Eurovision 2016 – Grand Final The Running Order

svteurovisionLast night after the Qualifiers Press Conference where starting half’s were drawn SVT announced the running order for the Grand Final on Saturday night.

Belgium, Bulgaria, Australia, Israel, Poland were drawn for the first half while Georgia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Serbia, Latvia were drawn for the second half.

The full running order was proposed by the shows producers at SVT and approved by the EBU Executive Supervisor, Jon Ola Sand and by the Chairman of the Reference Group, Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling.

  1. Belgium
  2. Czech Republic
  3. The Netherlands
  4. Azerbaijan
  5. Hungary
  6. Italy
  7. Israel
  8. Bulgaria
  9. Sweden
  10. Germany
  11. France
  12. Poland
  13. Australia
  14. Cyprus
  15. Serbia
  16. Lithuania
  17. Croatia
  18. Russia
  19. Spain
  20. Latvia
  21. Ukraine
  22. Malta
  23. Georgia
  24. Austria
  25. United Kingdom
  26. Armenia

The Czech Republic get the dreaded 2nd position, no country has won the contest from this position.

Following the semifinal’s, I for one am looking forward to see what SVT, Petra and Mans have in store for us on Saturday night!

Eurovision 2016 – Semi Final 2 Results

semi2qualifiersThe Second Semi Final of the 61st Eurovision Song Contest took place tonight in Stockholm and what a Semi it was. From start to finish, Petra Mede and Måns Zelmerlöw but on an amazing show. Well done to the host broadcaster SVT, I’m really looking forward to Saturdays show! (I especially liked Mans here…)

The show started off with an amazing opening act on “What is Eurovision?” Do watch it, it reminded me of the interval act from 2013, the Swedish Smörgåsbord  also starring Petra.

We also got a bit of history of the Eurovision Song Contest in the form of Numbers which amazed the nerds like me…

So on to the qualifiers. The ten countries that made it to the Grand Final are:

  • Latvia
  • Georgia
  • Bulgaria
  • Australia
  • Ukraine
  • Serbia
  • Poland
  • Israel
  • Lithuania
  • Belgium

So hard luck to Ireland, Switzerland, Belarus, FYR Macedonia, Slovenia, Denmark, Norway and Albania who don’t make it through.

For those wondering I got 9/10 again on my predictions! Damn you Georgia!

We shall find out the running order for the final tomorrow ahead of the Jury Final tomorrow night. Join me again on the @UCCExpress Twitter account for some views and opinions on the final which will air at 8pm on Saturday Night on RTÉ One with Marty Whelan and on BBC One with Graham Norton.


Eurovision 2016 – Semi Final 2 Predictions

eurovision-rte-1Tonight the second Semi-Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 takes place in the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden. Another 18 countries are battling it out for the remaining 10 places in Saturdays Grand Final.

Tonight of course is a big night for Irish Eurovision fans, as Nicky Byrne will be flying the flag for us and performing 7th tonight.

As well as the 18 countries taking part, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom will be voting. We will also get to see snippets of their rehearsals after the voting window has closed.

Here’s a reminder of what we will be seeing tonight and here’s the preview I wrote

So who will qualify?

In no particular order

  • Bulgaria
  • Australia
  • Serbia
  • Latvia
  • Israel
  • Ukraine
  • Lithuania
  • Poland
  • Belgium
  • FYR Macedonia

Do you agree? Let me know your predictions in the comments!

Eurovision Song Contest Semi Final 2 will be shown tonight at 8pm on RTÉ 2 with Marty Whelan or on BBC 4 with Scott Mills and Mel Giedroyc

I shall be tweeting from @UCCExpress throughout the show.

Eurovision 2016 – Semi-Final 1 Results

semiqualifiersLast night the first Semi-Final of the 61st Eurovision Song Contest took place at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden. The show was opened with a performance of last’s years winning entry “Hero’s” by Måns Zelmerlöw who is also one of the hosts this year. He was joined in hosting duties by Petra Mede who also hosted the contest in Malmö in 2013. They did a great job of hosting the show. They kept it funny and moving along.

After 18 great entries, a thoughtful interval act, called the “Grey People” choreographed by Benke Rydman on the Migrant Crisis in the Middle East, The Mediterranean and around the world was perfromed and it is worth a viewing if you missed it. It will make you stop and think

After the interval act, we did get to see shots of the rehearsals for the three other countries voting tonight, France, Spain and Sweden. An interesting change to just seeing music videos.

