Eurovision 2015 semi-final two: Five acts to watch - from favourites Sweden to same-sex kisses and the first wheelchair performer

Ten places remain ahead of Saturday night's grand Austrian final

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The Independent Culture

It’s round two of the Eurovision semi-finals in Vienna tonight, when 17 countries will battle for the last ten places in Saturday’s grand final.

Taking part later are Lithuania, Ireland, San Marino, Montenegro, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Czech Republic, Israel, Latvia, Azerbaijan, Iceland, Sweden, Switzerland, Cyprus, Slovenia and Poland.

How voting works in the Eurovision Song Contest

UK viewers can vote this evening, along with Italy, Germany and special guest Australia. We’re one of the ‘Big Five’ with guaranteed access to the final thanks to our economic contributions. Whether our hopefuls Electro Velvet would have made it otherwise remains a topic of debate.

Here are five acts to watch out for later:

Sweden: Mans Zelmerlow, “Heroes”

Hot favourites this year, the Swedes will be expecting Eurovision success based on their enviable track record of three top three finishes in four years.

“Heroes” ticks a lot of boxes. It’s well-produced, well-performed and upbeat with a clever stage show, so will likely be popular with younger dance fans.

Poland: Monika Kuszynska, “In The Name of Love”

Monika will be Eurovision’s first wheelchair performer - a refreshing change from last year’s sexy milkmaids and their suggestive butter churning (remember Donatan and Cleo?).

“In The Name of Love” may not blow the Eurovision crowds away enough to win, but Monika sure has some lungs on her and it wouldn’t seem right if this inspirational ballad didn’t make the final.

Latvia: Aminata, “Love Injected”

This one has a definite hint of La Roux about it and should appeal to club music enthusiasts. “Love Injected” is certainly modern and fresh, but will have to beat tough competition from the likes of Estonia, Russia and Sweden should it reach the final.

Latvia’s journey in that respect hasn’t been positive – the country last qualified in 2009. Aminata is pretty cool though and we reckon she deserves a stab at glory on Saturday.

Norway: Kjetil Morland and Debrah Scarlett, “A Monster Like Me”

This may be a tad alternative for Eurovision but its emotional break-up theme sure is moving. Norway has won three times before, with 2009 winner Alexander Rybak holding the record for the highest ever score with “Fairytale”. But then again, they’ve also come last the most…eleven times in fact.

Whether this famously cheesy song contest wants a tearjerker remains to be seen. It’s beautiful, but it’s not going to get everybody dancing, and Eurovision fans do like a dance.

Lithuania: Monika Linkyte and Vaidas Baumila, "This Time"

Expect a pro-gay rights statement during this performance - the dress rehearsal featuring backing dancers swapping partners for lesbian and gay kisses. It's catchy with a country pop feel but may prove a bit too bubblegum for voters.

Tuesday’s semi-final saw favourites Estonia and Russia go through to the final, with Belgium also impressing juries and voters.

Serbia’s song “Beauty Never Lies”, sung by Bojana Stamenov, was written by Charlie Mason, who penned Conchita Wurst’s winning number “Rise Like A Phoenix” from last year. She was also successful and Serbia’s chances have soared.

 

Albania, Armenia, Romania, Hungary, Greece and Georgia will also be singing again on Saturday, while Finland, Moldova, the Netherlands, FYR Macedonia, Belarus and Denmark have bid the competition farewell.

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