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malmo 2024

Eurovision: Bambie Thug confirms they will perform in final after qualifying from semis tonight

The Cork-born ‘witch’ broke a bleak spell for Ireland at the competition by finishing among the top ten acts tonight.


IRELAND’S BAMBIE THUG is set to perform in Saturday’s Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest after being named as one of the qualifying acts from tonight’s semi-final in Malmö Arena. 

Hosts Malin Åkerman and Petra Mede announced the Cork-born singer second last in the list of ten qualifiers, sparking a frenzy online among Irish Eurovision watchers. Taoiseach Simon Harris was amongst those tweeting their congratulations.

The Cork-born ‘witch’ breaks a bleak spell for Irish acts at the competition. With one exception in 2018, Ireland has had a decade-long run of not progressing beyond the contest’s weekday shows. 

Their odds to win the contest outright have been narrowing in recent days, and some bookies had the singer as high as fifth favourite earlier today. 

Eurovision Song Contest / YouTube

Surrounded by a ring of candles and accompanied by choreographer Matt Williams in the guise of a mythic half-man, half-monster, their performance built to an intense crescendo replete with pyrotechnics and a surprise costume change. 

A problem with the prop candles during last night’s ‘as live’ dress rehearsal at the Malmö Arena appeared to have been ironed out in time for tonight’s show, and both performers hit their marks as planned in what was a complicated routine. 

‘Crown the witch’ – a hashtag-friendly phrase that essentially serves as the singer’s campaign slogan – flashed on the big screen as the song ended, to a rapturous reception within the venue. 

Tonight’s performance comes in the wake of a months-long campaign calling for RTÉ – which, as the national broadcaster, manages Ireland’s Eurovision entry – to pull out of the European Broadcasting Union-run event if Israel is allowed to compete. 

Amid the controversy Bambie Thug has said repeatedly in recent weeks that they stand with those supporting a boycott, but still intended to take part. 

Asked by The Journal to confirm whether they now planned to take part in the final, the singer confirmed that they would. 

They said they had been having an “out of body experience” since being announced among the qualifiers. 

“Our team is very small and I’m an independent artist,” the singer added. 

It’s incredible to be here – our country hasn’t been here since 2018.

Also progressing from tonight’s show are Serbia, Portugal, Slovenia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Finland, Cyprus, Luxembourg and favourites Croatia.

The results tonight are based on public votes only. On Saturday the national juries will also weigh in and the tallies for each act will be split 50:50 across the two systems.

And although Ireland were announced ninth in the list of ten tonight, that doesn’t necessarily reflect where the act fared in the actual vote. Those stats are kept secret until after Sunday, when the entire contest is over.  

‘Crown the witch’ 

Hundreds of Irish supporters have made the journey to the southern Swedish port city, which is welcoming around 100,000 fans from around the world for the contest and surrounding events. 

Fans who spoke to The Journal in the city ahead of tonight’s show said they’d been left in no doubt Bambie Thug would progress.

“The staging was breaktaking,” Dubliner Daragh Kempson enthused. His brother Ronan said he’d started to entertain the prospect that Ireland could win the actual final – “but I don’t want to jinx it”.

A large group of Irish supporters attending Monday’s dress rehearsal for the semi-final could be heard chanting “crown the witch” as they made their way home from the arena. The phrase has been ringing out wherever the Macroom singer encounters their supporters. 

The Journal / YouTube

There was a raucous reception for Ireland’s performance within the arena tonight – and, while it was clear Bambie Thug was one of the hits of the night, Croatia’s Baby Lasagna remains the favourite to win the trophy on Saturday with the none-more-Eurovision ‘Rim Tim Tagi Dim’ .

Fronted by Croatian singer-songwriter Marko Purišić the group’s entry is, on the face of it, simply a very catchy rap-rock song with a nonsense call-and-response chorus – however, this being the Eurovision Song Contest, there’s also a serious message within the lyrics about the plight of young people forced to emigrate to seek success.

Elsewhere, a well-delivered performance from Ukraine’s alyona alyona & Jerry Heil – who made clever use of the state-of-the art stage setup – went over well in the arena.

On the pure novelty end of the spectrum, Finland’s Windows95man climbed out of a giant paper mache egg and managed to cram multiple bits of comedy business into his act while performing in an ill-fitting thong. 

Returning some class to proceedings, three-time Eurovision winner Johnny Logan provided one of the interval acts tonight – the Irish singer performing a stripped-back version of Euphoria, Loreen’s Swedish winner from 2012.

Still known in Scandinavia as the ‘King of Eurovision’, Logan was the only person to have won the contest twice before Loreen’s return victory in Liverpool last year.  

Eurovision Song Contest / YouTube

In a change to the contest this year three acts that have already pre-qualified for Saturday’s final – the UK, Germany and Sweden – performed tonight in addition to the 15 countries seeking spots in the final, but weren’t subjected to voting. 

The UK and Germany are part of the so-called ‘Big Five’ – the nations who provide the largest TV audiences and contribute most cash for the event – alongside France, Spain and Italy. The host nation is also always allowed a free pass into the final. 

The second semi-final takes place on Thursday with the Grand Final following on Saturday night.

It was confirmed in a post-show draw tonight that Ireland will perform in the first half of the show this weekend. 

Tuning into Eurovision and looking for something to read? You”ll find a quick guide to this year’s contest here, and we published this comprehensive piece on the controversy around Israel’s inclusion at the weekend

The Journal’s Daragh Brophy is in Malmö covering the contest and surrounding events – you can follow him here on Twitter/X

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