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Winners And Losers Of The 2020 Semi Final Draw

Winners And Losers Of The 2020 Semi Final Draw

We now know the countries who will be performing in which Semi Final for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. Following the Allocation Draw, we can begin another chapter of the Rotterdam story. As a reminder, here is the draw:

Semi Final One

Top Half: Australia, Belarus, Ireland, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Russia, Slovenia, and Sweden
Bottom Half: Azerbaijan, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Israel, Malta, Norway, Romania, and Ukraine.
Also Voting: Italy, Germany, and The Netherlands.

Semi Final Two

Top Half: Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Poland, Moldova, San Marino, and Serbia.
Bottom Half: Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Georgia, Latvia, Portugal, and Switzerland.
Also Voting: France, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

We’re In Safe Hands

First up, the obvious winner in all of this is the combination of AVROTROS, NOS, and NPO. The production of the Semi Final Allocation Draw is the first chance for the public (and the delegations) to get a feel of the style and production values from the host broadcaster.

It looks like we are in safe hands for May.

This year’s logo has been cropping up in YouTube videos and static graphics since it was announced in late November. Now we’ve seen it in animated action. From the individual flag colours that were seen as the Big 5 were allocated to a Semi Final for voting, through the flag bursts as country names were filled into the Semi Final slots, to the banners and branding around the event, the integration of the polar graph of debut years is both adaptable and memorable.

We also got a number of VT clips from our hosts. The discussion with previous winners if they could remember where they were in the running order shows off knowledge and passion for previous editions of the Song Contest; even if we don’t get the full running order until late March, and organisers are adamant that running order does not affect the final result.

The other memorable montage was dedicated to Jon Ola Sand. Rotterdam 2020 will be his final Contest as Executive Supervisor and likely the last time we will hear “Take it away” from the scrutineers’ desk. As well as the passion for the Contest, there’s going to be a playfulness mixed in with the broadcasts as well.

It’s also worth noting that host Jan Smit threw in an off the cuff ”’sorry Jon Ola” when he said “Take it away!” during the draw. Improvisation and awareness in the hosting team is key to making the audience feel comfortable and engaged. That’s a bonus win right there.

Past Form As A Guide To Qualification

Right then, let’s have a look at some numbers. Although we have still to hear the songs, past performance can be a partial guide to the 2020 results. Each delegation has a strong influence on the presentation, preparation and promotion of a song, which has an impact on the points performance in the Semi Finals. There’s a reason that the community looks towards Sweden to qualify and San Marino to struggle.

The two countries that retain a 100 percent qualification record – Australia and Ukraine – have both been drawn in Semi Final 1 (although they are respectively in the top and bottom half of the running order). It’s also worth noting that Australia and Ukraine are joined by Sweden, Cyprus, and Israel in having 100 percent records in their last five Semi Final appearances. Looking at the rest of the pack, the countries in Semi Final one have more successful qualifying records than those in Semi Final Two.

Let’s call it now, the community are going to label the first show as ‘The Semi Final Of Death‘.

Semi Final Two looks to be a lot more open. In terms of recent performance you have to look at Denmark and Bulgaria, both with three qualifications from their last three appearances, as the front runners. Looking at the overall records, there’s a strong block of countries with solid qualifying records, namely Armenia Greece, Serbia, and to a certain extent Moldova. Austria and Iceland are close behind. Following that it’s pretty much wide open.

Georgia and Latvia have the weakest qualification records in recent years, and both are in the bottom half of the second Semi Final. Both should feel confident they have a chance of making it to Saturday.

If Semi Final One is where we expect some big names to fall, Semi Final Two is where we can expect more countries to feel they have of sneaking an unexpected qualification. There’s also some fun to have in the smaller details.

Last year saw ‘Arcade’ win the Grand Final without winning the jury vote (which went to North Macedonia) or the televote (which went to Norway). There’s a certain karmic power to opening Semi Final 1 with the Jury Winner, and closing with the Televote Winner… and just to add a cherry, The Netherlands will be voting in this Semi Final as well.

Looking at the classic pairings, the Eurovision community has been denied pretty much all the notable combinations popping up in the Semi Finals. Greece and Cyprus have been split up. Azerbaijan and Armenia have been split up. Romania and Moldova have been split up. Poland and Ireland have been split up.

