Disappointment for Ireland at the first round of Eurovision semi-finals

There was heartache for Ireland and Lesley Roy as the Eurovision Song Contest made its triumphant return with 16 countries battling it out in the first round of the semi-finals.

A woman singing on stage

After its cancellation last year due to COVID-19, the Eurovision Song Contest returned last night with its first round of semi-finals performances, but it was sad news for Ireland as we failed to qualify.

3,000 spectators gathered in Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena to watch as performers from 16 countries tried to sing and dance their way into this year’s Eurovision finals on Saturday. 

The UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands – who won the competition in 2019 – are all guaranteed spots in the finals, leaving the remaining 33 countries participating in this year’s competition to battle it out for one of the remaining 20 slots. 

Tuesday night’s kick-off for the contest gave fans all of the camp and drama they have been missing out on. Notable performances came from North Macedonia, who transformed their entrant Vasil into a literal disco-ball for his rendition of ‘Here I Stand’, and Lithuania, with their mesmerising and futuristic performance of The Roop’s ‘Discoteque’.

Australia was the lone country who, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, had to send in a pre-recorded performance as opposed to appearing with their fellow competitors in Rotterdam. Despite not being performed live, their colourful take on Montaigne’s ‘Technicolour’ was a performance to be remembered. 

Irish Eurovision fans were sad to see Lesley Roy eliminated. There was a technical glitch before her performance of ‘Maps’, when a camera malfunctioned, leaving presenter Chantal Janzen awkwardly trying to fill dead air while it was replaced. The inventive staging of her performance stood out and she gave it all she had, making the result all the more disappointing.

In the end, the results of the evening revealed that the 10 countries moving forward to Saturday’s final would include Norway, Ukraine, Israel, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Russia, Cyprus, Malta, Sweden, and Lithuania. 

Thursday night’s second round of semi-finals performances will see Austria, Moldova, Poland, San Marino, Serbia, Iceland, Czech Republic, Greece, Estonia, Denmark, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Finland, Armenia, Latvia, Georgia, Portugal, and Albania as they vie for the remaining 10 spots in 2021’s Eurovision finals. 

Although, in a blow for Iceland’s beloved Dad Freyr, they just announced that one of their team has tested positive for Covid, so they will not be performing live.

In addition to this weekend’s Eurovision final, GCN invites you to join our hosts Julian Mandrews and Candy Warhol for our annual Eurovision Digital Douze Points Party!

Coming this Friday, May 21st, expect a Eurovision-themed night of celebration, fun, and prizes, all while raising funds for Ireland’s national LGBTQ+ press! With appearances from Linda Martin, Saara Aalto and a whole host of drag kings and queens, this is one not to be missed.

Snatch your tickets for GCN’s Eurovision Digital Douze Points Party here

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