Czech singer Mikolas Josef makes Eurovision final

The Czech entry is among the songs most favored to win the annual song contest

The Czech Republic has made it to the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest for the second time. Mikolas Josef competed in the semifinal round at Altice Arena in Lisbon with his song “Lie to Me.” Ten out of 19 countries made it to the final from the first semifinal round. In addition to the Czech Republic, the other winners are Austria, Estonia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Israel, Bulgaria, Albania, Finland and Ireland.

The second semifinal is May 10, and then 26 countries will compete in the final May 12, which will be televised on ČT1 at 9 pm. Josef will perform in the second half of the final.

In the semifinal, he performed the three-minute song in a schoolboy outfit with suspenders and a black bow tie, with his slicked back. He looked a bit like a young Matt Damon in this costume.

He was wearing a leather backpack while he sang and danced to the song's funky beat. Two other male dancers accompanied him in the stage. The song ended with smoke effects, and Josef did a large jump.

During rehearsals, he injured himself, so some of the choreography was scaled back from what had been planned. But Josef said at the time of the injury that he had no intention of dropping out. He also said the outpouring of support showed the Eurovision spirit.

“I worked for this a long time. I am going to do my best,” he said at a May 3 press conference after the injury.

He did not rule out doing a backflip in the final performance. “We came here wanting to do flips, but just being able to perform was a special moment. I do take it even more seriously than before. Maybe I’m going crazy and I will do a flip. I was advised not to, but we’ve been practicing it for five months,” he said May 8 after succeeding in the first semifinal. Josef appeared at the post-semifinal press conference draped in a Czech flag.

Eurovision observers say that this is the best chance that the Czech Republic has ever had of winning. “I have been at Eurovision regularly since 2001 and this is the best song ever sent by the Czech Republic. It is very contemporary,” Radio International journalist Jürgen Börnig said. Oddsmakers list the favorites this year as the Czech Republic, Australia, Bulgaria, France and Israel. Australia has been participating in Eurovision since 2015, despite not being in Europe.

The official video for Josef's song “Lie to Me,” published at the end of January, has garnered 2.8 million views. It has funk and r'n'b elements, and some upbeat energy. This is a change from the more serious ballads the Czech Republic has entered recently. Josef's entry was selected from more than 400 songs submitted for the Czech national selection. It was chosen by a mix of popular vote and a jury.

Josef. 22 years old, is a composer, producer, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and director of music videos, according to a biography provided by Eurovision. He has been playing the guitar since he was 5 years old. He grew up in Prague and Znojmo, but now lives mainly in Vienna. He graduated from the English College in Prague but skipped university to concentrate on with his musical career.

The Czech Republic first participated in Eurovision in 2007, with Kabát singing “Malá dáma.” They scored one point in the semifinals, coming in last and failing to make it to the finals. In 2008 singer Tereza Kerndlová did better with “Have Some Fun,” scoring nine points, but this was only good enough to be second from last.

In the third attempt, Romani band scored no points, one of 16 times since 1975 when a new voting system was introduced that a band did so poorly.

The Czech Republic dropped out after that and did not participate again until 2015 when Marta Jandová and Václav Noid Bárta sang the heavily produced ballad “Hope Never Dies,” scoring 33 points, good enough for 13th place in their semifinal, but still not making it into the final round.

In the 2016 show in Stockholm, the Czech Republic at least made it to the finals. Gabriela Gunčíková performed the song “I Stand” and came in ninth in the semifinal and 25th in the final, for next the last place. She got no points from TV voting and 41 points from the jury. The final was watched by 204 million people in 42 countries.

In 2017 The Eurovision Song Contest is organized by members of the European Broadcasting Union. It is the most watched non-sporting event in the world and is seen not only in the participating countries but also in Australia, Brazil, Japan and the US. It was first held in 1956 and is one of the longest-running shows in television history. Viewers and a jury select the winner. Viewers cannot vote by phone for their own country.

Josef was asked to consider representing the Czech Republic in the 2017 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with the song “My Turn” but was not interested, as he felt the song was not in his style. In the end, Martina Bárta sang “My Turn” in the competition but came in 13th in her semifinal round and failed to make it to the finals.

ABBA remains the most successful act to ever win the contest, and “Waterloo” in 2005 was named the best song ever to come from the contest. Other winners include Celine Dion, Julio Iglesias, Olivia Newton-John, Cliff Richard, Loreen and Conchita Wurst. Karel Gott participated in 1968, representing Austria, but he did not win.

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Czech Eurovision entry announced - Prague.TV 31.01.2018

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