Eurovision 2019 will kick off tonight with first semi-final

Sarah McTernan

Whether you like it or not, Eurovision 2019 kicks off tonight with the first semi-final.

This year’s contest, which is being hosted by Israel, has proven controversial and has been overshadowed by months of protest and calls for a boycott.

A petition asking Ireland's Eurovision entrant Sarah McTernan to pull out of the competition has received 7,000 signatures and comes after Galway City Council passed a motion supporting calls for a boycott of the competition.

The motion noted that "it will be openly used for political and militaristic propaganda purposes".

RTÉ has consistently held the line that the Eurovision is a non-political event and that no member of the European Broadcasting Union is boycotting this year’s competition.

As a long-running non-political, entertainment event, the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) is designed to bring audiences and countries together. RTÉ is confident that the European Broadcasting Union and the host broadcaster will take all necessary steps to safeguard the non-political character of the event throughout the organization of the competition.

McTernan is set to perform in the second semi-final on Thursday, against countries such as Russia, Malta, Denmark, Sweden and this years’ favourites The Netherlands.

Earlier this week, the 25-year-old struggled with wisdom teeth pain but speaking to RTÉ today, she said she had recovered well and is feeling confident about her performance.

The Clare native will sing ’22′ which was written by songwriters Janieck, Marcia “Misha” Sondeijker and Roulsen.

She will perform on a moving stage set up to look like an American-style diner alongside two female dancers, Adele Dempsey and Rihanna Binns.

Here's a sneak peek of her rehearsal:

The second semi-final will air on Thursday, RTÉ 2 at 8pm. The first semi-final will air tonight, Tuesday (RTÉ 2, 8pm).

The Eurovision Song Contest final takes place on Saturday night, May 18, airing on RTÉ One from 8pm.

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