During the first semi-final at Eurovision 2012, fire shot into the air, and bag pipe players did the moonwalk—and that was just during Romania’s performance. The first semi-final saw Romania, Moldova, Iceland, Albania, Denmark, Hungary, Cyprus, Greece, Russia, and Ireland advance to the grand final. Wiwi and Meows Kitty attended the press conference afterwards where sweaty contestants fielded non-sensical questions (two each) and drew their start order for the final. Here’s what the contestant had to say.

What they said:

Romania’s Mandinga

Romania: Mandinga with “Zaleilah”

Elena Ionescu looked absolutely stunning in her orange gown, and we even got a flash of her black leather panties as she walked onto the press platform. She was accompanied by one of her drummers. Apparently they had problems with their earpieces but Elena managed to carry the entire ending of the song without hearing anything. “We are charging our batteries and we will explode in the final,” the drummer said.

A Romanian journalist asked how she coped with the technical problem. “It was a very awkward moment not to hear my voice, and it was incredible that I managed to sing until the end of the song,” she said. “I’m very happy that we can make the show again on the 26th.”

Another journalist asked what it was like having to leave one of their members at home (Mandinga has seven members, but Eurovision only allows six on stage). “Our seventh member was in the green room with us. The trombone was with him, and he actually played with us in the green room. We will celebrate with him and the other countries at the Euroclub, but we won’t stay long because we have a lot of work to do for the 26th.”

Start order: 14

Moldova’s Pasha Parfeny

Moldova: Pasha Parfeny with “Lautar”

Pasha came running on stage doing the same crazy choreography as in his act (when he jerks his hands back and forth). “I promised my country that I would make the final and I did,” he said. “And now I promise we do our best to be more higher than now, and that our song has all the qualities to be the first. We have the possibility to win.” A German journalist asked if Pasha received any calls from home after advancing. “Yes of course,” he said. “It was a lot of our TV channels, and a lot of our radio stations in Moldova. And I am waiting very much for a call from my mother and my father. Probably after press conference I will speak with them.”

Start order: 26

Iceland’s Greta & Jonsi

Iceland: Greta and Jonsi with “Remember Me”

“We feel great,” Greta said. “It’s an honor to be here really.” This is Iceland’s fifth final in a row, and a journalist wanted to know if they’d be coming back again next year like Jedward, and if they’d bring a water fixture. Jonsi would not talk trash. “We have nothing to add,” he said. “After a few hours of sleep we will come up with something exciting. But we thought water fountains with Jedward were really cool.” Greta is so humble. “We are so happy to know that you liked our song. To know that people relate to our song is an honor. Thank you so much.” She also explained the meaning of her dark and gloomy song. “The song isn’t written as a happy song. It’s based on a story that is really tragic, even though the song does not have a tragic ending.” It’s a story of hope and love and about missing someone. “The emotions are not in a way happy, but there is hope and there is light in the end.”

Start order: 7

Hungary’s Compact Disco

Hungary: Compact Disco with “Sound of Our Hearts”

Compact Disco’s lead singer said that his first thought when he came to Eurovision was that he wanted to win it. What will they do tonight? “We will party for everybody and dance.”

Start order: 2

Albania’s Rona Nishliu


Albania: Rona Nishliu with “Suus”

She looked as if she had been crying backstage as she entered the press conference draped in an Albanian flag. It turns out she was mourning the loss of 11 Albanian lives in a bus accident yesterday. “This performance tonight is a dedication to all those poor souls who lost their lives in a tragic accident in Albania,” she said. “I really feel very sorry for what happened.”

Another journalist asked what it was like to sing a dramatic ballad in a contest known for cheesy pop. “During my entire career I tried to do what I believe in and what makes me feel myself. I am very glad Eurovision is a platform where you can present what you believe in and what represents you the best. It’s a platform that allows for diversity, and I’m very pleased to be in a group that can sing their song two times.”

Start order: 3

Denmark’s Soluna Samay

Denmark: Soluna Samay with “Should’ve Known Better”

“We’re super excited and it would have been a big bummer if we didn’t make it to the final,” Soluna said. A Danish journalist asked how she remains so humble. “I come from a street musician’s family and to me music is the most important. It’s not the show and all the stuff going on behind the scenes, and I just see this thing as a fun experience. Whatever happens I learn from it.” Jedward asked Soluna what she wanted to say to her fans. “I’m super excited and we’re in really good company,” she said. “I got really nervous when you guys were the last to be announced.”

Start order: 15

Cyprus’ Ivi Adamou

Cyprus: Ivi Adamou with “La La Love”

Ivi could not contain herself. “I can’t even explain how I feel. I’m so excited, and I’m so happy,” she said. “I really want to thank the press conference and everybody who voted for us.” Ivi also said she feels great that another Cypriot—Elefhteria Eleftheriou—has made the final. “It’s like we’re one power. It’s so exciting, really.” Someone actually asked if she wanted to be a movie star. “It’s a dream if I’m one day in Hollywood. But I don’t think so.”

