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Live Blog: First Semi-Final
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Live Blog: First Semi-Final

Live Blog: First Semi-Final 2021

📺 Watch the First Semi-Final Live Stream on YouTube or find out how to watch in your region.

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19 May 2021 at 00:56 CEST
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We're DONE, but we'll be back!

The singing is done, the press conference is done, and that's the first Semi-Final all wrapped up.

Thank you SO much for keeping us company for the past six hours - we've had the best night, the atmosphere in Rotterdam Ahoy is incredible and it's so good to be here.

We're off to get some much-needed sleep, but we'll be back on Thursday for the second Semi-Final. Please join us then, it's going to be HUGE.

19 May 2021 at 00:55 CEST
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🇺🇦 UKRAINE DRAW SECOND HALF FOR GRAND FINAL 🇺🇦

🇺🇦 UKRAINE DRAW SECOND HALF FOR GRAND FINAL 🇺🇦

19 May 2021 at 00:53 CEST
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Ukraine are in the press room!

Ukraine's Go_A are the final Grand Finalist in the press room, and the speakers are banging out Shum. Any journalists who were flagging have now been given a boost.

'Look at me, I'm happy,' said Kateryna with the first smile she's cracked in Rotterdam. Apparently she voted for Australia this evening, and really wanted them to qualify if Ukraine didn't. What an absolute legend.

19 May 2021 at 00:46 CEST
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🇧🇪 BELGIUM DRAW FIRST HALF FOR GRAND FINAL 🇧🇪

🇧🇪 BELGIUM DRAW FIRST HALF FOR GRAND FINAL 🇧🇪

19 May 2021 at 00:45 CEST
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It's Belgium's turn in the press room!

It felt great for Belgium to hear their name announced, and it's a relief to be in the Grand Final. They can return to their country 'without being killed or decapitated'.

Hooverphonic got lots of goodwill messages from celebrities, but they don't have a favourite. The support they've had from the people of Belgium means a lot.

Their smile at the end of the song wasn't them being sure they were going through to the Grand Final, it was much more about the joy of being in front of a live crowd.

19 May 2021 at 00:39 CEST
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Here's a reminder of your first 10 qualifiers...

Watch: The 10 Qualifiers from the First Semi-Final

19 May 2021 at 00:37 CEST
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It's Tusse's turn in the press room...

He's brought a giant Swedish flag, and he's wearing a white suit that he's keen for us all to get a good look at. And rightly so, because it's fabulous. He hopes the people of Europe took away the message that everyone's voice counts.

Tusse has had some problems with his voice in recent months, and he's so proud and happy to have been able to perform.

He dedicates his performance to anyone who has felt lonely or felt like their voice hasn't been heard - they are not alone, because they are all together.

19 May 2021 at 00:36 CEST
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🇸🇪 SWEDEN DRAW SECOND HALF FOR GRAND FINAL 🇸🇪

🇸🇪 SWEDEN DRAW SECOND HALF FOR GRAND FINAL 🇸🇪

19 May 2021 at 00:29 CEST
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🇨🇾 CYPRUS DRAW FIRST HALF FOR GRAND FINAL 🇨🇾

🇨🇾 CYPRUS DRAW FIRST HALF FOR GRAND FINAL 🇨🇾

19 May 2021 at 00:29 CEST
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Elena from Cyprus joins us in the press room...

Elena has come to the press room without her dancers in red catsuits, no idea where they are. Maybe they've returned to the underworld.

For Elena, making everyone dance in the arena was the best feeling ever. It's the beginning of a return to freedom.

19 May 2021 at 00:27 CEST
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The Roop join us for their press conference...

...they let us know that they're feeling sleepy, and that the journalists look tired, and that it's OK because we're all human and it's late.

We love these guys.

And yes, it's 00:27 CEST... we are all tired.

19 May 2021 at 00:24 CEST
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🇱🇹 LITHUANIA DRAW SECOND HALF FOR GRAND FINAL 🇱🇹

🇱🇹 LITHUANIA DRAW SECOND HALF FOR GRAND FINAL 🇱🇹

19 May 2021 at 00:18 CEST
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🇲🇹 MALTA DRAW FIRST HALF FOR GRAND FINAL 🇲🇹

🇲🇹 MALTA DRAW FIRST HALF FOR GRAND FINAL 🇲🇹

19 May 2021 at 00:17 CEST
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Destiny's in the press room!

Destiny is feeling fantastic, she's so grateful to have made it this far and honoured to be at Eurovision. Her song is all about female empowerment, and it's not only her story, it's the story of ALL women.

19 May 2021 at 00:11 CEST
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🇦🇿 AZERBAIJAN DRAW SECOND HALF FOR GRAND FINAL 🇦🇿

🇦🇿 AZERBAIJAN DRAW SECOND HALF FOR GRAND FINAL 🇦🇿

19 May 2021 at 00:05 CEST
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🇷🇺 RUSSIA DRAW FIRST HALF FOR GRAND FINAL 🇷🇺

Semi-Final Draw

19 May 2021 at 00:05 CEST
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Manizha from Russia is in the press room!

Manizha is feeling fantastic and fabulous about being in the Eurovision Grand Final, and it's was an amazing feeling to perform in front of a huge live audience.

