Demos in the streets, boos in front of the stage: Israel’s entry in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest faced a lot of headwind – but the audience voted singer Eden Golan into the final. She now qualified with nine other acts in Malmö. The artist was greeted with boos and applause during rehearsals. Whistles were sometimes heard when the result was announced. There was massive cheering at the show itself.

At several demonstrations that day in the southern Swedish city, several thousand people demanded the country’s exclusion from the competition – climate activist Greta Thunberg was also among the protesters. Police estimated that between 10,000 and 12,000 people took part in the “Exclude Israel from Eurovision” demonstrations. But there was also supposed to be a solidarity demonstration that evening.

The Israeli act was not deterred. Golan dances in a soulful ballad in a white dress that looks like bandages. Israel’s participation has been highly controversial for months.

Switzerland also in the final

Switzerland also secured a ticket to the final. Theatrically, the non-binary act Nemo spun on a disc on the large stage with a powerful voice. Rap, drum and bass, even opera – all included in Nemo. Germany’s ESC commentator Thorsten Schorn also heard “a bit of James Bond” in the song. The contribution for the Netherlands is certainly not unknown to the German audience.

Rapper Joost Klein secured a place in the final this year with “Europapa”. The 26-year-old stormed the charts in Germany last year when, together with Berlin rapper Ski Aggu, he transformed Otto Waalke’s well-known song “Friesenjung” into a techno version. Greece, Austria, Armenia, Latvia, Georgia, Norway and Estonia also qualified.

Italy in the role of favorites

As part of the “Big Five”, Spain, France and Italy are already seeded for the final. They were still able to perform their songs in the second semi-final. Italy’s entry received huge applause for the danceable number on the night and is set to become one of the favorites of the Grand Prix.

This means that the 26 participating countries for the Eurovision Song Contest have been decided. The final will take place on Saturday in the Malmö Arena.