Start order: 8

Greece’s Eleftheria Eleftheriou


Greece: Eleftheria Eleftheriou with “Aphrodisiac”

Eleftheria may have been the only person more excited than Ivi. “First of all I wanna thank all the delegation and all my team because we worked really, very hard for this. And I’m so happy right now. I can’t believe that I made it to the final. I cannot wait for the moment to come.” One journalist said that she gave Greeks something to smile about during a time of austerity. “The only thing I want to do at Eurovision is music. We are here because we are talking through the music and the only thing that I want to do is to enjoy it and just to put a smile on my people’s faces. I hope that, it’s a lot of me, but I represent Greece at the Eurovision Song Contest and I want to do well. I hope that tonight I made Greece proud.”

Start order: 16

Russia’s Buranovskiye Babushki

Russia: Buranovskiye Babushki with “Party for Everybody”

Only one babushki could fit on stage, and she came with her translator. “It was a warm welcome. Everybody welcomed us. A lot of people in the hall. So much noise we could hardly hear the song. Everything was great. Thank you.”

Start order: 6

Ireland’s Jedward

Ireland: Jedward with “Waterline”

“We’ve been all over Europe this year and we met Barack Obama.”

What was it like being the last country named as a finalist? “There was so much tensions. last year when we did it we were straight through and were like ‘yes.’ The suspense was unreal. Austria was beside us and all the countries that hadn’t got through. i feel like we’re really really lucky to have gotten through. We feel really, really lucky and are excited about going to the final on Saturday. It’s gonna be awesome.”

Start order: 23

Running Order Draw

1. United Kingdom: Engelbert Humperdinck with “Love Will Set You Free”
2. Hungary: Compact Disco with “Sound of Our Hearts”
3. Albania: Rona Nishliu with “Suus”
4.
5.
6. Russia: Buranovskiye Babushki with “Party for Everybody”
7. Iceland: Greta and Jonsi with “Remember Me”
8. Cyprus: Ivi Adamou with “La La Love”
9. France: Anggun with “Echo (You and I)”
10. Italy: Nina Zilli with “Out of Love”
11.
12.
13. Azerbaijan: Sabina Babayeva with “When the Music Dies”
14. Romania: Mandinga with “Zaleilah”
15. Denmark: Soluna Samay with “Should’ve Known Better”
16. Greece: Eleftheria Eleftheriou with “Aphrodisiac”
17.
18.
19. Spain: Pastora Soler with “Quedate Conmigo”
20. Germany: Roman Lob with “Standing Still”
21.
22.
23. Ireland: Jedward with “Waterline”
24.
25.
26. Moldova: Pasha Parfeny with “Lautar”

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anya
Guest
anya

I would really like to see Sweden singing on either 4th or 5th position…I hate that song with passion!!! I hope Serbia or Romania will win this year!

Hatice
Guest

offff Albania ??k g?zel . Rona i love you and all Kosova

EuroFan1
Guest
EuroFan1

Vote Romania!

Colleen
Guest
Colleen

23rd for Jedward? Much more favorable position than last year. I smell a Top 5 finish for my Irish lads.

As long as Loreen gets a good starting position AFTER the break, she’s got it in the bag.

christina
Guest
christina

Just G R E E C E . . . . . . .

??????????
Guest

Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania
Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Love Albania Because Rona is something Special
the other songs are the same . Greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeting from ??????????

milly
Guest
milly

Although Elena didn’t hear the negative because her earphone was dead (this is a real problem for a singer), she managed to sing very good till the end of the song. She was devastated after the performance and couldn’t stop crying:( ..All the respect for her!! She did a great job! Congratulations, Elena!!! We are proud of you! Good luck , Mandinga (Romania) in the final!

Milivoje
Guest
Milivoje

UA ŠIPTARI!

Filiz
Guest

ALBANIA IS THE BEST

Burak
Guest

Albaniaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Our Muslim Brothers (L)
12 points from TURKEY
Go Albania

CroatiaRules
Guest

Albania\Kosovo Of Course . Rona u’r voice is amazing .

Tamara
Guest

Albanie <3 Albanie <3

bogdan
Guest

Romania for the win! Russian grannies better bake Mandinga a victory pie!

EUROVISION
Guest
EUROVISION

Romania is No 1 !

EuroFan
Guest
EuroFan

Go Romania!

ivicastankovic
Guest

Go Albania

Natalie
Guest

Ich muss sagen Albania= wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
Das ist 100% ART

David Thielen
Guest

I thought there were 2 really good songs today – Greece & Ireland. But I live in the U.S. so I can’t vote 🙁

Albania – there’s a fine line between high pitched singing and screaming. She went way over that line. I thought it was awful.

Russia – also awful. Russia has an amazing number of very talented singers – and they gave us this?

Turkey 1
Guest

When i heard Rona Singing i started to Cry !
What a voice? What a prezentation ? So emotional Omg

She sang about the death of 13 studenteve in Albania . I’m So sorry for this tragedy .

Long Live Turkey
Long Live Albania
Long Live Kosova

Gavin
Guest
Gavin

Ok… Jedward, in place 23… Its got to be an Irish win, and to be fair their staging was fantastic and so full of energy…. My heart is absolutly beating for Loreen to win, loads now rests on the draw… Im kind of feeling certain its a jedward victory… And i dont know if that is good or bad.