Latvia competes in first Eurovision semi final tonight

The first semi-final of this year's Eurovision song contest takes place tonight, with Latvian group Citi Zēni (Other Boys) hoping to break a dismal recent record of Eurovision competitors and make it to the final with their ditty about the joys of eating organic vegetables as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Doing so would likely be the best result that could be hoped for. Ukraine seems all but assured of winning a massive outpouring of sympathy from voters across the continent this year and will likely win the contest by a landslide, so arguably the rest of the competition is just a race for second place.

Nevertheless, there is still a certain amount of fun to be had from watching the garish and gaudy galaxy of over-the-top performers and misplaced irony that constitutes a typical Eurovision evening.

Latvian Television broadcasts the first semi-final live from Turin, Italy from 22:00 Rīga time. It's scheduled to last two hours. It will be preceded by a show at 21:10 about Citi Zēni themselves to get you whipped up into a suitable fervor.

The second semi-final takes place May 12 and the grand final on May 14.

You can find more information at the official Eurovision website

It's now 20 years since Latvia won Eurovision with Maria Naumova's "I Wanna". Last year's entrant was Samanta Tīna, who failed to qualify for the Eurovision final, finishing last in her semi-final. Indeed Latvia has the unfortunate distinction of having finished last in the Eurovision semi-finals more than anyone else with Intars Busulis, Aisha, PeR, and Triana Park all collecting wooden spoons. 

The last time Latvia made the final was 2016 when singer Justs finished 15th in the final.

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