The results were then announced. It is worth noting that the vote of one Russian Juror was disqualified after she periscoped part of the Jury Semi-Final

The qualifiers who join hosts Sweden, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom are

  • Azerbaijan
  • Russia
  • The Netherlands
  • Hungary
  • Croatia
  • Austria
  • Armenia
  • Czech Republic
  • Cyprus
  • Malta

The eagle eyed among you will notice I got 9/10 in terms of my predictions with Estonia the only one missing, Cyprus qualifying instead.

So we say goodbye to Finland, Greece, Moldova, San Marino, Estonia, Montenegro, Iceland and Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is the first year that Greece has failed to qualify for the final since the introduction of the Semi-Finals in 2004.

After the show at the winners press conference as draw took place to determine which half of the show the performers would appear on Saturday. The grand final is shaping up like this:

First Half

  • Sweden (who perform 9th)
  • Azerbaijan
  • Czech Republic
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Netherlands

Second Half

  • Armenia
  • Austria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Malta
  • Russia
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom

It looks like a great show on Saturday night.

Don’t forget the Second Semi-Final will be on Thursday night at 8pm on RTÉ and BBC 4. Ireland’s Nicky Bryne will be flying the flag for Ireland and we get to vote! I’ll be on the UCC Express twitter account @UCCExpress again so do join me!


Eurovision 2016 – Semi Final 1 Prediction

At 8pm (GMT+1) the 1st Eurovision Song Contest Semi Final will be on our screens live from the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden. 18 countries are vying for the 10 slots in the grand final where the will join hosts Sweden and the Big Five automatic qualifiers.. The juries voted last night and tonight is the televote. As well as the 18 countries taking part France, Spain and Sweden will vote tonight.

Here is a quick recap of the entries and be sure to check out my preview of Semi Final 1.

So what are my predictions for the 10 qualifier?

Just like when they are announced tonight, these are in no particular order.

  • Russia
  • Armenia
  • Hungary
  • Czech Republic
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Estonia
  • Austria
  • Croatia
  • Azerbaijan

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Eurovision Song Contest Semi Final 1 will be shown tonight at 8pm on RTÉ 2 with Marty Whelan or on BBC 4 with Scott Mills and Mel Giedroyc

I shall be tweeting from @UCCExpress throughout the show.

Eurovision 2016 – My Top 5

I am going to try and put up a post a day on Eurovision this week and today I am going to post my Top 5 entries to the 61st Eurovision Song Contest. Do you agree? Whats yours? Let me know in the comments

5 Lithuania

4 Russia

3 Bulgaria

2 Sweden

1 France


Eurovision 2016 – Grand Final Preview

Its Eurovision week!!! Its just two days to the First Semi-Final on Tuesday followed by the Second Semi-Final on Thursday. So I am a tad excited! (That may be an understatement). Check out my previews of Semi-Final 1 and Semi-Final 2

So its time to look at the automatic qualifiers for the Grand Final which takes place on Saturday 14th of May. They will be joined by 10 acts from each of the Semi Finals. So who are the automatic finalists? They are our Host’s Sweden and the Big Five contributors to the European Broadcasting Union, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Only Sweden’s place in the show is known and it will be Friday before the running order for the Final will be known. Sweden will perform 9th on the night.

So lets take a look at the songs we will definitely be seeing next Saturday.

Continue reading “Eurovision 2016 – Grand Final Preview”

New Irish Government Nominated

newgov2This evening in the Dáil following Enda Kenny’s re-election as Taoiseach. The following have been nominated as members of the Governments for the 32nd Dáil.

  • Taoiseach & Minister for Defence: Enda Kenny (FG)
  • Chief Whip: Regina Doherty (FG)
  • Tainiste & Minister for Justice and Equality: Francis Fitzgerald (FG)
  • Minister for Finance: Michael Noonan (FG)
  • Minister for Public expenditure and Reform: Paschal Donohue (FG)
  • Minister for Social Protection: Leo Varadkar (FG)
  • Minister for Health: Simon Harris (FG)
  • Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport: Shane Ross (Ind)
  • Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Michael Creed (FG)
  • Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht: Heather Humphreys
  • Minister for Communications, Climate Change and National Resources: Denis Naughton (Ind)
  • Minister for Children and Youth Affairs: Katerine Zappone (Ind)
  • Minister for Education and Skills: Richard Bruton (FG)
  • Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government: Simon Coveney (FG)
  • Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade: Charles Flanagan (FG)
  • Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation: Mary Mitchell O’Connor (FG)
  • Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Defence: Paul Kehoe (FG)
  • Super Junior Minister who will attend Cabinet and have special responsibility for disability: Finian McGrath (Ind)
  • Attorney General: Maria Whelan SC

