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Eurovision 2019: Semi-Final 1 Qualifiers

With the first Eurovision 2019 semi-final complete we now have the first 10 qualifiers for Saturday’s final.

  • Greece
  • Belarus
  • Serbia
  • Cyprus
  • Estonia
  • Czech Republic
  • Australia
  • Iceland
  • San Marino
  • Slovenia

About Gavster

ESCtips Owner   I’m a qualified designer and dedicate a lot of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.


  1. Australia won this semifinal so much that it is difficult to say who else was strong.

    Well, Greece and the Czech Republic were fine.

    • I thought Serbia was pretty good too, somewhat unexpectedly as far as I was concerned. Anyway, my dead cert bet for NQ on Portugal paid off, so I’m reasonably happy. Australia’s brilliant staging and performance masked the fact that the song isn’t actually as good as Estonia’s La Forza last year. If Elina had been planted on a bendy pole as well as having the light-up dress, she could have won the contest.

  2. So surprised at Slovenia going through – I just don’t get it yet. But San Marino and Australia no surprises. San Marino won’t win but fans wanted him to get to final… Australia can and should win it all…

    • Australia can’t win it all Hillbra…top5 would be a great result, but I doubt.Definitely not a winner,even though I like the song. Really huge shock for Hungary.

  3. Maybe Sebi could pull a Kedvesem?

  4. Market got 8/10. This means there’s always value in the markets. Shock NQ appearantly was Hungary. Not many could have predicted this. I maybe saw one or two people saying it could be shock NQ but that’s it.

  5. Serhat has surely never sung so woefully…..for San Marino to clinch a place over Hungary is a very bitter pill to swallow. You have to hand it to the old bugger for sheer nerve. Loved watching the Oz staging, but contend it is a non-song to be a real contender….privately pleased for Slovenia, the country whose staging makes the Netherlands look like an LSD trip….and financially green after Portugal NQ…..never a ESC song, despite its ambition and nerve.

  6. I’m very glad that I trusted my gut and backed Slovenia to qualify over Hungary – I guess I was one of the very few suggesting that Hungary was a good longshot bet for NQ and it did pay off eventually.

    I didn’t see San Marino and Belarus coming, but I guess everything was possible in such an underwhelming semifinal.

    Didn’t enjoy Australia as much as I expected – last minute was rather nausea inducing, but I still think they won the semi… Iceland was great and I expect the odds to shorten sharply, just like Australia.

    Serbia, Greece and Czech Republic were all fine – I loved Slovenia as well but this is probably just my personal taste. Everything else was rather disappointing…

  7. Interesting fact by the way: draw for the qualified songs has been completed and only 3 spots are left in the second half for the semi 2 hopefuls, with Australia and Iceland both getting 2nd half. It will be very interesting to see Sweden, Netherlands and Russia all drawing first half on Thursday night – I expect the prices in the winning market going all over the place again.

    • I think the previous overall consensus on 2nd half advantage is less marked than it once was……with 1st half winners in 2014, 2015 and 2017 in recent years, I think it’s more important which songs come before you for that contrast and light and shade…..I am sure if Netherlands is 11th or 13th after something like Cyprus or Czech Republic they would be pretty content……

      • Sure, but what I’m saying is just try to imagine Sweden, Netherlands and Russia all getting first half. They can’t be all placed in spots 11-13, and I expect everyone waiting for the running order to draw conclusions about who was the semi 2 winner and probably the biggest favorite for the final.
        That’s a major headache for both the producers and the market…

      • The market disagrees with you. The odds have moved a lot after ‘second halfs’ started to appear…

      • Draw can become important. If all favorites are in the first semi, then draw its no important for the outright winner. However, if for example Duncan draws first half, while SWE,RUS, draw 2nd, then NED are not in a good position. We ll see on Thursday night-Friday morning. The sure thing is that Eurovision of 2019 has already been a madness which I enjoy! A madness full of fan favorites which created chance for betting. The truth is just one, NED remains 1st favorite at stable odds from the very beginning. I totally believe that Duncan is the winner this year (and I m not a fan of the song).

  8. Australia is not as big as people made out imo.

    However they are going to be a massive stand out in the 2nd half.

