Eurovision hopeful Sarah McTernan almost missed BBC interview due to high security around Tel Aviv venue
Ireland's Eurovision hopeful Sarah McTernan will take to the stage in Tel Aviv tonight when she joins 18 entrants in the second semi-final.
Tensions have been mounting in the Israeli city amid heightened security alerts, with Sarah (25) saying she and her team nearly missed out on a live interview with the BBC after they were denied entry to the stadium.
The first semi-final took place on Tuesday night, but the webcast of the event was hacked by suspected Hamas militants with images of explosions over the city of Tel Aviv.
The live stream was interrupted by footage showing missiles hitting the streets while threat- ening music played in the background.
Speaking about the ring of steel that has been erected around the venue, Sarah said she almost missed her slot with the BBC.
"There's so much security around the place," she said.
"Our taxi couldn't find the entrance and then they wouldn't let him drive in and we had to run up in our heels. It was very dramatic.
"Eventually they let us in and we were put on this golf cart.
"It was like an actual PlayStation game and the quest was to get into the Eurovision arena. We were like, 'But we're singing for Ireland, we've got a live interview', but we eventually got there and it was all good.
"We got up then and were chatting to Rylan Clark and the UK entry, Michael Rice, was there.
"We were just having a bit of fun. Then we went up to the commentary box with Marty Whelan. It was nice."
Sarah said that being in the venue helped calm her nerves ahead of tonight's big performance of her song, 22.
Eurovision has come under fire from the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, which accuses Israel of using music to "whitewash" its policy toward Palestinians.
In response, Sarah said: "I respect everybody's opinion, completely and utterly.
"I'm just really, really happy to be representing my country."
See Sarah in action tonight at 8pm on RTE2