Tel Aviv / With the cry of “Let the show begin” and in spite of boycott requests, Eurovision 2019 has started this Tuesday from Israel with a first semifinal that has lifted Australia to heaven. Iceland, Estonia, Belarus, Serbia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Greece and … San Marino have also been classified.
At the gala, which was held for the first time in Tel Aviv, a total of 17 countries participated, 7 of which have been left out of the grand final that will take place on Saturday, with the surprise of the discarding of Portugal among the favorites of the 41 contenders of this sixty-fourth edition.
Neither have they obtained their pass for the last phase Belgium, Montenegro, Hungary, Poland, Finland and Georgia.
Although Spain has confirmed its presence in the final as a member of the group of “Big 5” (Big Five), both its audience and its jury have been able to participate in the votes of this semi-final, which has been able to be followed live in La 2 of RTVE.
The first semifinal
During the gala, a short excerpt of the colorful and festive performance of the young Spanish Miki was delivered. It received with applause by the national fans in Israel, a country where the song has also been liked.
The program, which also featured the performance of Eurovision 1998 winner, Dana International, and which has been led by supermodel Bar Refaeli and his countrymen Assi Azar, Erez Tal and Lucy Ayoub, wanted to underline the motto of this edition , “Dare to dream” (Dare to dream, in Spanish).
In that line, the first coup d’état has come through a recreation of the process of empowerment of the winner of the contest in 2018, the Israeli Netta, who has emerged from a gigantic cat to interpret a new version of his successful “Toy.”
The turn of performances to contest has been opened by Tamta and his dancers with a sombrero cordobés, following the steps of his predecessor as representative of Cyprus, Eleni Foureira with “Replay” (in fact his songs are by the same author).
After her, the choral sextet Montenegro D-Mol (“Heaven”) and the Finnish DJ Darude accompanied by Sebastian Rejman (“Look away”) with two subjects and insubstantial mise-en-scène have shown their strengths.
The female folk rock quartet Tulia has participated in Poland, which, in addition to its song “Fire of love”, has attracted attention for its extravagant traditional-inspired costumes and its Christmas plumes.
They were followed by two of the most acclaimed performances: the delicacy of Slovenian minimalist Zala Kralj & Gasper Santl in “Sebi (To Myself)” and the colorful and current alternative pop of the Czechs Lake Malawi in “Friend of a friend ”
After them, the emotional “Az én apám (My Father)”, interpreted in Hungarian by Joci Pápai; the uptempo of commercial pop “Like it” of the Belarusian ZENA; the ballad “Kruna (The Crown)”, by the Serbian Nevena Bozovic; the very young Belgian Eliot, who has called to action with the atmospheric pop “Wake up”, and the epic folk of the Georgian Oto Nemsadze “Keep on Going”.
The highlights of this gala
If a performance has caught the attention of this first semifinal, it has been the cosmic circus fantasy of the Australian Kate Miller Heidke, who between lyric and pop has overcome the initial bad predictions thanks to a set design in which she swings like a reed to make good the title of his song, “Zero Gravity”.
The dark and electronic metal of the Hatari Icelanders, with “bondage” aesthetics to tie “Hatrið mun sigra (Hate Will Prevail)” to the wake of Rammstein, has not gone far behind in visual and sound power.
For DJ Avicii’s dancing country touch, however, he has betted “Storm”, from the handsome Estonian Victor Crone, after which the unique and unclassifiable tribal rhythm proposal of Portuguese Conan Osiris (“Telemóveis”), not understood by the audience, and part time “Better love” by Katerine Duska, for Greece.
The final shot was Serhat’s work with “Say Na Na Na” by San Marino, whose classification for the final was another one of the unexpected blows of the contest
(May 16th, 2019, EFE/Practica Español)
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