The first Semi-Final winners' press conference

The First Semi-Final qualifiers Andres Putting (EBU)
Vienna, Austria

On 19 May, the First Semi-Final of the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest was held, with 10 countries qualifying for the Grand Final on Saturday. After the show the lucky winners gathered at the press conference area to share their emotions with the press, and to be drawn to one half of the Grand Final. 

You can also watch it again online in our WebTV player.

The following countries have qualified for the Grand Final in tonight's First Semi-Final:

  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Russia
  • Romania
  • Hungary
  • Greece
  • Estonia
  • Georgia
  • Serbia
  • Belgium

All ten qualifying delegations are being asked two questions each, in the order they were announced in tonight's show, before being drawn to one half of the Grand Final. Their exact draw position will be determined by the producers of the show.

Albania

Elhaida Dani first stated: "When you are in these moments, you never expect it. But hearing the name of my country announced first was crazy, really."

The first question to her was how she felt. "I had this big responsibility of representing my country, and it's not little. Being in the final is amazing. Now the result doesn't matter - just being there is enough. I am so proud of my country", she replied.

On the change of her song from Diell to I'm Alive, she stated: "It was a really late change, in late February the composer decided to withdraw the song - I already thought that's it - we wouldn't make it. But I am really happy to be here now with Zzap'n Chris' song I'm Alive now - I love it."

Albania was drawn to perform in the second half of the Grand Final.

Elhaida Dani draw the 2nd half for Albania in the Final Thomas Hanses (EBU)

Armenia

Genealogy were only represented by one band member - Vahe Tilbian. "We are lost for words, we are surprised and honoured", he stated.

Which was the toughest obstacle to overcome? Head of Delegation Gohar Gasparyan answered: "It was really hard but we succeeded. It was hard to combine six artists with different characters and mentalities. But we have one Genealogy, and that's what unites us." Vahe added: "The beauty of it was that when we got together it was as if we had been together for many many years. Just like a family. And we are very happy about it."

What is the message of Genealogy? Vahe Tilbian: "Spread the message of peace and love, and do it through music. Building Bridges is the motto of the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest, and we did that. We linked five continents, our diaspora, with the homeland Armenia."

Armenia was drawn to perform in the first half of the Grand Final.

Armenia with Genealogy draw the 1st half in the Final Thomas Hanses (EBU)

Russia

Polina Gagarina first said: "Oh my god - this is all I feel now. I am crazily happy - I cried. I have a son already, but this feels like a second child."

How does she feel the emotions from Wiener Stadthalle? Polina replied: "It was really amazing and I am so thankful for that warmest welcome because everybody was singing with me. Thank you all who sang for us."

"I just can say that my song is about love, and we all speak one language: the language of love. It doesn't make a difference who we are. We can build bridges", Polina commented on the message of her song.

Russia was drawn to perform in the second half of the Grand Final.

Polina Gagarina smiles after drawing the 2nd half in the Final for Russia Thomas Hanses (EBU)

Romania

Voltaj first said: "We are very very happy. Thank you for voting for us, it means that our message touches your hearts. Now our message will go on in the Final. I have two sons - my wife and my sons are there. We are very happy that Romania's tradition to be in the Final will go on."

Who would they like to get a phone call from on Sunday morning? Liana Stanciu, Head of Delegation, said: "It's his birthday on Sunday!" The lead singer of the band said: "It's Bono!"

What is their message for the upcoming generation of Romanians? "We must be with children when they grow up. This problem has to be solved immediately, and we are part of Europe. It's awesome to share this message all over the world."

"I cannot imagine my life without my daughter even for one week", Liana Stanciu added.

Romania was drawn to perform in the second half of the Grand Final.

An exultant Romanian delegation draws 2nd hal in the Final Thomas Hanses (EBU)

Hungary

Boggie: "I am so happy and so proud of my singers and my background musicians."

