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2011 - 2nd Semi-Final

2011 logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
12 May 2011
Contest type: 
Semi-Final 2
Venue: 
Fortuna Düsseldorf Arena (Espirit Arena)
Broadcaster: 
NDR
Presenter(s): 
Anke Engelke, Judith Rakers, Stefan Raab
Other shows this year: 
About the contest: 

Germany hosted the contest for the first time in 28 years. Last time, in 1983, the most memorable aspect of the contest was the thrice repetition of everything that was said (in German, English and French), making the contest seem a lot longer than the three hours, 20 minutes in actually lasted. This time round, the presentation was much less formal, much more relaxed and one of the more entertaining presentations in recent years. Actress Judith Rakers brought an air of professionalism to proceedings, while comedian Anke Engelke and Stefan Raab, already known to fans as a bit of a joker, brought some slapstick to the show. It was a welcome break from the straight-laced approach usually adopted by Executive Producers.

The arena chosen by NDR is usually associated with football matches, being the home of Bundesliga team, Fortuna Dusseldorf. However, it was built as a multi-purpose stadium and so was easily converted into an arena fit for the world’s biggest musical event. The Green Room, where the singers hung out when they were not on stage, was hidden at the back of the stage and revealed in spectacular fashion at the start of the voting.

Just when you thought the contest was shredding its image as home of the daft song title, along came the 2011 version to relight the unjustified reputation. There was a Haba, Haba, Boom Boom, Da Da Dam and a Ding Dong.

The biggest story of the contest was a very tragic one. The Icelandic song, Coming Home, was written by Sjonni Brink. He was also due to perform the song himself in the Icelandic semi-finals, but died before they took place. Instead of withdrawing the song, six of his friends came together to perform the song in his memory. They proved to be an unstoppable force as they won the right to represent Iceland in Dusseldorf. Sentiment can be a powerful emotion which some felt could have given Iceland its first victory. In the end, despite a strong and professional performance which would have made Sjonni proud, reaching the final was as good as it got. 

Every contest usually sees accusations of plagiarism, and 2011 was no different. The band representing Denmark, A Friend In London, had no sooner won the Danish final than videos were being posted on contest related sites which showed more than a passing similarity between their song, New Tomorrow, and three or four other songs. As is not uncommon, no official complaint was received by the EBU so the fuss soon died down.

While Denmark managed to have no problems where there may have been some, the Belarusians were not so lucky. They selected Anastasiya Vinnikova to sing a very patriotic song called Born in Byelorussia. However, the lyrics didn’t pass the political content test and so Anastasiya was sent to Dusseldorf with the equally patriotic but less political I Love Belarus.

For the first time since the very early days of the Eurovision Song Contest, the winner of the previous year came back to defend her title. Lena made it known soon after Satellite had given her and Germany victory that she would welcome the opportunity to participate again in Dusseldorf. This was an offer that NDR didn’t turn down, and so songs were commissioned for the German public to choose for her.

After many years of campaigning by fans, Italian broadcaster, RAI, submitted an entry for the first time since 1997. A continuation of the return of one of the favourite Eurovision countries may be in doubt due to the low viewing figures in Italy, especially in the second semi-final in which they voted. Italy was not the only nation to enter the contest after an absence, San Marino entered for the second time, Hungary also came back into the fold and Austria also entered again having dropped out after the 2007 contest. All in all, this brought a field of 43 delegations to Germany to fight it out.

The winner of the 1998 contest, Dana International came back to try again. Other returning acts were Dino Merlin and Zdob și Zdub. Some of the acts were already known to the viewers. Blue put their credibility on the line for the United Kingdom, while Jedward tried to gain some by ‘singing’ for Ireland.

And Then There Were Ten More

pic10.jpg

Following on from the first semi-final on Tuesday, tonight, it was the turn of those drawn in the second semi-final to take to the stage and compete for the support of the public and juries for the right to appear in the final on Saturday.

Videos from second semi-final dress rehearsal

3JS on stage at the dress rehearsal for second semi-final ©  EuroVisionary

The second semi-final is kicking off in just an hour. Ten more countries will qualify for the final held on Saturday. Here you can see the performances from the dress rehearsal of all 19 acts competing tonight.

Last dress rehearsal of the 2nd semi final

Ireland Dress rehearsal (c) Eurovisionary.com

The final dress rehearsal of the second semi final started at 15.00 o'clock. It was the last chance for the participants to get everything well prepared for the live show tonight. Just like during the 3rd dress rehearsal of the first semi final, most of the artists wore casual clothes instead of the ones which they will wear during the live show.

Press conference: EBU and NDR

EBU&NDR press conference ©  Viktoria Karlsson, EuroVisionary

As always during the last week of Eurovision Song Contest EBU hosted a press conference together with the host broadcaster, this year being the German broadcaster NDR. The two main subjects up for discussion was what has happened so far during this years Eurovision Song Contest and what exciting news we can look forward to in the future.

2nd Semi-Final - A Prediction

After the shocks (Switzerland in) and surprises (Poland out) of the first semi-final, attention now turns to the second semi-final on Thursday. There are nineteen songs vying for the ten available places left in the final on Saturday. What chances does each one have? Read on to find out.

Day 7 - Press Conferences

Raphael Gualazzi ©  eurovision.tv

Today was one of the most anticipated days in the rehearsal schedule. While five of the countries in the second semi-final rehearsed, the real interest lay in the first rehearsals of the ‘Big 5’, including hosts Germany, two of the favourites in United Kingdom and France and the long awaited return of Italy.

Good second rehearsal by Bulgaria

Poli Genova 2nd rehearsal (c) Eurovision.tv

Right after the finish of the Cypriot rehearsal Poli Genova and her team entered the stage. Poli also performed last night at the Dutch party, but she did not seem to be tired at all.

Day 4 - Press Conferences

Jedward ©  eurovision.tv

Today saw the remaining ten delegations on the second semi-final have the opportunity to rehearse, as well as holding the obligatory press conference.

Poli Genova reaches for the sky in her first rehearsal

Poli Genova (c) Eurovision.tv

Day four at the Eurovision house kicked off with a lively rehearsal from Poli Genova.  Rock is an interesting way to start the day and she didn't disappoint.

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