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Eurovision 2022: Semi-Final 1

Yesterday, the 10th of May 2022, Italy held the first-semi final of the 66th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. A week ago, I wrote a pre-show article. Originally, I was planning to write another one after the Grand Final. Since then, I decided to have shorter ones after each live show instead. I feel that this will better capture my overall impression.

General thoughts on the show

The stage was a huge part of my first article on Eurovision 2022 and this is for a reason — as mentioned before, the stage and the staging are as important as the music itself. There have been examples in the past where a good staging can "elevate" a song and give the audience a completely different feel for it. The stage design of every Eurovision edition is something I follow closely, starting with the initial renders and ending with documentary-like videos that might be available on the internet after the show has ended.

When it comes to the stage, there were no big surprises during the first semi-final — the sun moved during the interval act only, and, to be honest, it was not even that impressive (nor it helped me to like the Diodato's performance). I am still curious if the other side of the sun, which has a LED screen installed on it, will be used in either of the upcoming shows.

Diodato, Italy’s 2020 entrant performing at the first semi final – photos by eurovision.tv

I have already had seen videos from rehearsals, as well as the jury show, so my expectations were very well-managed. In that sense, I enjoyed the show. The individual performances were unique enough, despite the delegations not being able to use the side with the LED screen of the sun.

Something I had not seen previously was the hosts, who were not my cup of tea. There was also an apparent lack of thought about what should be shown during the аd break for the ones streaming the show online.

Albania Failed To QUALIFY

One of my favourites, Ronela's Sekret, failed to qualify for the Final. Her performance was among the ones that were the most talked about. Two hours after the show, her performance is also the most-watched one from the first-semi final — and with 234K views, it has 2K more views than Ukraine's which is, as we know, probably going to be the winner of the competition this year.

Albania's Ronela Hajati performing at the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 Semi Final One – photos by eurovision.tv

While I have been listening to Sekret for five months now, I was almost sure that it would either fail to qualify or that it would have ended up at the bottom of the scoreboard. A similar thing happened with "Mata Hari" last year, which was a fan's favourite, yet finished 20th.

I will not lie I sympathise with Ronela. I know how much effort she has put into her performance which was really good at the end, despite all the issues she has been very vocal about. I think she might have emerged as being a bit impulsive, however, I believe that this is partially due to of her desire to do well. Nevertheless, this might have let her down. She is also the songwriter of the song and artists who write their own music should get more appreciation at song contests such as Eurovision.


Austria's entry — "Halo" by LUM!X feat. Pia Maria — was another one that I liked. Similarly to "Sekret", I was not sure how strong it would be for Eurovision. Unfortunately, it also failed to qualify. I do not think that there was as much going on with this song, as there was with Ronela's, so there is not much to say about it. Fans have been critical of Pia's vocals, however, it seems that she has vastly improved in the past weeks and I feel that she sounded fine at the semi-final.


Thankfully, Bulgaria failed to qualify for the grand-final. As I already said in my first Eurovision 2022 related article:

Intelligent Music Project does not represent Bulgaria but presents itself instead. Voting for the group puts talented artists at disadvantage and supports a model that humiliates the country. 

Latvia Failed To Qualify

"Eat Your Salad" is another entry I am happy did not go to the Final. I have always thought that the song is tasteless and the boys who sing it have come across as arrogant.

moldova qualified

Moldova qualifying was, personally, the biggest surprise of the night (not necessarily a good one). While I do not dislike it, I thought it was too folkish for it to hook the audience. As a Bulgarian, I can understand the song and its vibe, although I still think it looked a bit out of place. On the other hand, last year, my favourite was Ukraine's "SHUM" which also has folk elements. It was the runner-up in the televote which suggests that people enjoy traditional-sounding songs. Another similar example I can think of is "Party For Everybody" from 2012.

Switzerland Qualified

Switzerland's "Boys Do Cry" and Australia's "Not The Same" are the two songs from this year's edition that I literally cannot stand. Of course, it is down to personal taste. Last year, the two songs I liked the least — "Voilà" and "Tout l'univers" — ended up being second and third in the final, respectively. Based on past years' results, such songs seem to do very well with the jury vote, so I was expecting Switzerland to qualify for the final. Yet, I was hoping I would be wrong.

the other qualifiers

Norway's "Give That Wolf A Banana" has been among my favourites since its release, so I am very happy that it qualified. The other entries I expected to qualify, as they did, are "De Diepte" and "Die Together", both of which have grown on me in the past few weeks. Other entries that I believe deserve their spot on the final are "Sentimentai" and "Snap". I was worried that they might not make it and I am pleased that they did. Finally, I was sure that Iceland and Portugal would qualify, mostly based on the results from the past few years. I would say that both entries are average for me but definitely not bad.

Eurovision Song Contest 2022 Semi Final One – photos by eurovision.tv


To sum up, the first semi-final was very much what I expected. This comes from someone who follows the contest, stays in touch with the Eurovision community, and likes to keep up with the exclusive content from the rehearsals, the backstage and the overall production. I am sure the live shows will be exciting in other ways for the general public who sees everything for the first time on the night of each event. Moldova qualifying was the biggest surprise of the night, while Albania not qualifying — the biggest disappointment.

I am quite content with nine out of the ten finalists, however, I think Albania and Austria should have qualified instead of Switzerland and either Moldova, Iceland or Portugal (they are all in the same tier for me).

All qualifiers from Semi-Final 1 are:

The second Semi-Final will take place on the 12th of May. The Grand Final is on 14th of May. Both shows start at 8pm BST (21:00 CEST).

Article cover image by eurovision.tv

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