First semi-final winners revealed for Eurovision finale

The first ten countries to qualify for Saturday's Eurovision Song Contest final have been announced in Stockholm.

First semi-final winners revealed for Eurovision finale
Azerbaijan's entry Samra celebrating with her team. Photo: Martin Meissner/TT

In a night of glitz and glamour, eighteen countries took part in the first semi-final on Tuesday night to decide who should fill the remaining slots available for Saturday's final, with the result decided by a combination of national expert juries and televoting. 

Sweden, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom had already been guaranteed their places ahead of the semis.

The finalists who made it through after singing their hearts out at the Globe Arena were: Samra (Azerbaijan), Sergey Lazarev (Russia), Douwe Bob (The Netherlands), Freddie (Hungary), Nina Krajić (Croatia), ZOË (Austria), Iveta Mukuchyan (Armenia), Gabriela Gunčíková (Czech Republic) and Minus One (Cyprus) and Ira Losco (Malta).

Those missing out on a place were: Finland, Greece, San Marino, Estonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Gerzegovina and Iceland.

The second semi-final with the remaining 18 hopefuls takes place on Thursday.

Hosted by last year's Swedish winner, Måns Zelmerlöw and his co-presenter Petra Mede, the grand finale will feature a total of 26 nations. It will be broadcast live from the Globe Arena in Stockholm on Saturday night.

Ahead of the main event, betting shops are already anticipating an arm-wrestling match between Russia and Ukraine, currently torn apart by the conflict that began with Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The duel could turn fierce as Ukraine's contestant Susana Jamaladinova is set to perform her contentious song '1944', which recounts Stalin's deportation of Crimean Tatars.

Another gamblers' favourite is French-Israeli Amir Haddad, who will represent France with upbeat tune 'J'ai cherché'.

The handsome 31-year-old dental surgeon is trying to charm other nations with an unusual trick in a French performance – singing partly in English.

Should he succeed, he would be the first French performer to win the contest in nearly 40 years.

The Netherlands' entry Douwe Bob has also been scoring high praise on social media, following his semi-final showdown on Tuesday.

Sweden's Frans Jeppson Wall might just also be in with a shot thanks to his track 'If I were Sorry' scoring airplay across Europe in recent weeks and a growing fan base in the UK, where his father is from.


Sweden among favourites after leaping through to Eurovision final

Cornelia Jakobs, Sweden's entry to the Eurovision Song Contest, burst into tears and jumped onto presenter Mario Acampas, after shooting through to the final on Thursday night.

Sweden among favourites after leaping through to Eurovision final

Jakobs was emotional at the press conference after her victory, telling the story of her progress from an “largely unknown” indie artist to the Eurovision stage. 

“There are a lot of feelings right now in this little body, an extremely large amount of feelings that can’t really fit in, so they’re exploding,” she said, before beginning to cry. “But I’m so happy and overwhelmed by all the support I’ve got from all these fantastic countries.” 

When the time came to pick lots for which half of the final she would appear in, she leapt onto Mario Acampas, the presenter asking questions at the press conference, wrapping her legs around his waist and clasping herself tightly to his torso. 

He then walked her over to the bowl where the lots were lying. 

“I want you to choose the second half,” she said to him. “Imagine that I have a pistol here and on the count of three I’m going to shoot you if you don’t choose.”

He refused to pick for her so she took one herself and got the second half. 

Jakobs, with her song, “Hold me closer”, was the clear favourite to go into the final, and will go through alongside Finland’s The Rasmus, and his song Jezebel, Serbia’s Konstrakta with “In corpore sano”, as well as entries from Belgium, Czechia, Azerbaijan, Poland, Estonia, Australia, and Romania. 

You can see her performance on Thursday in the video below. 

In the final, she will meet the other favourites, which include Ukraine, Italy, and the United Kingdom. 

The final will be shown on Sweden’s state broadcaster SVT at 9pm on Saturday.