Ten songs from the Eurovision Song Contest semi-final have advanced to tomorrow's (May 20) final in Athens, but pre-contest favorite "Je T'Adore" by Belgium's Kate Ryan is not among the qualifiers.
Ten songs from the Eurovision Song Contest semi-final have advanced to tomorrow's (May 20) final in Athens, but pre-contest favorite "Je T'Adore" by Belgium's Kate Ryan is not among the qualifiers. More surprising, the nursery-rhyme like "We Are the Winners" by LT United from Lithuania, considered by many to be one of the worst Eurovision entries of all time, made it through to the final.
The semi-final of the 51st Eurovision Song Contest was broadcast live Thursday night to over 100 million viewers throughout Europe. After the 23 songs were performed, phone lines were opened for 10 minutes. As the show drew to its close after two and a half hours, hosts Sakis Rouvas and Maria Menounos opened 10 envelopes containing the names of the countries that had received the highest amount of votes from viewers.
The first envelope opened contained a card with "Russia" written on it. That was not a surprise, as Dima Bilan's "Never Let You Go" is one of the favorites to win the competition on Saturday night.
Other countries that qualified were Armenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ireland, Sweden, Turkey and Ukraine. Armenia is a first-time entrant.
Finland has failed to qualify in previous semi-finals and has never placed higher than sixth in the final competition. Heavy-metal monster-outfitted act Lordi (described as a cross between Kiss and the Klingons) could give the Finnish their most successful entry in Eurovision history with the pyrotechnic-laden "Hard Rock Hallelujah." Ireland, the country that has won the most contests, is back in after not making it out of the semi-final last year.
Lithuania's "We Are the Winners" was one of two songs in the semi-final that made direct reference to winning Eurovision. The other, "Congratulations" by Iceland's Silvia Night, did not qualify. The Icelandic song, as well as the entire presentation, was meant as a joke but Europe didn't get it, as indicated by the loud booing in the hall during the performance.
Silvia Night, a character on a television show in Iceland, had offended many by singing an expletive in her song, and by cursing the television crew during rehearsals. When warned by the European Broadcasting Union that she would be disqualified if she sang the expletive during the live broadcast, Night replied, "I'll f***ing say what I f***ing want." On the night, she sang, "I'll freaking win" as she had intended all along, but it was too late to appeal to televoters. It also didn't help that during a press conference she had one of her bodyguards physically remove a journalist for looking her in the eyes. The "journalist" was an actress, but it wasn't reported that way on Greek television.
Other countries that didn't qualify for the Eurovision final were Albania, Andorra, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Monaco, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia. Anzej Dezan had also been a favorite with the Slovenian entry, "Mr. Nobody," but the absence of Belgium remains the biggest surprise. "Je T'Adore" was not only a fan favorite, but a panel of experts assembled by BBC News in the United Kingdom had selected the Belgian song as the winner among all 37 entries.
Viewers have a wide choice of music to choose from, including country (Germany), new age (Norway), a cappella (Latvia), retro '60s pop (Denmark), rap (United Kingdom), cool jazz (Spain), dance pop (Malta) and ballad (Ireland) as well as Finland's heavy metal entry.
51st Eurovision Song Contest finalists:
1. "If We All Give a Little," Six4One (Switzerland)
2. "Loca," Arsenium featuring Natalia Gordienko & Connect-R (Moldova)
3. "Together We Are One," Eddie Butler (Israel)
4. "I Hear Your Heart," Cosmos (Latvia)
5. "Alvedansen," Christine Guldbrandsen (Norway)
6. "Bloody Mary," Las Ketchup (Spain)
7. "I Do," Fabrizio Faniello (Malta)
8. "No No Never," Texas Lightning (Germany)
9. "Twist of Love," Sidsel Ben Semmane (Denmark)
10. "Never Let You Go," Dima Bilan (Russia)
11. "Ninanajna," Elena Risteska (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)
12. "Tornero," Mihai Traistariu (Romania)
13. "Lejla," Hari Mata Hari (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
14. "We Are the Winners," LT United (Lithuania)
15. "Teenage Life," Daz Sampson (United Kingdom)
16. "Everything," Anna Vissi (Greece)
17. "Hard Rock Hallelujah," Lordi (Finland)
18. "Show Me Your Love," Tina Karol (Ukraine)
19. "Il Etait Temps," Virginie Pouchain (France)
20. "Moja Stikla," Severina (Croatia)
21. "Every Song Is a Cry for Love," Brian Kennedy (Ireland)
22. "Invincible," Carola (Sweden)
23. "Superstar," Sibel Tuzun (Turkey)
24. "Without Your Love," Andre (Armenia)