Eurovision 2018

#ESC2019: Live Blog of Semi 1 Jury Final #DareToDream from 21:00 CET

#ESC2019: Live Blog of Semi 1 Jury Final #DareToDream from 21:00 CET

Dusk may have fallen over Tel Aviv, not that it slows this bustling city down! We’re super excited here in Israel as it’s time for the beginning of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 with the Jury Final for Semi Final 1!

Remember, tonight’s performances count towards tomorrow’s jury vote – so the better they do tonight, the better their chances of making it to Saturday’s final!

You know what to do. Hit ‘Refresh’ to see our latest thoughts. Feel free to add your views and we may even shout out to you! 😉

All times are in CET (local time is one hour ahead of CET) and subject to change.


Erev Tov from Tel Aviv! We’re about 10 minutes away from the start of the show here, so hurry back for all the views, comments and fun that you know and love from Eurovision Ireland! ❤

The screens in the Press Centre have gone live…. oooooh!! Nothing on them yet, but still!

Here we go!!

Ahhh, Te Deum…. am I the only person who feels like standing with a hand over my heart when I hear this!?

And here she is, the reason we’re in Tel Aviv – NETTA!! Rocking a look that Lady Gaga would say was OTT, but still looking amazing!

BOGDAN – Netta is giving us her awesomeness and it looks and sounds amazing! Welcome to Tel Aviv!

Our 4 hosts. Remember the days when Eurovision hosts were duos or at most 3? Does this mean 20 years from now we’ll have 8 hosts?

Our first look at the postcards – Tamta gets a huge round of applause in the Press Centre. She’s dancing along the coast down in Eilat by the looks of it, with a bevy of hot Israeli boys… it’s alright for some!

1 – Cyprus

What an opening to the semi final this is! It’s a banging tune (I’m down with the kids me) and she performs like a true show-woman! Strangely, it feels like she’s holding back vocally – which if that’s the case, tonight was a bad choice to do so! Still, it’s a stylized Eurovision staple of a song and a great way to kick us off. 

BOGDAN – As Tamta’s postcard is shown dancing at the Aquarium at next to the beach, all press centre clap and cheer.

Tamta’s giving all ‘wet look’ from head to toe. She looks good, but her vocals are lacking some power. We have a dress revealing and some replay effects. All in all an exciting start, but could have had a bit more oomph.

2 – Montenegro

Ah, D-Mol… I don’t care what the miseries who say this sounds dated say, you’re a talented bunch and I wish you nothing but the best ❤ They’re a lovely group and I will them to qualify. I know it’s a tall order, but still… hajde Crna Gora!!! 

BOGDAN – I like Montenegro’s song, but this night, it doesn’t look so good on stage. You know when you get the feeling that the stage is too empty, but now it felt too crowded. Still, I’ve enjoyed their performance as they had fun and it showed.

3 – Finland

I looked away from the screens to catch up with my colleagues… which I think says everything you need to know about this entry… at least I did what he said and looked away… I suspect the juries might try to save this entry, but for the public I think it’s just going to be 3 minutes of white noise.

BOGDAN – Finland is trying to convince us to look away? Well this is still entertaining, and has some cool effects with aquatic theme. Unfortunately I don’t think it will appeal to the eye of the jury as the song is not that challenging.

4 – Poland

I think the biggest thing I take away from that performance was Tulia trying to start an audience clap-along and the camera honing in on 4 audience members all clapping very awkwardly to different rhythms… hopefully tomorrow night’s audience will be a bit more in time! Vocally, the girls are stunning and it’s probably the most polished show I’m seen from them thus far. Bravo Poland!

BOGDAN – That was a colourful performance from TULIA and they try to incorporate he audience to clap along, but even though I like their voices, the staging wasn’t doing it to me. Still, they might have a chance tonight.

5 – Slovenia

Slovenia’s postcard looks like The Sound of Music meets Children of the Corn… for anyone interested, I’ve had 3 hours of sleep, so this is why I’m more scathing than usual! This has really grown on me these last few weeks and I think this is a case study on how simple staging can really do wonders for a song. It’s so mellow and new age… 

BOGDAN – She is singing to him like there’s no one in the whole Universe. We have also some weird shots where his head is covering her face and we can not she the singer. He’s trying not to smile, but already smiled twice during the performance. I like the whole Universe, stars and you, but is it enough? There a thin margin between new age and forgettable..