  9. Surprised how much I enjoyed Serbia. Thought it was great and didn’t help Hungary at all.

  10. I think San Marino will open the final.
    Pimp slot in the semi, opening the final.Just like Belgium 2016, Israel 2017 and Ukraine 2018

  11. Good night overall. Got Georgia and Portugal out which were the big ones for me and Belgium not making it is decent too.
    Belarus in is no shock, nor is Hungary going out. Said on the other page I wasn’t confident and he should have been longer odds, dissapointed I didn’t take a stab. Was not expecting San Marino to make it but hey, matters little really.
    Serbia looks good for top Balkan, and the draw putting Greece in the first half, Serbia second is promising, though they may not be placed too far apart.
    Australia and Iceland aren’t winning but having them in the second half could really memory hole anyone in the first half making the running order even more important for the Netherlands or any challenger for that matter.

  12. Catriona Colville

    Main success tonight came from Belarus qualifying. I didn’t see much value in the qualification market, so will need to see after the contest how well I did from this semi.

    I still think Australia is winning, but we’ll see what the pushback is from the 2nd semi in Thursday.

  13. Mike G'day Mate

    As much as I hate to say it… Australia probably will not win 😕

    Why so many shots of the dementor dancer?? Really takes the focus off Kate…

    I guess it’s between Sweden, Netherlands, Russia and France?

    And yes Gav u were right… I understand where you were coming from…

  14. I think this could be the exact ranking of tonight’s semi-final:

    01.🇦🇺 AUSTRALIA
    03.🇮🇸 ICELAND
    04.🇷🇸 SERBIA
    05.🇨🇾 CYPRUS
    06.🇬🇷 GREECE
    07.🇸🇮 SLOVENIA
    08.🇧🇾 BELARUS
    09.🇪🇪 ESTONIA
    10.🇸🇲 SAN MARINO

    I was especially impressed by Australia and Czech Republic. I think Greece and Cyprus have fared a bit worse I think. Serbia was, I have to admit, really lovely. Belarus benefitted from a strong performer. Iceland was again in pre-rehearsal form I think.

    There’s now a 70% chance that any of the contenders will draw first half. In that scenario, and by adding some ad breaks, Sweden and Netherlands -IF they draw 1st half- will get a spot between spot #9 and spot #12.

    My gut feeling tells me that, in order not to look too much of your own nation’s supporter, Christer Björkman will be daring this time and put Sweden in a slightly worse spot than previous editions. Especially since he has to focus on the great American Song Contest now :-D!

    The big advantage of Netherlands still is: song power. I don’t think staging will bring that down too much, and Netherlands will be ready after their extra tech rehearsal.

    Australia then? I think they’re now definitely TOP 5 Grand Final material now. Not a winner, but even 4th…or 3rd could be possible. It’s the ‘Italy 2015’ of this year now.

    • Chech Republic second and Serbia fourth? Hahaha no offence but you overeact here . Obviously top 4 was Cyprus, Australia , Iceland and greece

  15. Really enjoyed Semi Final 1 – Greece, Iceland and Australia were the standouts. I have to make special mention about Australia because it was absolutely brilliant. Despite some people questioning their participation, if we are looking at the song, the staging and the story behind the performance (it was a song about coming out of depressive illness) then it covers every angle. Kate’s vocal range is amazing – I really hope they are judged on their overall performance, not where they are located, because it was sensational. Despite Netherlands being the favourites, I think the Australian song could actually win the whole contest.

    • Just for declaring interests, I should point out that you are from Australia.

      • LOL :-P. Actually, I also loved Australia yesterday. But that whole backstory nonsense *sigh*. Australia most likely won semi final #1 because it was a total package that gave everyone, televoters and jurors, positive vibes. Kate emoted her entry wonderfully (Katherine Duska could have learned from that, instead of focusing on her indie/Amy vibes). And to me everything made sense. The Circue du Soleil act throughout that 3 mins was a standout, and never looked too cheesy. That alone could have given it a high jury result too.

        Will it win? We’ll see. So far I would say no. But given the 2nd half slot, the current odds for Australia do it justice.

