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Second Semi-Final: Qualifiers' press conference

12 May 2023 at 01:52 CEST
All the action from the Green Room during the Eurovision 2023 Second Semi-Final in Liverpool Chloe Hashemi/ EBU
With the Second Semi-Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 wrapped up, the 10 qualifiers answered questions from fans and the media in an official press conference.
The 10 Second Semi-Final qualifiers drawing their Grand Final positions at Liverpool Arena Corinne Cumming / EBU

After 16 acts performed in the Eurovision Song Contest Second Semi-Final, audiences around the world sent their 10 favourites through to Saturday’s Grand Final. Now joining the 16 acts already warming up for the big event, are Albania, Cyprus, Estonia, Belgium, Austria, Lithuania, Poland, Australia, Armenia, and Slovenia.

After winning a place on Saturday’s live show, the artists drew the halves in which they’ll be performing on Saturday night, which you can read about here. With that task complete, the acts headed to the official press conference, full of emotion after a tight competition packed with talent.

Albina & Familja Kelmendi made it through to the Grand Final for Albania with their song Duje. Albina was the first to take the microphone at the Official Press Conference, and as she shared her words, she welled up with tears:

“We are so happy, we are so excited, and we are so proud for my Albanians, for my country.”

As Albina struggled to get the words out through her emotions, her sister added that their hearts were leaping out of their bodies.

The 10 Second Semi-Final qualifiers drawing their Grand Final positions at Liverpool Arena Corinne Cumming / EBU

Slovenia’s representatives Joker Out made it through to the Grand Final with their indie tune Carpe Diem. They told the audience about their feelings as they came off the stage, and that whether or not they qualified wouldn’t have changed that moment:

“We are very, very happy with how the performance went. We believe we made ourselves proud, and our fans proud, and Slovenia proud. If we didn’t get a call we would be proud of this moment, but luckily we did get a call.”

Representing Cyprus, Andrew Lambrou’s song Break A Broken Heart made it through the Second Semi-Final. He explained how close he is to his family, and how much it means to be able to represent them at Eurovision:

“Visiting the villages where my grandparents were from was one of the most special moments of my life. I’m very connected to my roots at home in Australia, but it finally came to life. This opportunity now, to represent Cyprus, it’s the most special thing.”

He also gave a wave to fellow qualifiers Voyager, as both acts are from Australia and went through the country’s national finals together last year. Andrew said he’s so happy to be beside them in the Contest.

The 10 Second Semi-Final qualifiers drawing their Grand Final positions at Liverpool Arena Corinne Cumming / EBU

Armenia’s new favourite popstar Brunette made it through the voting with her song Future Lover. Asked about when she decided to add a dance break in her song, she explained that she’d always had 2 versions up her sleeve, and after the national selection she knew she had to choose this one:

”It was so hard to keep it a secret. The surprise was the dance break — I hope you love it!”

But her song has a serious message too, and she described where it comes from and why it’s so important to her:

“A lot of people deal with mental health, and I do as well, and I just wanted to tell people that it’s ok.”

Alika from Estonia also joins the Grand Final line-up with her soaring ballad Bridges. She described how her song is about not just the relationships we have with each other, but about how we need to trust ourselves. Performing at Eurovision has always been her dream, and she shared her journey from being a child with dreams to a 20-year-old Eurovision Grand Finalist:

“I remember when I was a little child, I was watching Eurovision, and I was thinking, ‘When I turn 16, I will go to Eurovision.’ I’m actually happy that I didn’t. Right now, I’m 20 and I feel this is the right place to be. I’m happy — it was my dream since I was a child.”

The 10 Second Semi-Final qualifiers drawing their Grand Final positions at Liverpool Arena Corinne Cumming / EBU

All the way from Australia, Voyager won a place in the Grand Final with their song Promise. One journalist reeled off a list of rock bands who have come from the country, adding Kylie Minogue to the list of successes. When asked if they’re hoping to become the next Australian rock export, the band said:

“I’m hoping to become the next Kylie Minogue… But Australia has such a wonderful history of bands. A lot of great artists and a lot of great bands have come from Australia, so why not Voyager?”

Belgium’s Gustaph also made it through the Second Semi-Final with his song Because Of You. When asked how it felt to be so accepted as his authentically queer self on the Eurovision stage, he held back the tears. In fact, he said that he’s cried so much already that he looks like a panda.

“I was a little bit scared when I was waiting for the results, because there was still a little boy inside thinking, ‘They will not accept this.’ It just felt like a really touching thing because it really felt like a queer message that was about positivity and inclusivity, and joy was embraced. That’s truly something that touched my heart.”

The 10 Second Semi-Final qualifiers drawing their Grand Final positions at Liverpool Arena Corinne Cumming / EBU

Next to take to the microphone was Poland’s pop princess Blanka, who now has a place in the Grand Final with her song Solo. She described how much incredible support she’s had in the Competition:

“The most amazing moment was when I started feeling the support from my fans, as well as the amazing messages from my family, because they just give their whole support to me. I really hope I can make my country really, really proud in the finals.”

Austria made it through the Second Semi-Final with their duo Teya & Salena (or was it Edgar?) from Austria, with their song Who The Hell Is Edgar? As they made the audience laugh with the story of how Edgar Allan Poe popped right into their heads at a songwriting camp, they had an Edgar doll propped on the desk in front of them. Teya said:

“We’re so honoured that people actually care about the message and they started reading into the lyrics. What we want to set as an example as the way to go forward is to support each other.”

The final Second Semi-Final qualifier to speak to the media was Lithuania’s Monika Linkytė, with her song Stay. When she was asked how different this experience has been compared to the last time she competed at Eurovision in 2015 with Vaidas Baumila, she said:

“This year I understood that I don’t need a man, and I can do it alone. But I’m not alone actually, I’m with my girls, and they give me all the power I need. And it’s so cool to spread that power around Europe.”

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

 

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.

Listen to all 37 songs from Liverpool 2023 via your favourite streaming services, and watch the official music videos on our YouTube channel:

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