Manizha has a message to her haters, who she prefers to call 'not lovers'. What upset her most was people who said she would never get to the final with a song in Russian, and she reminds us all about what t.A.T.u achieved in 2003. She is so proud that she's a Russian woman singing in the Russian language.

18 May 2021 at 23:57 CEST
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Eden from Israel is in the press room...

Things are still a bit emotional in the press room, as Eden dedicates her performance to her friends, her family and the people of Israel. She wants to deliver a great performance for both the public and the jury votes on Saturday.

18 May 2021 at 23:57 CEST
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🇮🇱 ISRAEL DRAW FIRST HALF FOR GRAND FINAL 🇮🇱

🇮🇱 ISRAEL DRAW FIRST HALF FOR GRAND FINAL 🇮🇱

18 May 2021 at 23:50 CEST
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🇳🇴 NORWAY DRAW SECOND HALF FOR GRAND FINAL 🇳🇴

Semi-Final Draw

18 May 2021 at 23:48 CEST
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Tix is in the press room!

Tix has turned up in a silver sparkly suit, very much in keeping with this year's costume theming. A journalist from Norway has asked him how he's planning to improve his performance before Saturday, which is frankly SHADY.

Instead Tix talks about the importance of putting mental health on the agenda, and gets a little emotional.

Another journalist asks if he preferred his own performance or Azerbaijan's. He ignores that question too.

I'm pretty sure the online question comes from Bradley Stoke Radio, so big up the Bristol massive. They ask why Tix took his glasses off on stage, and he says it's about embracing his weaknesses.

18 May 2021 at 23:37 CEST
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Waiting, waiting

So right now we're hanging out in the press room waiting for the Finalists' press conference to start. Imagine a room full of tired-looking people who haven't seen daylight for 15 hours, squinting at each other because our chairs are so far apart.

18 May 2021 at 23:29 CEST
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We're in the Press Conference room....

And waiting for the acts to arrive.

18 May 2021 at 23:10 CEST
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We're off to the press conference!

We have our 10 Grand Finalists, but that's not the end of today's fun. There's a press conference coming up shortly, during which each Finalist will draw from the Magical Bowl of Scrolls to determine whether they will perform in the first or second half on Saturday.

We'll be there to report this news as it happens, because sleep is not something we prioritise during Eurovision. If this your kind of news, do NOT go away.

Bowl of Dreams

18 May 2021 at 23:07 CEST
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But there are also some sad goodbyes....

With joy comes a little heartbreak… the 6 acts that did not qualify are:

🇦🇺 Australia / Montaigne - Technicolour (Live-on-Tape performance)*

🇭🇷 Croatia / Albina - Tick-Tock

🇮🇪 Ireland / Lesley Roy - Maps

🇲🇰 North Macedonia / Vasil - Here I Stand

🇷🇴 Romania / ROXEN - Amnesia

🇸🇮 Slovenia / Ana Soklič - Amen

Even though they won’t join us on stage this Saturday, they will remain in our hearts (and playlists) for all eternity. We love you all.

18 May 2021 at 23:04 CEST
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We have our first ten finalists!

Eurovision Song Contest 2021, First Semi-Final Qualifiers:

🇦🇿 Azerbaijan / Efendi - Mata Hari

🇧🇪 Belgium / Hooverphonic - The Wrong Place

🇨🇾 Cyprus / Elena Tsagrinou - El Diablo

🇮🇱 Israel / Eden Alene - Set Me Free

🇱🇹 Lithuania / The Roop - Discoteque

🇲🇹 Malta / Destiny - Je Me Casse

🇳🇴 Norway / TIX - Fallen Angel

🇷🇺 Russia / Manizha - Russian Woman

🇸🇪 Sweden / Tusse - Voices

🇺🇦 Ukraine / Go_A - Shum

18 May 2021 at 23:01 CEST
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🌟 CONGRATULATIONS UKRAINE 🌟

Order those glo-sticks for the Grand Final!

First Semi-Final Qualifiers

18 May 2021 at 23:00 CEST
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🌟 CONGRATULATIONS BELGIUM 🌟

They're in the RIGHT place... THE GRAND FINAL!!

First Semi-Final Qualifiers

18 May 2021 at 23:00 CEST
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🌟 CONGRATULATIONS SWEDEN 🌟

A million voices SCREAMING BECAUSE TUSSE MADE IT TO THE GRAND FINAL!!

First Semi-Final Qualifiers

18 May 2021 at 22:59 CEST
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🌟 CONGRATULATIONS CYPRUS 🌟

Here she comes! Congratulations Elena!

