“Bold in onesie” out: The first ESC finalists have been chosen


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“Bold in onesie” out
The first ESC finalists have been chosen

The first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest took place on the stage, which was lit up in blue and yellow, with Peter Urban commenting as usual in a moody manner. Lord of the Lost, who compete for Germany, have the ticket for the final round in their pocket anyway, but are not necessarily the hottest tip from bookmakers.

Sweden and Finland have cleared the first hurdle in the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC): The two countries, which are favorites in the betting shops, qualified for the final on Saturday in the first semi-final of the ESC in Liverpool on Tuesday evening. The German group Lord of the Lost was also allowed to present themselves in the show produced by the BBC.

A total of 37 countries are taking part in the ESC, which is being held for the 67th time this year, but only 26 are in the globally acclaimed final on Saturday evening. In the first semi-final, bands and singers from 15 countries competed against each other. Ten of them made it to the final: Croatia, Moldova, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Israel, Portugal, Serbia, Norway and the favorites from Sweden and Finland.

The Swede Loreen with her song “Tattoo” has been seen as the upcoming winner in the betting shops for weeks. The bookmakers, who have been accurate in recent years, currently see their chance of winning at over 40 percent. The Finnish singer Käärijä is traded as the biggest competitor. His song “Cha Cha Cha” is garnished with a shrill stage show.

If Loreen, who was already successful in 2012 with “Euphoria”, actually wins, Sweden would then draw level with Ireland, the most successful ESC participant to date, with seven wins. However, Ireland’s successful years are long gone. In this semi-final, the Irish were eliminated again early, it was the fifth time in a row. The Netherlands, Malta, Latvia and Azerbaijan were also eliminated.

While in the final a jury and the audience decide equally on the awarding of points, in the first semi-final only the audience decided on progress. Last year’s winner Ukraine and the five major sponsors of the ESC: Italy, Spain, France, Great Britain and Germany are seeded for the final. The singer from the German starter Lord of the Lost, Chris Harms, was able to briefly introduce himself and his band in the first semi-final. After the last place for Germany last year, Lord of the Lost are given slightly better chances. The bookmakers see them in the middle.

Peter Urban said adieu

The semifinals also marked the departure of legendary German ESC commentator Peter Urban from ARD, who will retire after this year’s final. The 75-year-old Urban commented on the first semi-final with his usual ironic and funny remarks. He found the song of the eliminated Azerbaijan “as if an AI (artificial intelligence) had put it together”. Urban said of Sweden’s stage show, “Loreens’ love and suffering under a gigantic sunbed”. And Urban called the singer of the retired Irish band Wild Youth, who appeared with an unusual costume, “Kevin Kühnert in a glittering gold onesie”, in reference to the SPD Secretary General.

Last year, the Ukrainian group Kalush Orchestra won the ESC. Because of the ongoing war, however, the final cannot take place as usual in the country of the previous year’s winner for the first time.

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