Watch now: First semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019!

by Eleanor Cooper 16,607 views

After a year of waiting, Eurovision 2019 finally begins tonight with the first semi-final!

Tonight is the night that fans have been counting down to for months, as the first semi-final of the 64th Eurovision Song Contest will take place tonight. The show will be held at the Expo Tel Aviv in Tel Aviv, Israel. Seventeen nations will perform their songs live tonight, with ten advancing to the Grand Final through a combination of jury and televoting.

We can expect costume changes, back flips, drums and BDSM electro-punk!

The show will be presented by a team of four; Erez Tal and Bar Rafaeli will take to the stage, whilst Lucy Ayoub and Assi Azar will host the green room.

The Israeli broadcaster KAN has planned an exciting show tonight, Netta will open the show with a reprise of her song Toy, and Dana International will perform the interval act.

How to watch

Semi-final 1 will begin at 21:00 CEST (22:00 local time).

You can watch the show through the national broadcasters of the participating nations, with local commentary, or via the live stream on and the official Eurovision YouTube Channel.

Tonight’s Semi-Finalists

Ten of these acts will win the chance tonight to perform their song again in the Grand Final of Eurovision 2019 on Saturday 18 May. The qualifiers are decided by 50% public vote, who will vote via their phones tonight, and 50% jury vote, who cast their vote on performances in a special jury show last night.

Attendees from 20 countries are able to vote for their favourite songs tonight; the 17 competing nations of the semi-final, as well as 3 of the automatic qualifiers (Israel, France and Spain).

What do the bettings say?

With the first semi-final being around the corner, betting shops around the world are working feverishly, as everyone is trying to predict which 10 countries will get the ticket to the final tonight. Will their predictions get confirmed?

At the time of writing (Tuesday morning), the 10 countries that seem to go through to the Satrurday’s final are: Greece, Cyprus, Australia, Iceland, Hungary, Serbia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Belgium and Estonia. It is still early though and everything can change!

ESCToday Editors’ Poll

Later today, the editorial team of ESCToday will try to make its own predictions on tonight’s semi-final. Each member of our team has already cast their votes within the traditional Eurovision style (1 to 8, 10 and 12 points), according to their preferences. The 10 countries with the highest total scores (and thus our 10 qualifiers) will be announced in a random order. Stay tuned!

The second semi-final on Thursday 16 May will decide the remaining 10 qualifiers for the Grand Final.

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