First Semi-Final Qualifiers

18 May 2021 at 22:59 CEST
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🌟 CONGRATULATIONS LITHUANIA 🌟

The Roop dance their way into the Grand Final!

First Semi-Final Qualifiers

18 May 2021 at 22:58 CEST
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🌟 CONGRATULATIONS MALTA 🌟

Destined for the Grand Final!

First Semi-Final Qualifiers

18 May 2021 at 22:57 CEST
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🌟 CONGRATULATIONS AZERBAIJAN 🌟

MA MA MA MA...

First Semi-Final Qualifiers

18 May 2021 at 22:57 CEST
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🌟 CONGRATULATIONS RUSSIA 🌟

All that lockdown quilting paid off... Manizha is in the Grand Final!!

First Semi-Final Qualifiers

18 May 2021 at 22:57 CEST
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🌟 CONGRATULATIONS ISRAEL 🌟

*eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEeee*

SHE'S IN THE GRAND FINAL!

First Semi-Final Qualifiers

18 May 2021 at 22:56 CEST
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🌟 CONGRATULATIONS NORWAY 🌟

He TIX all the boxes...

First Semi-Final Qualifiers

18 May 2021 at 22:55 CEST
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The results are IN

The singing is done, so now it’s time to find out who our 10 Grand Finalists are. For many of the artists here, it’s the culmination of two years of hard work and dedication - which ever way you look at it, it’s going to be hard to say goodbye to 6 of them.

The votes are determined by a 50/50 combination of votes from the juries of each participating nation, and the public vote.

Who is going through to Saturday’s Grand Final? We’re about to find out...


18 May 2021 at 22:54 CEST
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Let's meet some pre-qualifiers!

There are six countries who automatically for qualify the Grand Final - the host nation and the Big Five, namely France, Spain, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Tonight we’ll get a preview of the performances from Italy, Germany and the Netherlands -sit back and enjoy, because they’re all great.


Up first is Italy’s Måneskin singing Zitti E Buoni, which has a similar meaning to Destiny’s Je Me Casse, but less polite. Even if you think you don’t love rock music, do NOT miss this performance. It’s really quite special, and has ALL the pyro.

Måneskin, Italy, Second Rehearsal, Rotterdam Ahoy, 15 May 2021EBU / Andres Putting

The next Big Five performance is from Germany’s Jendrik, singing I Don’t Feel Hate. It’s definitely the quirkiest performance this year, featuring a sparkly ukelele, a dancer dressed as a giant hand and a tap-dancing interlude. We’ve hung out with Jendrik over the past week and can confirm he’s a lot of fun. His necklace reads ‘annoying’, but that's very much a matter of opinion.

Jendrik, Germany, Second Rehearsal, Rotterdam Ahoy, 15 May 2021EBU / Andres Putting


Next up it’s Jeangu Macrooy from the Netherlands, who automatically qualifies for Saturday’s final by representing the host nation. Birth Of A New Age is a powerful vocal and dance performance from Jeangu and his four backing dancers, with impactful use of the graphics screen.

Jeangu Macrooy, The Netherlands, Second Rehearsal, Rotterdam Ahoy, 15 May 2021EBU / Thomas Hanses


18 May 2021 at 22:47 CEST
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Duncan Laurence is back...

...and he’s borrowed a jacket from The Roop. His winning song Arcade has been a worldwide smash, and you can find out why here. It's now had a billion streams and Edsilia presents him with a platinum record.

He's going to perform again on Saturday.

18 May 2021 at 22:45 CEST
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Eurovision Tutorials with Nikkie...

Nikkie Tutorials is sharing some tips on how to shine even if you don’t win. This is a lot of fun and very much in the Love Love Peace Peace spirit of gently poking fun at Eurovision. Nikkie is such a great addition to the presenting team this year, she’s an absolute pro.


18 May 2021 at 22:42 CEST
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The voting is closed...

...and it's time to take a trip down Eurovision memory lane.

We meet some previous Eurovision winners, including Katrina, Anne-Marie David, Eimeer Quinn, Lenny Kuhr and Marie Myriam. And of course, Eurovision legend Jonny Logan, who has won three times - twice as a performer and once as a composer.

So many Eurovision memories...it’s a bit dusty in here.


18 May 2021 at 22:38 CEST
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Only a few minutes left to vote!

Have you voted yet? If not, do it now, because voting is closing soon...

The nice Eurovision people have kindly provided another recap, in case you’ve forgotten how many epic bangers you've just watched.

18 May 2021 at 22:34 CEST
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Discover...The Power Of Water

Time for an interval performance, called The Power Of Water. It features singer Davina Michelle and actress Thekla Reuten, who tell the story of the inextricable link between the Netherlands and water, accompanied by the contemporary dancers we met earlier.

You can find out more about it here.

The dancers are wearing trousers in the colours of the De Stijl Dutch art movement, or maybe we’ve just massively overthought that and they’re just colourful trousers. We saw this in the rehearsal earlier, and it’s a compelling performance that’s well worth a watch later if you’ve used this opportunity to replenish your snacks and drinks before the voting fun starts.