Ireland to get a new Government

Enda Kenny is set to make history on today when he is re-elected Taoiseach, the first Fine Gael Taoiseach to do so. Dáil Eireann will meet today at 12pm to vote on the nomination following the successful negotiations with Fianna Fail and Independent TDs.

After first negotiating a Confidence and Supply Agreement in the ‘Trinity Talks’ with Fianna Fáil, a series of deals were then completed with a range of Independent TDs. Some Independent TDs including Dublin South West TD Katherine Zappone, Roscommon-Galway TD Denis Naughton and Dublin Rathdown TD Shane Ross are also expected to made ministers. Continue reading “Ireland to get a new Government”

#Seanad16 – Administrative Panel

Mark Daly - Elected Count 1, Fianna Fail
Mark Daly – Elected Count 1, Fianna Fail
Niall Ó Donnghaile - Elected Count 1, Sinn Fein
Niall Ó Donnghaile – Elected Count 1, Sinn Fein

Candidates: 17
Seats: 7
Total Valid Poll: 1,124,000
Quota: 140,501
At least 3 Candidates to be elected from each sub-panel
Elected Candidates: 9
State of the Parties: FF 2, FG 2,SF 1, Lab 1, Ind 1

In change Fianna Fail’s Mark Daly topped the poll in the Administration Panel. He recieved 184 1st preference votes, putting him well over the quota. The trick now will be for Fianna Fail to get two more elected, Diarmuid Wilson and Mary Fitzpatrick will be ones to watch. Diarmuid Wilson was elected on the final count as he reached the quota following the elimination of Independent Candidated Thomas Welby.

Sinn Feins Niall Ó Donnghaile was also elected on first count continuing to show their excellent vote management in this election. He received 150 1st preferences. His transfers did favour Independent candidates.

For Labour Kevin Humphreys will be hoping to deprive Fianna Fail of their 3rd seat. He got 99 votes on the first count. Humphreys was elected 13th count after all the Fine Gael candidates were eliminated, ensuring that Fianna Fail only got two seats.

Fine Gaels Maura Hopkins got 177 votes on the 1st count, which is the highest vote received by a Fine Gael candidate in these elections. Fine Gael do look to get a second seat on this panel, more then likely Martin Conway who is on 73. Following the elimination of Paudie Coffey, Maura Hopkins was elected on the 10th count. Martin Conway will join her in the Seanad after he was elected on 12th count following the elimination of Tom Seahan.

For the independents though Thomas Welby polled well the panels may go against him and see someone else elected. This will be one to watch as the count continues. John Dolan was elected on the last count by the virtue of being the only candidate left on the ‘outside’ panel, as Welby was ahead of him throughout the count.


  • Daly, Mark (FF) Count 1
  • Ó Donnghaile, Niall (SF) Count 1
  • Hopkins, Maura (FG) Count 10
  • Conway, Martin (FG) Count 12
  • Humphreys, Kevin (Lab) Count 13
  • Wilson, Diarmuid (FF) Count 15
  • Dolan, John (Ind) Count 15


  • Roche Mary (Ind) Count 3
  • O’Grady, Rosalenn (Ind) Count 4
  • Irwin, Jonathan (Ind) Count 5
  • Dempsey, Lorraine (Ind) Count 6
  • Power, Sean (FF) Count 7
  • Coghlan, Eamonn (FG) Count 8
  • Coffey, Paudie (FG) Count 9
  • Sheahan, Tom (FG) Count 11
  • Welby, Thomas J. (Ind) Count 13
  • Fitzpatrick, Mary (FF) Not Elected.

Check out Adrian Kavanagh’s Blog for some perspectives and see for the results as they come in.

Follow @oireachtasnews for updates on the vocational panels.

Current Seanad Standings

FF: 14
FG: 13
SF: 7
Ind: 4
Lab: 4
GP: 1