The 67th Eurovision Song Contest kicked off with a bang on Tuesday night in the UK with the first of two semi-finals.
The city of Liverpool in northern England is playing host to the event this year, on behalf of last year’s winners Ukraine – whose culture was visible throughout proceedings, as it will be all week. A moving interval dance paid tribute to the country who are unable to host this year due to war.
10 countries qualified for the Grand Final on Saturday night, where they will join 10 more from the second semi-final on Thursday, along with Ukraine and ‘the big 5’ – Spain, Italy, France, Germany and UK.
15 countries participated on Tuesday evening, including this year’s favourite Sweden (Loreen singing Tattoo) and others expected to do well – Finland, Norway and Israel. All four went through to the Final.
The countries whose low votes (a public votes, not jury at this stage for the first time this year) saw them knocked out of the contest were: Malta, Latvia, Ireland, Azerbaijan and Netherlands.
The evening was a riot of colour and spectacle, with British star Rita Ora also taking to the stage during the interval between the performances and the points.
This was the first outing for hosts Alesha Dixon, Hannah Waddingham and Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina, and proceedings went seemingly without a hitch, which augurs well for the rest of the week.
Countries who went through on Tuesday night included:
Norway; Serbia; Portugal; Croatia; Switzerland; Israel; Moldova; Sweden; Czechia; Finland