The five countries which are automatically qualified for the Grand Final are France, Spain, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. This is because the pay the highest amount of fees and costs for the EBU, therefore they don’t have to go through the semi finals. A lot of people criticized this due to fairness and music quality aspects.
The winning country of last year – in this case Denmark – is also automatically qualified as it’s the host country.
The first rehearsals are always not open for the press, so there are no stage photos available. The first press conference is being run on a smaller scale – called meet & greet. None of the delegations gave interviews. That’s a pity if it’s considered as a “once in a lifetime experience” for most of the singers, the press centre is full of journalists who yearn for a photo or interview opportunity. If the delegations are not using this opportunity it’s no wonder that the comments, photos and statements don’t reach the interested people around the world.
Elaiza from Germany had a quite plain stage, while Molly from the UK enjoyed a fire curtain. Basim from Denmark had a big banner of himself as a background which seems to not match the cool stage design, maybe they change it again. France had a solid presentation. Emma from Italy tried several positions on stage, so it was not 100% clear how the performance will be worked out as she is moving a lot. Ruth from Spain had a dark stage with raindrops in the back, very impressive though.
We will know more if the press is allowed to enter the arena.