It’s starting to become real! Along with the 41 competing acts of Eurovision 2020, the EBU has also confirmed the date of the semi-final allocation draw. On January 28 2020, broadcasters will discover which semi-final — and which half of the semi-final — their act will perform in.

On Wednesday, the EBU confirmed that 41 countries will participate in the next edition of the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam. Out of that total, 35 countries will compete in two semi-finals to take place on May 12 and 14, in the hopes of qualifying for the grand final on May 16th. Ten countries will qualify from each semi-final, joining the six automatic qualifiers: the Big 5 (France, Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK) and host country the Netherlands.

The draw will take place in Rotterdam on January 28. The event is usually held at an iconic location in the host city and also involves the host city insignia exchange — where the host city adds an insignia to the giant host city keyring. The venue for is expected to be announced at a later date.

In the first part of the draw, the pre-qualifiers will be assigned one to the two semi-finals to vote in, three in semi-final one, three in semi-final two. Typically, the German broadcaster makes a special request to the EBU to vote in the second semi-final.

The pots of fate

Next comes the pots. The semi-finalist countries are preemptively grouped into pots based on historic voting patterns (usually around six pots). This is to help ensure each semi-final is not saturated by countries with high chances of voting for each other. All going well, each pot should be roughly split between the two semis.

Then it’s time to assign the other countries to a semi-final, and then decide which the half of the running order they will sing in.

Choosing the semi-final halves at this stage lets countries start to plan and budget for their travel. Performing in the first half of the first semi-final means arriving three days earlier for rehearsals than someone performing in the second half of the second semi.

Some fans believe that performing in the second half of a semi-final gives the act more of an advantage, but statistics show that on average, equal numbers of acts tend to qualify from each half.

The precise running order will later be determined by the show’s producers and approved by the EBU, once all songs have been submitted in March. All this process will be overseen by the Executive Supervisor of the EBU, Jon Ola Sand, who will step down from the position after the contest. 

Since there are 35 semi-finalists, this will mean there will be one semifinal of 17 acts and another of 18. The longer semi-final is decided before the draw.

The event organisers will also reveal if one country has requested to either vote or compete in a specific semi-final; usually done to avoid conflict with previously scheduled programs or respecting any special holidays.

Eurovision 2020 semi-finalists

Countries are listed in alphabetical order.

Albania
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Belarus
Belgium
Bulgaria
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
Georgia
Greece
Iceland
Ireland
Israel
Latvia
Lithuania
Malta
Moldova
North Macedonia
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Russia
San Marino
Serbia
Slovenia
Sweden
Switzerland
Ukraine

Finalists (Big 5 and Hosts)

Countries are listed in alphabetical order.

  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • The Netherlands
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom

The semi-final allocation draw will be held on Tuesday 28 January 2020 in Rotterdam. It is expected that the event will be live-streamed.

What do you think? What would your ideal semi-final allocations be? Share your ideas below!

Read more Eurovision 2020 news here

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Tom
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Tom

Russia is always in 1 semi (they only were im second semi in 2018 and almost in 2017) ….Bulgaria is always in 2 semi ….(exception is 2018)
Norway is always in 2 semi …( 2011 they were in 1 semi)
And also Norway,Sweden and Denmark are together almost always in one semi….(2019,2010, 2018) more Sweden and Norway are always together.
Czech Republic is always in 1 semi …(2015 they werr in 2 semi)
Also Cyprus and Greece are almost always together same with Armenia and Azerbaijan
Its interesting that Australia and Austria neber been in one semi

Joe
Guest
Joe

Russia was also in the second semi this year.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Yes i forgot about Sergey

Alex
Guest
Alex

Can ireland please be put in the first semi final? We only seem the qualify from the first one

Magpie
Guest
Magpie

2011?

Ixuxu
Guest
Ixuxu

On my birthday

Enough
Guest
Enough

Isn’t this usually done earlier?

Campbell Grace
Guest
Campbell Grace

Nope, was the 28th last year and 29th in 2018.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

kinda exciting to know if the love-love (Cyprus, Greece) and the hate-hate (you know who they are), will be in the same semi AGAIN.

Campbell Grace
Guest
Campbell Grace

So many different countries need separating better:

Cyprus & Greece
Romania & Moldova
Armenia & Azerbaijan
UK, Ireland, Norway & Lithuania (36 televoting points given to that awful Lithuanian song?!?)
The Nordics

But sadly it’s difficult… still think the EBU could do a better job at separating them though

Jorge
Guest
Jorge

Oh yeah I’m kinda tired of no one noticing the Nordic block voting but everyone hating on Greece and Cyprus giving each other douze points

Joe
Guest
Joe

That’s why I said Finland and Denmark ought to be together and Iceland with Norway and/or Sweden (Sweden will always be the happy medium no matter what the country, just gotta live with that).

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

you know the rules, if it’s Western Europe, then it’s not an “evil block”.

Joe
Guest
Joe

The hate-hate I don’t mind since it balances things out, but in regards to Cyprus/Greece or Moldova/Romania: to quote The Offspring, you gotta keep ‘em separated.

Sister
Guest
Sister

“Typically, the German broadcaster makes a special request to the EBU to vote in the second semi-final.”

Anyone know why they do this? They do this ever since 2010 apparently.

Motzkie
Guest
Motzkie

But last year they did not do it!?!

Mehmet
Guest
Mehmet

Typically, the German broadcaster is desperate. Nothing will help, let them be!

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

hopefully 2020’s semis will be well balanced bc the past two years have been a mess !

Leo
Guest
Leo

Yep we missed lots of good songs in 2018 semi final 1

Rasmus
Guest
Rasmus

I think the worst thing that can happen if more counties join and we have 28 in each semi like in 2007. Its just fine as it is. Maybe 2 songs at the most miss that deserves it

dygh
Guest
dygh

Actually there is a limit of 44 participants so no worries.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

that’d mean 62 total participants. who they gon add ? the aland islands n gibiltar ?