It’s Eurovision 2021 semi-final week – here’s all you need to know if watching from the UK.
There will be two live semi-final shows for Eurovision this year, determining which countries will make the grand final on Saturday.
As one of the Big Five countries along with Spain, Germany, France and Italy, the United Kingdom does not have to qualify from the semi-final stage of the competition and will gain automatic access to the Saturday Grand Final. The Netherlands, as host, also has automatic qualification to the Grand Final.
However the UK will still be able to vote in the second semi-final tonight (Thursday).
The semi-finals will be live on BBC Four, presented by Scott Mills and Chelcee Grimes with Sara Cox standing for Rylan Clark-Neal, who has stepped down due to illness.
Here’s all you need to know…
Semi Final 1 – Tuesday 18th May, 8pm on BBC FOUR
In the first semi-final, the first group of countries will compete for a place in Saturday’s Grand Final.
The 16 countries competing are: Lithuania, Slovenia, Russia, Sweden, Australia, North Macedonia, Ireland, Cyprus, Norway, Croatia, Belgium, Israel, Romania, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Malta.
Opening the show is The Netherlands Duncan Laurence, the most recent winner of Eurovision from 2019. Since 2019 Duncan’s Eurovision winning song ‘Arcade’ became a TikTok phenomenon, and earlier this year it returned to the UK charts along with an appearance in US Billboard charts.
Highlights of the first semi-final includes one of the bookies favourites Destiny, who is representing Malta. Also appearing is a Russian rapper who is also a women’s rights activist, a Ukrainian electro-folklore outfit, and a Cypriot act whose song “El Diablo” has faced protests from some of the country’s devout Christian community.
Semi Final 2 – Thursday 20th May, 8pm on BBC FOUR (UK Vote)
The second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 will feature the remaining 17 acts taking to the stage in the hope of securing a place in Saturday’s Grand Final.
Competing this evening are: San Marino, Estonia, Czech Republic, Greece, Austria, Poland, Moldova, Iceland, Serbia, Georgia, Albania, Portugal, Bulgaria, Finland, Latvia, Switzerland and Denmark
Viewers in the United Kingdom are able to vote in this semi-final once all of the nights acts have performed. You can vote via the phone numbers on screen or via the show’s official app.
Highlights of the second semi-final include one of the bookies favourites, San Marino with their entrant Senhit. Plus Daði Freyr is back for Iceland. Daði was due to appear last year and even though the contest was cancelled, their entry ‘Think About Things’ was a viral sensation racking up more than 75 million Spotify Streams.
The 2021 Eurovision final will take place on Saturday at 8PM (UK Time) on BBC one.