ESC 2024 Highlights Eurovision Song Contest

Semi-final 1 of Eurovision 2024 qualified these 10 finalists

Semi-final 1 of Eurovision 2024 qualified these 10 finalists Pictures credits: © EBU / Sarah Louise Bennett

The ten qualifiers from the first semi-final for the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) 2024 are elected.

This Tuesday, the Malmö Arena hosted the first semi-final of the event, with 15 countries competing. The top ten voted by the audience secured spots in the grand final on Saturday.



(Click on the song titles to watch the performances)


The summary of the show

The 2024 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest kicked off in style with performances by stars Eleni Foureira, Eric Saade, and Chanel, who delivered spectacular and nostalgic renditions of their songs. Following them, hosts Malin Åkerman and Petra Mede took the stage, providing the usual introductions and paving the way for the performances.

The postcards made an immediate impact due to their difference from previous years, recalling two past participations from each country. They then showcased this year’s contestants in their respective countries and hometowns.

Another novelty was the live performance by automatic finalists, in this case, the representatives from Germany, the United Kingdom, and Sweden, who are the automatic finalists voting in this semifinal.


1. Cyprus: Silia Kapsis – Liar

  • Postcard: Hara & Andreas Konstantinou (1997) and Ivi Adamou (2012)
  • Performance: The performer, Silia Kapsis, dressed in white, accompanied by four dancers. The stage had dark tones and graphics. A lot of dynamism and movement opened the performance order.


2. Serbia: Teya Dora – Ramonda

  • Postcard: Marija Šerifović (2007, winner) and Konstrakta (2022)
  • Performance: Started with a lot of smoke effects, wide image shots. Teya Dora, alone on stage, was on a structure resembling a small rock, rising as the song gained momentum. The staging was marked by darkness, appealing greatly to emotions and feelings.


3. Lithuania: Silvester Belt – Luktelk

  • Postcard: Donny Montell (2012) and The Roop (2021)
  • Performance: In addition to Silvester Belt, there were four masked dancers on stage. Dark blue color marked the beginning of the performance, evolving into red. Graphics added color and complemented the performance, in an environment worthy of electronic music.


4. Ireland: Bambie Thug – Doomsday Blue

  • Postcard: Johnny Logan (1987, winner) and Jedward (2011)
  • Performance: Bambie Thug was accompanied by a dancer. This was one of the most striking stagings of the night: a candle lamp, gothic and satanic motifs, lots of fire at the end, in a “creepy” and demonic atmosphere that leaves no one indifferent.

After Ireland’s performance, there was a short break in the song parade, before the first performance from a direct qualifier: Olly Alexander, United Kingdom’s representative.


United Kingdom: Olly Alexander – Dizzy

  • Postcard: Sandie Shaw (1967, winner) and Sam Ryder (2022)
  • Performance: Olly Alexander began lying on stage inside a cubic structure resembling the interior of a bathroom, with the television screen gradually revealing itself. The performer was accompanied by four dancers. It is within the structure that part of the performance unfolds, with variations in the tilt of the plans to give the “Dizzy” effect, before the performer and dancers exit.


5. Ukraine: alyona alyona & Jerry Heil – Teresa & Maria

  • Postcard: Ruslana (2004, winner) and Go_A (2021)
  • Performance: Lighting was predominantly warm shades of orange-yellow, but also with the water effect on the floor. Jerry Heil seemed to be alone in the first few seconds before joining alyona alyona in the more hip-hop phase of the song. The artists also used a structure resembling a small rock. In the end, the artists lay on the stage, which displayed images of various women. It was a performance with a certain emotional charge, much like the song.


6. Poland: Luna – The Tower

  • Postcard: Edyta Górniak (1994) and Donatan & Cleo (2014)
  • Performance: With Luna, there were three dancers, and two towers like on a chessboard. The LED screens in the background were filled with graphics throughout the performance, in which the singer moved widely across the stage. One of the most dynamic performances seen up to that point, ending with a lot of pyrotechnics.


7. Croatia: Baby Lasagna – Rim Tim Tagi Dim

  • Postcard: Doris Dragović (1999) and Let 3 (2023)
  • Performance: As one of the big favorites to win, Baby Lasagna had a very unique performance. Lace adorned not only the clothing but also some instruments. Lots of energy and movement, including from the cameras, as demanded by the song, a mix of metal, techno, and trap. And, of course, the pyrotechnics were not lacking.


8. Iceland: Hera Björk – Scared of Heights

  • Postcard: Icy (1986) and Daði og Gagnamagnið (2021)
  • Performance: Back at ESC more than a decade later, Hera Björk brought a pop song with some 1990s sound. The performer was alone on stage, starting in a high structure. Dynamism was provided by lighting and colorful graphics.


After Iceland, there was a short break in the performances and for some broadcasters to air commercials, but not in the show, which continued in the arena… combining ESC songs and Ingrid Bergman movies.


Germany: Isaak – Always On The Run

  • Postcard: Mekado (1994) and Lena (2010, winner)
  • Performance: Isaak started in an environment resembling a small living room, dressed in dark clothes. When the song gained momentum, the stage «ignited» in a performance with many flames. The singer later exited the structure, evolving to one of the corners of the cross forming the main stage.