      • I’m not from Australia and Australia just shook me yesterday. I just could not sleep properly after this performance. Talk about the fact that at the moment she is the main contender for the win, justified for me (But she will have problems with the jury most likely).

        But we have to wait for the favorites from the second semifinal of course.

  16. The first semi was the weaker one. I think Russia and Sweden are still in it however –

    it is looking increasingly likely that Netherlands will win this whole thing! Its going to be 2017 with Portugal all over again. The quiter song will standout amongst the crowd.

  17. Televote winner definetely Iceland. I think Australia won the juries..in this Semi.

  18. I’m over the moon with those qualifiers with my biggest bets (Belarus Q, Portugal NQ, Estonia Q and the cheap Hungary NQ) all landing and some smaller ones too. I was a little spooked by the odds drop on Portugal throughout the day and then after the performances but glad to see it came to nothing. The only one I didn’t see coming was San Marino but with 7s available just before the results were announced, it seems like hardly anyone else did too.

    As for the rest of the show, I actually thought that Iceland would have more impact than it did but I think that’s down to familiarity with the performance. It looks like the general public definitely went for it. These odds though? Juries WILL kill its chances, it’s just the latest hype train. I’m still cool on Australia’s chances for the win and that opinion was strengthened last night. The song just isn’t there and I think juries will punish it like Zlata in 2013. It seems like it won the semi though and is getting all the hype so I’m happy to keep a sizeable green on it for now.

    Looking at the bigger picture, I agree with the market and still see Netherlands as the most likely winner. Running order shouldn’t come into it too much, the appeal of NL as favourite is that it will have that deep emotional impact and that’s something that happens regardless of first half/second half draw (if it does).

    On a non-betting note, how great was it to see half the entries sing in their own languages? It probably diluted the jury vote for some (Hungary) but it makes a nice change from the new norm.

  19. I disagree about jury will kill Iceland’s chances. I see Iceland in Top3 in Semi-1 and Top5 in Grand Final. I think most of juries will credit this distinctive product. Europe is modern. Maybe it may not do well in eastern europe but I’m expecting Iceland to do well in west europe which should be enough to put them in Top 5. Televote? They will slay. I got Iceland: Televote winner.

    San Marino was a great bet yesterday, great value. Song was poor but with support of turks around the europe, Serhan qualified.

    • I think the televoting winner was Cyprus and the juries winner was Australia but Australia was the winner in overrall . Cyprus had the best performance by far . Greece was a big disappointment I find it weird how you liked Greece yesterday. The performance wasn’t energetic at all and the camera angles they made for her were so bad. It reminded bad camera angles they did to Francesco gabanni. Obviously Netherlands is going to win I think only Russia can stop Netherlands cause Russia has very big televoting power . Do you remember Russia almost won televoting in 2012 when Loreen was in . Never underestimate Russia. I don’t understand why some of you really think that Sweden possibly is going to win. Don’t take seriously bookies trap . Sweden will not score better in televoting from Cyprus, Greece, Switzerland,France, Azerbaijan, Russia , Netherlands and maybe some other countries . Sweden is like Austria last year . High in juries and in televoting no one will remember this song especially if it draw in first half . It will be between Netherlands , Russia and maybe France . By the way Cyprus videos have the most views and in rehearshals by every other country and yesterday in semi final but somehow Cyprus is so underrated .

      • Cyprus was bad. Tamta cant sing live.

      • Tamta wasn’t good yesterday. She’s not a great singer but she can do much better than this (I’ve heard her singing live before). I’m afraid the problem is the song that doesn’t seem to fit her very much.

        The number of views is mostly by Greeks – she is a big household name there and she has been trying to represent Greece many years now. Her participation this year was highly anticipated by most Greeks, and Greece has a very large audience following ESC every year as we all know.

        Anyway, she definitely didn’t win yesterday and her performance hasn’t been very well received by many Greeks. I think she’ll not do well in the final as well (probably bottom 10).

        Greece on the other hand was well received by the Greek diaspora and I have a little more confidence now for a Top 10 placing.

        Oh yes, and I’m Greek by the way…

    • That’s certainly the more favourable narrative on how Serhat made it. I loved I Didn’t Know so I’m happy for the guy.

