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First Semi-Final: Qualifiers' press conference

08 May 2024 at 02:25 CEST
The artists of the 68th Eurovision Song Contest in the Green Room at the First Semi-Final at Malmö Arena Corinne Cumming / EBU
Following the First Semi-Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024, the 10 qualifiers headed to the official press conference, ready to answer questions from the media.
The artists of the 68th Eurovision Song Contest in the Green Room at the First Semi-Final at Malmö Arena Corinne Cumming / EBU

The Eurovision Song Contest 2024 is now underway, after the First Semi-Final took place in Malmö, Sweden. The results included some big moments — Eurovision seeing its first ever nonbinary artist to qualify, and Luxembourg back in the Grand Final after a break of three decades.

The night started with 15 competing acts, before 10 qualifiers were chosen through a public vote. The countries heading to Saturday’s Grand Final are Serbia, Portugal, Slovenia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Finland, Cyprus, Croatia, Ireland and Luxembourg.

The first artist to be quizzed by the press was Silia Kapsis from Cyprus. She said:

“It’s a huge opportunity for me, especially because I’m 17. I’m representing my country and my culture.”

As an Australian, she was asked about how she feels that Australia did not qualify this year. She described Electric Fields as talented people who show culture. She hopes she’ll make Australia proud too.

Artists backstage at Malmö Arena after the First Semi-Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 Alma Bengtsson / EBU

Serbia’s TEYA DORA told the audience about an earlier rehearsal, where Serbia was the first country read out as a qualifier — she thought how amazing it would be if that happened in the real show. And it did. She said:

“It’s such a big opportunity, there’s so many people watching…  The next step is to give the best that we can give and get the best placement we can have. I’m happy there are so many people who will hear my music.”

Silvester Belt from Lithuania said that his biggest challenge at Eurovision has been sleeping. When asked his thoughts about whether sending a song in Lithuanian would hinder his chances, he said:

“Initially, I was the same as most Lithuanians, who were like, ‘You have to send English songs…’ but the rest of the world kept saying Lithuanian is a beautiful language.”

The artists of the 68th Eurovision Song Contest in the Green Room at the First Semi-Final at Malmö Arena Corinne Cumming / EBU

Ukraine’s alyona alyona & Jerry Heil were another act asked about language. alyona said that it was “super cool” to have so many countries singing in their own languages. Jerry added that if Ukrainian music, whether from Eurovision or not, ends up in people’s playlists, then they’ll feel they’ve won. The pair were asked if they felt a lot of pressure to qualify after Ukraine has experienced so much success at Eurovision. Jerry said:

“We feel like Ukraine expects from us that we’re going to do great. But we have a great team… and I guess we did it today.”

Artists in the press conference at Malmö Arena after the First Semi-Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 Sarah Louise Bennett / EBU

Bambie Thug from Ireland also qualified for the Grand Final with their song Doomsday Blue. When asked how they were feeling, they said:

“I have completely dissociated right now, I’m having an out of body experience! I’m super proud, our team is very small and I’m an independent artist. It’s incredible that we reached here. I’m the first nonbinary artist to qualify. See you Saturday.”

They were asked about what makes them special. To which they stood up, opened up their arms and said:

“What makes me special? You know what makes me special? I’m queer. I love art. I love drama. I love theatre. I’m gonna give you a show.”

The artists of the 68th Eurovision Song Contest in the Green Room at the First Semi-Final at Malmö Arena Sarah Louise Bennett / EBU

For Baby Lasagna from Croatia, getting up on stage is usually about being in the moment. But performing live on television still required a certain amount of concentration. He explained how he navigates it all:

“Eurovision is on a next level when it comes to professionalism… you have to look at this camera, then that… I can’t just let myself be in the moment, I have to think.”

Slovenia’s Raiven said she’s been doubting herself the whole time, and qualifying was a huge surprise. She was asked about where the ideas from the staging for Veronika came from, and said:

“When it comes to making the music and visuals I always just go with my instinct. I had this idea that I wanted to be completely naked and silver. The staging is truly me, how I am, and I think the song is dramatic enough that I don’t need to add anything more.”

The artists of the 68th Eurovision Song Contest in the Green Room at the First Semi-Final at Malmö Arena Corinne Cumming / EBU

When Finland’s Windows95man was asked whether he thinks he’ll get 12 points from various countries, he replied: “Maybe…” He also explained that his song is an art project which has escalated, so qualifying for the Grand Final is a huge surprise for him.

He confirmed which one rule he would change at Eurovision if he could:

 “More nakedness. For everybody.”

Artists in the press conference at Malmö Arena after the First Semi-Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 Sarah Louise Bennett / EBU

Following on from Windows95man’s discussion about the rules, Portugal’s iolanda said she doesn’t believe in any rules when it comes to music. She talked about why she kept her own staging simple and added:

“You can do a lot with not much money and that for me is better than fireworks.”

Echoing Lithuania and Ukraine, she said that she doesn’t believe any language is a barrier.

The artists of the 68th Eurovision Song Contest in the Green Room at the First Semi-Final at Malmö Arena Corinne Cumming / EBU

TALI from Luxembourg was the final artist to be announced as a qualifier. She said that when the camera approached her, she started to believe a place in the Grand Final was possible. She was asked about Luxembourg taking such a long break from the Contest, and whether she thinks her qualifying will inspire other countries to return. She replied:

“This is a beautiful contest that unites, so I definitely hope it inspires other countries to come back, or join for the first time.”

The qualifying acts also found out which half of the Grand Final they will perform in, or whether they had landed a Producer's Choice option - which means that host broadcaster SVT can decide their position in the running order.

You can watch the full press conference of the qualifiers of the First Semi-Final right here:

You can listen to all 37 songs of Eurovision 2024 via your favourite streaming service or watch the music videos on our YouTube channel.

The Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Malmö, Sweden on Tuesday 7 May (First Semi-Final), Thursday 9 May (Second Semi-Final) and Saturday 11 May (Grand Final) 2024.

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