Taking part later are Lithuania, Ireland, San Marino, Montenegro, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Czech Republic, Israel, Latvia, Azerbaijan, Iceland, Sweden, Switzerland, Cyprus, Slovenia and Poland.
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.
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.
Most controversial Eurovision moments
Most controversial Eurovision moments
1/8 Conchita Wurst, Austria (2014)
Russia’s anti-gay president Vladmir Putin branded Eurovision a ‘Europe-wide gay parade’ and shortly afterwards, Austrian drag singer Tom Neuworth more than got his own back. Neuworth’s bearded lady alter-ego Conchita Wurst triumphed with the Bond-style “Rise Like a Phoenix”, shooting down homophobes who had sent her abuse in the run-up to the contest.
2/8 Donatan and Cleo, Poland (2014)
When Poland returned to Eurovision after a two-year absence, few suspected that girls dressed as milkmaids could be quite so raunchy. Controversially, the UK public voted this their favourite, while the national jury placed it last. Soprano Laura Wright called it “soft porn” and “two boobs too far”.
3/8 Ping Pong, Israel (2000)
Israel and Syria were officially at war during this contest and just to make matters worse, Ping Pong decided to wave Syrian flags during rehearsals in a bid for peace. Unsurprisingly, Israeli politicians demanded they be banned for not representing national values and when they weren’t, they left them to cover all their own expenses. The flags made a comeback in the final but they only received seven points.
4/8 Stephane and 3G, Georgia (2009)
“We Don’t Wanna Put In” was understandably read as a massive dig at Putin, just one year after Georgia’s war with Russia. The European Broadcast Union deemed it “too political” for Eurovision and Georgia was asked to either change the lyrics or submit a different song. They refused and withdrew from the competition.
5/8 Paul Oscar, Iceland (1997)
This gay pop singer sparked outrage when he performed “My Final Dance” backed by four latex-clad women provocatively frolicking on a white leather sofa. To this day it remains one of the most eyebrow-raising and overtly sexual Eurovision moments ever.
6/8 Dana International, Israel (1998)
Conchita’s been there, done that since, but Dana International was the first transgender person to represent their country at Eurovision back in the late Nineties. She caused uproar in Israel, with ultra-Orthodox Jews protesting in the streets and some even sending death threats. Naturally, she won with a feather-laden diva-like performance to show the haters who’s the boss.
7/8 Teapacks, Israel (2007)
Yet another Israeli controversy came with Teapacks’ song “Push the Button”, which included lyrics about “crazy rulers” and a “world full of terror”. Some speculated that the track reflected Israeli anxiety about a nuclear war with Iran, but it was given the go ahead by Eurovision bosses.
8/8 Jean-Claude Pascal, Luxembourg (1961)
Luxembourg’s entry “Maybe It Isn’t America (Because America Isn’t the Be-All)” was sung in French and widely seen as anti-American, just as Ronald Reagan took up his presidency. It didn’t do too well, finishing in 11th.
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.Reuse content