Eurovision 2022: What to expect from Semi-Final 2

In a few hours, we will know the 10 qualifiers from Semi Final 2. These will complete the 2022 Eurovision Grand Final line up this Saturday. Rehearsals have given us an idea about the performances of the 18 competing countries tonight but what about the rest of the show? Here is what you should expect to see from Turin’s PalaOlimpico this evening!

With the Jury Final having taken place last night, tonight’s televised show will provide the tele-voting half of the total vote. And, if this did not sound exciting enough already, there is also the Il Volo interval performance to look forward to!

In tonight’s show, ten more countries will be given the ticket to the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final this Saturday. Having watched the three dress rehearsals for the second semi-final, we would like to share with you details from the show itself.

The opening

We are greeted by one of the three hosts, television presenter Alessandro Cattelan, in what proves to be a mock-backstage video.

Alessandro appears not knowing what to do for a memorable opening so this will be the place to ask this year’s Eurovision big brains at work!

He is advised to dance but responds he does not know how to. The tip given to him is:

When you hear the drums, open your arms!

Alessandro manages to do so and is hailed a genius.

There is an advice related to the associated stress of a Eurovision opening performance. When the stress mounts, diversion can be created with fireworks. If that’s not enough, the last resort to turn to is… kittens! (naturally)

Indeed, Alessandro leads us into the hall and onto the stage of Turin’s PalaOlimpico, this year’s venue.

The presenter is not always succesful at following the routine of the dancers but, truth be told, he is generally succesful in opening his arms when he hears the drums!

In an showy moment of the routine, Alessandro looks as if revolving in space against the stage LED display. This feels like a light-hearted reference to past ambitious Eurovision performances (Russia’s Sergey Lazarev and his 2016 performance with You Are The Only One springs to mind, for example).

There are also lines to Alessandro‘s stage performance even if this is restricted to just a few words:

My name is cheeky-cheeky-cheeky, clap-clap -cha-cha-cha!

We are therefore set for a distinctly more relaxed tone tonight compared to last Tuesday’s first 2022 semi-final.

The competing countries

01. Finland: The Rasmus, Jezebel 10. Ireland: Brooke, That’s Rich 
02. Israel: Michael Ben David, I.M. 11. North Macedonia: Andrea, Circles
03. Serbia: Konstrakta, In Corpore Sano 12. Estonia: Stefan, Hope
04. Azerbaijan: Nadir Rustamli, Fade to Black commercial break
05. Georgia: Circus Mircus, Lock Me In 13. Romania: WRS, Llámame
06. Malta: Emma Muscat, I Am What I Am 14. Poland: Ochman, River
commercial break 15. Montenegro: Vladana, Breathe
07. San Marino: Achille Lauro, Stripper 16. Belgium: Jérémie Makiese, Miss You
08. Australia: Sheldon Riley, Not The Same 17. Sweden: Cornelia Jakobs, Hold Me Closer
09. Cyprus: Andromache (Ανδρομάχη), Ela (Έλα) 18. Czech Republic: We Are Domi, Lights Off

The hosts and their show

While Alessandro is recovering from his pyro-tastic opening performance, this year’s other two presenters, internationally popular singers Laura Pausini and Mika appear onstage:

Good evening, Europe! Good morning, Australia! Ciao, Italia! Good evening to people around the world, from Europe to Australia! Good evening to all Italians around the world! Welcome to the Eurovision Song Contest!

Laura, dressed for last night’s Jury Final in a fuscia strapless gown, and Mika, in a yellow (to Alessandro’s trademark black) suit then congratulate Alessandro on his performance, with Mika exclaiming:

If there is one thing that Italians are good at, that’s poetry and that was poetry in motion!

Alessandro explains that he got to experience what artist must be feeling when they perform onstage: excitement with a bit of emotion.

The rules, voting and special Eurovision app are then briefly explained, complete with a table showing the competing countries. Viewers are encouraged to make use of their 20 available votes:

You can vote for the country you like the most, or went to on Erasmus, or fell in love in! Just do it!

As last Tuesday, Mika is the one to repeat this practical piece of information in French. Not to be left behind, Laura grabs the opportunity to show off her grasp of the language (or favourite past-time) with a very appropriate:

Rien ne va plus!

With open arms (truly appropriate this time), the three presenters excitedly commence the competing part of the show tonight:

Now, let’s get the party started! Let the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 begin!

During the first ‘commercial’ (for some countries) break, tribute is paid by Laura to the much-loved Festival of Sanremo. With a ‘para-pam-pam,’ the singer turns to the audience:

Almost everybody in this theatre knows this music but we would like to explain it to the whole world. This is the sound of Festival di Sanremo (…) I have the honour of winning it when I was just 18 and that’s how everything began for me. San Remo is an Italian story that deserves to be told’

She is followed by a mock-documentary clip about the Festival of Sanremo. This similar in tone to last Tuesday’s clip about the history of Turin and also delivered by the portentous-sounding ‘Official Voice of Eurovision’ (read more under ‘Special Features’ below).

