KAREN FRICKER in Malmö
Hotly tipped entries Norway, Azerbaijan, and Georgia were among the 10 countries that qualified last night for the Eurovision Song Contest final.
As of yesterday evening, bookmakers’ site oddschecker.com has Norway’s electropop number I Feed You My Love, sung by Margaret Berger, rated second most likely to win on Saturday night.
The bookmakers’ favourite, Denmark’s Only Teardrops, qualified on Tuesday night, alongside Ireland’s act and eight others.
One of this year’s most talked-about acts, Krista from Finland, also qualified. She is using her song Marry Me to support a campaign to legalise same-sex marriage in her country; at the end of the performance she kisses one of her female backup singers.
Romania’s Cezar, who sings most of his song It’s my Life in falsetto, standing on a plinth slowly above the stage, was a surprise qualifier.
The other countries that qualified last night were Hungary, Iceland, Armenia, Malta, and Greece.
Ireland’s Ryan Dolan watched last night’s semifinal with Robin Stjernberg, Sweden’s Eurovision performer.
Stjernberg (22), is like Dolan (27) a relative newcomer to performing: he was runner-up in Sweden’s version of Pop Idol and was subsequently the surprise winner of this year’s Melodifestivalen, the wildly popular Swedish Eurovision qualifying programme.
The two young men agreed they cultivate a ‘boy next door’ image - in comparison to the sexy look of Ireland’s three backup drummers, Alan McGrath, Colm Farrell, and Nicky Bailey, who perform shirtless and wearing leather trousers.
While Dolan continued after the semi-final for further media appearances, the drummers returned to the delegation’s hotel to have their Celtic-style body paint reapplied. This coat of paint will last through Saturday night’s final.