The best thing about the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) on Thursday evening was the entry from Austria. The duo Teya & Salena was doubly pleased: Teodora Špirić and Selina-Maria Edbauer not only made it to the final, they had already received the prize for the best lyrics of this ESC, the Eurostory Best Lyrics Award, together with their co-authors Pele Loriano and Ronald Janeček. For a song that bears the curious title "Who The Hell Is Edgar?". Also, Who the hell is Edgar?

Peter-Philipp Schmitt

Editor in the "Germany and the World" department.

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It is Edgar Allan Poe, the famous American writer. He allegedly wrote the lyrics of the song, which is supposed to make the two young women, Teya is 23 years old and comes from Vienna, Salena is 25 and comes from Leoben, rich. But not at all: The result is "zero dot zero zero three", as they sing, 0.003 euros. This is exactly the amount Spotify pays on average for a stream. Only very few artists can get rich with it.

Italy in second place

Third place among the best lyricists went to another semi-finalist who can also look forward to a place in the final: the Armenian Elen Yeremyan, known as Brunette, with her song "Future Lover". Italy's hope Marco Mengoni finished second with "Due vite", but he is seeded in the final anyway. Italy had previously been awarded the prize for the best lyrics by an international jury three times in a row. For Germany, Trong Hieu was there in 2023, who had taken part in this year's preliminary round "Our Song for Liverpool" with the song "Dare To Be Different" and came in fourth place.

Overall, the participants of the second semi-final were much weaker than those of the first. The performance of the Greek Victor Vernicos was particularly bad. At the age of 16, he was just old enough to even be allowed to participate in the ESC. The poor boy in the khaki safari suit with shorts jumped blissfully across the stage, but with his weak voice he cut a rather sad figure. This is only the third time since 2001 that Greece has not been represented in a final.

Next are Cyprus, Belgium, Poland and Albania

Denmark with its social media star Reiley (he has almost eleven million followers on Tiktok!) also flew out of the contest more than rightly with his Barbie dollhouse number "Breaking My Heart" dipped all in pink. Even Iceland's Diljá, who even rolled on the floor in a silver suit that was far too big, did not have the power to sing her way into the final with "Power". Voyager succeeded in doing this with "Promise". The Australian progressive metal band from Perth, which was founded in 1999, also includes singer and keyboardist Daniel "Nephil" Estrin, who was born in Germany and grew up in Buchholz in the Nordheide.

Also – not entirely unexpectedly – are Andrew Lambrou, who competes for Cyprus with the title "Break A Broken Heart", the Belgian Gustaph ("Because Of You"), the Polish Blanka ("Solo") and the Albanian Albina ("Duje"), who brings her whole family on stage. However, Iru from Georgia, who was very hyped at times, was eliminated with "Echo".

The diversity of languages is striking

What is also striking, in addition to many weak contributions this year, is the diversity of languages, which speaks for a new patriotism in Europe, to paraphrase Johannes Rau: Whoever loves his fatherland is a patriot; a nationalist, on the other hand, is someone who despises the fatherlands of others. Although not always in its entirety, this year's sings will be in Serbian, Portuguese, Croatian, Hebrew, Romanian, Ukrainian, Czech, Bulgarian, Finnish, Latvian, Armenian, Slovenian, Albanian, Lithuanian, French, Italian, Spanish and – of course – English. What's missing: German. A good 100 million people in Europe speak German, only Russian is spoken more frequently on our continent.

The ESC has always been about diversity, no other event stands up for the values that Europe stands for. This was once again visible in a grandiose way on Thursday evening. The three presenters Alesha Dixon, Julia Sanina and Hannah Waddingham went into a queen machine and came out as drag queens. Under the motto "Be who you want to be", the three queens first sang Jessie Ware's "Free Yourself", then "Free Your Mind" by En Vogue, followed by Ultra Naté's "Free" and Jessica Mauboy's "We Got Love".

A diverse and also queer group of supposed spectators, who had previously stormed the stage, danced to it. There is no better way to show what the ESC stands for. This is precisely why Turkey has turned its back on the event. She left the ESC after Conchita Wurst won in 2014 because her performance and thus the Song Contest for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is supposedly un-Turkish.

Perhaps also because the ESC takes such a clear stand and stands for a cosmopolitan and liberal Europe, the Song Contest is also so well received in Germany, especially by young people. One, the special interest channel of ARD, could be more than satisfied with the first semi-final on Tuesday evening. The show increased to 6.3 percent market share in the target group of fourteen to forty-nine-year-olds, which was an increase of 1.5 points compared to the second semi-final in 2022. Germany had been entitled to vote in it, as it was this year in the first one. In total, an average of 590,000 viewers tuned in, an increase of 2022,90 compared to 000. However, the post-Corona record of 700,000 for the first semi-final in 2021 was not reached. But the wedding with Corona was an exception in itself and can therefore hardly be compared with today.