March 20, 2023

Semi Two

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

01      Serbia     Tijana Bogicevic     “In Too Deep”

Another of the  more experienced performers this year, Novi Sad born Tijana previously attempted to represent her country in 2009.  She did make it to the 2011 contest in Dusseldorf as a backing singer for their entrant.

02      Austria     Nathan Trent     “Running on Air”

Nathanaele Koll is from Innsbruck and his preview video is appropiately Alpine.  He was on the shortlist for this years German selection but was understandably crossed off when Austria chose him as their entrant.

03      FYR Macedonia     Jana Burceska     “Dance Alone”

Jana is from Skopje and competed in Macedonian Idol in 2011 where she ended in fifth place.  Also very active in charity work, Jana has been a UNICEF ambassador tackling violence in schools.

04      Malta     Claudia Faniello     “Breathlessly”

Claudia is from Qawra and is another who finally sees her Eurovision come true after multliple attempts to represent her country.   Eight years in a row in fact from 2006 to 2013.   Her brother Fabrizio represented Malta in the 2001 contest and finished a very creditable ninth.

05      Romania     Ilinca and Alex Florea     “Yodel It!”

A duo put together for the contest, Maria Ilinca Băcilă is another of this years teenage competitors but she’s already racked up appearances in the Romanian versions of The Voice and X Factor.  As the song title may suggest her USP is her yodel.  Her sidekick Alex Florea also competed in The Voice.

06      Netherlands     O’G3NE     “Lights and Shadows”

Pronouned “Ogene” the Dutch act comprises three sisters Amy, Lisa and Shelley.   They represented the Netherlands exactly ten years ago in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest where they finished eleventh.  IN 2014 they won The Voice Of Holland.

07      Hungary     Joci Pápai     “Origo”

József “Joci” Pápai is a singer and rapper of Romany descent.   He first came to attention in 2005 in Hungarian casting show Megasztár but his biggest recording success has been in the last couple of years. 

08      Denmark     Anja Nissen     “Where I Am”

Anja has won a series of The Voice, it wasn’t in Denmark but Australia, where she was born of Danish emigrants.   She was mentored by and went to support Olly Murs on the Aussie leg of his tour.  She was runner-up in last years Danish selection.

09      Ireland     Brendan Murray     “Dying to Try”

Brendan is from Galway and is a protege of none other than our old friend Louis Walsh.   From 2014 to 2016 he was in boyband Hometown who twice topped the Irish singles chart.

10      San Marino     Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson     “Spirit of the Night”

Valentina will this year compete in her fourth Eurovision (a record shared with Norway’s  Elisabeth Andreasson and Switerland’s  Sue Schell, however both of those competed in four contest finals while Ms Monetta has so far only qualified for one (in 2014).  Jimmie is from Detroit and has played Barack Obama in a musical.

11      Croatia     Jacques Houdek     “My Friend”

Born Željko Houdek in Velika Gorica, Jacques hasn’t been a contestant on The Voice Croatia but is currently an actual mentor.  This reflects a decade and  a half of commercial success in his homeland.   He auditioned in the 2011 UK X Factor but apparently work permit issues aborted his progress in the competition.

12      Norway     JOWST feat. Aleksander Walmann     “Grab the Moment”

JOWST is the one on the left.  A musician, songwriter and producer known more formally as Joakim With Steen. For Eurovision he’s teamed up with vocalist Aleksander Walmann, who  was a finalist in the 2012 series of The Voice Norway.

13       Switzerland     Timebelle     “Apollo”

Timebelle are a three-piece group (the bloke second from the left is an imposter) comprising Miruna, Emanuel and Samuel.  They hail from Berne and are named from a famous clock tower in the city.  They were runners-up in the 2015 Swiss selection.

14      Belarus     NAVI     “Story of My Life”

Alternatively know as Naviband, the Belarussian entrants are a duo from Minsk,  Arciom Lukjanienka and Ksienija Žuk, who first joined forces four years ago.  They were placed fourth in last years national final.

15      Bulgaria     Kristian Kostov     “Beautiful Mess”

Just trumping the Aussie and Belgian representatives,  Kristian Konstantinov Kostov is the youngest entrant this year and  first Eurovision participant to be born in this millennium.  He was born in Moscow and has already competed in The Voice Kids Russian and Bulgarian X Factor.

16      Lithuania     Fusedmarc     “Rain of Revolution”

Fusedmarc are an electronic music trio from Vilnius comprising Viktorija Ivanovskaja, Denisas Zujevas and Stasys Žakas.    Their website states that they were founded in 2004.

17      Estonia     Koit Toome and Laura     “Verona”

This year Estonia are sending a newly-minted combo of two singer who’ve both represented them before.  Laura Põldvere was part of Suntribe, who participated in the 2005 contest (that was in Kyiv too) and in a cut-throat semi finished twentieth.  Koit competed as a soloist back in 1998 in Birmingham (a long time ago it was)  and finished a very creditable twelfth.

18      Israel     Imri     “I Feel Alive”

Actor/singer Imri Ziv has partial Ukrainian descent which won’t hurt a bit in Kyiv.  In 2012 he made the final stages of The Voice Israel.  He has performed as a backing singer for each of the last two Israeli entries.