The first question to her was: "Can you tell us about your mindset during tonight's performance?" She replied: "Before going on stage it's not easy after Serbia because it's a real dance song. My song is really calm and peaceful. So I don't use ear monitors during the Serbian song. I always talk to my singers before going on stage, I give them advice how to perform of songs. For me only my message is important, not the visuals, nothing else. And I am so proud that we passed the message."

Does she want to change something in the world? Boggie: "I am a singer-songwriter, and I always express my opinion. Through music we can make the world a better place. I am so happy that Europe understood my message."

Hungary was drawn to perform in the second half of the Grand Final.

Boggie draws the 2nd half for Hungary in the Final Thomas Hanses (EBU)

Greece

Did Maria Elena Kyriakou expect to qualify? "Fifty-fifty", she said. "I was so happy when Greece was called out, and I am so thankful to sing again", she said.

What will happen when she wins the contest, taking into account the crisis in Greece? "We will definitely do it", Maria confirmed.

What takes her breath away in Maria's life? "If I hadn't passed tonight! It is very important for my country, and also with the economic crisis, my country deserves a second chance."

Greece was drawn to perform in the second half of the Grand Final.

Maria-Elena Kyriakou will perform in the 2nd half of the Final for Greece Thomas Hanses (EBU)

Estonia

Elina Born and Stig Rästa were next. "Yes, I cried - I am an emotional girl", Elina first stated. "I want to thank everyone for voting for us. We told everyone we'd take it step by step, and now we took the first step", Stig added.

Why did Stig bring a Finnish flag? "We have a similar language, we have the same anthem, we live just accross the sea. And I love the Finnish song", he said. "We have to support each other - we love each other", Elina added.

About the Finnish band PKN, Stig added: "I've known this band for a few years already. Music-wise it's a bold choice, and the song stood out from the others I guess."

Estonia was drawn to perform in the first half of the Grand Final.

Stig Rästa thumbs up after Elina Born draws the first half for Estonia in the Final Thomas Hanses (EBU)

Georgia

Nina Sublatti's first statement was: "I feel really proud - I feel Georgia's heartbeat right now. They were fighting to be free, they are fighting to be Europe."

The first question was if her country was a Warrior as well. "Absolutely. I always hear the question: Why Warrior? It's weird that it is in a young girl's mind to be a Warrior and a feminist. This is really hard to explain what it means for Georgia to be a Warrior - we have been fighters for centuries", Nina replied.

How does it feel to be alone on stage? "I was not alone on stage - the whole of Georgia was with me. And I also had backing singers, they were just standing behind the stage", Nina Sublatti said.

Georgia was drawn to perform in the second half of the Grand Final.

Georgia's Nina Sublatti draws the 2nd half for the Final Thomas Hanses (EBU)

Serbia

Bojana Stamenov: "You are all so beautiful - thank you all for supporting me. Reporters know that I love to talk but you left me speechless."

The first question to her was if she was nervous: "I was nervous before I got on stage but when I got on stage it was beautiful. And number 9 is my lucky number, and I was ninth to be called to the final. And Marija Serifovic was called as number nine when she won. So, read between the lines", she said.

How does it feel to work with Marija Serifovic? At that question, it turned out that the 2007 winner was part of the audience. "The most important advice was: Be yourself, be natural, concentrate on the song, and enjoy. And I still cannot believe that we are in the Final", Bojana said.

Serbia was drawn to perform in the first half of the Grand Final.

Bojana Stamenov drew the first half for Serbia in the Final Thomas Hanses (EBU)

Belgium

Loïc Nottet first said: "I am more stressed answering questions now than singing on stage."

What went to his head before he was announced to qualify? "Yes of course I was nervous because it was a tough competition tonight", Loïc replied.

How can the youngest generation of Belgium build bridges to reinforce the unity of the country? "I love Eurovision because you only have to listen to your heart and music. Tonight we were Belgians and we were united, and I was proud that the entire Belgium was behind me. Thank you Belgium, and thank you Europe", he answered.

Belgium was drawn to perform in the first half of the Grand Final.

Loïc Nottet draws the fist half for Belgium in the Final Thomas Hanses (EBU)

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