Semifinal 2: The Winners' Conference

by Richard West-Soley 53 views

Join live in the press conference hall as the ten winners from tonight's show join the press to draw their running orders for the final, and answer journalists' questions.

Join live in the press conference hall as the ten winners from tonight's show join the press to draw their running orders for the final, and answer journalists' questions.

The hall is packed and flags (particularly Azeri ones!) are filling the air. The winning songs are being played as the artists are preparing to come into the hall. Finally, the artists appear to huge cheers from the crowd. Different groups of supporters try to drown each other out with conflicting chants of their performers' names.

Croatia draws number 5 in the final.

Igor talked about the support from other Balkan countries which followed his small tour of the region, which he believed helped him in getting used to the whole Eurovision project.

Norway draws number 20 in the final.

Alexander said that 20 is his new lucky number – changing it from 6 (which was also his number in the Norwegian final). As it was Alexander's birthday this week, the compères led the hall in a rendition of happy birthday. Alexander was presented with a letter from his grandmother in Belarus, and given the promise that all of Belarus will vote for him, especially given that Belarus was knocked out of the competition on Tuesday.

He was also quizzed about his ideal girl. The answer: "every girl in Russia is pretty". But he doesn't have time to meet any Russian girls due to his hectic schedule – so hopes that he will be invited back to do a concert here some day!

Denmark draws number 16 in the final.

Brinck was asked for his message to Europe now he is through the semifinal. His simple response: "thank you – spasibo". Asked whether Ronan Keating has sent his congratulations yet, Brinck explained that he has turned off his mobile for now as it is already full of messages – so has not yet been able to check whether Ronan has sent one too!

Azerbaijan draws number 11 in the final.

Before answering any questions, AySel announced that she had a present for Arash – a symbol of power – an amulet. AySel and Arash were asked about their goals for Saturday. Of course – first place was the answer! Quizzed about their feelings for the final, they admitted they feel scared, excited and special all at the same time. Arash explained that together, he and AySel can achieve anything.

Greece draws number 8 in the final.

Sakis was asked to sing some of his winning song from tonight, and he happily obliged, to huge applause. Sakis then faced the difficult question of his close connection to a member of the Russian jury – namely Phillip Kirkorov. Sakis explained that Russian television chose Phillip despite knowing that Sakis has worked with him for the last five years. In Sakis' words: "I couldn't help that. He's an amazing person, a great friend. He publicly supported me in representing Greece – so what can I say? I absolutely believe that he is very, very professional, and wouldn't jeopardise his fame and reputation, and he will do what he thinks is right – whatever that is. It's not my responsibility." He added that he would like to thank everybody who voted for Greece, and promised to do his best on Saturday to make sure the party would be in Athens next year.

Lithuania draws number 1 in the final.

Sasha Son was told how much support he has back in Lithuania, and asked about his number in the draw – "it sure looks good!" he replied. He admitted that he was overwhelmed tonight, but very happy – and thanked everyone who believed in him and the song, Sasha's second question involved the choice of language. He explained that he has lived in London for many years, has a Russian father, and is Lithuanian. Hence, the language choices represent everything that he has experienced through life. He added that he sings about hope, and hope is something that we all live for.

Moldova draws number 13 in the final.

Nelly was asked about a possible Moldovan win, and it was suggested that Moldova would not cope with accommodation – "will I have to bring my own tent?" was the slightly flippant wording. Seeming slightly offended, Nelly quashed all fears.

Albania draws number 19 in the final.

Kejsi told the press how happy and proud she is to represent Albania this year at just 17. But she explained that youth does not necessarily mean a lack of talent – she feels confident in her abilities. She then asked her green dancer to stand up in the middle of the hall, and he received a warm round of applause.

Ukraine draws number 21 in the final.

Svetlana wasted no time in climbing onto the table to give an acappella version of her entry. This was followed by huge Ukrainian excitement and chanting!

Estonia draws number 15 in the final (with a little help from Ukraine to open the matroshka!).

Sandra was asked if she has someone special in mind during the performance, being the reason behind her sweet smile. She explained that the thinks about good people – in particular, family and friends. The Head of Delegation expressed his happiness that Estonia is finally in the inal, and explained how the contest is a great opportunity to promote rtists like Urban Symphony. Asked about the advantage of having one the almer songs in the final, the Estonian Head of Delegation agreed that thesmoothness of the song and its effective build will help. Sandra added that the song has a pure, natural sound.

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Richard West-Soley

Senior Editor

Richard's ESC history began way back in 1992, when he discovered the contest could fuel his passion for music and languages. Since then, it's been there at every corner for him in some way or another. He joined the team back in 2006, and quickly developed a love for writing about the contest. In his other life, he heads the development team at the learning resources company Linguascope, and writes about all aspects of language learning on the site