Eurovision second semifinal kicks off

The second semi-final in the 2019 Eurovision kicked off on Thursday night in Tel Aviv, hours after Madonna finally signed a contract to perform at the grand finale Saturday night.

The four Eurovision hosts – Erez Tal, Lucy Ayoub, Bar Refaeli and Assi Azar – greeted the thousands of fans in the Expo Tel Aviv and millions watching around the world.

“Shalom, erev tov, baruch haba, good evening Europe, good morning Australia!” Azar proclaimed from the stage. “What’s up party people?”

And, luckily for the four hosts, Madonna signed her contract earlier that day, leaving them free to crack jokes about her upcoming appearance.

Contestants from Armenia, Ireland, Moldova, Switzerland, Latvia, Romania, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Croatia, Malta, Lithuania, Russia, Albania, Norway, Netherlands, North Macedonian and Azerbaijan are all competing for spots in the grand finale; only 10 of 18 will advance.

Those 10 countries will join the 10 who advanced on Tuesday night – Greece, Belarus, Serbia, Cyprus, Estonia, Czech Republic, Australia, Iceland, San Marino and Slovenia – as well as the big five – Germany, Italy, Spain, France and the UK – and host country Israel.

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