We still have Greece and Finland though. They’ve been drawn together for the eleventh year running.

The Power Of Couples

We have very few songs confirmed for May, so some of the more interesting combinations at the moment may not happen, but let’s note them down anyway.

In terms of voting partnerships, Lake Malawi’s Albert Černý is still in the running to represent Poland. With the Czech Republic in the same Semi Final, there could be some friendly voting on the cards.

Belarus and Iceland’s National Finals both have ethereal songs in the running which are getting a lot of love from the community. Assuming both Iva’s ‘Oculis Videre’ and Chakras’ ‘La-ley-la‘ qualify, the delegations will be happy they are in different Semi Finals so they cannot split the ‘Nocturne’ vote.

Another heavily dependant on qualification is the possibility of Georgia being able to vote for ‘Georgia On My Mind‘ if it makes it through Estonia’s Eesti Laul.

Unfortunately the admittedly small potential of having Assol and We All Poop running back to back (assuming they both qualify for May) will have to wait for the Grand Final, as Ukraine and the Czech Republic are in different Semi Finals.

The Myths and Legends of Jon Ola Sand

Finally, every country in Semi Final Two will be quietly confident. The Big 5 and our Hosts have been allocated to the Semi Final they will be voting in, and the United Kingdom has drawn Semi Final 2. The United Kingdom has voted on the Semi Final with the ultimate winner of the Eurovision Song Contest every year since 2011.

Which means you should feel sorry for Germany. This is the first year since 2010 that Germany has not voted in the second Semi Final. Moving away from the side of the table where the talismanic United Kingdom is voting is an unwelcome switch.

And in the event of needing a tie-breaker, the hosts of the Semi Final Allocation Draw pointed out just how heavy the Insignia Key Chain is getting. I suggest this is buried, and whichever delegation can remove the insignia from the rock will be the ruler of Eurovision… at least for the next year.

Categories: ESC Insight


Results Of The Semi Final Allocation Draw

Results Of The Semi Final Allocation Draw

The results of the Semi Final allocation draw are…

Semi Final One

Top Half: Australia, Belarus, Ireland, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Russia, Slovenia, and Sweden
Bottom Half: Azerbaijan, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Israel, Malta, Norway, Romania, and Ukraine.
Also Voting: Italy, Germany, and The Netherlands.

Semi Final Two

Top Half: Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Poland, Moldova, San Marino, and Serbia.
Bottom Half: Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Georgia, Latvia, Portugal, and Switzerland.
Also Voting: France, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

ESC Insight will have further analysis on the draw in the coming days and weeks.

Categories: ESC Insight


Eurovision 2020 Semi-final allocation draw

Eurovision 2020 Semi-final allocation draw


Norway and Sweden will meet in the first semi-final, while Greece and Cyprus this year are in each their semi-final. Host country the Netherlands will be able to vote for their Belgian neighbours in the first semi-final. Today, the semi-final allocation draw took place.

It’s time to for the first predictions to start. Which countries are likely to qualify from their semi-final and who might struggle to do so? Today, the traditional semi-final allocation draw took place. It has now been determined which countries will compete in which semi-final, whether or not they start in first or second half of their semi-final and which finalist countries will vote in which semi-final.


  • 1 Big 5 + host country
  • 2 Semi-final 1
  • 3 Semi-final 2

Big 5 + host country

The so-called Big 5 countries which consists of Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom are automatically qualified for the final together with host country, which this year is the Netherlands. These six countries will still be broadcasting and voting in one of the semi-finals. Which one was also decided via draw today:

  • Italy, Germany and the Netherlands will vote in the first semi-final
  • France, United Kingdom and Spain will vote in the second semi-final

Semi-final 1

First halfSecond half
North MacedoniaNorway

Semi-final 2

First halfSecond half
San MarinoFinland
Czech RepublicGeorgia

An actual running order will be decided by the producers – with approval from EBU’s Reference Group.

