Eurovision 2015 contestants: Meet the entries from a Polish wheelchair user to a Finnish punk band with learning difficulties

Forget the flame throwing and wacky outfits, this year's Eurovision is truly trying to live up to its 2015 slogan 'building bridges'

Daisy Wyatt
Tuesday 10 April 2018 10:39
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Poland's Eurovision 2015 entry: Wheelchair user Monika Kuszyńska
Poland's Eurovision 2015 entry: Wheelchair user Monika Kuszyńska

Eurovision is back with more entertaining performances for its 60th year.

After Conchita Wurst flew the flag for gay and transgender groups in 2014, this year sees more acts hoping to promote tolerance through music on 23 May.

The song contest will welcome a Finnish punk band with learning disabilities, a partially paralysed Polish singer and a Romanian band singing to raise awareness of abandoned children left by their parents working abroad.

But there are still some weird and wacky entries too. Take a look at this year's contestants:

Five Eurovision 2015 contestants to look out for:

1) Australia – Guy Sebastian

Australia's Eurovision contestant and former Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian

To mark the contest’s 60th anniversary, Australia has been invited to take part as a one-off. Despite obviously not being part of Europe, the country has a long tradition of broadcasting the contest. But rather than choosing Kylie Minogue, Iggy Azelea or Sia – Australia has instead chosen Guy Sebastian, that well known former winner of Australian Idol.

2) Poland – Monika Kuszyńska

Poland: Monika Kuszynska

Poland’s contestant, who has been a wheelchair user since 2006 after being partially paralysed in a car crash, hopes to “build the bride of tolerance” this year with her song “In the Name of Love”.

3) Serbia – Bojana Stamenov

Serbia's Eurovision 2015 entry: Bojana Stamenov

Serbia’s larger-than-life entry Bojana Stamenov has a big voice and a sense of humour to match (assuming she’s not taking herself seriously in her promotional photos). The former Serbia’s Got Talent finalist says: “I know how to knit and cook…But, watch out, my voice will blow up your mind.”

4) Finland - Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät

Finland: Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät

Punk band Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (PKN) all have learning difficulties of some kind and will be performing in a bid to raise awareness of Down’s Syndrome. The band formed after meeting at a workshop for adults with learning disabilities and plan to perform “Aina Mun Pitää”, a song about daily frustrations.

5) The UK – Electro Velvet

Chances are, if you’re British, you won’t have heard of the UK’s entry for this year’s contest. Electro Velvet, a musical duo with an electro-swing sound, will be performing “Still in Love With You”, which has already had over 1.6 million views on YouTube.

And the rest....

Albania: Elhaida Dani

Albania: Elhaida Dani

Elhaida Dani is well known in her home country Albania as well as in Italy, where she won The Voice of Italy in 2013.

Armenia: Genealogy

Armenia: Genealogy

Genealogy consists of six singers who were internally selected by the Public Television of Armenia to sing Face The Shadow in Vienna, a "powerful anthem about peace, unity, and love".

Austria: The Makemakes

Austria: The Makemakes

The Makemakes were chosen out of an initial 16 candidates who participated in the Austrian national selection this year. Their name is derived from the dwarf planet Makemake.

Azerbaijan: Elnur Huseynov

Azerbaijan: Elnur Huseynov

Elnur has previously sung in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008, representing Azerbaijan along with singer Samir.

Belarus: Uzari&Maimuna

Belarus: Uzari&Maimuna

Classically trained lead violinist Maimuna will be playing the violin complete with a red and black snake crawling up her arm for the pair's song "Time is Like Thunder". Although the two come from different musical backgrounds - with Uzari better known for writing pop songs - they apparently share a joint love for Lord of the Rings.

Belgium: Loic Nottet

Seventeen year old Loic was a finalist during the third series of The Voice Belgique and has since signed to Sony Music. His favourite artists is Sia.

Czech-Republic: Marta Jandová and Václav Noid Bárta

Czech-Republic: Marta Jandová and Václav Noid Bárta

Marta Jandová is a well-known singer in the Czech-Republic and Germany, best known as the lead singer in the German alternative metal band Die Happy. Václav Noid Bárta is a Czech composer, actor, arranger and singer.

Cyprus: John Karayiannis

Cyprus: John Karayiannis

John Karayiannis is 20 and comes from Limassol in Cyprus. In September he will be moving to London to continue his music studies and record his first album.

Denmark: Anti Social Media

Denmark: Anti Social Media

Anti Social Media is a pop/rock band inspired by the music of the Sixties. Their mission is to revive the happy sound of bands such as The Beatles.

Estonia: Elina Born & Stig Rästa

Estonia: Elina Born & Stig Rästa

Three years ago Estonian songwriter Stig stumbled across a young girl's video on YouTube, in which she was singing Christina Aguilera's song "Cruz". It was Elina - and the rest could be sweet Eurovision history.

