On Tuesday and Thursday, the Eurovision semi-finals were held in Turin and broadcast in the UK on BBC Three with Scott Mills and Rylan Clark-Neal commentating both shows. Most people just tune in for the Grand Finals held on Saturday, which in all fairness is a bit of shame considering we’re all missing out on some fantastic acts that didn’t quite make the cut. That is especially true this year, where some fan favourites failed to progress.
Here’s our recap of what happened at each of the semi-finals!
Semi-final 1 (Tuesday 10 May)
A palpable atmosphere. The acts have done countless rehearsals, performed their jury and family-friendly shows – and now, they’re finally here being broadcast to millions of viewers to sing their hearts out in an attempt to gain votes. The show went smoothly, as Eurovision usually does – it’s a clockwork operation, and the sheer amount of rehearsals results in a flawless result.
In this semi-final, 17 countries competed (Armenia, Greece, Iceland, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, Ukraine, Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Latvia, and Slovenia).
When results came in, all chaos was unleashed. Everyone knew there were some who were guaranteed a spot in the Grand Finals (we’re looking at Ukraine, Portugal and Greece here in particular). We all knew that some favourites wouldn’t make it. No one quite expected it to be Latvia’s Citi Zēni with their song ‘Eat Your Salad’ – which has made waves on TikTok already. No one also expected it to be a fan favourite like Ronela Hajati with her song ‘Sekret’ representing Albania. The outcry was definitely present in the arena, let alone in living rooms and on social media – but with such a strong contest this year and a competitive lineup in this semi-final alone, there were bound to be some surprises.
Both rock bands in this semi-final didn’t make the cut, namely Denmark’s Reddi with ‘The Show’ and Bulgaria’s Intelligent Music Project with ‘Intention’. Eurovision 2022’s youngest act Slovenia’s LPS (Last Pizza Slice) with their song ‘Disko’ also didn’t make it, despite being one of the most catchy tunes of this year’s contest. Other acts that didn’t qualify include Austria’s ‘Halo’ by LUM!X and Pia Maria, and Croatia’s ‘Guilty Pleasure’ by Mia Dimšić.
Who did make it?
Switzerland, Armenia, Iceland, Lithuania, Portugal, Norway, Greece, Ukraine, Moldova, and the Netherlands.
Semi-final 2 (Thursday 12 May)
After Tuesday’s shocking result show, there was something to be expected with the second semi-final – an impending brutality at the thought of fan favourites not progressing further, whilst other acts do. Enough to make one feel bittersweet entering the second semi-final.
In this semi-final, 18 countries competed (Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, Cyprus, Georgia, Ireland, Israel, Malta, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and San Marino).
Similarly, when results came in for this semi-final it was tense, to say the least. With the hosts frustratingly dangling the results in front of viewers, they annoyingly kept the suspense up when all anyone wanted to know was who got in and who didn’t.
In all its Y2K nostalgic glory, Eurovision 2022’s poppiest song ‘That’s Rich’ by Brooke representing Ireland did not make it. It was, perhaps, the biggest shock of the night. She thrived during her performance which was well-choreographed and refreshing in the background of a handful of ballads that night. In a tearful Instagram post, Brooke thanked her audience for their unwavering support and everyone who voted for her.
Straight out of the Mighty Boosh and Noel Fielding’s mindscape is Georgia’s ‘Lock Me In’ by Circus Mircus also didn’t qualify.
Montenegro’s act Vladana came out wearing what social media spectators have dubbed a ‘satellite dish’ during her song ‘Breathe’. Both her prop and costuming were lit up, and her vocals shone on stage. On BBC Three’s broadcast, Scott Mills’ commentary was also lit with the comment ‘I bet she gets all the channels with that dish’. Maybe not, considering she didn’t quite make it into the finals.
San Marino’s ‘Stripper’ by Achille Lauro also didn’t make it, which was surprising because the live performance revived the somewhat generic pop song. Achille Lauro originally competed in the prestigious Italian festival ‘Festival di Sanremo’ in 2019, 2020 and 2022. The contest decides who will become Italy’s Eurovision act, and Lauro was beaten out by Eurovision alumni Mahmood and his duet with Blanco. Instead, Lauro went on to represent San Marino this year in quite a bizarre live performance featuring Guitar Hero levels of rock music, and a sparkly velvet bull. A performance you’d see in the sequel of Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.
Other acts that didn’t qualify include Cyprus’ ‘Ela’ by Andromache, Israel’s ‘I.M.’ by Michael Ben David, Malta’s ‘I Am What I Am’ by Emma Muscat, and North Macedonia’s ‘Circles’ by Andrea.
Who did make it?
Belgium, Czech Republic, Azerbaijan, Poland, Finland, Estonia, Australia, Sweden, Romania, and Serbia.
The Eurovision 2022 Grand Finals are on Saturday 14th May at 8pm (BST). If you’re a UK viewer, it is available to watch on BBC One and iPlayer. The BBC broadcast is, of course, accompanied by the legendary commentary of Graham Norton.
Tomorrow, you’ll see the 20 acts mentioned above who qualified alongside the Big 5: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.