Sixteen contestants sang in the first semi-final, but only ten could advance to the grand final. San Marino’s Valentina Monetta sang her heart out inside a clam shell and finally made the final on her third attempt. And Ukraine’s Mariya Yaremchuk sang for a nation in mourning. The team from wiwibloggs.com had a front-row seat for all the tears, cheers, and quotable quotes. Here’s what the acts had to say…

First semi-final qualifiers

Azerbaijan: Dilara with “Start a Fire”

Will Europe start a fire along with you this Saturday? “First of all I would like to say thank you for everyone who voted for me. If you didn’t do that I wouldn’t be sitting here now, so thank you so much. In the final I will do my best more than today.”

Running Order: First half

Montenegro: Sergej Cetkovic with “Moj svijet” (My World)

“I’m happy because Montenegro is finally in the finals!”

Sergej Cetkovic montenegro“It’s a great task for Montenegro for several years. We didn’t get to the finals for the last five years. This is a small step for mankind but it’s a great step for Montenegro. I’m happy. We don’t have Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia. And we are singing for them this time.”

Did you feel presure to do well for Montenegro? “There is a huge stone on my heart, and he fell.”

Running Order: First half

Hungary: András Kállay-Saunders with “Running”

“I’m still in shock. I’m very very happy and I can’t believe this is happening.”

Kallay Saunders HungaryWhat do you say to the doubters that your song was too dark for ESC? “I said this before and I’ll say it again. The beautiful thing about music is that there are no rules, no boundaries, and if I were to have written a song about love, would you have asked me this question? You can sing about anything and express yourself however you would like in music. I decided to sing about a topic that is a little more serious…but I think people do need to hear the message my song has to offer. Because unfortunately it does happen across the world, every day…”

“I’m not trying to compete with anybody that has been in the competition before me. I just want to show how great of a country Hungary is and I just want everybody to be happy. There is another thing I wanted to say. I think the world can take an example from us contestants because if we can get along then everybody can get along.”

Running Order: Second half

Tolmachevy Sisters RussiaRussia: The Tolmachevy Twins with “Shine”

“We are very happy, very full of emotions and we want to thank everyone for their support and we love all of you.”

Who first congratulated you? “Many people congratulated us, and we are really very happy. Those who passed to the final did so because they deserved it.”

Was everything the way you thought or planned on stage? “We are very pleased with our performance. Thanks.”

Running Order: Second half

Armenia: Aram Mp3 with “Not Alone”

“It was great. really great. I want to take this stage to my country.”

How was it to be first on stage? “To be the first one opening Eurovision is like an honor, but in the final I don’t want to be the first one actually.”

Running order: First half

San Marino: Valentina Monetta with “Maybe”

“Thank you very much! Everybody thank you! To all the people who support me. Yes! This is very important for me!”

“I believe in love in the life and this is the answer for me.”

Valentina Monetta San marinoNow that Chrysalis has become a butterfly, now that Maybe is a yes, how do you imagine your first Eurovision final? “It’s incredible experience for me. I screamed, screamed a lot. Oh my god. Unbelievable. I’m here in front of you. This is my life. I accept my life. I accept my job. And I have a lot of love inside me. This is why, maybe. ..”

Do you believe that taking part a third time was the key to your success? “You don’t imagine. This was my desire when I was a child. Yes, since when I was a child. And I want to thank you God, my mommy, my father, my brothers. Yes! Thank you mommy!”

Running order: Second half

Ukraine: Maria Yaremchuk with “Tick-Tock”

“It’s so hard to find the words, but the main words are a short thank you to Europe for the second try to be on that stage. I guess this is the happiest moment for all of us, but I don’t know if it’s happier moment for me about my final or about San Marino’s final. I’m so happy [for Valentina].”

Ukraine Mariya YaremchukHow does it feel for you and how important was it for you to make the final considering the situation in Ukraine and Crimea? “My main position is that I am proud that I am Ukrainian. And everything I do here is for Ukrainian people. There are 46 million Ukrainian people behind me. Thank you. But my main message on the stage is that time is now and there are so many things more important than politics and political situations. Eurovision is the best way to my people of my music.”

Ukraine as usual has a beautiful contestant and she’s a girl again. When will we see as amazing guy on stage from Ukraine? “We’ll try to send him [her male dancer] another year. Thank you for compliment for Ukrainian women.”

Running order: First half

Sweden: Sanna Nielsen with “Undo” 

“You know what. I didn’t want to get off that stage. Just watching the whole crowd and they were just screaming. I didn’t actually hear all the music that I had in my ears. But their screaming was music to my ears, and I’m so happy to be in the final.”

Sanna Nielsen SwedenAfter your performance you have moved into the favourite position to win the Eurovision Song Contest. “You know what, I decided real early in this competition that if anyone says something nice about my song or this performance I would be glad to take in. I don’t feel any pressure. This is a great adventure and I plan to do my best. I’m very flattered that I’m one of the favourites.”

