• Eurovision 2016 Semi Final 1 (Photo by Rolf Klatt for SBS) (SBS)Source: SBS
Recapping the most memorable moments of the first Eurovision Semi Final.
Chris Zeiher

11 May 2016 - 10:06 AM  UPDATED 13 May 2016 - 9:22 PM


1.     The Russian Wizard

The charming Russian Sergey Lazarev has been frontrunner to win Eurovision 2016 from the moment he dropped his song “You Are the Only One”.   Many critics of the song have referred to it as a bit “dated” and the over-the-top theatrics of the staging too gimmicky.  But that’s for the purists.  Who could not be seduced by the jaw-dropping illusion of Sergey scaling crumbling steps as he belted out one of the contests catchiest ditties.   The Russian wizard cast an impressive spell over the audience Tuesday night and now has one hand firmly grasped on the glittery trophy.    


2.     Seeing triple?

No – it was not just you.  The Babushka dolls of Semi Final 1, Armenia’s Iveta Mukuchyan, Malta’s Ira Losco and Samra from Azerbaijan, delivered strikingly similar staged entries.   Despite their similarities all three sailed through to Saturday night’s Grand Final where Samra’s golden cat suit, Iveta’s delicious non-existent body hugging spider-web unitard and Losco’s hypnotic backing dancer will all trouble the scoreboard again.    


3.     Serhat

Was it the pre-transformed “Never Been Kissed” Josie Grosie prom dress styling of the backing dancers (don’t get me started on that hair crimping)?  Or was it the infectious charm of the man himself?   Whatever it may be the Sammarinese entry this year is just what everyone wants from this contest.  So, thank you Serhat for bringing the camp back into Eurovision.   Speak-sing has never been so sexy.  And crimping just became cool again.   


4.     Another Dutch dark horse?

The Dutch surprised everyone in Copenhagen in 2014 when The Common Linnets almost stole the entire contest coming in a close second to Austria’s Conchita Wurst.   And now the horribly handsome Douwe Bob looks set to repeat this feat with his irritatingly catchy “Slow Down”.  He may be all neck tattoos and dreamy baby blues but Douwe Bob’s country stylings packaged in a Prada* suit hint that a trip to Amsterdam in 2017 is not out of the question.

*may not actually be Prada :)



From the moment she sashayed on stage returning hostess Petra Mede yet again had the audience eating out of the palm of her manicured hand.   And with lines like “grab your towels” so we can “come together” through to flirting with the like of Douwe Bod or Sir Gay, sorry, Sergey Lazarev Mede signalled that it was her that will emerge the superstar of this year’s contest.  Forget that Uber can I order a Mede?  


6.     Iceland freezed out

Sadly the creative influence behind the Icelandic entry, Brissie lad Jono Duffy, won’t see a repeat performance of the unnervingly staged “Hear them Calling”. Easily the biggest shock of the night this is now the second year running that Iceland has been left out in the Semi-Final cold.


7.     The “C” Factor


A huge cheer erupted for the super glamorous Gabriela Guncikova who qualified the Czech Republic for the first time from the Semi Final format.  The simple, yet effective, staging of “I Stand” was topped off with a new Eurovision trope…the hair reveal.  And speaking of reveals Croatia’s return to the competition was rewarded with a trip to the Grand Final courtesy of a stunning costume reveal and the hypnotic vocals of Nina Kraljic. 


8.     Leave those mobile phones in your pocket

The Globen Arena lit up in the colours of the nation’s flags courtesy of each audience member wearing a Pixmob wristband.  No more torch app required.   Simple, impactful and smart.   

9.     Frock me!

Who can pick a winner in the Fashion stakes?  The Croatian lighthouse smock?  Xena the Warrior Cellist wrapped in a heat blanket?  Maybe the Austrian chanteuse plucked from a fragrance commercial?  That Moldovan shower tile dress or her accompanying Astronaut still wearing his accreditation tag?   Sammarinese disco chic?  Icelandic fringe sleeve?   Azerbaijani golden grid iron players?   Ahhhh - suffice to say we all won on Tuesday night.   


10.  Come together


Not a euphemism but a call to action this year’s top trend…no booing.   Thank you, Stockholm.  Thank you for the music. 


The Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast on SBS’s Eurovision Weekend - Friday 13, Saturday 14 and Grand Final Sunday 15 May, 7.30pm on SBS, with LIVE early morning broadcasts from 5am on Wednesday 11, Friday 13 and Sunday 15 May.
For all the Eurovision behind the scenes action in Stockholm make sure to follow SBSAustralia on Snapchat.  

Read more from Eurovision
Dami Im at the Eurovision 2016 Opening Ceremony
Justin Timberlake to perform at Eurovision 2016
US multi-platinum selling artist Justin Timberlake will perform on the Eurovision stage in Stockholm, signifying a landmark moment for American participation in the Song Contest.
Don’t miss a Dami thing this Eurovision
Sign up for My Week On SBS to keep up-to-date with all things Eurovision.