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Spotter’s Guide: Eurovision 2019 – Semi Final Two Written by on May 16, 2019

The second Semi Final is upon us, and if you think Tuesday’s show was dramatic, you ain’t seen nothing yet! At one point the entire top five in the betting featured songs from this Semi Final, and tonight they’ll all be scrapping it out to go into Saturday as serious contenders. Here’s John Lucas with his Spotter’s Guide to the evening ahead…

Assi Azar – A New Breakout Host?

All four of the hosts for this year’s Contest are doing a fine job so far at keeping the shows running smoothly, but if any of them is likely to join the ranks of classic Eurovision comperes to stand alongside the likes of Petra Mede and Anke Engelke, it’s Green Room correspondent Assi Azar. Charming, cheeky and evidently having the time of his life, Azar’s good-natured flirting with the performers and his heartfelt appreciation for the show are as much a highlight tonight as they were on Tuesday. Fans of his tribute to Spanish Miki’s gym selfies will be pleased to know that a sequel featuring Mahmood from Italy soaking up some sun at the Dead Sea is on the cards tonight…

Double Vision

Actually, make that sextuple vision – for some reason a CGI hall of mirror effect appears to be the must-have stage gimmick for this year. Russia are hoping that six Sergeys are better than one with a dramatic rain-soaked performance, while North Macedonia make sure you can see every inch of Tamara’s beautiful gown with a clever reversible mirror shot. There’s also Azerbaijan summoning a CGI Patronus, and a disappearing act from Moldova. Framkly, if you blink at the wrong moment during this Semi Final, there’s a strong probability you won’t have a clue what’s going on…

Sergey’s starting with the man in the mirror for tonight’s performance… (Eurovision.tv/EBU)

Deja Vu

On the subject of doubles, there are a few moments tonight that might seem eerily familiar. Moldova have drafted in acclaimed sand artist Kseniya Simonova to spice up her classic Euroballad with some on-stage creations. You may remember Simonova from her 2011 appearance doing a very similar routine for Ukraine’s Mika Newton. They say talent borrows and genius steals, but we’ll have to wait until the end of the show to find out whether lightning strikes twice for this routine…

Biceps

Maybe it’s the heat over here in Tel Aviv, but it’s hard to overlook the fact that this heat is not exactly short on gym-toned male limbs. From Switzerland’s dirty dancing Luca Hänni to Sweden’s athletic John Lundvik, Azerbaijan’s smouldering Chingiz to Russia’s returning poster boy Sergey Lazarev, if there’s one attribute shared by the front runners in this Semi Final, it’s the fact that any one of them could probably arm-wrestle the ESC Insight team under the table without breaking a sweat.

Sweden’s John Lundvik… evidently never too late for dumbbell curls (Eurovision.tv/EBU)

Emotion

OK, so obviously there’s more to this Semi Final than the eye-candy. Indeed, tonight’s show features some of the most heart-wrenching performances you’ll see on the Eurovision stage this year. You’ll be able to hear a pin drop while hot favourite Duncan Laurence from The Netherlands works out his heartbreak onstage, while North Macedonia’s Tamara Todevska delivers a vocal masterclass for her quiet storm ballad Proud. Don’t count out Austria or Albania either, both emoting their respective entries as though their lives depended on it. There won’t be a dry eye in the house by the final credits…

Fuego!

Yeah, yeah… fire! The impact of Eleni Foureira is strongly felt in this Semi Final… and we’re not just talking about Luca Hanni’s spookily familiar backing track. Indeed, many of tonight’s performers are quite literally turning up the hear with pyro-fuelled performances. Armenia builds to an incredible display as the flames rise as high as her vocals, Norway mix fire and ice for their folk-tinged stage show, and Romania appear to be going full Vampire complete with hellfire backing imagery. Hopefully the stage manager has a trusty extinguisher on standby, just in case…

Stay tuned to ESC Insight for a thorough post-mortem on the results online and on the ESC Insight podcast. Check out the latest version of the ESC Insight newsletter here, or subscribe here to receive regular updates direct to your inbox. 

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About The Author: John Lucas

A writer and content marketing professional with a passion for getting lost in strange cities and a strange fascination with micro states, John has been with ESC Insight since 2015 and has also had his writing featured in publications including The Guardian, Popjustice and So So Gay. Tweetable @JLucas86.

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