6 – Czech Republic

Do you hear it? It’s either Jamala going for Albert again, or it’s the final calling you Lake Malawi! The contest is a TV show after all and the Czech Republic have remembered that and staged their up-beat pop number perfectly for the TV. I think this will hoover up points from the juries and televote alike!

BOGDAN – Yes, the yellow jumper is back! And he has the right attitude to wear it. I think I’ve enjoyed this performance the best so far. He is charismatic We have lots of colours and high energy as he’s jumping around the stage. What can I say? Lake Malawi has a good chance so far to qualify!

Our first trip to the Green Room tonight, chatting to Tamta from Cyprus and Poland’s Tulia. They seem a lot less morose off stage, which is fun!

7 – Hungary

I must have glanced down at the wrong moment to type, because I said “Oh, Hungary don’t have any more floaty heads in their staging!” to which Bogdan said “Yes they do, what are you talking about?” – oops!! Joci is a brilliant performer and just as with Origo, the staging is toned down to let his voice guide the performance. Nagyon jo Joci! Gratualok!

BOGDAN – Joci is back, butthis time with a soulful ballad. He’s alone on the stage and has beautiful lights and stars in the background. The only thing that distracted me were some floating heads of old men… I know the song is about his father, but having multiple faces was a bit towards the creey side. Having said that, the rest of he performance was beautiful.

8 – Belarus

I like it, yes I’m gonna like it! It’s Britney b!tch! The Press Centre are cheering for Zena and it’s a good old fashioned arena thumper. We’re undecided whether it’s a tiger or a lion on the backdrop. I’d like to see this qualify, Belarus don’t get to nearly enough finals!

BOGDAN – ZENA is selling tonight! She looks and sounds really good! This is how you do it! I wasn’t a fan of this song before the rehearsals, but now I find myself rooting for it. I’m jaming along from my seat and all he press is clapping along. Nice to see pyro effects. Yes, should qualify!

9 – Serbia

All I can say is WOW! Nevena’s performance is pure jury gold and she delivered it beautifully. I’m expecting a Top 5 finish in this semi for Serbia after that, was simply stunning! The lights, the music, her voice… incredible! Biggest cheer of the night here in the Press Centre too!

BOGDAN – Nevena is pouring her soul on the stage. We have several tornados surrounding her in different colours. I wish she needs just a touch of connecting more with the camera, but my that was beautiful! The best ballad so far! BRAVO! We all clapped along at the end.

10 – Belgium

BOGDAN – Eliot is joined on the stage by two drummers. And even though he’s singing a serious song, he still gives us some smiles. I like the song, but he might be in trouble after that beautiful performance from Nevena!

Eliot sings well, but I agree with Bogdan – after the whirlwind of Serbia, Belgium feels more like a slight breeze. And knowing what’s coming up next, I think sadly for Belgium, they could be in real trouble…

11 – Georgia

Like Dante’s Inferno the musical, Georgia went under a lot of people’s radars originally but I think they won’t be underestimating any more after that! It’s powerful, epic and everything the juries are looking for in terms of performance and vocals. I’ll be a very cross little bunny if this doesn’t make it to the final!

BOGDAN – Georgia’s presenting us an anthemic performance tonight! This is how you stage a song to elevate it. That was powerful and believable. The background with water, fire and wind, reminded me of Game of Thrones. Well done Goergia! You did well.


12 – Australia

For a brief moment, I was worried Kate was going to go careering into her backing vocalists – the perils of performing atop a large bendy straw I guess! She sounds amazing and anyone who can hit those high notes while being subjected to g-force like that deserves a spot in the final! We all went wild here when she hit that note!!

Back to the Green Room to talk to Lake Malawi, then down into the ever shrinking Golden Circle to chat with the fans. 

BOGDAN – Katie is floating through space alongside two dancers. And my they are doing an amazing job! If you’re singing about zero gravity, why not go all the way and float throughout the whole song? I’ve enjoyed this and all the press from here.

13 – Iceland

Time to lock granny in the kitchen and for those of a nervous disposition to take cover! Hatari have already won this contest in terms of drawing attention to themselves/their ideas and while I think a full on Icelandic victory might be optimistic, they do fly high on the scoreboard in years ending in 9… I do wonder what juries will have to say, but the public are going to lap this up!

