Well first up Serbia. Neither of us saw it coming - but in the end we were very happy for them to pass to the final on Saturday - scooping up the Balkan votes on 12th May perhaps? Well done to them...
I was a little emotional for Moldova, having followed them from the National final until their arrival in Lisbon and backing them for a top 10 place - I now feel they could go one better and place in the top 5. They would be overjoyed simply to qualify - so this is great for them.
Hungary, again, with it being my favourite song/performance in the whole show, I was totally OTT when they made it through - well done to the AWS, they also announced at th press conference that they are booked for a big metal festival in Berlin later this year. Funnily enough I think they were more excited about this
Ukraine. Possible winner of the televote in this semi, kinda deserved on this performance, even though I am not a huge fan of the song. Why do Ukraine always bring it with their staging?
Sweden. With such a weak song this year I was wondering if they would fail to make it to the final this time - that said he worked the camera like magic and turned it around on the night
Australia. Bad staging, ok vocal, but still they made it. This, apart from Mother Russia, was the big "shock" from last night - I have a feeling they just scraped in in 9th or 10th place
Norway. Again hate this song, such a load of nothing - but he performed the pants of it. And now, despite what the bookies say, he's in a great position to scoop up Eastern Block votes - along with Moldova and Ukraine
Denmark. Well performed, dark and gothic, worked for them. A great bunch of guys and was happy for them to pass - can see this doing a top 10 in the end
Slovenia. Big shock for me. Just do not get this at all. Despite what colleagues on the team say. It really does nothing for me - but it must come across very very well on stage
The Netherlands - Dad Rock did good in the end. I'm sure it was Waylon's eyes that sold this to the TV viewing public
And to all the other participants - you did your countries proud, especially Romania, Montenegro, San Marino and Georgia. I am sure you were all bubbling under the top 10 and did not miss out by that much....
Footnote. Mother Russia. Gone. Probably deserved that they went home. Do we think they will withdraw now? A quick scan of online Russian media today reveals next to nothing of the mood back in Moscow - but who know's - watch this space I guess....
First up we were delighted with Ireland making it to the final - first time for four years and in our opinion it was totally deserved - well done to the whole team involved and especially Ryan for making Ireland proud
Really the show was great, no technical mishaps that we noticed, so again congratulations to the EBU team for another successful live Eurovision transmission and bringing the music to peoples home's to take part in the longest running and possibly the most popular event on television
So the qualifiers;
Austria. One that I missed but Daniel got. Was happy for them in the end, it seemed to be a great performance and effectively staged. Deserved
Estonia. Both of us saw this. I'm not a fan of the song at all. Verdict probably deserved
Cyprus. Again both of us saw this, and calling her the Eurovision Beyonce maybe a bit premature but possibly the winner of the televote. Verdict Deserved
Lithuania. Daniel missed this, but I saw it from the very beginning of the whole event. Verdict, deserved, but some may disagree
Israel. Again we both got this one, again this is probably deserved, but again the song is starting to grate a little now.
Czech Republic. Fantastic from Mikolas - very very deserved
Bulgaria. This is such a grower of a song, so we both out it through but not sure if it was deserved or not in the end.
Albania. I got this, Daniel missed it. From what we heard yesterday in the media room, the delegation were stressed and a little unhappy - but in the end it all came good. Very deserved
Finland. Well she really pulled it out of the bag at the last minute - faultless performance and very much deserved int he end
Ireland. Kinda made our Eurovision week - perfect!
And shocks for us, both Azerbaijan and Armenia missing out. Thought at least one of them would go through. Sad a little for Croatia, and Greece - both of whom we count as delegations that are friends as well as co-workers. Iceland - again we were sad - but really this is because of Ari himself and not the song. Belgium, she did a great job but in the end the song was a little too clever for Eurovision. Belarus - the staging killed this, really poor showing from the delegation that usually gives us such a great show. Macedonia - even though it possibly one of my favourite songs, it did not translate very well on the live stage - so BOO!
And finally don't forget the Swiss. Great performance and they can be really proud of themselves - I think they just missed out last night
New Host City, new Eurovision reporting rules
In an unannounced new move yesterday, the EBU and RTP, in conjunction with accreditation provider Accredion have published new rules concerning access rights and what media can and cannot use in regard to performance clips filmed during open rehearsals
At ESCKAZ.com we have long advocated a cessation to these clips being prepared and published, and have only continued to do so as the reduction in statistics would mean we would lose almost all accreditations and be unable to bring you blogging, press conferences, reports from the parties, eurovillage and euroclub, and interviews with the artists. So while we welcome and embrace these new rules we are cautious of their sudden appearance 48 hours before live rehearsals start.
In summary the new rules in regard to rehearsal footage are as follows
No material from rehearsals - either photos or video - maybe be released to personal social media accounts from members of the press. Material maybe be released to company social media accounts but subject to restrictions
Media which are EBU members are permitted to use up to three (3) minutes from the rehearsal content per day. Non EBU members may use up to two (2) minutes per day.
Post contest it would appear that material maybe released in full - but we will try to clarify this
There is little or no information of how many photographs maybe be published or used
The use of the Press Conference Material and of the Opening Ceremony Material is unrestricted.
We are actively seeking answers from the EBU/RTP on what we may or may not do with any material we have collected after the dates indicated in the new rules - which correspond to the the end of the shows. We will bring you this information as and when we have it
These new rules are published on Eurovision.tv and given to all press members as they collect accreditation passes.
Therefore this year ESCKAZ.com will only bring you very limited footage from the rehearsals - not something we are unhappy about if truth be told - but will of course bring you all our usual coverage from Press Conferences, Interviews, live reaction videos as the rehearsals are seen in the press centre, reports from Delegation parties, Euroclub, Eurovillage, blogging and finally as many photos as we can get for all the fans to see.