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Your Spotter’s Guide To The Second Semi Final Of Eurovision 2024 Written by on May 9, 2024

What’s coming up in part two of  Eurovision? Need to know when to really pay attention? Want to know what exciting surprises are in store? Our Spotter’s Guide has got you covered!

Tonight, another 16 acts will compete for a spot in Saturday’s Eurovision final. But Semifinal 2 has a whole lot more to offer than just those songs. Time for the traditional Spotter’s Guide to highlight some of the things to look out for in tonight’s show.

We’ve grouped in broad themes of the night, under which you’ll see many acts appearing:

Swedish Humour

The first Semi Final had some good jokes (especially the Grindr skit that certain UK tabloids reported as fact!) However, the show focused on introducing and establishing the chemistry between Petra and Malin, rather than comedy. The opening and intervals were also centred around established and well-known Eurovision acts like Eric Saade and Johnny Logan.

Those of us who are fans of Edward af Sillén and Daniel Réhn – the writers who worked on the 2013 and 2016 Eurovision shows – wanted something a little more. After all, these guys gave us “Love Love Peace Peace.” Surely they had something bigger planned than an overlay of Eurovision songs on Ingmar Bergman films?

We needn’t have worried; from the opening number, in which Malin and Petra lampoon Loreen’s Tattoo, to the closing interval, this semifinal is chock-a-block with jokes, many of which reflect our host country. If Petra and Malin aren’t poking fun at Sweden itself, they’re swinging (with love) at one of their fellow Nordic nations. Norway, Denmark and Finland all get particularly pointed jibes.

All of this culminates in an interval act about Sweden and Eurovision titled “We Just Love Winning Too Much.” I realise this is a Spotter’s Guide, but honestly, it’s best to go in knowing nothing else other than there are some crowd-pleasing reveals. The subtitles to this song will be displayed on the screen, which is an excellent idea.  I was laughing so hard I would have missed half the jokes otherwise. (Okay, just one fact – one of the people delivering the points during the song is Pernilla Wahlgren, the 1985 Swedish entrant to Eurovision, mother of Benjamin Ingrosso, reality TV star, former Melfest host, and Semi Final One ‘s interval act).

Audience Participation

While one interval act is a show-stopping production, the second interval act is a variation of Allsång på Skansen , a summertime Swedish television tradition where people crowd an amusement park to sing along with pop stars who are performing their biggest hits. Petra and Malin invited all of us to do Allsång på Eurovision or, as Will Ferrell’s Eurovision movie calls it, a Songalong. Lyrics were projected on the big screen, and everyone in the hall joined in. After Petra and the crowd start with a few lines of Greece’s 2005 winning song My Number One, its singer Helena Papritzou suddenly strides onto the stage and takes over.

After Helena, divas Charlotte Perelli and Sertab Erner arrive on stage to perform their Eurovision-winning hits Take Me To Your Heaven (1999) and Every Way That I Can (2003). These divas have songs that are now a familiar part of the canon, played over and over at Euroclubs and the annual ESC250 countdown. But Sertab’s presence on stage is intriguing. Many fans have been asking whether this heralds Turkey’s return to the contest. (Sadly, it’s probably a no).

A final thing to watch out for here – you’ll see videos of people in the background: these are Eurofans who have sent in videos of them singing along at home. It’s a nice way to involve a wider group of people, some of whom cannot be here.

EBU-sanctioned karaoke is not the only audience participation of the evening. Several songs in this Semifinal got everyone in the crowd moving and on their feet during the jury shows. In particular, Armenia’s Ladaniva has a call-and-response section in their song Jako, which creates a party atmosphere, combined with graphics that include spinning chickens and trumpets. Estonia’s 5MIINUST and Puuluup arrived with the challenge of bringing a slightly atonal rap song in Estonian, a notoriously difficult language to master, but it didn’t matter. Everyone in the crowd just ended up shouting “HEY” very loudly with the beat of the song before doing their TikTok-friendly Veisson dance. And Austria’s Kaleen pulls off a miracle. In a room with a resounding amount of yellow, purple, and pink – the branding colours of this year’s Eurovision – she manages to transform into a cavernous warehouse with a laser light show and a thumping techno beat. Her invocation of the song’s title – ‘We Will Rave’ – becomes a command that not a single person dares to disobey. Everyone was moving.