The first semi-final will take place on the 12th of May, the second on the 14th – and finally, Saturday the 16th, we’ll see the final. Ten countries from each semi-final will join the six countries automatically qualified for the final. Hosts of the three shows are Chantal Janzen, Edsilia Rombley and Jan Smit. This year’s slogan is Open Up.

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Categories: Eurovisionary


Eurovision Insight Podcast: SVT Thursday Is Back

Eurovision Insight Podcast: SVT Thursday Is Back

The pace keeps increasing, with more weekend results coming in, details of the Rotterdam shows in May, and a dash of Fika to get us through the week. All that and more as we are seven days closer to the Eurovision Song Contest 2020.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: SVT Thursday Is Back

This week’s Eurovision Song Contest news: all the weekend results, more tickets go on sale, and SVT Thursday returns (with a little bonus). Ewan Spence and the team round up the latest news, dates, and thoughts for this year’s Song Contest.

More details on the pot allocations at 58points.

Our Spotify playlists for Qualified Artists, Australian Artists, Estonia Artists, Lithuanian Artists, Sanremo Artists, and Swedish Artists.

As the National Finals for Eurovision 2020 continue, stay up to date with all the Song Contest news by listening to the ESC Insight podcast. You’ll find the show in iTunes, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. A direct RSS feed is  available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.

Categories: ESC Insight


Lithuania: The last set of six acts go through to the Pabandom Iš Naujo 2020 semi finals

Lithuania: The last set of six acts go through to the Pabandom Iš Naujo 2020 semi finals

The Roop

This week saw the third and last week of the initial rounds of the Eurovizijos Atranka 2020 to find Lithuania’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 to be held in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in May.

In the last two weeks, twelve acts proceeded to next week’s semi final stage and they were joined by six more acts tonight.


  • 1 The Hosts
  • 2 The Judges
  • 3 The Songs
  • 4 The Results

The Hosts

The pair with the greatest job in Europe at this time, Giedrius Masalskis and Gabrielė Martirosianaitė returned with help from, past Lithuanian representative Ieva Zasimauskaité joining them in the green room. Gabrielė was in a black pant suit like dress, whereas Giedrius had white trousers and a black jacket. Ieva was in a tan coloured suit tonight.

The Judges

The silver haired fox Ramūnas Zilnys, returned to offer his opinion. In an unusual move this week he actually cracked a smile. Joining the talent finder was Jievaras Jasinskis singer and composer of the Eurovision favourite “In Culto” group, one of the most famous producers In Lithuania and LATGA representative Leonas Somovas, ex Eurovision participant Monika Linkytė and music agency producer Vaidas Stackevičius.

The Songs

The Backs – Fully

It appears that the Mamas from Sweden are not the only previous years backing singers vying for Eurovision glory as its claimed The Backs were the backing singers for Jurijus last year. Justina isn’t in the group so not sure if this is totally true. Anyway a well sung song , dressed all in black with Trilby hats, was a decent choreographered number with pleasant singing.

Bernardas – Dad, Don’t Be Mad at Me

Accompanied by a female cello player this was a heartfelt song  dedicated to Bernardas’s father,. He played the piano on the song with lyrics that meant a lot t him but perhaps it is too personal for Eurovision. You will either love it or think it’s too corny.

Justina Žukauskaitė – Breathe In

Justina returns and she’s been doing her homework. This is a moody easy on the ear song which she perfoms really well without any bells or whistles. This needs s few listens but its very good indeed in a Melanie Martinez kind of fashion.

Rokas Povilius –  Vilnius Calling

This is a great song for all students who once had to live in a bedsit. If not that’s what is sounds like and it’s actually very good and moody. Quite Elton John like to be honest and its also original despite being not original at all. Moody and atmospheric. Oddly it was inspired by LT United,s We Are The Winners.

KaYra – Alligator

This has just the right amount of novelty without heading into satire. In fact this would be a very good entry for Lithuania. Hardly ground breaking but the song has a catchy hook and begs repeated listening. This week more than six songs deserve to go through. What a pity they hadn’t been interspersed in the last two weeks groups.

Lukas Bartaška – Where Is That Change?

Lukas has a very soulful voice in the style of Mick Hucknell of Simply Red fame. The backing singers were also very good and the message is excellent. Unfortunately the melody of this song was hugely disappointing and totally wastes Lukas’s voice.