18 May 2021 at 22:24 CEST
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The voting is open!

It’s time to start voting! You can vote up to 20 times, but not for your home country. Unless you happen to live outside your home country, in which case fill your glittery boots.

The voting numbers are on screen, but the easiest way to vote is to download the official Eurovision app here:

App Store (iOS) / Google Play (Android)

Here's a handy recap - how do pick ten from from that line-up? It’s SO hard, the standard is incredibly high this year.



18 May 2021 at 22:19 CEST
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How does it keep getting Valletta?

Last up for this first Semi-Final is Destiny singing her clap-back banger Je Me Casse, which vaguely translates as ‘get outta here’, or ‘jog on’ if you’re British. It’s our third silver outfit of the evening (fourth if you count Vasil’s vest), and arguably the most fabulous. This is the perfect upbeat banger to end the evening.

Pink neon? Check. Sparkly silver dress? Check. Wavy arm dance? Check. Incredible vocals? Check. Absolute sass queen? CHECK.

Destiny, Malta, First Semi-Final, Rotterdam Ahoy, 18 May 2021EBU / Andres Putting


18 May 2021 at 22:18 CEST
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🇲🇹 #OpenUp to... MALTA 🇲🇹

🇲🇹 Malta / Destiny - Je Me Casse

Destiny, Malta, Backstage, Rotterdam AhoyEBU / Andres Putting

Find out how to vote using the official Eurovision App:

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Destiny will represent Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021

Destiny

18 May 2021 at 22:15 CEST
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Ukrainian electro-folklore incoming...

Something a bit different now from Ukraine, with Go_A singing Shum. They describe this as ‘electro folklore’ - one of the lyrics translates as 'an owl is blowing into the water'.

Kateryna’s is wearing a crown and a furry green jacket, and her dancers have stolen all the ring lights from the press centre.

Incidentally, you may want to pace yourselves if you’re dancing, because this goes OFF at the end.

Jendrik is currently raving in front of the big screen in the Delegation Bubble. What's not to love about Eurovision?

Go_A, Ukraine, First Semi-Final, Rotterdam Ahoy, 18 May 2021EBU / Andres Putting


18 May 2021 at 22:13 CEST
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🇺🇦 #OpenUp to... UKRAINE 🇺🇦

🇺🇦 Ukraine / Go_A - Shum

Go_A, Ukraine, Backstage, Rotterdam AhoyEBU / Andres Putting

Find out how to vote using the official Eurovision App:

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Go_A will represent Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021

Go_A

18 May 2021 at 22:10 CEST
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It's time for Efendi...

Time for another banger, and it’s not even the last one of the evening. Efendi’s Mata Hari follows on from last year’s Cleopatra, which sadly never made it to the Eurovision stage, but it does get an honourable mention. Stay tuned for the big pyro finish.

Efendi, Azerbaijan, First Semi-Final, Rotterdam Ahoy, 18 May 2021EBU / Andres Putting


18 May 2021 at 22:09 CEST
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🇦🇿 #OpenUp to... AZERBAIJAN 🇦🇿

🇦🇿 Azerbaijan / Efendi - Mata Hari

Efendi, Azerbaijan, Backstage, Rotterdam AhoyEBU / Andres Putting

Find out how to vote using the official Eurovision App:

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Efendi will represent Azerbaijan at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021

Efendi

18 May 2021 at 22:06 CEST
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Get ready for...Romania

Roxen from Romania is up next, singing Amnesia. It’s a heartfelt angsty ballad performed with the help of five barefoot contemporary dancers and a great deal of fog. According to Roxen, Amnesia "somehow manages to give a voice to all repressed feelings and to the people whose voices haven't been heard, in a way that for me is incredibly pure.”

ROXEN, Romania, First Semi-Final, Rotterdam Ahoy, 18 May 2021EBU / Andres Putting


18 May 2021 at 22:05 CEST
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🇷🇴 #OpenUp to... ROMANIA 🇷🇴

🇷🇴 Romania / ROXEN - Amnesia

ROXEN, Romania, Backstage, Rotterdam Ahoy, 9 May 2021EBU / Andres Putting

Find out how to vote using the official Eurovision App:

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ROXEN will represent Romania at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021

ROXEN

18 May 2021 at 22:03 CEST
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It's Måns Zelmerlöw on a roof!

Time for a Måns Zelmerlöw interlude - you can’t have Eurovision without Måns, it’s the law. In case you've forgotten, Måns won Eurovision in 2015 with a little help from an animated stick man and a pair of leather trousers.

He appears to be on a Rotterdam rooftop during the eight minute interlude each day when it doesn't rain.

Grand final 2019 jury finalAndres Putting


18 May 2021 at 22:00 CEST
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Israel's Eden takes to the stage...

Time for another bop, this time from Israel’s Eden singing Set Me Free - stay tuned for the dress reveal and the incredible whistle notes at the end.

