which took place at the IEC in Kiev did not disappoint, offering copious amounts of stage glamour, backstage drama and speculation of politics.
The 10 first countries out of the 18 competing that made it to the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest final are Moldova, Azerbaijan, Greece, Sweden, Portugal, Poland, Armenia, Australia, Cyprus and Belgium.
Georgia, Albania, Montenegro, Finland, Iceland, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Latvia did not make it.
France, Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK as well as host country Ukraine automatically qualify for the grand final.
Australia’s 17-year-old star, singer Isaiah Firebrace gave his best and in spite of a vocal hiccup, he managed to win the Europeans’ hearts getting the eight place with his song ‘Don’t come Easy’. Greece’s Demy also qualified with an impeccable performance and a stunning presence, singing ‘This is Love’. The concept was designed by director Fokas Evangelinos, who also choreographed Greece’s winning 2005 entry My Number One, Ukraine’s 2008 entry Shady Lady, Russia’s winning 2008 song Believe and many others.
Demy has been joined by Alex Panayi who is her vocal coach. Alex represented Cyprus in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1995 and 2000 and was a backing singer for Greece when the country won last time the contest was held in Ukraine in 2005.
“I’m really excited, a little stressed, but it’s great,” the young singer told the press. “We want to check that everything is alright, with the cameras, it’s going to be perfect. I’m feeling more excited than stressed, which might sound odd but I am feeling so pumped, I don’t feel that it’s going to be stressful, we have so many rehearsals that when the time comes there will only be excitement.”
Cyprus with the song ‘Gravity’ by Hovig, is also preparing for a breath-taking performance in the finals’ second half, alongside Greece and Australia.
At the moment, Portugal’s 27-year-old singer Salvador Sobral seems to be the crowd favourite, provoking a heart-melting reaction form the audience.
The Portuguese singer presented his jazz pop song ‘Amar Pelos Dois’ reaching 4794 points. He later wore a ‘SOS Refugees’ T-shirt to the finalists press conference asking governments to provide safe path ways to destination countries for Syrian refugees.
“There is so much bureaucratic stuff happening in refugee camps in Greece, Turkey and Italy,” he stressed.
“We can diminish these bureaucratic services where they ask for birth certificates from people who came in plastic boats.”
The second Semi-Final will be held on Thursday 11 May (CET). SBS will broadcast the second semi live from 5am on Friday (AEST).