The Eurovision season is officially here!
Earlier today, the first major event for the 2019 contest kicked off with the traditional Host City Insignia Exchange ceremony. During the ceremony, hosted at the beautiful foyer of the Tel Aviv Museum, the Deputy Mayor of last year’s host city, Lisbon, Mr. Duare Cordeiro, passed on the Host City Insignia to Mr. Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv.
“I wish the greatest success to the Eurovision Song Contest 2019, and to this magnificent city,” Cordeiro said. “I’m sure it will be a huge party.” Mr. Huldai, who recently won a fifth term as mayor, who also showed off his musical skills on the recorder – promised that the city is working overtime to ensure a successful show. “Hundreds of people have already begun working... and they all have one goal,” said Huldai. “To make sure that the Eurovision this year will be the best show on earth in the coolest city in the world.”
The mayor referenced the Eurovision slogan, Dare to Dream, saying: “This is a fantastic slogan for the city of Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is the start-up city in the start-up nation. The dreamers of Tel Aviv-Jaffa are waiting to host you in May.”
The Ceremony, that was presented by two of this year’s hosts - Lucy Ayoub and Assi Azar - was supervised by Mr. Jon Ola Sand, the Eurovision Executive Supervisor. This is not the first time Mr. Sand is involved with Eurovision in Israel. In 1999, he was Norway’s Head of Delegation during the song contest in Jerusalem. Mr. Sand noted that “the Insignia Ceremony is an important moment for the Eurovision Song Contest and an exciting celebration of the host city handover. He also added: "All of us are really excited that the contest is coming back here”. Referring to his time in Israel in 1999, Mr. Sand added: “what I brought from that edition was all the warm feelings I got from all the people here.”
But with all due respect to the ceremony, the main part of the show was something many fans have waited for: the allocation draw to determine in which of the two semi finals, taking place on May 14th and 16th, each country participates.
Of the 42 countries participating this year, six countries have already secured their placement in the Grand Final on May 18th: The what we call, Big5: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, and this year’s host - Israel. The other 36 countries are divided between the two semi finals, and the top 10 of the 18 countries in each semi will qualify to the Grand Final on May 18th. The draw also determined the placement of each country between the first or the last 9 songs of each show.
The countries taking part in the first semi final, slated for May 14th include: Slovenia, Estonia, Belarus, Portugal, Czech Republic, San Marino, Montenegro, Iceland, Cyprus, Georgia, Australia, Belgium, Serbia, Finland, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and Greece.
The second semifinal, on May 16th, will include: Switzerland, Albania, Sweden, Ireland, Austria, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Macedonia, Norway, Russia, Latvia, Romania, Netherlands, Croatia, Denmark, Armenia, Lithuania and Malta.
The draw also determined in which semi final the Big5 and Israel will get to vote.
The exact running order of each semi final will be determined by the show’s producers at a later date, after all the songs have been chosen.
YOU CAN WATCH THE FULL SHOW HERE BELOW (courtesy of the EBU and Israeli broadcaster, Kan).