Voting opens for second semi-final after 16 more acts dazzle at Eurovision

Voting in the second Eurovision semi-final has opened after 16 acts gave their all.

Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Australia were among the acts who took to the stage at the M&S Bank Arena accompanied by light shows and pyrotechnics in a bid to reach the grand final on Saturday.

According to the bookmakers, none of the favourites is performing tonight but a number of eye-catching acts still featured.

Danish singer Reiley was first on stage with his song slick pop tune Breaking My Heart.

Like Sam Ryder before him, Reiley goes into the contest with millions of followers on social media platform TikTok, potentially offering a boost to his chances.

Second on stage was Armenia’s Brunette with her emotive song about a lover she is yet to meet, titled Future Lover, which ended with a powerful dance routine.

She is part of girl group En Aghjiknery (ThoseGirlz) and also has a large social media following.

Belgium with Gustaph performed Because Of You, a house music-flavoured dance track featuring euphoric piano stabs.

Wearing parachute pants and a wide-brimmed white hat, the vocalist was joined by backing singers with pink fans and a dancer performing a vogueing routine.

There was also a strong performance from Iceland’s Dilja with the driving drum and bass track Power.

Polish pop singer Blanka made an impact with her track Solo, a summery tune with a catchy hook reminiscent of Ariana Grande’s music.

Another act that has gone viral on TikTok ahead of the contest, Teya And Salena, the first female duo to compete for Austria, performed their quirky dance-pop track Who The Hell Is Edgar?

The catchy song is about being possessed by the ghost of 19th century horror author Edgar Allan Poe, but is also a commentary on the struggle of female writers to be taken seriously in a male-dominated industry.

In a pre-recorded segment Welsh actor Luke Evans recalled the nearly seven-decade history of the contest, which he said had emerged out of a “continent in recovery” from the Second World War to become “Europe’s most raucous election”.

There was also a surprise appearance from pop group Scooch, who competed for the UK in 2007 with Flying The Flag (For You) but came 22nd with only 19 points.

The group, known for their camp style, were seen dressed in flight attendant outfits handing out voting cards to the audience.

Children’s animated character Peppa Pig also made a surprise appearance.

Unlike on Tuesday, UK viewers are able to vote during this semi-final.

For the second time this week, the auditorium was filled with Ukrainian flags flying alongside those from other countries competing for the prize.

Hosts Alesha Dixon, Hannah Waddingham and Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina were also back on stage after making their debut as a presenting trio on Tuesday night.

Not visible during the TV broadcast will be the rapid work of the stage production team who have around 60 seconds to change the sets between songs.