Turkish singer Can Bonomo was on Wednesday counting down to his stint Thursday in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku as part of the second leg of semifinals in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest as the 10 countries that qualified for Saturday’s finals were already celebrating their first-step victories after Tuesday’s first semifinals.
Bonomo (24), an İzmir-born singer-songwriter who released his debut album in 2011, will be singing his high-tempo pop number, “Love Me Back,” in Thursday’s semifinals, where he is up against 17 other acts from countries including Bosnia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Georgia, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, the Netherlands and Ukraine.
The 10 finalists who emerged Tuesday night were Iceland, Greece, Romania, Albania, Greek Cyprus, Denmark
, Russia, Hungary, Moldova and Ireland.
Ten countries to be chosen Thursday will be joining Tuesday’s winners and six other automatic qualifiers — Germany, the UK, France, Spain and Italy, or the “Big Five,” which are the biggest contributors to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes the competition, plus the host country — at the grand final, scheduled for Saturday night at Baku’s newly built Crystal Hall.
If Bonomo qualifies for the grand final, he is expected to see strong competition from the Russian act Buranovskiye Babushki, a folk group of “grannies,” whose youngest member is aged 43 and the eldest 76. Their song, “Party for Everybody,” has already become an international hit.
Bonomo’s English-language song “Love Me Back” tells the tale of a lovesick sailor and includes many elements of Turkish music, particularly in its chorus.