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Eurovision 2019: The 16 best songs from the Semi-Finals

Updated 18-05-19 | 06:00 A.M | Staff Reporter

Reading time: 5 mins

Tonight sees Eurovision back for the 64th time on our screens, as countries from across the continent (and Australia) compete in the Grand Final of the international singing contest. A panel of juries and votes from viewers in all countries will help determine who will be crowned the 2019 champion – but with 41 nations participating and only 26 in the final, that means a whole host of unsung heroes were voted out this week, during the two Semi-Finals. The good news is that you can stream all of them on BBC iPlayer, which broadcast the two Semi-Finals, or on YouTube, where all of the songs are available individually in perpetuity.

Getting in the mood for a Eurovision party this evening? Catch up with the highlights of the 2019 Eurovision with our pick of the 16 top tracks from the competition so far (not including the UK entry), some of which made it to the Grand Final, some of which… didn’t.

The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest Final airs at 8pm on BBC One, with Madonna to perform as a guest star during the show.

Russia

Sergey Lazarev’s Scream doesn’t sound like a subtle number, and its staging certainly isn’t, with the singer performing to his own reflection – and then some. The result is an absurdly over-the-top, and genuinely impressive, array of mirrors, screens and more, as the whole thing turns into the most extravagant vanity project since anything involving Nigel Farage.

In the finals? Yes

Australia

They’re not even in Europe, but that doesn’t stop this entry from being one of the frontrunners for this year’s contest. Katherine Jenkins meets The OA in this wonderfully catchy blend of operatic vocals, CGI wizardry and the best use of bendy poles since Mad Max: Fury Road. We’ve never wanted to see a musical sequel to a film so badly.

In the finals? Yes

Sweden

Remember the name John Lundvik. Not only is he a sprinter, contributor to TV show Empire and the representative of Sweden, he’s also co-written the entry for the UK this year – Bigger Than Us. It’s no surprise when you hear him in action: the dude sings with the kind of voice that prompts marriage proposals from anyone within 10 metres. He hasn’t responded to ours yet.

In the finals? Yes

Norway

Things start off all Ed Sheeran with Norway’s entry, until you meet the other two members in the country’s trio – including, best of all, a former MP with a remarkable knack for traditional yoik chanting. No, seriously – it works.

In the finals? Yes

Azerbaijan

M83 meets I, Robot in this bizarre but compelling electronic outing that undoubtedly wins the prize for best use of robotic arms in this year’s Eurovision.

In the finals? Yes

Portugal

Portuguese Fado, dance music and a singer who takes his name from the Eygptian God Osiris, this song has everything you could ask for – including feathers, claws and a beard plate. Also, an extended metaphor about a mobile phone.

In the finals? No

Montenegro

The Corrs meets The Polyphonic Spree in this infectiously upbeat group number.

In the finals? No

Spain

Spain serves up a perfectly cheesy pop track this year – with lyrics that talk about blindfolds falling away, and a eye-poppingly colourful set that recalls CITV’s Finders Keepers with Neil Buchanan.

In the finals? Yes

Estonia

Your dream 90s boyfriend is back from his study year abroad.

In the finals? Yes

Armenia

Two words: Key change. Even this song’s massive vocal leap near the end, though, wasn’t enough to get Armenia’s over-dramatic pop number to the final. And did we mention the fire?

In the finals? No

Greece

Fame Academy David Sneddon has quietly been writing songs all over the place since he decided to step away from a public-facing pop career. His latest is Greece’s catchy pop anthem, which is served up with a colourful side portion of floral surprises.

In the finals? Yes

Czech Republic

Bad English accents can’t sink the enthusiasm on display in this most boy bandy of boy band entries. Yes, there’s jumping.

In the finals? Yes

Netherlands

Sam Smith in the streets, Coldplay in the sheets, the Netherlands are likely to do well this year, simply because their song is really actually quite good.

In the finals? Yes

Italy

“IT HURTS TO BE ALIVE WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR PRIDE” scream the lyrics in large letters during the chorus of this Italian song, which combines Egytian vibes and Italian swagger with clapping, a strong shirt game and a video background that look like the worst Bond credits in history.

In the finals? Yes

Iceland

Making Lordi look like Ludovico Einaudi, Iceland’s entry this year is a loud performance that puts the BDSM in Eurovision. No, the letters don’t fit – but they’re not about to let that stop them. Cover your ears, brace your eyes and prepare to be weirded out by the fact that the lead singer looks strangely like Matthew Macfadyen.

In the finals? Yes

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