Eurovision 2024: First Semi-Final Sees Ukraine Go Through, Alongside Contest Favourite Croatia

10 countries have triumphed in the first semi-final of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo, Sweden, when 16 countries competed to get through to Saturday’s Grand Final.

Ukraine, whose entry Alyona Alyona and Jerry Heil spoke to Deadline last week when they pledged to give any prize money to their country’s war effort, were one of the successful countries to get through. They joined Serbia, Portugal, Slovenia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Finland, Croatia, Ireland and Luxembourg.

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This year sees 37 countries taking part. The host country Sweden, plus “the big 5” countries – UK, France, Spain, Germany and Italy – all go through automatically to the Final. The other 31 countries have to compete for 20 other spots in two semi-finals taking place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

Favourites to win the competition include Switzerland and Croatia. Ukraine is also creeping up the bookies’ chart to win.

The interval act on Tuesday’s semi-final saw “Mr Eurovision” Johnny Logan, the Irish singer who previously won in 1980 and 1987, and wrote the 1992 winner, perform Euphoria, the first winning entry by Swedish double Eurovision winner Loreen. Saturday’s Grand Final will see a tribute to Abba, the Swedish supergroup who began their international career 50 years ago with Eurovision victory in Brighton, UK.

This year’s Contest is taking place against a background of unprecedented political scrutiny. Israel previously had to alter their song title and lyrics, and Malmo is expecting demonstrations this week from those protesting against Israel’s inclusion in the competition, while the country continues military operations in Gaza.

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