The contest has been a little scant on costume reveals this year, so it was a nice surprise to have two (sort of) during Semi Final 2. Unfortunately neither “surprise” was able to propel the participant from this heat. Switzerland’s Melanie Rene went the traditional route revealing a short bridesmaid's dress from underneath her black sheer robe. But it was the Czech Republic’s Marta Jandova’s pump-chucking antics that had the audience in raptures. Probably one of the most obscure, yet brilliant costume changes in Eurovision history – if only our friends from Prague had qualified so we could witness this one more time.
It’s hot at the top this year and Sweden’s pin-up boy Mäns Zelmerlow has the audience abuzz with talk of a Eurovision return to Stockholm. With his shirtless pics being shared frenetically over social media and a fridge magnet dress up doll of Mäns being retailed online Europe (and Australia) is going gaga for the Zelmerlow and his animated buddies.
She was one of this year's 'teenage dream set' but County Tipperary’s young Molly Sterling could not find her way out of the wooden backdrop and into the Grand Final. The song, an earnest and heartfelt effort, was a little too mature and contemporary for Eurovision – but we’re sure to hear more from this Irish darling in the future. Douze points for her honey-collecting postcard with the dishy Austrian apiarist.
Molly’s quiet moment on stage may not have been rewarded with a ticket to Saturday’s Grand Final but respect to bespectacled Cypriot John Karayiannis who somehow found his way through this competitive Semi Final. A simple song with simple staging trumped much of the bigger songs from the evening which opted for fireworks, wind machines and costume reveals.
Talk about leaving an audience begging! The final announcement of Israel’s advancement to the Grand Final had the Wiener Stadthalle and lounge rooms worldwide on the literal edge of their seats. The French-Israeli youngster and his fine crew of dancers secured themselves a well deserved place in the final where they’ll fight it out with Sweden and Australia for the best pop moment of the night.
You may have had to do two or three double takes when young Maria OIaf hit the stage for Iceland – her resemblance to a young Isla Fisher is striking. An elfin dress, the Northern Lights and Icelandic Euro-Queen Hera Bjork as a backing singer could not help Isla from Iceland into the final. The world’s “friendliest nation” finds themselves out of the Grand Final for the first time in 8 years.
The fabulous husband-wife duo Maraaya from Slovenia and their perky indie-pop ditty “Here For You” has had pundits frantically searching their atlases and dictionaries for the directions to - and spelling of - the Slovene capital. Ljubljana may just be the surprise host of the 2016 contest!
Was it latex? Was it PVC? Whatever the material of young Leonor Andrade’s outfit the Portuguese lass looked incredible – pity her song was overshadowed by her figure-hugging ensemble. Can Portugal ever win this contest???
Some duos crashed (sorry San Marino and Czech Republic see you next year hopefully) whilst others triumphed (Lithuania and Norway). The dark durge from Norway looks set to trouble the scoreboard come the Grand Final if the audience reaction is any gauge.
One of the highlights of the evening was Latvia’s triumphant return to the Grand Final – the first in 8 years. The hypnotising bass-driven “Love Injected” performed by the diminutive Aminata proves that a quality entry, regardless of its country of origin, will be rewarded with a ticket to the final.