Last night, the second semi-final of Eurovision 2019 kicked off with Armenia’s Srbuk, who performed her song “Walking Out”. But as the song progressed, an unexpected thing happened — the audience disappeared. It left viewers — both fans and Eurovision media — wondering what had happened.
Watch the disappearing audience from 2:17.
Many fans took to social media, puzzled at what they’d just seen. Was it a technical error? Had the show producers switched to rehearsal footage as something unexpected had happened in the hall? Or was everything all going according to plan?
But it wasn’t just viewers at home who were surprised. Fan media — who had viewed numerous rehearsals of “Walking Out” — had never seen it performed with shots of an empty audience.
It turns out the answer was a simple one: it was deliberate. Srbuk had even given fans a heads-up on the morning of the semi-final.
On Twitter, she had revealed that, “During the culmination you will be surprised. I’m gonna be “alone” in the hall, without audience. This trick’ll be used for the emotional tension to be even more powerful.”
Just a few hours left until the 2nd Semi. But before that, l’ll uncover some secrets abt the staging. During the culmination you will be surprised. I’m gonna be “alone” in the hall, without audience.
This trick‘ll be used for the emotional tension to be even more powerful. ?? pic.twitter.com/rU6sx35tYC
— Srbuk (@SrbukOfficial) May 16, 2019
But despite the warning, the empty audience scenes still came as a shock to viewers.
British tabloid Daily Express interpreted the staging as a “huge blunder”, and quoted viewers who thought rehearsal footage had been cut in.
Eagle-eyed viewers, however, noted the complete emptiness of the pavilion. With no press or technical crew to be seen in shot, it’s clear that the “empty audience” scenes were filmed especially, not just taken from rehearsal footage.
But it appears that rather than creating emotional tension, the shots left many viewers scratching their heads.
This may have contributed to viewers not feeling inspired to vote for Armenia. “Walking Out” was not one of the ten qualifiers from the second semi-final, giving the former Eurovision power nation its second non-qualification in two years.
It’s not currently known where Armenia placed in the semi-final, however Eurovision executive supervisor Jon Ola Sand has today revealed that just one point was all that separate the acts in 10th and 11 place.
What do you think? Were you confused by Armenia’s empty audience shots? Or did it heighten the songs emotions? Tell us your thoughts below!