Eurovision Song Contest 2024 semi-finals: Why the UK is performing for the first time

Olly Alexander
Olly Alexander is representing the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest this year -Credit:Getty Images

Eurovision fever hits the nation this week with the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest taking place this weekend on Saturday, May 11, in Malmö, Sweden. Before then though there will be two semi-finals – and for the first time the United Kingdom will be performing.

The first semi-final takes place on Tuesday, May 7, while the second is held on Thursday, May 9. Only ten countries from each show will progress to the grand final which means 17 representatives will be axed.

As mentioned this time around there will be some changes to how the semi-finals pan out and the Big Five – which is the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain – will all be performing as well to give them a fairer standing in the eyes of the audience. Try WalesOnline Premium for FREE by clicking here for no ads, fun puzzles and brilliant new features.

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Every year the Big Five have received a free pass to the final because of their contribution to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The host nation joins the Big Five in progressing to the finals as a courtesy from the contest but this year all six countries will perform in the semi-finals.

In previous years, only a short clip of their rehearsal performances was shown during the semi-finals. In a historic move for the contest, The Big Five and the host nation will perform regardless of their already qualifying conditions to evenly balance all of the acts in the eyes of the audience.

Ebba Adielsson, executive producer of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 said: "We think that this change gives the Big Five countries and the host country a fairer playing field in the grand final, as they now have the opportunity to perform 'for real' on stage in the semi-finals.

"It is also a win for both the audience in the arena and the viewers at home, in that they get to see all the acts competing this year live before the grand final.” You can keep up to date with the latest TV and showbiz news by signing up to the newsletter here.