BOGDAN – If you’ve seen the Icelandic national final, you won’t be surprised by what HATARI is bring to the stage. Though they brought this time a spherical cage that looks like bomb ready to explode. They did a fantastic job delivering their song. Would it be on everyone’s taste? No, but will get some public support.

14 – Estonia

With a stray cameraman running past in the background and a flat note, Victor ends the performance looking like he knows he didn’t do as well as he could have. He tried his best and soldiered on though, which is what you have to do on live TV. Such a shame. We still love you Victor!

BOGDAN – Victor is alone on the stage and he’s being charismatic as always. He’s giving it his all, but coming after HATARI, I’m afraid it might not be enough to keep him safe. We also saw a cameraman running behind him and at the time to belt that high note, to me it sounded pretty flat. We shall see…

15 – Portugal

BOGDAN – Conan is doing his thing on the stage and it might seem strange to some and awesome to others. It’a mix of everything with weird dance moves. Maybe it makes sense to some, but I’m not buying it all…

Portugal have a very niche song and I wonder what the jury will make of it. It’s performed well, but it is very avant garde… once televoters have discerned what’s actually going on, they may pick up the phone to vote… but yeah… sometimes I think too niche isn’t going to get enough broad support

16 – Greece

If the reaction of the gang of Greek reporters’ in the Press Centre is anything to go by, they’re already planning Athens 2020. Katerine sings beautifully and it all looks good. I had this down to win this semi-final originally, but now I think a more mid-table placing. It’ll still get through, how could it not? She is brilliant! 

BOGDAN – Greece is all about woman power this year. Flowers and blossoms on the stage, all in all not bad, but wasn’t the best of the night as I expected a few weeks before.

17 – San Marino

BOGDAN – Go Serhat! We’re all cheering in the press centre as the song starts. We’re clapping along hoping that our claps will get him to the Finals. Will the juries hear our plea?

Now this is what a Eurovision cult classic looks like!! It’s fun, bouncy and Serhat is having the time of his life and has the audience (and the press centre!!) eating out the palm of his hand! Come on, it’s been a long 5 years since San Marino were in the final… let them have this!


We’re now into the recap and rehearsing the cuts to Green Room. 

As we know you don’t want to be teased with the fake qualifiers from tonight’s show, we’ll round things off there. Thank you so much everyone for reading along with us. Remember, Semi Final 1 is LIVE from Tel Aviv tomorrow at 21:00CET and we’ll know our first qualifiers!!

Who will be among them – we’ll have to wait and see!

Sending lots of love from Israel! ❤ Thanks for reading! ❤


Author: James Scanlan, Bogdan Stefan
Source: Eurovision Ireland

18 replies »

  1. Problem with Portugal is that unless you understand Portuguese, it’s quite hard to grasp the message of the song and to those people who don’t ,they may see this as just a load of twaddle ! It depends I suppose whether you like the weirdness or not !

    • I think we all like a bit of weirdness at Eurovision, but as you said, the finer nuances will be lost on most people! (aside from what their commentators tell them!)

  2. Think Belgium may well be in trouble,not only have they got Serbia before them and Georgia afterwards,but also Australia after that. Their stage performance didn’t look that great from what I saw in the rehearsal clips and think they may struggle to stand out as it all looks very ordinary in comparison to those other 3 countries

    • That’s our thought here too! Too little in the performance to stand out against 3 very strong and memorable songs around it!

  3. I would love Czech Republic to win the whole thing. Eurovision in Prague would be awesome! Sadly don’t think we’ll get it this year but hope Lake Malawi get through to the final as I really do like this song

    • Eurovision in Prague would be AWESOME!! It’s a gorgeous city and would certainly make for a memorable contest! ❤

  4. Suspect from what you’re saying that I may want to ” look away” from Finland tomorrow night too! Let’s see if he shows up better on TV but it doesn’t sound promising. I’ll let you know tomorrow night

  5. Crikey….the thought of 8 hosts! The contest would go on all night , imagine how long it would be until we got to the actual songs! 😂

      • For me,two is the limit! It was actually Israel back in 1999 when they last hosted who brought in more than two,when they had 3 ! So blame them, haha

  6. No you’re not the only one who wants to do that when Te deum comes on,it gets me quite emotional!

  7. Looking forward to hearing your views. The jury shows are usually as good as the live shows , except you obviously don’t get the 10 qualifiers.

Tell Us What You Think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s