Czech singer, songwriter defies fate to reach Eurovision finals

Mikolas Josef, photo: CTK

The Czech Republic’s Mikolas Josef has advanced to the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest with his offering Lie to Me. The 22-year-old singer, who performed despite sustaining an injury during rehearsals, is one of nine participants to make it out of the first semi-final and only the second Czech in history to reach the finals.

Mikolas Josef,  photo: CTK
Czechs have had a rather poor record at the Eurovision event since first signing up to the competition 11 years ago. They have only qualified once for the finals in 2016 and even then they finished next to last. But Mikolas Josef has given the Czech Republic new hope with his successful performance at the Altica stadium in Lisbon on Tuesday night.

Mikolas Josef performed his three-minute song called Lie To Me wearing blue pants, a white shirt with a bow tie and suspenders, glasses and a school backpack. He was accompanied by two dancers on stage and an additional three vocalists backstage.

Josef’s participation in the finals had been uncertain until the very last moment due to an injury he sustained in in fall during rehearsals last week. As a result, he had to leave out the acrobatic features that were part of his show. Nevertheless, his determination to perform in the face of injury definitely won him viewer sympathies.

Participation in the Eurovision semi-finals definitely represents the summit of Mikolas Josef’s brief music career. He collected more than half of the 16,000 votes in the national round, leaving behind other contestants including the singer Debbie or the band Eddie Stoilow.

His song called Lie to Me, for which he wrote both the music and lyrics, combines pop with R&B and funk, has scored with listeners already before the Eurovision contest. The music video, shot by Josef himself, has recorded over 2.5 million views in the past five months. Betting companies also regard the young Czech as one of the favourites at this year’s Eurovision competition.

Mikolas Josef,  photo: CTK
Mikolas Josef was born and raised in Prague but currently spends most of his time in Vienna. He comes from a family of musicians and has been playing the guitar since he was five. After graduating from Prague’s English College he moved to London to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. He has worked as a model for major fashion brands and performed all around Europe as a street musician.

He used the money to fund production of his first song, Hands Bloody. His subsequent singles Free and Believe hit the top of the Czech charts and secured him a contract with Sony Music. The second round of the Eurovision semi-finals, featuring another 24 out of 43 contesting countries will take place on Thursday. The 20 finalists, including Josef, are scheduled to perform in Lisbon’s Altica stadium on Saturday night.