      I don’t think the wisdom that iceland and Australia will be jury punished is true at all. Especially with the new rules. They stand out, and jurors are only human. They have polished stage shows and dont look cheap. It’ll be the songs that tell…

      My own opinion going into the final is count out any of the 6 at your peril




      A gap, but still in it…


  20. You can’t be serious, Cyprus was bad. Vocals were terrible. It sounds (and looks) cheap.

    I agree Russia can score more then Sweden in televoting but juries should balance things in Sweden’s favor.

  21. Well the France hype was short lived…

  22. I went into this semi completely cold (i haven’t been following eurovision this year), so my perspective may be more similar to the average viewer.

    There were three performances that grabbed my attention: Czech Republic, Australia and Iceland.
    Czech Republic stood out because it came after a series of slow/weird/weak songs, and as such the bright presentation and general competence really stood out. I doubt it will do anything in the final but i think it might’ve done surprisingly well on televote. a bit of competence does a world of good in a weak, weak semi.

    Australia was a revelation. You get hypnotised by the presentation so much that you completely miss the fact the song is kinda thin. The reaction from the audience i watched with was very positive. This has to have won the televote.

    Iceland is so unapollagetically nasty and bleak that it has a similar effect. However fears that this performance wasn’t going to go down well in eastern europe appear well founded, albeit from the minimal anecdotes i have heard.

    Portugal NQ was funny. The singer seems like a pretentious goon. I did quite enjoy the performance for the Kabuki vibes it gave off, but i reckon the avant-garde and troll vote it needed were sucked up by Iceland and San Marino respectively.

    Overall a very weak semi. A total joke when compared to the strength of semi 1 last year.

  23. Aftrenoon Gav and all. Hope you well and settled back in UK again Gavin. Good journey home I hope?

    Semi1 thoughts: Australia AMAZING staging. Many of you know will know (some perhaps find his comments at times controversial) Keith Mills and I think he’s on the the money by saying Oz could be on the best ever staging in Eurovision history. This is very bad news for Russia which it totally blows away and with Oz awaiting in the confirmed 2nd half methinks Sergey has all but ran out of tricks. Really surprised at Kate’s amazing emoting and touches – pure, grade A class act. Non ESC fans big reaction to me last night. Clever, classy song, about letting go of emotional deadweight. So funny was backed into hugely then after that great performance unpredictably went back out and then back to somewhere in the middle lol. As I said this is still NL’s to win all things being even – but truly Oz in 2nd half and Semi 2 Q’s only a 30% chance of 2nd half and Kate is Duncan’s biggest threat.
    France still have a live chance but the dancers and the staging are what have turned this around not the (granted) improved Bilal performance. This will still pull at the ESC heartstrings and I am green but they may more be fighting for 3rd to 7th. I made room in the NL/Oz bed as you know for Bilal, but I think Kate and Duncan may just have all but kicked him back out.
    Cze were brilliant and Ice really upped their game and I will stay green on Hatari.
    The pack of compromise winners await with a real threat but I think this is finally the 2 horse race I flagged up a couple of days ago and it’s NL v Oz. NL I understand things came together much better this aft’s dress rhrsl today 👍👌

    • The famous “orb” descended and then disappeared, illuminating Duncan’s face. No trace of cables and wires. A rather minor triumph compared to “Zero Gravity. “? But then he’s got much better material to play with musically.

      I heard the dress rehearsal. The vocals were stunning.

      • Hiya Mark. NL shortening across board. Ilse said until Sun that the stage team just weren’t getting their (ala Euphoria) blacked out request for the stage (apart from the blue black sky, the piano, Duncan and the light lol). They had to get the light (after initial refusal to do so) sent in from Belgium lol for Sun’s extra tech rhrsl.
        If it’s as I suspect and you can here a pin drop it could be amazing. Anyway as I said I think it’s NL v Oz and Oz’s odds will prob drop like a fly come Fri 😉 But I don’t think we can underestimate ala Sergey 2016 just how big Kate’s televote may be…

        • Well, really, it’s not all that funny if you rehearse everything to death 1,5 months before the contest in Hilversum, you pro-actively urge Ola Melzig and the Israëli floor producers to execute exactly that what you requested (by phone, by M&M Productions dropbox, by email), and then on the first rehearsal day……they didn’t do it like you requested…..obviously you get aggitated.

