Report from the first Semi-Final and the winners' press conference
The first semi-final went on with flawless performances. Nothing happened that was the fault of the artists or their delegations, making for a smooth show.
Technical issues continue for Sweden
Only one technical issue stood out: during Sanna Nielsen’s performance, the stage right door on the wall of the stage remained open the entire time, leaving a large hole in the backdrop of stars.
This is after one of the lights in the light ring failed during the jury performance, requiring extra testing.
Cheers for Ukraine, boos for Russia
Also, when the qualifiers were being announced, there were a few memorable moments.
When Ukraine was announced, the arena burst in explosive cheers, showing support for the country under invasion.
On the other end, when the Tolmachevy Sisters were announced as qualifiers, it seemed like the entire arena loudly booed them for several seconds, almost overlapping with the next country’s announcement.
Third time lucky
The definite surprise of the night was Valentina Monetta and San Marino’s announcement as a qualifier.
For the last week, San Marino was last in the betting odds and almost no one predicted them to qualify. This truly made Valentina’s day, because it has taken three long years for her to get the chance to represent San Marino in the Grand Final for the first time for the small nation ever.
The winners’ press conference
Directly after the show ended, the audience was slowly directed to exit, one section at a time, while the qualifiers headed backstage.
The press conference is usually supposed to follow the semi-final by about 30 minutes, but because of a delay, it started a little later.
After the press conference began, Ulla Essendrop and Abdel Aziz Mahmoud asked for questions from the local and international press for each artist.
András Kállay-Saunders from Hungary was asked how he felt to how the critics of his song said it was too dark subject matter for Eurovision. András responded, “Music has no boundaries and no rules.” He continued to make a global statement about world politics, saying, “If everyone here can get along, everyone everywhere can get along.”
Valentina Monetta from San Marino was met with explosive cheers and applause from the audience. She seemed genuinely touched and happy, simply saying, “I believe in love in my life. This is the answer for me.”
Mariya Yaremchuk from Ukraine was asked about how she felt about the current Russian invasion in Ukraine. She responded, “I am proud to be Ukrainian. Everything I do onstage is for Ukraine. I have 40 million Ukrainians on the stage with me. Time is now. There are so many more important things than politics.”
The Common Linnets were asked about how they felt being part of the contest. Enthusiastically, Ilse DeLange stated, “Sweden has a pop song with killer chorus and we have a sweet emotional song. We have just three chords and our hearts. It is so cool that we can both be in the final together.”
Two members of Icelandic Pollapönk were asked if they truly felt the message of their songs in their hearts. Confidently, they responded, “We are preschool teachers and when children come into the preschool, they have no prejudice. Society gives them the prejudice. It is the job of the parents to stop the prejudice.
After each country had their chance to speak, they drew which half of the final that they will perform in. Here are the results:
- Azerbaijan – First Half
- Montenegro – First Half
- Hungary – Second Half
- Russia – Second Half
- Armenia – First Half
- San Marino – Second Half
- Ukraine – First Half
- Sweden – First Half
- The Netherlands – Second Half
- Iceland – First Half