Eden also has five male backing dancers in plastic shirts - on the Turquoise Carpet on Sunday, Eden introduced them all and explained how they are all totally hot but, unfortunately for Eden, all totally...not that way inclined. We’ll share their Instagram handles later.

Eden Alene, Israel, First Semi-Final, Rotterdam Ahoy, 18 May 2021EBU / Andres Putting


18 May 2021 at 21:59 CEST
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🇮🇱 #OpenUp to... ISRAEL 🇮🇱

🇮🇱 Israel / Eden Alene - Set Me Free

Eden Alene, Israel, Backstage, Rotterdam Ahoy, 9 May 2021EBU / Andres Putting

Find out how to vote using the official Eurovision App:

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Eden Alene will represent Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021

Eden Alene

18 May 2021 at 21:57 CEST
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Definitely in the right place...

A change of pace now from Belgium’s Hooverphonic. They’re one of the more established bands in this year’s competition, with their understated and classy ballad The Wrong Place. They’re the first live band on stage this evening - you’ll also see Italy later during the Big Five preview.

Hooverphonic, Belgium, First Semi-Final, Rotterdam Ahoy, 18 May 2021EBU / Andres Putting


18 May 2021 at 21:55 CEST
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🇧🇪 #OpenUp to... BELGIUM 🇧🇪

🇧🇪 Belgium / Hooverphonic - The Wrong Place

Hooverphonic, Belgium, First Rehearsal, Rotterdam AhoyEBU / Andres Putting

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Hooverphonic will represent Belgium at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 with the song The Wrong Place

Hooverphonic

18 May 2021 at 21:54 CEST
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🇮🇱 Israel's Eden is warming up her whistle-tone...

Eden Alene

18 May 2021 at 21:52 CEST
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Tick-tock, it's time for Croatia

Next up it’s Albina from Croatia, who is singing Tick-tock. Albina wins the prize for most minimalist outfit - it’s basically four silver sequins and some power shoulders. She has four male backing singers in breathable outfits, and somebody’s turned on the wind machine.

Silver outfit, neon graphics, fabulous dance routine - this tick-tocks all our Eurovision boxes.

Albina, Croatia, First Semi-Final, Rotterdam Ahoy, 18 May 2021EBU / Andres Putting


18 May 2021 at 21:51 CEST
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🇭🇷 #OpenUp to... CROATIA 🇭🇷

🇭🇷 Croatia / Albina - Tick-Tock

Albina, Croatia, Backstage, Rotterdam AhoyEBU / Andres Putting

Find out how to vote using the official Eurovision App:

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Albina will represent Croatia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021

Albina

18 May 2021 at 21:49 CEST
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Fur coat? Check. Sunglasses? Check. Bandana? Check. Giant angel wings? Check.

Up next is Tix from Norway, with his song Fallen Angel. Tix is also known as Andreas Haukeland, and he’s one of Norway’s most popular recording artists. The name Tix takes ownership of his experience of growing up with Tourette’s syndrome, and this song is about Tix conquering his demons. He’s brought all four of them to Rotterdam - chains, wings and all.

TIX, Norway, First Semi-Final, Rotterdam Ahoy, 18 May 2021EBU / Andres Putting


18 May 2021 at 21:48 CEST
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🇳🇴 #OpenUp to... NORWAY 🇳🇴

🇳🇴 Norway / TIX - Fallen Angel

TIX, Norway, Backstage, Rotterdam AhoyEBU / Andres Putting

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TIX will represent Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021

TIX

18 May 2021 at 21:47 CEST
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Cyprus are bringing the heat...

It’s time for Elena Tsagrinou from Cyprus, who has given her heart to El Diablo in one of this year’s biggest dancefloor bangers. She’s got the sparkly silver dress and four backing dancers in red catsuits, but they’ve used some clever mirror effect on stage to multiply them to an entire dance troupe.

We never imagined there could be a Cypriot entry hotter than Fuego, but the pyro is going OFF.

Elena Tsagrinou, Cyprus, First Semi-Final, Rotterdam Ahoy, 18 May 2021EBU / Andres Putting


18 May 2021 at 21:46 CEST
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🚨 BREAKING NEWS 🚨

Jendrik is lip syncing to El Diablo.

More news as we get it.

18 May 2021 at 21:42 CEST
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🇨🇾 #OpenUp to... CYPRUS 🇨🇾

🇨🇾 Cyprus / Elena Tsagrinou - El Diablo

Elena Tsagrinou, Cyprus, Backstage, Rotterdam AhoyEBU / Andres Putting

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Elena Tsagrinou will represent Cyprus at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021

Elena Tsagrinou

18 May 2021 at 21:40 CEST
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Ireland are on the Eurovision map...

Next up it’s Lesley Roy from Ireland, who is singing Maps. She’s the only barefoot contestant this year, but you can’t really tell because she’s busy working with some really clever props and an on-stage treadmill. No digital for Lesley – all the camera frames and flicking pages in this performance are hand-made and physically present on the stage, making it look like she’s in her own storybook.