Alessandro and Mika appear on stage. Alessandro asks Mika how he finds Turin and the later replies that he has actually performed in this very venue, which he finds quite special.

Alessandro asks for Mika for some expert advice on how to get the audience involved. Mika is willing to offer a magic trick:

So, Step 1: stretch out your hands! Step 2: everybody quiet! Steps 3: make some noise!

A true natural, Alessandro manages to follow the steps and is met with applause by the audience!

Due to the demands of the elaborate set for Australia, during the Jury Final last night, there was Mika filling-in with praise for Eurovision super-fans and trivia about the contest itself, to Alessandro’s amazement at this knowledgeability:

There are the Eurovision fans and the Eurovision super fans. These are the guardians of Eurovision and its dedicated followers (…) So, I thought I would educate myself to be ready for this important job; this might be useful for your next pub quiz, alright? Are you ready? Facts about Eurovision (…) So, the first ever Eurovision was in 1956 and you had to sing for the 24-piece orchestra (…) No songs today can be over three minutes (…) And no more than six people are onstage for each performance. So, that basically means Laura Pausini’s styling team is not allowed onstage! (…) In 1996, the first tele-voting happened (…) But, apparently, we’ve got to get back to the competition: Australia!

A similar filling-in before Cyprus, sees Alessandro paying tribute to all the Eurovision commentators:

You know what the beautiful thing about hosting Eurovision is? It’s that no one is listening to what I am saying. Everything is been voice-overed by commentators from almost all over the world. I just have to make sure I don’t swear (because they read my lips, ok?) Anyway, hello commentators from all over the world! We love you, thank you for your support! (…) Take it away, Cyprus!’

During the second ‘commercial’ break, Mika comments on this year’s theme and the diversity it implicitly promotes:

As you know, Eurovision 2022 is all about ‘The Sound of Beauty.’ But what does that mean? I know, it can be hard and it’s a good question. For some people, the sound of beauty is a child laughing, or waves crashing… For others, it’s their alarm clock going off in the morning… Ok, let’s be frank, no one likes their alarm clock going off in the morning… Well, maybe… what is beautiful to one person, can be a complete nightmare to someone else. There is not one sound of beauty – there are so many different sounds of beauty and each person has their own!

The three presenters are then seen in this year’s Green Room, or, as Mika puts it: ‘our wonderful giardino all’italiana!

Alessandro shares, that, when he used to watch Eurovision from home, it had been a dream of his to be in the green room, because the Green Room would always seem to me the coolest place to be and, I guess, that’s how it is’, with Laura adding:

This is also the place of a thousand emotions, where the singers meet their team and wait for the final verdict.

After all 18 performances have taken place, the hosts explains again the rules and kick-start the voting with a:

Tre, due, uno! Europe, Australia, start voting now!

Every so often, the hosts return onstage to engourage the people to vote and promote the different formats in which this year’s Eurovision Compillation Album comes in. Alessandro actually expresses a preferennce:

‘I’ll take the CDs – so 1990s!’

Soon, it’s time for another countdown:

Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, cinque, quatro, tre, due, uno! Europe, Australia, stop voting… now!

The interval act

Part of the interval act is a performance by two of our hosts, singers Laura and Mika. Their performance is touchingly introduced by third host, Alessandro:

Now you see me alone but the beautiful thing about sharing the stage with two friends is that you can share moments of pure entertainment – with them of course. And the beautiful thing of sharing the stage with two friends who are also great international stars is that they can give you magic moments like the one that is about to happen. So, Torino, Europe, the World, live from PalaOlimpico, for the first time in the Eurovision: Laura Pausini and Mika!

Laura and Mika’s performance consists of two duet renditions: Sting’s 1988 hit Fragile, and Patti Smith’s People Have The Power from the same year. The duo is accompanied by young musicians from the Conservatorio di Torino.

After voting has finished, and while waiting for the tallying of the votes, it’s time for a much awaited moment of the 2022 second semi final. Alessandro introduces Il Volo:

So, if were to tell you that I am about to introduce you to two tenors and a baritone, a great Italian opera tradition might immediately come to your mind, right? But the artists that I am about to present have renewed the Italian tradition. They are under thirty, they are big on social media, they are loved by everybody, they’ve carried the name of Italy high throughout the world and here at Eurovision thanks to their incredible voices. So, Piero, Ignazio, and – from home – Gianluca, with Grande Amore: Il Volo!

This is a performance of an English version of Grande Amore, the 2015 Sanremo winner song and Eurovision tele-vote winner the same year. Indeed, Gianluca can be seen through a video link displayed on the backdrop to the left of the stage after, allegedly, after a Covid 19 positive test. It is only Piero and Ignazio that can actually be seen onstage. In their black leather jackets, their performance saw them making full use of the stage and walkway. The scene was impressively lit and the strong performance of the popular trio-act was met with applause.