Girl Bops

Speaking of Kaleen, she is one of the three – arguably four – girl bops in Semifinal 2, and I don’t know whether all of them can go through. Malta’s Sarah Bonnici opens the show with ‘Loop.‘ Honestly, producer Christer Bjorkman has made the right running order choice here. Bonnici’s dance break choreography rivals that of Eleni and Chanel’s opening to Semi Final 1, with the added bonus of some absolutely stellar vocals.

As mentioned above, Kaleen’s song recreates the 1990s rave experience in Malmo, while the night’s final girl bop in the running order is Georgia’s Firefighter, performed by American Idol veteran Nutsa. As expected, there is fire. She does fight it, but only metaphorically. However, while simple, her gold bodysuit and gloves costume is perhaps the most effective at working with the staging and reflecting the pyrotechnics.

Now, I would not have originally classified Greece’s ‘Zari,’ performed by Marina Satti, as a girl bop. Yes, it is an upbeat song with a high BPM. But the way Satti borrows and remixes elements within her music, the result is more avant-garde than a traditional girl bop. Satti’s staging reflects the tension between trying to appeal to a wider audience and having an artistic vision – in this case, tying back to her guerilla-style music video, where she plays a tourist guide showing viewers around Greece. Here, her performance starts in portrait mode, as if we are watching it live streamed from someone’s phone, before continuing for some time with a long unbroken camera shot – again, as if someone happened upon it in the street and began recording.

But what is being recorded is Satti doing choreography like we might expect from a girl bop performer, complete with hunky backup dancers. Yes, she’s deconstructing the idea of a Eurovision performance, but it can still be experienced as a simple Eurovision performance.

Spain On Spain Action

Once again, a major change to this year’s Eurovision is having the Big 5 acts perform alongside the qualifiers. Spain’s Nebulossa performs in this semi. But San Marino, represented by the Spanish act Megara, is also performing in this semi. And a producer thought putting the two Spanish acts right next to each other would be funny. When this was announced, I was worried that the two Spanish acts would cancel each other out. My fears were unfounded. Instead, we got a continuation of some of the broader Eurovision 2024 themes that began to appear in Semifinal 1. To put it in a pithy shorthand – it’s butts and witches.

Nebulossa are bringing an 80s synth ditty titled Zorra. It’s an anthem of love to women – especially older women – who have constantly been called names no matter how they look or behave. Their staging is lush and Vegas-y, with lots of red and gold and velvet and lace, plus two hunky backup dancers who make good use of their tearaway trousers. Expect to hear the crowd in the arena shouting “Zorra Zorra Zorra” during the chorus.

Megara’s 11:11, on the other hand, brings a whole other vibe – cuddlegoth. Dressed in their signature hot pink and black, the band channels the cute n’ creepy vibes of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas to create an adorable spectacle filled with plush toys and glow-in-the-dark skeletons. It’s one of the best stagings of the night.

Big “Jury Bait” Vocal Moments

Finally, the night is full of big vocal moments. Switzerland’s Nemo has soaring operatic vocals in The Code. These come alive as they weightlessly spin through the air on a turntable, resplendent in a pink tulle jacket. France’s Slimane has been pulling a trick in his performance of ‘Mon Amour‘ where he steps back from the mic so everyone can hear how much vocal power he has. However, he’s added to the song’s staging with more intimate moments of eye contact with the camera. Belgium’s Mustii creates a sense of drama as they belt out the final chorus of their song Before The Party’s Over, standing on stage as a wind machine makes their white blouse ripple in a breeze. Angelina Mango’s a cappella section in Italy’s La Noia gets the centering it deserves in its Eurovision staging, creating a moment to appreciate its technical difficulty. And Norway’s Gåte once again unleashes enough vocal power to call the gods down upon us. I think this is one of the most underrated performances this year simply because it is metal-adjacent. I wish I could make everyone voting around the world tonight experience Gunnhild’s vocals live.

The biggest vocal moment may be one that’s very small. Joost Klein suddenly shifts the tone of Europapa from a party anthem that has the whole arena bouncing to a quiet piano-backed monologue about how much he misses his parents. Everyone falls silent to listen, and the emotional gut punch of this moment has made me cry every time I have seen it.

About The Author: Ewan Spence

British Academy (BAFTA) nominated broadcaster and writer Ewan Spence is the voice behind The Unofficial Eurovision Song Contest Podcast and one of the driving forces behind ESC Insight. Having had an online presence since 1994, he is a noted commentator around the intersection of the media, internet, technology, mobility and how it affects us all. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, his work has appeared on the BBC, The Stage, STV, and The Times. You can follow Ewan on Twitter (@ewan) and Facebook (

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