Evgenya Redko – Far

This is a bit more like it with a song that wouldn’t be out of place in the R and B charts. In her white costume, Evgenya is very influenced by Jennifer Lopez and actually has better songs than this submission. Nonetheless this is very modern and seems a little out of place in this years contest.

Ruslanas Kirilkinas – Soldier’s Heart

This song is very much from the era of Modern Talking and F.R David, very nineteen eighties. There is a mid tempo dance beat and Ruslanas is here to sing as good as he always does in his flashy black suit. Shame it belongs in a prior decade.

Nombeko Augustė – Reikia man

Nombeko  is another singer with a terrific voice let down by the song. This is a soulful little song which should get another turn due to the fabulous singing, but she is way better than the material she’s been given to work with.

Vitalijus Špokaitis – Nemušk savęs

This song has a sunny beach feel about it and could easily have been Spain or Portugal’s entry this year. This is another that would have gone to the semis in the last two weeks but with so many better ones this week it may just miss out. If it gets through though that’ll be just fine. The English translation is Don’t Kill Yourself. The staging was a bit of playing silly buggers.

Aistė Pilvelytė – Unbreakable

Can we just send this song and be done with it. Poor Aistė has been trying to represent Lithuania since before Eurovision was even invented and its her time this year. The judges described the song as old-fashioned which makes you wonder if they’ve been listening to any of the other entries this year. Also fans will be able to vote for a Swedish song without having to vote for Sweden. This probably won’t win Eurovision but who knows, euro trash for sure and it needs to be in Rotterdam.Written of course by Euphoria’s Thomas G:Son.

THE ROOP – On Fire

Lithuania have kept the only song that could make in roads into the charts with this Maroon 5 influenced song, to the end of the show. This is a catchy little song definintely destined for the semi finals and probably the final, but since we have Aistė they may need to be happy with second place. There also was a bit too much nonsense going on with this performance too.

The Results

The Backs2796Qualifier
Justina Žukauskaitė11211
Rokas Povilius65115Qualifier
Lukas Bartaška00012
Evgenya Redko104144Qualifier
Ruslanas Kirilkinas4378
Nombeko Augustė6287
Vitalijus Špokaitis30310
Aistė Pilvelytė810182Qualifier
THE ROOP1212241Qualifier

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Kristin Husøy wins semi final three of Norsk Melodi Grand Prix

Kristin Husøy wins semi final three of Norsk Melodi Grand Prix

Kristin Husoy

Tonight we went to Central Norway as we discovered four more acts competing to represent the Nordic nation at this years Eurovision Song Contest. After three rounds of battles Kristin Husøy was declared the victor of tonight’s show.

Two weeks of exciting and intense shows has made Norway’s 2020 Melodi Grand Prix a talking point on the National Final circuit.  Last week saw Musical theatre star Rein Alexander take the second spot in the final with a rousing performance of his haunting EDM song One Last Time.

This week we continue the semi final format of two duels and a Gold duel to finally declare tonight’s winner.

Duel 1

Alexandru Vs Sie Gubba

Country band Sie Gubba won the first duel of the night with a light and heartfelt performance of their country pop song Kjaere Du. While the band is obviously accomplished performers, the song is just slightly underwhelming and feels like it would have done well at the contest 30 years ago, also the staging for the song is non-existent that unfortunately brings nothing to the performance.

Duel 2

Thomas Loseth & Erica Norwich Vs Kristin Husoy

Kristin wins this duel, and unsurprisingly, a great singer with a soulful and funky song.  Kristin performs the heck out of the song and the staging is interesting, if a little dated, she starts by being backlight and the screen is black and white before turning to colour as she struts around the stage while 4 backing singers do a great job of supporting her. It was definitely the most contemporary song on offer tonight.

Gold Duel

Sie Gubba Vs Kristin Husoy

It was quite a predictable night in Norway as Kristin Husøy won against Duel 1 winners Sie Gubba after a second performance that cemented her continuation in the national selection.

Kristin Husoy now joins Raylee and Rein Alexander along with the five pre-qualified finalists and three more acts to be determined in the Grand Final on February 15th.

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