What did you feel when named a finalist? “It was a wonderful feeling. It was relief. We really wanted to go to the final. I wished they would call out are name first but they didn’t. It was amazing.”

Running Order: First half

Netherlands: The Common Linnets with “Calm After the Storm”

Ilse: I love the diversity of the music, and I think because of the diversity we have a chance to be in the Eurovision stage. I think for us there is so much truth in that. I’m next to one of my favourites Sweden. It’s a full on pop song with a killer chorus. I love that us an emotional song are also in the final.”

Running Order: Second half

Iceland: Pollapönk with “No prejudice”

“It of course feels fantastic. This means we can take our No Prejudice message to a higher platform and more people will be listening. Me and my bandmade, we are pre-school teachers. And when children come into pre-school they have no prejudice and then something happens. It’s the role of adults and parents to break the cycle of prejudice so it will stop.”

Iceland Pollaponk press conference“I’m wondering, this is the fourth time in five times we are the last one in the hat [to be called out as a finalist]. You give us a heart attack.”

Do you think in your heart that your message will make a difference. “Well, we hope so. Maybe it’s a small contribution. But if you put many small contributions together you make one big. We have to start somewhere.”

What will you wear to celebrate? “Something disco. Maybe just the suits. I don’t know. We have some super disco suits that glimmer properly.”

Running Order: First half

Wiwi contributed this report from Copenhagen. You can keep up-to-date with the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page.

Photo: Andres Putting (EBU)

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Mordecai
Guest
Mordecai

The fact that Ukraine, Armenia and Sweden will all perform in the first half will only make things more interesting. This also gives Hungary an opportunity to snatch a victory.

Marcelo N
Guest

@ Armenian Guy… although I am not commenting on the songs (to keep the peace) I agree that the hosting of the show was not really interesting. The funny bits were OK (albeit generic), the “ordinary day in Copenhagen” funny, but somehow the presenters were meh. Their spoken English sounded like ‘pasty’ to me -and I’m not judging “perfection” for, as you know, I’m not a native speaker of English- and their French a bureaucratic obligation. And what’s with SO MANY GAY JOKES?? All right, we get it, and we most gays find it funny. But hey, don’t complain then… Read more »

Fredzilla
Guest
Fredzilla

@Dar, and others “Why do people say it’s too soon for Sweden to win eurovision again … That’s stupid , it’s not how the contest works” It is how mathematics work, though. The fact that Sweden won in 2012 makes it less probable that they will win in 2014, by definition. Especially if you look at the history of Eurovision, you will find that from the 80s and onward countries winning multiple times in a row, or almost in a row, simply don’t exist (save for Ireland’s weird streak 1992-96). Now, of course, Sweden COULD of course break this tradition… Read more »

LEAPerce
Guest
LEAPerce

on an unrelated topic, tijana did an interview in the commentary box with the bbc…dont like her song much BUT she was hilarious and completely brilliant! if you like axel then i wouldnt go looking for her interview on youtube though – whoops!

LEAPerce
Guest
LEAPerce

i wasnt a huge fan of netherlands before yesterday but they are now in my top 5. judging by the tweets the bbc read out during the bits about voting, i think the uk will give TCL 8 points or more.

Armenian guy
Guest
Armenian guy

I feel like half of you came from Nashville , ..seriously .I do not understand how people actually like The Netherlands’ entry o. O . But whatever UK gonna win ; ) And Aram will be better in final ,he( and not only he ) was nervous .He should start first ,which is difficult. If he does not win, he deserves to be second . Between Am I only one ,who thinks that ESC opening was bad ? Like show ,hosts etc .. Good thing is, these short videos are funny ,especially the one that took tourists to Copenhagen “An… Read more »

Lawrence gibb
Guest
Lawrence gibb

I am just delighted that San Marino & Montenegro have qualified with songs I like. I have visited both countries and the people are so lovely. Well done to Sergey and Valentina.

NARE
Guest

Armenia the winner

Wood
Guest

Who decides the starting order?

Ivan
Guest
Ivan

Armenia could be beaten just by itself, and this seems to happen. Less show that we’ve expected, worse live performance… he’s still the favourite, but it was under the expectations. In my opinion, now UK and Romania can take an advantage. As for Sweden, I don’t think they’ll win, maybe Hungary has a better shot, and let’s see Austria too. From the first semi-final Ukraine, Netherlands and Belgium were amazing, too bad that Axel didn’t make it.

Zolan
Guest
Zolan

Pollapönk are the natural choice to open the final.

Celioski
Guest

I honestly don’t feel like Sweden or Armenia will win the whole thing. It’s intuition, I don’t know. Now, UK will have a very very good shot this saturday for sure (I am convinced the producers will likely place her in the 18-20 spot) It’d be refreshing to have a British win for sure. Now from the second semi-final let’s not forget we still must see what Israel and Romania will be like. This year is really unpredictable and the placing these two get (I am assuming both are straight shots to the final) will be very important. I’m excited… Read more »

Cake
Guest
Cake

Eurobribevision
Neighboorvision
JanOleVision
Pick one

David
Guest
David

I doubt that the danish broadcaster would give the major favourite startnumber 1 or 2 in the final. I think sweden will win anyway.. So dont worry.