9. Slovenia: Raiven – Veronika

  • Postcard: Nuša Derenda (2001) and Zala Kralj and Gašper Šantl (2019)
  • Performance: At the beginning of the performance, Raiven was seen lying on stage, surrounded by smoke, with dark blue tones. Later, five dancers joined, with the smoke remaining, which, together with the graphics, gave the effect of clouds and then a stormy ocean.


10. Finland: Windows95man – No Rules!

  • Postcard: Catcat (1994) and Käärijä (2023)
  • Performance: The duo started inside an “egg”. One of the performers, Windows95man, was dressed in a sweater reminiscent of that operating system, and almost naked from the waist down, moving across the stage. A very irreverent performance, joined by two dancers. The graphics showed clouds. It was three minutes that referred to the bangers of the 1980s and 1990s.


11. Moldova: Natalia Barbu – In The Middle

  • Postcard: Zdob și Zdub (2007) and SunStroke Project and Olia Tira (2010)
  • Performance: Dressed in a white dress, Natalia Barbu started alone on a stage dominated by blue and lilac tones. Despite the graphics adding some motion, with the color and the flowers and the tree that appeared later, there was a lack of dynamism in Natalia Barbu’s performance, who was very static when the song called for more movement. Later on, the color evolved into shades of yellow, and at one point, the graphics gave the effect of the singer having a pair of wings.

When Natalia Barbu left the stage, there was a short pause in the performances, for the hosts to introduce another country directly qualified for the final that performed in this semifinal: the host Sweden.


Sweden: Marcus & Martinus – Unforgettable

  • Postcard: Carola(1983) and Loreen (2023, winner)
  • Performance: The performance started in the dark, punctuated by red and white. Only later did Marcus & Martinus become more visible as the graphics and lighting became clear. They were inside a kind of corridor, and later, four dancers joined. A dance-pop song, with movement, lights, and graphics perfectly accompanying the sound rhythms.


12. Azerbaijan: Fahree feat. Ilkin Dovlatov – Özünlə apar

  • Postcard: Aysel & Arash (2009) and Ell & Nikki (2011, winners)
  • Performance: With the graphics revealing the Moon rising between mountains and then a human head and arms emerging from the water, Fahree started alone on stage, wearing gray and black clothing. Later, Ilkin Dovlatov joined. The stage never ceased to be dominated by a certain darkness, with lighting and graphics alternating between white, blue, and gray. The human hands ended as a graphic in the center of the stage.


13. Australia: Electric Fields – One Milkali (One Blood)

  • Postcard: Guy Sebastian (2015) and Kate Miller-Heidke (2019)
  • Performance: The duo Electric Fields paid a true tribute to Australian Aboriginal culture, through costume and staging, while also having an electronic and soul sound. A stage rich in warm colors and dynamic graphics. Three dancers also joined, one of them adorned as an Australian tribal Aboriginal. A rich moment of cultural diversity on stage in Malmö.


14. Portugal: iolanda – Grito

  • Postcard: Doce (1982) and Salvador Sobral (2017, winner)
  • Performance: White dominates Portugal’s attire, with the singer iolanda accompanied by four dancers masked with lace. It was one of the songs that appealed to emotions and «tears», standing out for that reason. The dynamics were given by the dancers, but also by the play of white lights contrasting with the darkness of the stage.


15. Luxembourg: Tali – Fighter

  • Postcard: France Gall (1965, winner) and Lara Fabian (1988)
  • Performance: Welcome back, Luxembourg! After 31 years, the Grand Duchy returned to the ESC, represented by Tali. The singer, with five dancers, started inside a small structure from which she emerged when the rhythm rose. It was a dynamic performance on all levels: warm colors, graphics that even showed a leopard at some point, pyrotechnics, and dance. An interesting return by Luxembourg.


After the performances, it was time to start the voting, which was handled by the two hosts Malin Åkerman and Petra Mede. This was followed by a first recap of the songs.

Johnny Logan, ESC winner in 1980 and 1987, was the first interval act. Accompanied by a string orchestra, he sang Loreen’s first winning song: Euphoria (2012).

This was followed by a visit to the green room, as well as behind-the-scenes content from the Turquoise Carpet. After another recap of the performances, the voting was closed. A preview of the second semi-final was then shown, before a tribute to Nicole and Hugo – Belgian representatives in 1973.

There was still time for one more interval act before the results: Benjamin Ingrosso, Sweden’s representative in 2018, who sang some of his greatest hits: Who’s Laughing NowKite, and Honey Boy.

Then a VT was broadcast highlighting some songs from ESC history in more traditional music genres. For the results to be announced, the doors of the green rooms opened, revealing it. Martin Österdahl, executive supervisor, gave the «green light» to proceed with the announcement of the qualifiers with the famous phrase «You’re good to go».

Then, the qualifiers were announced on this order: Serbia, Portugal, Slovenia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Finland, Cyprus, Croatia, Ireland, Luxembourg,

As tradition dictates, the semifinal ended with a recap of the qualified songs and with the artists celebrating on stage.

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Bernardo Matias

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