The first semi-final of Eurovision, Europe's largest entertainment event, kicked off at Expo Tel Aviv in Israel on Tuesday. Euronews brought you live updates throughout the event. Here's a rundown of the key events you need to know about.
Who got through?
France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Israel have been pre-qualified for the Grand Final, meaning they did not compete tonight. Traditionally the host country, along with the "Big Five" in Europe, automatically qualify for the final.
The 10 acts that earned the most points and qualified to participate in the final on Saturday are:
- Greece – Katerine Duska
- Belarus – Zena
- Serbia – Nevena Bozovic
- Cyprus – Tamta
- Estonia – Victor Crone
- Czech Republic – Lake Malawi
- Australia – Kate Miller-Heidke
- Iceland – Hatari
- San Marino – Serhat
- Slovenia – Zala Kralj and Gašper Šantl
The event was opened by 2018 winner Netta Barzilai from Israel, who kick-started the show with a rendition of her winning song "Toys".
Why do some countries pre-qualify?
Since 2004, when the semi-finals were first introduced into the Eurovision process, the five nations mentioned above, plus the host country, were granted automatic pre-qualification, while other nations must fight to get through the heats.
Why is Israel hosting?
Simply put, because Israel won the competition in 2018 — the nation who won the previous year hosts the next competition. Although Israel is not in Europe, the country has been participating in the competition since 1973.
To be eligible for the contest, nations must be a member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). While the EBU is largely made up of EU member states, being part of the bloc is not a requirement. This is why many non-European nations take part in the competition, including Australia, Azerbaijan, and Israel.
This year, Israel hosting Eurovision was greeted by criticism from some activists who organised a global movement to boycott this year's contest over Israel's human rights record.
While others spoke out against the boycott, saying that it went against Eurovision's "spirit of togetherness".
What you might not know
Since it started in 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest has broadcasted over 1,500 songs. The cumulation of these acts amounts to over 72 hours of music.
Public voting only counts for 50% of the result of the competition, the rest is decided by a group of music industry professionals.
Half of the decision as to who will make it to the Grand Final was decided on Monday during the Jury Show. The juries are put forward by each participating country and judge entries at the dress rehearsal prior to the live show. These national jury is made up of four music industry professionals and one chair who judge every act except their own country.
The juries of the "Big Five" (France, Spain, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom) have also judged the semi-finalists, despite being automatically qualified for the Grand-Final themselves.
We'll bring you live updates from the second semi-final on Thursday — stay tuned!