Eurovision hopeful Josh Dubovie prepares for big showdown

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Eurovision Song Contest hopeful Josh Dubovie is "enjoying every minute" as he gears up for final rehearsals ahead of tomorrow's big showdown.

The 19-year-old has the hopes of the UK resting on his shoulders as he prepares to take to the stage at the Telenor Arena in Oslo to belt out That Sounds Good To Me, masterminded by hit-maker Pete Waterman with Mike Stock and Steve Crosby.

The teenager, from Basildon in Essex, braved a land and sea odyssey to reach the 55th annual contest, due to recent travel uncertainty with volcanic ash and strike threats.

Since arriving he has been getting to know the locals, packing his schedule with sightseeing trips and performances.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "Josh has enjoyed every minute while he's been in Oslo.

"He's been in a Eurovision bubble and is looking forward to and very excited about tomorrow night."

The news is not all good for the UK however, with William Hill offering odds of 150/1 for the UK to win the contest - the biggest price it has ever offered for a UK entry in the competition.

"Sadly it looks like the UK will be humiliated again, but Eurovision remains a popular market, with turnover certain to top a million on the night," said Hill spokesman Rupert Adams.

The UK's chances of bombing out with "nul points" - as UK hopefuls Jemini did in 2003 with Cry Baby - have been put at 5/1.

Azerbaijan entrant Safura, the winner of an Azerbaijani talent show who will perform the Swedish-written Drip Drop, is the bookies' 5/2 favourite to win.

With odds of 25/1, Ireland's hopes rest on former Eurovision winner Niamh Kavanagh.

The flame-haired singer took the title for Ireland in 1993 with a powerful rendition of In Your Eyes, the second victory of Ireland's three-in-a row. The song went on to achieve double platinum status.

Kavanagh, who featured on the soundtrack of the film The Commitments, is back with an Irish/Swedish collaboration titled It's For You.

This year's contest also features a Welshman - Jon Lilygreen - representing Cyprus. The Islanders - the group Lilygreen will be on stage with - has an international line-up with performers from all over Europe.

After penning Life Looks Better In Spring, Cypriot songwriters Nasos Lambrianides and Melis Konstantinou were led to Wales after surfing the internet in their hunt for a singer.

The contest is traditionally known for its over-the-top performances, huge manes of hair and sequins - and this year should not disappoint.

The latest crop of hopefuls includes Turkish entrants and MTV Europe Music Awards winners maNga, whose nu metal track We Could Be The Same has been accompanied by an erotic robot dancer.

Romanian pop act Paula Seling and Ovi have made sparks fly by shooting fire from their hands while performing Playing With Fire.

Graham Norton will again be on hand to guide viewers through the night's thrills and spills on BBC1 and BBC HD.

Norton's debut commentating performance in Moscow went down well last year after he took the reins from Sir Terry Wogan, who grew tired of countries bloc voting.

But Norton recently told the Radio Times: "It was only when I got to Moscow and the dress rehearsal that I realised how horribly it could go wrong.

"And, in the end, as I spoke into the microphone, I could hear Terry's voice in my head. So I don't think I've made it my own yet. I was a version of Terry last year."

Last year's UK hopeful was Jade Ewen, now a Sugababe, who restored the UK's recent poor fortunes by coming fifth with It's My Time, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The winning entry from Norway received the contest's highest total of 387 points.

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