          Here are some pictures from the 3-day rehearsals in The Netherlands, where Ilse de Lange really is overpowering Hans Pannecoucke sometimes (footage from the AVROTROS documentary ‘Op Weg Naar Het Songfestival’):

          Everything went wonderful, smooth. And well, if then KAN is ff-ing up big time and says “Here’s a light bowl in the corner, do whatever you want to do with it”, if then during several go-throughs things are different all the time (big light bowl, light bulp on piano, etc), obviously for outsiders it’ll look unprepared and the start of a ridiculous narrative is upon you.

          But I get it. No matter how well prepared you are, at times your fate still is in the hands of others. It’s the bit of chance that Eurovision always has.

          Apart from that, this whole white light “orb” is all so incredibly overblown. Apparently the first dress rehearsal now went wonderful and every camera shot is like AVROTROS was hoping for. The light effect with the bulp on Duncan’s face creates a very intimate effect.
          The Netherlands is the entry that mostly emotes through song(power), vocals and a sea of staging tranquility. Add the full audience to it, and things already look different.

          Regarding Australia I fully agree with everyone above me (and God knows why the Australian staging works; but perhaps its grandness was much easier to translate to the stage by KAN than the more delicate ideas of NL’s staging?). This is not a ‘false favourite’ like France.

          I currently have Australia as a lock for TOP 3 grand final. If it wins, it’ll be mostly because of how Kate herself emotes, and how impressive the staging is: big in scale, stylish and emotive during the 3 mins. The song is IMO the lesser part in this total package.

          And Sweden? Actually, I am not able to say which one will end higher now: Sweden or Australia. We’ll have to wait and see.

          One last thing about the running order. Another bit of chance that can not be influenced. For contenders Netherlands, Sweden and Australia I think it won’t matter that much. If Sweden and Netherlands both draw first half, then they’ll get a spot between #8 and #13. Australia could get a spot then between #17 and #20? In any case I don’t think it’ll have major consequences (televoting points-wise).

          • It’s very sad to see so many delegations this year having big problems with the production team being unable to provide them the staging standards they expected.

            It’s not only the Netherlands. Major issues with the staging have also been reported at least for Portugal, Estonia, Malta, Albania.

            I mean, I know such problems happen every year, but I’m afraid the productions standards this year are the worst in the last decade.. And I’m not sure if it’s the Israeli broadcaster or the Swedish production team or both to blame…

  24. IMO nobody will vote for Australia or France. Sweden is to generic. Netherlands has the mass appeal and is a dead cert to win. Jury show has pretty much confirmed it-the glowing light bulb is a red herring.

  25. press poll after jury show SF2:


    I think it’s fair to say that anyone investing in the imminent implosion of the Netherlands may be disappointed! It does sound as though things are coming together at long last. Perhaps rather more noteworthy are the scores of zero for both Armenia and Romania, both countries with projected “borderline” qualifying possibilities. And a mere two points for Austria after all the plaudits for their staging? I know it’s “only the press”, but I am still surprised.

    I think most here will be agreed on seven or even eight fairly certain qualifiers: those last couple are still quite tricky.

  26. This is my first post and it should have included the leaked official Jury video. Alas I’m too late 🙁 They may have been up for about 4 hours.

    A Russian site had the vids for Switzerland, Russia & Netherlands. Perhaps it explains some of the move overnight. It looked very slick to me but I’m probably biased with a few tickets on!

  27. well now that the Australia v Netherlands issue has been settled in ND’s favour i think we need to talk about other issues:

    1. like last year i feel Sweden is completely overrated. last year they got a boost from the juries and were murdered by the public. this year i feel even the juries are not going to rate this. anyone else think there’s value in a Top 5 lay?

    2. where is the Top 4 and Top 10 value this year? for me it’s with Azebaijan, Greece, Serbia and possible North Macedonia. and don’t all laugh at once but i think Estonia as token guy with a guitar can outperform expectation. thoughts anyone?

    • Rob

      N. Macedonia and Serbia are plausible value bets for top ten. But Estonia? Can’t see this left hand side, sorry.

      Azerbaijan very possible top 4.

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