Eurovision Song Contest favorites Ukraine have been chosen for the Grand Final after a thrilling semi-final in Turin, Italy.
They are among 10 countries confirmed for Saturday’s final after acts from 17 countries took the stage on Tuesday to compete for a spot.
Norway, Switzerland, Armenia, Iceland, Lithuania, Portugal, Greece, Moldova and the Netherlands were also dialed through.
However, for the acts from Albania, Latvia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark and Austria, this means their Eurovision journey ends here.
Ukraine gave a high-energy performance of her song Stefania while donning lavish outfits including long, multicolored fringe ensembles and traditional patterns to earn a place in the final.
At the end of the performance, the folk-rap group thanked everyone for supporting Ukraine.
Commenting on BBC Three’s coverage of the semi-finals, Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills explained: “Due to the current situation, the band were only able to get together for rehearsals about six weeks ago.”
He added, “Frontman Oleg joked that he doesn’t think the lack of rehearsal time will affect their performance because they are very attractive men.”
The Ukrainian act are currently favorites to win, with bookmaker William Hill placing them at odds of 8/13 as the country continues to resist Russian forces.
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The competition’s producers previously announced that Russia will no longer participate in this year’s competition following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the war-torn country.
The semifinals featured some memorable and classic Eurovision-style performances, including Norway’s Subwoolfer, who made it into the top 10.
The pop group performed their song Give That Wolf A Banana while donning their signature all-black outfits with yellow wolf head masks.
Marius Bear’s Swiss offering also nailed it with his raw rendition of his track Boys Do Cry against a simple backlight.
Icelandic band Systur, which consists of three sisters, made it to the final after performing their song Med haekkandi sol in a style reminiscent of Abba.
Moldova’s representatives Zdob si Zdub & Advahov Brothers, competing for the third time, secured a spot in the finals after giving a whimsical performance of their song Trenuletul, which combined rock and folk styles.
Also in the top 10 were Dutch S10, who gave a stripped-down rendition of her track De Diepte, and Lithuania’s Monika Liu, who dazzled in a sparkling floor-length dress while giving a sultry performance of her song Sentimentai.
The quirky staging also wowed voters, as Armenian Rosa Linn performed her song Snap in a white bedroom made from scraps of paper and Greek Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord delivered powerful vocals surrounded by broken chairs on Die Together.
Maro from Portugal also secured a place in the final with her acoustic performance of her song Saudade, saudade.
Latvia’s Citi Zeni, who sang their track “Eat Your Salad,” which has gone viral for its tongue-in-cheek lyrics, didn’t make the top 10.
The intermission had an Italo disco theme, with producer Dardust performing alongside DJ Benny Benassi, British band Sophie and The Giants and conductor Sylvia Catasta.
The second semi-final of the competition will take place on Thursday, where the remaining 18 countries will take the stage in hopes of being selected for the final.
The United Kingdom is one of the Big Five countries – including Spain, Germany, France and Italy – which do not have to qualify via the semi-finals and advance automatically to the final.
TikTok star Sam Ryder, 32, will be representing Britain on Saturday with his uplifting pop song Space Man.
The second semi-final will be broadcast again on BBC Three on Thursday, with commentary by TV star Rylan Clark and Radio 1 presenter Mills.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/eurovision-favourites-ukraine-among-countries-to-secure-place-in-grand-final-41637320.html Eurovision’s favorite is Ukraine among the countries to secure a spot in the Grand Final