Eurovision 2021 SemiFinal #1 is History – here’s what happened!

Eurovision Song Contest 2021 got live streaming started on Peacock beginning at 3 PM ET/12 Noon PT. with a strong and fantastic signal – thank you!

With sixteen entries for ten spots, a few were destined to be disappointed, but there were two huge surprises – Australia missed the finals for the first time since joining the contest in 2015, and fan favorite Romania also found themselves on the short end of the stick.  The ten songs advancing to the Grand Final on Saturday are:

Lithuania – “Discoteque” by The Roop
Russia – “Russian Woman” by Manizha
Sweden – “Voices” by Tusse
Cyprus – “El Diablo” by Elena Tsagrinou
Norway – “Fallen Angel” by Tix
Belgium – “The Wrong Place” by Hooverphonic
Israel – “Set Me Free” by Eden Alene
Azerbaijan – “Mata Hari” by Efendi
Ukraine – “Shum” by Go_A
Malta – “Je Me Casse” by Destiny

So sadly we have to say au revoir to the following countries:

Slovenia – “Amen” by Ana Soklic
Australia – “Technicolour” by Montaigne
North Macedonia – “Here I Stand” by Vasil (aw, dammit anyway)
Ireland – “Maps” by Lesley Roy
Croatia – “Tick Tock” by Albina
Romania – “Amnesia” by Roxen

I wish there had been room for North Macedonia, as Vasil knocked it out of the ballpark with his performance tonight, and I’m deeply and truly sorry to see this extraordinarily talented man leave the contest; I just don’t get why Europe does not see what I see in that song. But then again, I don’t see what they see in Belgium or Romania, either…so we’re even, I guess…

I was worried about Israel, because I thought the performance was rather dull compared to the music video, but Eden Alene kicked it into high gear near the end, she saved her bacon and very likely knocked Romania out of the competition. And although Australia was at the bottom of my countdown this year, I actually rather liked Montaigne’s live-to-tape performance (Montaigne was home in Australia as travel restrictions there are still in place), so I’m a bit sorry to to see her go down as well. The rest were either a given or a close bet, and so we have the first half of the finals set.

There were some fun interstitials as well, with hostess (and two time ESC representative for The Netherlands) Edsilia Rombley surprising 2019 winner Duncan Laurence with a Global Platinum award for his winning song “Arcade” which has been streamed ONE BILLION TIMES since 2019…all I can say about that one is “Holy Hellcow!”.  Hostess Nikkie de Jager also presented a humorous one of her “Eurovision tutorials” on how to be a good “not winner” at Eurovision, and it was quite hilarious. Also joining them as hosts were popular Dutch television personalities Chantal Janzen and Jan Smit, plus a live audience…it felt like Eurovision was back to form after last year’s unfortunate cancellation.

Coming up at the second Semi on Thursday, the following sixteen songs will take the stage in this running order, once again looking to fill just ten open slots to the finals:

San Marino – “Adrenalina” by Senhit featuring Flo Rida
Estonia – “The Lucky One” by Uku Suviste
Czech Republic – “Omaga” by Benny Cristo
Greece – “Last Dance” by Stefania
Austria – “Amen” by Vincent Bueno
Poland – “The Ride” by Rafal
Moldova – “Sugar” by Natalia Gordienko
Iceland – “10 Years” by Dadi og Gagnamagnid
Serbia – “Loco Loco” by Hurricane
Georgia – “You” by Tornike Kipiani
Albania – “Karma” by Anxhela Peristeri
Portugal – “Love Is On My Side” by The Black Mamba
Bulgaria – “Growing Up Is Getting Old” by Victoria
Finland – “Dark Side” by Blind Channel
Latvia – “The Moon Is Rising” by Samanta Tina
Switzerland – “Tout l’Univers” by Gjon’s Tears
Denmark – “Ove os pa hinanden” by Fyr og Flamme

And don’t count out the Big Five or host country either – they all have an automatic “bye” to the Grand Final:

United Kingdom – “Embers” by James Newman
France – “Voila” by Barbara Pravi
Italy – “Zitti a buoni” by Maneskin
Germany – “I don’t Feel Hate” by Jendrik
Spain – “Voy a quedarme” by Blas Canto
The Netherlands – “Birth Of A New Age” by Jeangu Macrooy

I’ll be back Thursday with more predictions for semi-final two. Until then, if you missed it you can catch the replay of Semifinal one on Peacock in the U.S. or on YouTube around the world except where geoblocked. See you then!