Ireland fails to qualify for grand final of Eurovision Song Contest
Ireland has failed to qualify for the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest, despite the best efforts of Wild Youth.
The Dublin indie rock band were among the five acts eliminated during the 15-strong first live semi-final of the week at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool.
The 10 countries who have made it through to the grand final were Croatia, Moldova, Switzerland, Finland, Czechia, Israel, Portugal, Sweden, Serbia and Norway.
Wild Youth's frontman, Conor O'Donohoe, took to the stage in a sparkling gold jumpsuit as the band bid to help Ireland qualify for the grand final for the first time since 2018.
He also donned a green shamrock necklace and he was surrounded by pyrotechnics to sing the group's song We Are One as the stage lit up in gold and Irish fans waved the national flag in the crowd.
Ireland has taken part in Eurovision more than 50 times with a record seven wins, but has failed to qualify for the final since Ryan O'Shaughnessy entered with his song Together in 2018.
A total of 15 acts are competing in the first of the contest's two semi-finals - with only the top 10 acts reaching the grand final on Saturday.
Read more: Eurovision week - everything you need to know about the contest watched by 160 million people
Wild Youth faced tough competition from a number of Nordic countries also competing, including past winner Loreen representing Sweden, fan favourite Kaarija of Finland and Norway's Alessandra.
A short video kicked off the evening which featured local famous faces including Wirral-born TV baker Paul Hollywood, actor Ricky Tomlinson and the late Paul O'Grady.
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It was followed by a surprise pre-recorded appearance from the King and Queen, who unveiled the staging last month.
Rita Ora, known for the number one hits I Will Never Let You Down, How We Do and Hot Right Now, also performed a medley of her songs and her new single Praising You.
Britain's Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon and Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham are hosting alongside Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina of the band The Hardkiss, with all three wearing extravagant outfits featuring an array of leather, giant bows and rainbow colours.
Spice Girl Melanie C also made a surprise appearance as the announcer and introduced the show and the hosts, before leading the crowd in a chant of "Liverpool, Liverpool."
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It comes after Frankie Goes To Hollywood reunited 36 years after they split to mark the start of Eurovision on Monday, performing in front of a 30,000 strong crowd.
The second semi-final will take place on Thursday before the grand final on 13 May.