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article imageEurope gears up for first 2011 Eurovision Song Contest semi-final

By Mathew Wace Peck     May 10, 2011 in Entertainment
Tonight sees the first semi-final of the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest, which is to be staged in Düsseldorf, Germany, in the city's Düsseldorf Arena.
Nineteen countries will be competing this evening, but only ten will go forward to Saturday-night's final. A further ten will be chosen in the second semi-final on Thursday. Five countries – Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – are already guaranteed a place in the final by virtue of the fact that they fund the event.
Of the nineteen countries competing tonight, four of them – Finland, Norway, Russia and Serbia – have won the contest before. In 2009, Alexander Rybak won the competition for Norway with "Fairytale". Russia won the event in 2008, with Dima Bilan's "Believe". Serbia's Marija Šerifović was victorious in 2007, with "Molitva"; while Lordi triumphed in 2006 with "Hard Rock Hallelujah".
The full list of countries for the first semi-final, in performing order, is as follows:
1. Poland: Magdalena Tul – “Jestem”
2. Norway: Stella Mwangi – “Haba Haba”
3. Albania: Aurela Gaçe – “Feel The Passion”
4. Armenia: Emmy – “Boom Boom”
5. Turkey: Yüksek Sadakat – “Live It Up”
6. Serbia: Nina – “Čaroban”
7. Russia: Alexej Vorobjov – “Get You”
8. Switzerland: Anna Rossinelli – “In Love For A While”
9. Georgia: Eldrine – “One More Day”
10. Finland: Paradise Oskar – “Da Da Dam”
11. Malta: Glen Vella – “One Life”
12. San Marino: Senit – “Stand By”
13. Croatia: Daria – “Celebrate”
14. Iceland: Sjonni's Friends – “Coming Home”
15. Hungary: Kati Wolf – “What About My Dreams?”
16. Portugal: Homens Da Luta – “Luta É Alegria”
17. Lithuania: Evelina Sašenko – “C'est Ma Vie”
18. Azerbaijan: Ell/Nikki – “Running Scared”
19. Greece: Loucas Yiorkas feat. Stereo Mike – “Watch My Dance”
Eurovision dreams
Bilan's win in 2008 was his second Eurovision appearance: in 2006, his performance of "Never Let You Go" earning him and Russia second place to Finland's Lordi.
This year, Russia's Alexei Vorobyov hopes to follow in Bilan's footsteps. Speaking to the Voice of Russia, the 23-year-old singer said: "I have always been dreaming to win Eurovision and even tried to enter the contest twice. And now I face a challenge of not only representing Russia at the contest but also acquainting the audience with my new project prepared jointly with [US composer and producer] Red One."
The first semi-final of the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast live at 21:00 CET (Central European Time) from the Düsseldorf Arena. The event will be presented by Judith Rakers, Anke Engelke and Stefan Raab.
The second semi-final will take place on Thursday, 12 May. The final – comprising 25 competitor countries – will be held on Saturday, 14 May.
More about Eurovision song contest, Eric saade, Alexej Vorobjov, Düsseldorf Arena
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