Hello
Guest

@David I agree with you 🙂 But do you think it’s good/bad to be in the first semi final.? What if she gets 1 or 2 as start number? 🙁

David
Guest
David

Sweden will win! Sanna is amazing!!

Eugene UK
Guest
Eugene UK

SWEDEN finally go favourite after a disappointing vocal from Aram, Armenia now 2nd.

The UK are firming up 3rd place..

HUNGARY advance to 4th as the UKRAINE drop to 5th.

The biggest mover is the NETHERLANDS, they jump amazingly from 19th to 6th………………hot hot hot.

DENMARK continue to drop further to 7th.

Eugene UK
Guest
Eugene UK

SWEDEN, ARMENIA, UKRAINE AND AZERBAIJAN ALL DRAW FIRST HALF OF FINAL!!!

This is how it went :-

AZERBAIJAN – 1ST
MONTENEGRO – 1ST
HUNGARY – SECOND
RUSSIA – SECOND
ARMENIA – 1ST
SAN MARINO – SECOND
UKRAINE – 1ST
SWEDEN – 1ST
NETHERLANDS – SECOND
ICELAND – 1ST

What a shocker for some of the favourites, but if the songs are that good they should be able to win from any singing position really.

Earlier today the UK drew SECOND HALF!!!

Advantage the UK and Hungary??

troc
Guest
troc

I’m not sure who decides what the running order is now…anyone know?

Don’t get me wrong as I said in another thread I think Sanna is very talented and it wouldn’t bother me at all if she won. I just think it’s going to be a very close call this year! Exciting!

Hello
Guest

Does it really matter if it’s first or second half?

Im still sure that Sanna will win. Who decided now the starting number?

David
Guest
David

I think Undo has an edge and will be remembered. I am not worried!

troc
Guest
troc

@David do you think undo is as strong as Loreen or Emmelies entries were though? I think it’s still very difficult to tell who will win.

David
Guest
David

Sweden will win now! Trust me. If u have a winning song position in the final doesnt really matter. Loreen and Emmelie had won even if they had started at position 2 in the final i think!

Gooo sweden

mrstheofilos
Guest
mrstheofilos

i have got a feeling uk may win as they are in the second half of the final and armenia and sweden are in the first only time will tell

Nebi
Guest
Nebi

Tonight’s show far exceeded my expectations. All of the numbers had improved so much from when I first heard them. I wanted Latvia to go through but everyone else stepped up so much. If Thursday is like this then nobody is safe.

troc
Guest
troc

Ps. I really enjoyed Portugal and Latvias songs 🙁

Dar
Guest

Why do people say it’s too soon for Sweden to win eurovision again … That’s stupid , it’s not how the contest works .. Get a grip ..
Judging from tonight’s performances and where countries are placed in either half of final it’s looking like the winner will be either
UK
Sweden
Hungary ..

Netherlands impressed tonight ,
Armenia had a nervous disappointing performance..

troc
Guest
troc

And I may be living in la la land but I think UK and Hungary have a good chance of winning in the final.

Harry potter
Guest
Harry potter

Unfair for Suzy and Portugal.
Quero ser tua oh oh oh
We already saw the winner today (Sweden). I am convinced the results are manipulate, and this eurovision song contest is all about politic.
Wa wa we we.
What do you think?

troc
Guest
troc

I hate to say it but I’m relieved that Sweden and Armenia are in the first half. Go UK!!!

David
Guest
David

Sweden leads the bettings now!!! Good luck Sanna!

Rashad
Guest
Rashad

The conference hosts were a bit rude. But the conference was fun. I didn’t like the question addressed to Mariya, Ukraine and her answer though. Politics and patriotic statements are unnecessary in Eurovision.

Thiefo
Guest
Thiefo

So many typos! But thanks for the very quick report Wiwi! 😛
After seeing this first semi final I think we should look out for Hungary! Specially now that is confirmed Andras will perform in the second half of the final 😉 After Aram’s not-so-great performance maybe the final showdown might be between Sweden and Hungary. Who knows?

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

I thought the press conference was more entertaining than the show itself

David
Guest
David

Sweden will hopefully win!

JoyceS
Guest
JoyceS

Netherlands are 1 on ITunes know!!!
http://esctracker.com
OMG and the bookmakers….netherlands was the dark horse…they are so going UPPPPPPPP!

Luis
Guest
Luis

I do not understand at all … Sweden is sooo Celine Dion ten years ago … but with a much worse voice … let Sweden can not win with this only two gourmet dessert after Euphoria.

Sweden is a very simple song and plain old-fashioned. there is nothing original, that would be maddening and win.

Hello
Guest