Over 11,000 people packed into Altice Arena this morning to watch the first of the two semi-finals that will determine the complete line-up of contenders for the 2018 Eurovision Grand Final.
Wind machines, white dresses and pyrotechnics were the order of the day, because of course they were, as the first batch of 19 semi-finalists took the stage. 10 have progressed through to Sunday's Grand Final.
Didn’t set your alarm? You can watch the entire Semi Final 1 broadcast tonight (Wednesday) at 7.30pm on SBS and SBS On Demand, and rate the performances as each participant takes the stage.
The 10 successful semi-finalists who will now compete at the Grand Final are:
Austria's Cesar Sampson, whose soulful ‘Nobody But You’ features the big chorus and the dance break
Estonia’s Elina Nechayeva, who donned a Eur65,000 dress/parachute for her operatic number, ‘La Forza’
Cyprus’ flaming jumpsuit-clad Eleni Foureira, who is firming as a late favourite for the fiery ‘Fuego’. (Will this finally be Cyprus' year?)
Lithuanian romantic Ieva Zasimauskaitė, and her ode to enduring love, ‘When We’re Old’
Israel’s hot favourite Netta, who brought the house down with her powerhouse girl power anthem (complete with ‘cluck’ break & chicken dance), ‘Toy’.
Backpack-clad Czech Republic’s Mikolas Josef and his perky ‘Lie To Me’
Bulgarian supergroup Equinox, with ‘Bones’
Albania’s Eugent Bushpepa, and his catchy '80s rock ballad wailer, ‘Mall’ (Yearning)
Finland’s Sara Aalto, who belted out ‘Monsters’, dedicated to all the outsiders of the world
Ireland’s singing soap star Ryan O’Shaughnessy, who pined for lost love with the ditty 'Forever'
They will join the Big Five countries in Sunday's Grand Final.
Unfortunately, the 2018 Eurovision journey ends for these 9 countries.
Azerbaijan’s Aisel and 'X My Heart' (“The white dress count begins,” observed Myf).
Iceland’s Ari Olafsson and his big ballad ‘Our Choice’
Belgium chanteuse Senek, and her Massive Attack-meets-James Bond-theme, ‘A Matter Of Time’
Belarus’ Alekseev, who brought leather pants and roses (and a dramatic back reveal) with ‘Forever’
F.Y.R. Macedonia's Eye Cue, who blended reggae/pop in ‘Lie To Me’
Croatia’s Franka hit the big notes with ‘Crazy’
Greece Yianna Terzi, who wore a white dress, turned up the wattage of the venue lights and made full use of the wind and smoke machines for her performance of ‘Oniro Mou’ (My Dream)
Armenia’s Sevak Khanagyan, who brought an earthy counterpoint to the Eurovision stage with the pared back Quami (and a mini-Stonehenge set design)
Swiss siblings ZiBBZ warned the crowd off bullying with ‘Stones’ (and let off a flare because why not)
HOW TO WATCH EUROVISION
Primetime evening broadcasts
Semi Final 1 – Wednesday 9 May, 7.30pm, SBS and live streaming at SBS On Demand
Semi Final 2 – Friday 11 May, 7.30pm, SBS SBS and live streaming at SBS On Demand ** FEATURING JESSICA MAUBOY
Grand Final – Sunday 13 May, 7.30pm, SBS and live streaming at SBS On Demand
LIVE early morning broadcasts
Semi Final 2 – Friday 11 May, 5am (AEST) SBS and live streaming at SBS On Demand ** FEATURING JESSICA MAUBOY (See voting information here)
Grand Final – Sunday 13 May, 5am (AEST) SBS and live streaming at SBS on Demand