Special features

As part of the first ‘commercial’ break, a mock-documentary clip (similar in tone to the one about Turin’s history last Tuesday) followed Laura’s tribute to the Festival of Sanremo:

In America, you can celebrate Thanksgiving. In Scandinavia, you can enjoy the festivities of Midsummer. In the UK, there are Royal Celebrations to enjoy. In Italy, we have Il Festival di Sanremo. Sanremo was the first song contest ever broadcasted on television and the direct inspiration for the Eurovision Song Contest. (Måneskin) But, for us Italians, it means something more. San Remo is our own sentimental education. Through the festival, we Italians have learned to fly (Volare), to love, we have observed traditions, happiness, protest, laughter. We fell and we learned how to rise. It’s the week of the year when we stay Zitti e Buoni (Måneskin)

During the second ‘commercial’ break, Mika comments on this year’s theme and the diversity it implicitly promotes:

As you know, Eurovision 2022 is all about ‘The Sound of Beauty.’ But what does that mean? I know, it can be hard and it’s a good question. For some people, the sound of beauty is a child laughing, or waves crashing… For others, it’s their alarm clock going off in the morning… Ok, let’s be frank, no one likes their alarm clock going off in the morning… Well, maybe… what is beautiful to one person, can be a complete nightmare to someone else. There is not one sound of beauty – there are so many different sounds of beauty and each person has their own!

This is followed by a short clip with images and activities relevant to Mika’s comment about different kinds of sound of perceived beauty.

The ‘Official Voice of Eurovision’ returns after the Il Volo interval performance with yet another mock-documentary, ‘Eurovision Confidential‘:

It’s me again, the official voice of Eurovision. Are you enjoying the songs and the show? Well, now you get to know the other side of me that dips into the book of memory in order to dazzle and surprise you. Welcome to Eurovision Confidential!

My eyes have seen giants from a fantastical world and faceless seductress. Here, we have spent evenings in the company of pirates and Vikings. Some have dressed to the higher power. Preachers of the abyss and prayers to the Lord. Polish milkmaids teaching us how to make butter. Protesters from the 70s and, even, someone twerking away long before it was known as twerking. We are an art catalogue. At Noeh’s Ark, all rolled into one. We’ve sung with a turkey. We have brought penguins from far iced sea lands. And we’ve elaborated conceptual paintings in the company of a man with the head of a horse. We’ve heard something we like very much: Romania, Latvians singing in Italian! We’ve sung the praises of a more unified Europe: in 1990. this was a dream, a dream we’ve never stopped dreaming!

The video narration is accompanied with clips from past Eurovision entries such as Molitva, Hard Rock Halleluja, Tornero, etc.

There also follows a backstage video dedicated to all the people and hard work involved in making this year’s event happen, referred to by Mika as a ‘fabulous behind the scenes Eurovision performance.’ Alessandro sends special thanks:

We would like to thank all of them. There are so many of them that they could populate an entire town and they are as united as if they were one great family. What do we do? We thank them one by one? If we tried to thank them all one by one, we would be here until 7am.

The entrants for Spain, the UK and Germany are then invited onstage in turn and clips from rehearsal performances of their songs are shown. The three countries will be voting tonight but, being part of the Big-5 along with France and Italy itself, will be going straight to Saturday’s Grand Final.

First onstage is Chanel from Spain. She is impressed by Laura being able to carry a little bit of their interview in Spanish. When asked whether it is her role as an actress or a performer, where she has to be herself, that she finds more difficult, Chanel replied:

It’s easier, you know (performing at Eurovision), because I’m doing what I love: to dance, to sing and to act and being onstage with the audience – this is amazing!

Asked whether she knows when it was the last time Spain won Eurovision, she cheekily replies: ‘2022?’ to an applause.

UK entrant Sam Ryder is interviewed by Mika and mentions to him that, in his capacity as a TikTok sensation, he has in fact performed covers of Mika’s songs – something that Mika appears to be aware of. Asked what his song, Spaceman, is about, Sam replies:

Spaceman is about loving the things that you are already lucky and blessed enough to have in your life and about coming back to those no matter how far you go away from them.

He also mentions that even internationally established artists like Sia, Alicia Keys and Natasha Bedingfield have tuned in to enjoy Sam’s TikTok content.

Germany is represented by German-American Malik Harris, who, interviewed by Alessandro, likens his Eurovision experience so far to an exciting school trip with friends. When asked, Malik gives his personal favourite sound of beauty:

The sound of beauty for me might be probably the voice of my grandfather. He used to be an opera singer. He sadly passed away a couple of years ago but I still got some recordings of his and, yeah, every time I hear his voice it just gives me shivers

In Italian, that would be ‘brividi‘ then…

Read more in the news archive

Liked what you've read? Subscribe to our Eurovision news!