Lesley Roy, Ireland, First Semi-Final, Rotterdam Ahoy, 18 May 2021EBU / Andres Putting


18 May 2021 at 21:36 CEST
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🇮🇪 #OpenUp to... IRELAND 🇮🇪

🇮🇪 Ireland / Lesley Roy - Maps

Lesley Roy, Ireland, backstage, Rotterdam AhoyEBU / Thomas Hanses

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Lesley Roy will represent Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021

Lesley Roy

18 May 2021 at 21:34 CEST
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Have you done Nikkie's #EurovisionChallenge?

Nikkie’s in the green room, sharing what’s happening online. So many incredible #EurovisionChallenge videos - if you haven’t done yours yet, there’s still time.

Loving Conchita Wurst Zoom-bombing a Eurovision chat - it's the stuff our dreams are made of.


18 May 2021 at 21:30 CEST
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💖 This is so sweet: the Maltese dancers were.... 💖

...bopping along to Sweden's Tusse.

It's the friendliest Contest in the world 💖

18 May 2021 at 21:30 CEST
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North Macedonia incoming...

Are you ready to grab some air for a musical theatre-style epic ballad? Of course you are. North Macedonia’s Vasil has a rich history of stage performance, and Here I Stand is three minutes of Broadway power-vocals with a bonus gospel choir. Watch out for the epic lighting effect on Vasil’s silver disco ball vest.

Vasil, North Macedonia, First Semi-Final, Rotterdam Ahoy, 18 May 2021EBU / Andres Putting


18 May 2021 at 21:28 CEST
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🇲🇰 #OpenUp to... NORTH MACEDONIA 🇲🇰

🇲🇰 North Macedonia / Vasil - Here I Stand

Vasil, North Macedonia, Rotterdam AhoyEBU / Thomas Hanses

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Vasil will represent North Macedonia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021

Vasil

18 May 2021 at 21:26 CEST
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Australia takes to the (virtual) stage...

Sadly Montaigne from Australia couldn’t be in Rotterdam, but she’s definitely still here in spirit. Her performance was recorded earlier as a ‘live on tape’, and if you’re not sure what that means, you can find out here. Technically this is the first Eurovision Song Contest that takes place on Australian soil, so Montaigne should consider herself a trailblazer.

Lighting plays a big part in this year’s contest, the lighting rig in Rotterdam Ahoy is the biggest ever at Eurovision. It’s hard not to imagine what a huge technicolour disco Montaigne would have created if she’d had access to the big stage, but this performance still looks pretty impressive.

Montaigne - Live On Tape recording - Australia - 2021Jess Gleeson


18 May 2021 at 21:24 CEST
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🇦🇺 #OpenUp to... AUSTRALIA 🇦🇺

🇦🇺 Australia / Montaigne - Technicolour (Live-on-Tape performance)*

Backstage Australia with Montaigne for her Live-on-Tape recordingJess Gleeson

Find out how to vote using the official Eurovision App:

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Montaigne will represent Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021

Montaigne

18 May 2021 at 21:23 CEST
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Sweden takes to the stage...

Up next is Sweden’s Tusse, singing Voices. This was the runaway winner of this year’s Melodifestivalen, and Tusse is serving Eurovision catwalk realness in a red velvet suit, silver accessories, heeled boots and killer vocals. Also Swedish bagpipes.

The new backing vocal rule means that Tusse could technically include a million voices, but he really doesn't need them. He's sounding incredible.

Tusse, Sweden, First Semi-Final, Rotterdam Ahoy, 18 May 2021EBU / Andres Putting


18 May 2021 at 21:21 CEST
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🇸🇪 #OpenUp to... SWEDEN 🇸🇪

🇸🇪 Sweden / Tusse - Voices

Tusse from SwedenEBU / Thomas Hanses

Find out how to vote using the official Eurovision App:

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Tusse

Tusse

18 May 2021 at 21:18 CEST
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Ready for a Russian Woman?

Next up it’s Manizha from Russia singing Russian Woman. This features a giant prop dress that floats around the stage, some rapping in English and a backdrop of 500 Russian women from all kinds of backgrounds, including Manizha’s mum.

Manizha is well known in Russia for singing about national, cultural and sexual identity; and above all else, tolerance. Banging beats with a side order of social commentary? Yes please.

We love the floating dress. So great to see that, like so many others, Manizha’s has taken up quilting during lockdown.

Manizha, Russia, First Semi-Final, Rotterdam Ahoy, 18 May 2021EBU / Andres Putting


18 May 2021 at 21:17 CEST
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🇷🇺 #OpenUp to... RUSSIA 🇷🇺

🇷🇺 Russia / Manizha - Russian Woman

Manizha, Russia, backstage, Rotterdam AhoyEBU/Thomas Hanses

Find out how to vote using the official Eurovision App:

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Manizha performed 'Russian Woman' at the Russian national final for Eurovision 2021

Manizha

18 May 2021 at 21:16 CEST
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Amen for Slovenia

It’s time for Ana Soklič to deliver a powerful vocal performance of her mega-ballad Amen, one of two songs called Amen in this year’s competition. The other is from Austria, and you’ll see that on Thursday.

