April 2, 2023

Semi One

Eighteen countries will battle it out for ten places in the contest final in the first semi which will take place on May 11th.

01      Sweden    Robin Bengtsson     “I Can’t Go On”

Robin was third in the 2008 edition of Swedish Pop Idol.    He competed in last years Swedish Melodifestivalen selection, finishing fifth.

02      Georgia     Tamara Gachechiladze     “Keep the Faith”

Tamara took part in the 2008 Georgian final with the bizarrely titled “Me And My Funk”. The next year she was actually set to compete in Eurovision as part of Stefane & 3G, however their song for the Moscow contest, “We Don’t Wanna Put In”  was thrown out by the EBU for being overtly political (remind you of anything?).   

03      Australia     Isaiah     “Don’t Come Easy”

Australia’s third entrant is big news down under.  Isaiah Firebrace is just seventeen and won the 2016 edition of Australian X-Factor just last November.

04      Albania     Lindita     “World”

Lindita Halimi was born in Kosovo and has an established background in casting shows, having competed in both Albanian Idol and American Idol, having spent some time living in the USA.

05      Belgium     Blanche     “City Lights”

Ellie Delvaux, aka Blanche is another seventeen year old taking to the Kyiv stage.  This year it was Wallonian TV’s turn to select the Belgian offering.   Last years she made the latter stages of The Voice Belgique.

06      Montenegro     Slavko Kalezic     “Space”

Almost a golden oldie compared to the Aussie and Belgian representatives, thirty-one year old Slavko is a singer/actor who four years ago took part in X Factor Adria, the multi-country Balkan version of the franchise.  He was eliminated at judges houses stage.

07      Finland     Norma John     “Blackbird”

Norma John is a male/female duo featuring two people who are neither called Norma or John.  Rather its  Leena Tirronen and Lasse Piirainen who will be flying the Finnish flag in Kyiv.  No connection whatsoever to the former British PM and his missus.

08      Azerbaijan     Dihaj     “Skeletons”

Dihaj is basically a group formed around it’s lead singer, Baku singer-songwriter Diana Hajiyeva.   Diana took part in the 2011 Azeri selection (which would produce the artists who would eventually go on to win the contest) but was eliminated at an early stage.

09      Portugal     Salvador Sobral     “Amar Pelos Dois”

Lisbon born Salvador Vilar Braamcamp Sobral took part in the 2009 edition of Portuguese Pop Idol and made the top ten.  Fast forward to 2016 and his debut album made the top ten in Portugal and here he is defending their colours at the 62nd Grand Prix.

10      Greece     Demy     “This Is Love”

Athenian Dimitra Papadea broke through in 2011 and the next three years saw her achieve a succession of chart hits in Greece, plus a platinum album.  More recently she’s focused on the stage, including starring in Priscilla and The Sound Of Music.

11      Poland     Kasia Mos     “Flashlight”

Katarzyna “Kasia” Moś is a classically trained singer and musician, however she has also been part of the The Pussycat Dolls Burlesque Revue in the USA.  She was sixth in last years Polish final but triumpant in 2017.

12      Moldova     SunStroke Project     “Hey, Mamma!”

The three man project comprises Anton, Sergei and Sergey.  They represented Moldova in the 2010 contest alongside vocalist Olia Tira where they squeaked into the final and finished twenty-second.  They also featured in their national final in both 2009 and 2015.

13      Iceland     Svala     “Paper”

One of the most experienced performers this year, Svala Björgvinsdóttir started singing as child with her father Bo, who represented Iceland back in 1995.  Since then she’s recorded with some of the biggest names in music.  Her biggest single “The Real Me” was an international hit in 2001.

14      Czech Republic     Martina Bárta     “My Turn”

Martina is primarily a jazz-singer and outside of her Eurovision endeavours she’s part of a jazz combo 4 To The Bar. based in Frankfurt.

15      Cyprus     Hovig     “Gravity”

Hovig Demirjian, as one may guess by the name, is of Armenian descent but born in Cyprus.  He should also have the Greek vote sewn-up as he took part in their X Factor in 2009, finishing ninth.   

16      Armenia     Artsvik     “Fly with Me”

Artsvik Harutyunyan was one of the first 2017 artists to be announced, but her song was the very last to be unveiled.   In 2013 she participated in the Russian version of The Voice but was eliminated in the battle rounds.

17      Slovenia     Omar Naber     “On My Way”

Omar has competed at Eurovision before, in fact the previous time it was in Kyiv too.  That was 2005 when only ten countries qualified from one humungeous semi-final, and Omar finished just short in twelfth place.

18      Latvia     Triana Park     “Line”

Triana Park are a proper band consisting of Agnese, Arturs, Edgars and Kristaps.  Every year from 2008 to 2012 they submitted a song to the Latvian selection and now finally get to fly the flag.  They are signed to Krap Records (really).