FYR Macedonia: Daniel Kajmakoski

FYR-Macedonia: Daniel Kajmakoski

Daniel is a Macedonian-born pop & rock singer, composer, songwriter, and guitar and piano player living in Vienna, where he moved with his family at the age of six. He was named after Daniel Popovic, who represented Yugoslavia it the 1983 Eurovision Song Contest.

France: Lisa Angell

France: Lisa Angell

Angell will perform "N'oubliez Pas", a song of 'hope and peace, of courage and solidarity'.

Georgia: Nina Sublatti

Georgia: Nina Sublatti

Former model Nina will be performing her self-written song 'Warrior', a song in which she claims to show her 'power and strength, both vocally and personally'.

Germany: Ann Sophie

Ann Sophie performs 'Black Smoke' at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

Born in London but raised in Hamburg, 24-year-old Ann Sophie will be representing Germany with 'Black Smoke'.

Greece: Maria-Elena Kyriakou

Greece: Maria-Elena Kyriakou

Greece's entry was born in Cyprus but has lived in Greece for most of her life. Like many of this year's contestants, she has competed in - and in this case won - her country's version of The Voice.

Hungary: Boggie

Hungary: Boggie

Boggie is a jazz musician best known for her music video Nouveau Parfum, which has been watched over 6 million times on YouTube.

Iceland: Maria Olafs

Iceland: Maria Olafs

Maria Olafs is an actress, singer and songwriter who will be representing Iceland with her song 'Unbroken'.

Israel: Nadav Gudej

Israel: Nadav Gudej

Nadav Guedj, 16, is a French-Israeli singer who will be performing 'Golden Boy' in Vienna.

Ireland: Molly Sterling

Ireland: Molly Sterling

Self-taught 17-year-old musician Molly Sterling is at her happiest when she’s singing and playing her piano in her County Tipperary home. She is currently a fifth year student at St Andrew's College, Dublin.

Italy: Il Volo

Italy: Il Volo

Operatic pop trio Il Volo have performed all over the world, released massively-selling albums and joined songstress Barbra Streisand on tour.

Latvia: Aminata

Latvia: Aminata

Born in Riga in 1993 to a Latvian mother of Latvian and Russian descent, and a father from Burkino Faso, Aminata thinks of herself foremost as Latvian. She will be performing "Love Injected" in Vienna in May.

Lithuania: Monika Linkytė and Vaidas Baumila

Lithuania: Monika Linkytė and Vaidas Baumila

Monika Linkytė has previously attempted to represent Lithuania at Eurovision five times before. She will now team up with Lithuanian singer and actor Vaidas Baumila to perform "This Time".

Malta: Amber

Malta: Amber

Amber is 23 and has competed to represent her country at Eurovision five times before. She was a backing singer for Malta's 2012 entry Kurt Calleja.

Moldova: Eduard Romanyuta

Moldova: Eduard Romanyuta

Ukranian-born Eduard Romanyuta has been performing on stage since the age of four. After Ukraine withdrew from the competition he decided to compete for Moldova.

Montenegro: Nenad Knežević Knez

Montenegro: Nenad Knežević Knez

'Knez' is one of Montenegro's most popular artists, having released 10 albums 23 years.

Norway: Kjetil Morland & Debrah Scarlett

Norway: Kjetil Morland & Debrah Scarlett

Morland was born in Norway but has lived in the UK for most of his life and is part of the British band Absent Elk. Debrah is best known in her country for taking part in The Voice of Norway in 2013.

Portugal: Leonor Andrade

Portugal: Leonor Andrade

At the age of 21, Leonor Andrade has been performing since the age of four. Like almost every Eurovision 2015 contestant, she has also taken part in The Voice of Portugal.

Romania: Voltaj

Romania: Voltaj

Voltaj are one of the most popular bands in Romania, and are using the Eurovision stage to raise awareness of children left alone by parents who leave the country to work abroad.

Russia: Polina Gagarina

Russia: Polina Gagarina

Polina is a well known actress and model as well as a singer. She has released two albums and lent her voice to the Russian dub of Oz the Great and Powerful in 2014.

San Marino: Anita Simoncini & Michele Perniola

San Marino: Anita Simoncini & Michele Perniola

Yes, San Marino - the tiny Italian microstate with a population of 32,000 people - will be competing at Eurovision this year. They will be fielding two 16 year olds who previously competed at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

Slovenia: Maraaya

Slovenia: Maraaya

Married couple Marjetka and Raay have come together to form indie pop band 'Maraaya'. Raay is better known as a producer, while Marjetka likes to perform wearing her headphones on stage to "evoke the same emotions in the studio".

Switzerland: Mélanie René

Switzerland: Mélanie René

Twenty four year old singer Melanie is originally from Mauritius. She wrote her entry song "Time to Shine" while studying contemporary music in the UK.

The Netherlands: Trijntje Oosterhuis

The Netherlands: Trijntje Oosterhuis

Well known in her home country, Trijntje Oosterhuis has previously served as a judge on The Voice of Norway. She has also shared the stage with the likes of Lionel Richie and Herbie Hancock.

The Eurovision Song Contest final takes place on Saturday 23 May.

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