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Ireland’s Sarah McTernan kicks off second Eurovision semi-final

Sarah McTernan at Eurovision (Thomas Hanses)
Sarah McTernan at Eurovision (Thomas Hanses)

Ireland’s Sarah McTernan has kicked off the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel.

She took to the stage to perform the upbeat pop song 22 at the Expo Tel Aviv venue flanked by two backing singers dressed in pink.

McTernan, 25, was second to appear after Armenia’s Srbuk sang Walking Out against a backdrop of pyrotechnics.

McTernan is hoping to change Ireland’s recent fortunes in the contest.

Like the UK, Ireland is a longstanding participant, appearing 52 times, but has not won since 1996 with Eimear Quinn’s The Voice.

Moldova’s Anna Odobescu impressed with a rousing rendition of Stay before the night’s first favourite made his Eurovision debut.

Switzerland’s Luca Hanni received the loudest cheer of the night so far with his club-ready pop song She Got Me. A red backdrop and crimson strobes lit up the crowd.

Thursday night’s show features a number of favourites to win, including Sweden’s John Lundvik and the Netherlands’ Duncan Laurence.

It marks the first chance UK residents have to vote in this year’s contest.

All countries taking part in the semi-final can vote, alongside Germany, Italy and the UK.

Fans can vote over the phone, by text or via the Eurovision app, available on iOS, Android and Windows devices.

Rylan Clark-Neal and Scott Mills are commentating on the event on BBC Four and will be joined by the UK’s entry Michael Rice.

The UK, as one of the “big five” countries, along with France, Germany, Italy and Spain, are already assured of a place in the grand final.

Last year’s winners Israel also do not have to qualify via the semi-finals.

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