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Eurovision: Semi-final 2 guide including performers, running order and predictions

Check out Media Mole's complete guide to the second semi-final of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest.

On Tuesday night the first 10 countries qualified for this Saturday's Eurovision final at Rotterdam's Ahoy Arena and tonight, another 10 will join them.

The second semi-final sees 17 countries competing for those final spots and here, Media Mole previews what to expect.

Goedenavond Rotterdam!

Duncan Laurence celebrates winning the Eurovision Song Contest on May 19, 2019© Reuters

We find ourselves in the Netherlands this year, of course, after Duncan Laurence triumphed in Israel two years ago - in the process earning his country their fifth Eurovision win and their first since 1975. His winning track, 'Arcade', has since gone on to become somewhat of a global phenomenon, thanks in part to its viral appeal on TikTok over the last year, which led to him performing the song on some of the biggest TV shows in the US.

Rotterdam - the second largest city in the Netherlands - was due to host the 2020 contest but after it was cancelled, organisers decided to give the city a second attempt in 2021.

The Ahoy Arena can normally house more than 15,000 people but due to coronavirus restrictions only 3,000 fans will be attending each of the shows over the next few nights. Eurovision is being used a test event by the Dutch government and the good news for the lucky few in the arena is that they are not required to observe social distancing or wear masks as everyone in attendance will have had to test negative for COVID before being let in.

The format

The stage at the Rotterdam Ahoy, host venue for Eurovision 2021© EBU

Six countries are already guaranteed places in Saturday's grand final - host nation the Netherlands, plus the so-called 'Big Five' countries. Italy, Germany, France, the UK and Spain get free passes to the final every year as the national broadcasters in those countries contribute the vast majority of the funding for the contest.

The rest of the countries taking part have to first earn qualification for the final through one of the two semi-finals. On Tuesday night the first 10 countries qualified - Lithuania, Russia, Sweden, Cyprus, Norway, Belgium, Israel, Azerbaijan, the Ukraine and Malta.

Seventeen more countries will compete tonight and once the top 10 is revealed, we will be left with a total of 26 countries competing in the final.

Voting in the semi-finals is comprised - just like the final - of 50% jury votes and 50% viewer votes. The various international juries actually cast their votes after a special run-through of the semi-final last night, and after the viewers have had their say, the number-crunching will be done and the top 10 will be revealed.

The semi-final is nowhere near protracted as the final, however, and rather than tallying up the votes from each country live, all of the calculations will be done off-screen and the results will be revealed in the space of a few minutes at the end of the show.

The hosts

Eurovision hosts 2021© EBU

Our four hosts for the semi-finals and finals are, from left to right: Jan Smit, a singer who fills the Graham Norton role for Dutch audiences; Edsilia Rombley, who represented the Netherlands at Eurovision in 1998 and 2007; Nikkie, known internationally for her 'NikkieTutorials' makeup videos online; and Chantal Janzen, an actress and singer who originated the role of Glinda in the Dutch version of Wicked.

The foursome will be hosting the shows primarily in English, although expect Janzen to show off her French (to much applause) on several occasions.

The running order


Artist: Senhit and Flo Rida
Song: 'Adrenalina'

Our verdict: Yes, the Flo Rida - last seen being a Bad Boy to Alexandra Burke - will be competing for San Marino in the Netherlands. This pop-rap collaboration feels a bit "by numbers" though and although we can see it going through, it's unlikely to be troubling the upper echelons of the leaderboard on Saturday.

Bookmaker odds: 28/1


Artist: Uku Suviste
Song: 'The Lucky One'

Our verdict: Quite a catchy song, to be fair, but will be a victim of its position and also a bizarre lack of effort with the staging. Sergey Lazarav would have had a field day with this one.

Bookmaker odds: 500/1


Artist: Benny Cristo
Song: 'Omaga'

Our verdict: If you find yourself feeling a bit uncomfortable watching this, it's because Benny has an awful habit of making breathy sex noises when he sings. It's really off-putting and the song is just alright.

Bookmaker odds: 500/1


Artist: Stefania
Song: 'The Last Dance'

Our verdict: A standard dance pop track, executed nicely enough. The use of green screen is utterly baffling, however - poor Stefania finds herself standing halfway up a skyscraper at multiple points for no apparent reason.

Bookmaker odds: 66/1


Artist: Vincent Bueno
Song: 'Amen'

Our verdict: The second song called 'Amen' this year (farewell, sweet Slovenia) sees Vincent absolutely belt out this catchy little number, in the process singing the word "amen" at least 50 times. The staging is possibly the most simple of the lot but it doesn't need anything more as Vince/Vinny/Vin lets his pipes do the talking. Singing.