In Ana's postcard, we meet her two cats. One is called Eliska and one is called Ruby, and she refers to them as her 'furry ass princesses'. The change to rules about backing tracks this year means Anna is supported by an entire choir. There are several other choirs to come, and the impact it makes in the arena is phenomenal.

Ana Soklič, Slovenia, First Semi-Final, Rotterdam Ahoy, 18 May 2021EBU / Andres Putting


18 May 2021 at 21:12 CEST
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🇸🇮 #OpenUp to... SLOVENIA 🇸🇮

🇸🇮 Slovenia / Ana Soklič - Amen

Ana Soklič from Slovenia on stage for the first timeEBU/Thomas Hanses

Find out how to vote using the official Eurovision App:

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Ana Soklič will represent Slovenia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021

Ana Soklič

18 May 2021 at 21:10 CEST
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Take us to the Discoteque...

In the Roop’s postcard, they’re hanging out at Rotterdam Centraal station. Currently there’s a 4-metre high 3D-printed Eurovision trophy outside, made from river trash as part of Rotterdam’s commitment to a sustainable contest. You can find out more about it here.

Is there a better song to open The Eurovision Song Contest 2021 than Discoteque? We've all spent over a year dancing alone, and this is the perfect bop to get this Euro party started. Grab some yellow trousers and hone your hand dancing.

This performance is also a great introduction to the biggest LED screen ever featured at Eurovision - it’s 52 metres wide by 12 metres high. It’s currently displaying the first 80s-style pink neon grid of the contest, but we promise it won’t be the last.

The Roop, Lithuania, First Semi-Final, Rotterdam Ahoy, 18 May 2021EBU /Andres Putting


18 May 2021 at 21:08 CEST
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🇱🇹 #OpenUp to... LITHUANIA 🇱🇹

🇱🇹 Lithuania / The Roop - Discoteque

The Roop, Lithuania, backstage, Rotterdam Ahoy, Eurovision 2021EBU/Thomas Hanses

Find out how to vote using the official Eurovision App:

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The Roop will represent Lithuania at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021

The Roop

18 May 2021 at 21:08 CEST
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LET THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST BEGIN!

The presenters are ready, and the 3,500 Eurovision fans in Rotterdam Ahoy are definitely ready. We were BORN ready.

Also while you’re watching, keep an eye out for the common themes of this year’s Eurovision - some year’s it’s white suits, bare feet and wind machines, but this year there are four things that crop up a LOT:

  1. Sparkly silver outfits

  2. Pink neon graphics

  3. Hand choreography

  4. PYRO

Feel free to incorporate this into some kind of elaborate drinking game.

18 May 2021 at 21:07 CEST
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Acts are heading to the stage area...

The Roop and Tusse have whizzed by, as has Russia's Manizha:

Russia's Manizha

Russia's Manizha

Russia's Manizha

18 May 2021 at 21:07 CEST
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Have you downloaded the official Eurovision app?

We won't remind you again.

(NB: We will almost certainly remind you again.)

18 May 2021 at 21:05 CEST
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Let's meet the presenters!

Our hosts this evening are Chantal, Edsilia, Jan and Nikkie. Chantal is a famous Dutch TV presenter, and Edsilia represented the Netherlands at Eurovision in 1998 and 2007. Jan is a singer and TV presenter, and has also provided the commentary for Dutch Eurovision many times, and Nikkie is best known as Nikkie Tutorials – she’s a makeup artist and influencer with a huge international reach.

You can find out more about all of them here.


18 May 2021 at 21:04 CEST
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Eurovision is BACK...

Eurovision is back, says the announcer, and it began with one man. That man is Duncan Lawrence, who kicks things off by singing Feel Something, which is Duncan’s collaboration with Dutch DJ Armin Van Buuren.

We also meet the official Eurovision dance crew, who we’ll see more of later. Apparently there's also some badass pyro (their words, not ours, although they're very much our vibe).


18 May 2021 at 21:00 CEST
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We're off!

The Eurovision Official Drone has been working hard in recent months, so get ready to experience some sweeping views of the Netherlands. The lit-up tiny house features in all the artist postcards - you can find out more about it here.

18 May 2021 at 20:45 CEST
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"Oh, okay. Um, I invented Post-Its."

There's a 'post it!' wall in the Delegation Bubble...

People are scribbling down their favourite acts...

And some of the artists are taking part too...

Some people are simply sharing messages of hope:

18 May 2021 at 20:29 CEST
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Only half an hour to go!

Only half an hour to go! Here are three useful ways to spend it:

  1. Download the official Eurovision app. It's the easiest way to vote later. You can find it here:

    App Store (iOS) / Google Play (Android)

  2. Change into your most comfortable clothing - there's a lot dancing to do in the next few hours and stretchy waistbands are your friend.

  3. Gather snacks, drinks and your loved ones - it's the biggest music party in Europe, and it's about to go OFF.

18 May 2021 at 20:27 CEST
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🍣 For those of you new to the Live Blog... 🍣

We've been following the exploits of Eurovissie and Eurofishion (the Rotterdam Ahoy's resident pets) - and we're pleased to report they've made it to the First Semi-Final!

Eurovissie and Eurofishion

They're particularly looking forward to the interval act (which is quite extensively about water) and Belgium's The Wrong Plaice.

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Eurovissie, eurofishion Rotterdam Ahoy, 11 May 2021 Live show
Eurofish in Rotterdam Ahoy 2021 Eurofish in Rotterdam Ahoy 2021
📸 9

Eurovissie and Eurofishion First Rehearsal 2021

18 May 2021 at 20:12 CEST
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So here's what's going on...

It's less than an hour before showtime, the audience are heading into the arena, and the Delegation Bubble is BUZZING. Artists are warming up, and delegation members who haven't made the cut for the Green Room are bagging giant bean bags in front of the big screen.

Each delegation is allowed seven people in their allocated Green Room area in front of the main stage - everyone else has to hang out with us and watch the show with a pile of snacks. It could be worse, right?

18 May 2021 at 20:03 CEST
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🏓 PING PONG UPDATE 🏓

Earlier Lesley Roy from Ireland and one of her backing singers took on Damiano and Victoria from Italy at table tennis.

But there was only one way to go, and Italy remain unbeaten on the ping-pong table. Who will take them on next?

Ireland vs. Italy in the Eurovision ping-pong championships

18 May 2021 at 20:01 CEST
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🖨 SCORECARD: First Semi-Final 2021 🖨

🖨 Keep track of your favourites tonight: download and print a scorecard!

Save trees, save paper. Please consider using felt tips on your screen.

18 May 2021 at 19:00 CEST
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🚨 BREAKING NEWS: Flo Rida is in Rotterdam 🚨

Rapper Flo Rida will feature on Senhit’s Eurovision Song Contest 2021 entry 'Adrenalina', representing the Most Serene Republic of San Marino live on stage in Rotterdam...

READ MORE: Flo Rida will join Senhit on stage for Adrenalina.

18 May 2021 at 18:52 CEST
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📺 Here's how to watch the Eurovision Song Contest 📺

📺 Watch the First Semi-Final Live Stream on YouTube or find out how to watch in your region.

Our hosts Chantal Janzen, Jan Smit, Edsilia Rombley and Nikkie de Jager (NikkieTutorials) are live from the Rotterdam Ahoy in the Netherlands for the First Semi-Final, where 10 countries will compete for a spot in Saturday night's Grand Final.

First Semi-Finalists:

  1. 🇱🇹 Lithuania / The Roop - Discoteque

  2. 🇸🇮 Slovenia / Ana Soklič - Amen

  3. 🇷🇺 Russia / Manizha - Russian Woman

  4. 🇸🇪 Sweden / Tusse - Voices

  5. 🇦🇺 Australia / Montaigne - Technicolour (Live-on-Tape performance)*

  6. 🇲🇰 North Macedonia / Vasil - Here I Stand

  7. 🇮🇪 Ireland / Lesley Roy - Maps

  8. 🇨🇾 Cyprus / Elena Tsagrinou - El Diablo

  9. 🇳🇴 Norway / TIX - Fallen Angel

  10. 🇭🇷 Croatia / Albina - Tick-Tock

  11. 🇧🇪 Belgium / Hooverphonic - The Wrong Place

  12. 🇮🇱 Israel / Eden Alene - Set Me Free

  13. 🇷🇴 Romania / ROXEN - Amnesia

  14. 🇦🇿 Azerbaijan / Efendi - Mata Hari

  15. 🇺🇦 Ukraine / Go_A - Shum

  16. 🇲🇹 Malta / Destiny - Je Me Casse

Australia will compete using their 'Live-on-Tape' performance. Find out more here.

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Destiny, Malta, Backstage, Rotterdam Ahoy, 9 May 2021

It's Eurovision Week: here's all you need to know

18 May 2021 at 18:52 CEST
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Good Evening Europe!

Hello Europe, and welcome to the Live Blog for the first Eurovision Semi-Final! Eurovision has been away for two years, but now we are BACK and ready to go.

Heidi and Rob are keeping you company this evening - we’ve set up camp in the Delegation Bubble to bring you all the pre-show gossip and the details of the live show, as it happens.

By the end of tonight’s show our 16 Semi-Finalists will be reduced to 10 Grand Finalists, and we’ll also know if they’re going to perform in the first or the second half of the Grand Final on Saturday.

Are you excited? We’re very excited. Please stay with us and enjoy the show! It’s almost time to #OpenUp…