Bookmaker odds: 300/1


Artist: Rafal
Song: 'The Ride'

Our verdict: Max Headroom found rotting. This would have been "cool" in the '80s - shades indoors! neon lasers! - but it's just naff, sadly.

Bookmaker odds: 500/1


Artist: Natalia Gordienko
Song: 'Sugar'

Our verdict: Great hook to this song - but to be honest, the only thing you'll remember about it is the ridiculous 15-second end note from absolute hun Natalia.

Bookmaker odds: 300/1


Artist: Dadi Freyr og Gagnamagnid
Song: '10 Years'

Our verdict: Robbed of a win for Iceland in 2020 with 'Think About Things', big Dadi returns with Gagnamagnid with a new track (which is very good, but not as good). Unfortunately one of the Gagna gang caught coronavirus this week so instead we'll be seeing footage of one of their rehearsals. Expect all the things you loved last time - cheesy poses and deliberately-silly dance moves - as well as a circular keyboard.

Bookmaker odds: 12/1


Artist: Hurricane
Song: 'Loco Loco'

Our verdict: The three surviving Pussycat Dolls from a girl band massacre. It's a bit Las Ketchup On Tour, but it gets the job done.

Bookmaker odds: 200/1


Artist: Tornike Kipiani
Song: 'You'

Our verdict: It's a shame because beneath this performance is a really interesting melody, but unfortunately viewers are likely to just think of it as a man singing mostly out of tune. Which it sort of is.

Bookmaker odds: 500/1


Artist: Anxhela Peristeri
Song: 'Karma'

Our verdict: Arguably the most forgettable of all of this year's songs. A bit of wailing for three minutes and then it's on to the next one.

Bookmaker odds: 500/1


Artist: The Black Mamba
Song: 'Love Is On My Side'

Our verdict: The Black Mamba channels the vocals of Prince in this underrated contender. It's a very sweet song, with an even sweeter animation on the big screen towards the end and is guaranteed to make you feel warm and fuzzy.

Bookmaker odds: 100/1


Artist: Victoria
Song: 'Growing Up Is Getting Old'

Our verdict: It's unclear whether Victoria is competing at Eurovision or auditioning for this year's John Lewis Christmas advert with this one. The fans seem to love it though and it's been stealthily rising up the bookies' ranks over the last week.

Bookmaker odds: 14/1


Artist: Blind Channel
Song: 'Dark Side'

Our verdict: Italy have the rock market cornered this year, but Finland also put in a decent fist with this Linkin Park-esque track. These boys are way more hardcore than Maneskin, though - they've painted their middle fingers red to make them stand out. What are they like?!

Bookmaker odds: 66/1


Artist: Samanta Tina
Song: 'The Moon Is Rising'

Our verdict: Destiny's not the only diva in this year's competition as Samanta Tina throws the kitchen sink, the dishwasher and the tumble dryer - in fact any white goods she can get her hands on, she's a mad woman - at it with 'The Moon Is Rising'. Powerhouse vocals, dropped beats, seductive choreography - there's nothing not to love about this song. Unless you're a bookmaker, apparently.

Bookmaker odds: 500/1


Artist: Gjon's Tears
Song: 'Tout l'Univers'

Our verdict: In a year of many favourites, we reckon this one edges it. Expect to be blown away by Gjon's effortless falsettos and delicate little songbird vocals. He should lose the dancing though.

Bookmaker odds: 11/2


Artist: Fyr og Flamme
Song: "Ove os pa hinanden'

Our verdict: Abysmal, unfortunately. Not even the double clap (Mahmood is spinning in his grave) can save this one.

Bookmaker odds: 200/1

Other performances

Tonight's interval act is a shirtless man and a boy on a bike. That's really all you need to know at this stage.

We're also going to get a sneak peek of three of the pre-qualified acts for the final: for France, Barbara Pravi with the melodramatic 'Voila'; for the United Kingdom, James Newman and two large trumpets with 'Embers'; and for Italy, the aforementioned Maneskin with the current bookies' favourite 'Zitti E Buoni'.

Our predictions

Absolutely going through: Iceland, Portugal, Bulgaria, Finland, Switzerland

Could go either way (most likely to least likely): Latvia, Greece, San Marino, Serbia, Moldova, Austria, Czech Republic

Sorry hun: Estonia, Poland, Georgia, Albania, Denmark

The second semi-final airs live on Thursday night on BBC Four in the UK from 8pm.

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