Saturday 1 October 2016

Eurovision 2015 final: here's what to expect, from 'neighbourly' voting to performance highlights

Published 23/05/2015 | 13:16

Eurovision 2015 hosts
Eurovision 2015 hosts
Conchita Wurst, who won the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest for Austria, performs on stage during a dress rehearsal (AP)
Singer Maraaya representing Slovenia performs the song "Here For You" during the second semifinal of the upcoming 60th annual Eurovision Song Contest In Vienna, May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Italy's Il Volo performs the song 'Grande amore'. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Electro Velvet, a musical duo consisting of Alex Larke and Bianca Nicholas, who will represent the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015
Singer Guy Sebastian representing Australia performs during a dress rehearsal for the upcoming 60th annual Eurovision Song Contest In Vienna, Austria, May 20, 2015. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Austria's The Makemakes perform the song 'I Am Yours' during a dress rehearsal of the Eurovision Song Contest in Austria's capital Vienna, Wednesday, May 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Singer Lisa Angell representing France performs during a dress rehearsal. Reuters/Leonhard Foeger
Singer Ann Sophie representing Germany performs during a dress rehearsal for the upcoming 60th annual Eurovision Song Contest In Vienna, Austria, May 20, 2015. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Spain's Edurne performs the song 'Amanecer' during a dress rehearsal of the Eurovision Song Contest in Austria's capital Vienna, Wednesday, May 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
The band Genealogy representing Armenia perform the song "Face The Shadow" during the first semifinal of the upcoming 60th annual Eurovision Song Contest In Vienna, May 18, 2015. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Belgium
Maria-Elena Kyriakou of Greece
Estonia
Hungary's Boggie performs the song 'Wars For Nothing'. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Russia
Albania
Romania
Singer Nina Sublatti representing Georgia performs the song "Warrior". Reuters/Leonhard Foeger
Singer Monika Linkyte and Vaidas Baumila representing Lithuania performs the song "This Time" during the second semifinal of the upcoming 60th annual Eurovision Song Contest In Vienna, May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Montenegro's Knez performs the song 'Adio'. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Morland and Debrah Scarlett representing Norway perform during a dress rehearsal for the second semifinal of the upcoming 60th annual Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Austria, May 20, 2015. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Nadav Guedj representing Israel performs during a dress rehearsal for the second semifinal of the upcoming 60th annual Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Austria, May 20, 2015. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Singer Aminata representing Latvia performs the song "Love Injected" during the second semifinal of the upcoming 60th annual Eurovision Song Contest In Vienna, May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Singer Elnur Huseynov representing Azerbaijan performs the song "Hour Of The Wolf" during the second semifinal of the upcoming 60th annual Eurovision Song Contest In Vienna, May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Singer Mans Zelmerloew representing Sweden performs the song "Heroes" during the second semifinal of the upcoming 60th annual Eurovision Song Contest In Vienna, May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Singer John Karayiannis representing Cyprus performs the song "One Thing I Should Have Done" during the second semifinal of the upcoming 60th annual Eurovision Song Contest In Vienna, May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Slovenia's Maraaya performs the song 'Here For You'. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Singer Monika Kuszynska representing Poland performs the song "In The Name Of Love" during the second semifinal of the upcoming 60th annual Eurovision Song Contest In Vienna, May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Eurovision 2015's finalists are now all in place and raring to go for tonight's live grand final.

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This year's contest takes place at the Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna, Austria.

It is being hosted by Austrian trio Mirjam Weichselbraun, Alice Tumler and Arabella Kiesbauer, with last year's victor Conchita Wurst presenting the coverage from the green room with contestants backstage.

There are 27 finalists this year - first up is Slovenia and the final act of the night is Italy.

The UK's entry this year comes from Electro Velvet and is called Still In Love With You - watch out for the duo near the beginning of the show as they are fifth on stage.

The finalists are made up of those who have qualified through the semi-finals, the big five who get an automatic pass for providing the most funding, last year's winner and this year, a special guest.

Last year's winner was Austria, while the special guest is Australia and the big five are the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

This year's semi-final winners are: Armenia, Belgium, Greece, Estonia, Serbia, Hungary, Russia, Albania, Romania, Georgia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Norway, Israel, Latvia, Azerbaijan, Sweden, Cyprus, Slovenia and Poland.

In 2004 the semi-final round came in to whittle down the final numbers as there was not space for every country to compete.

Notable absentees this year include Ireland - even though we are the competition's most successful country with seven wins under our belt, we failed to qualify in the tough second semi-final.

Also failing to make it were Moldova, who gave it their all in skimpy latex police outfits; Finland, whose punk rock act all have learning disabilities and seemed to have won over the audience; and San Marino, who despite being terrible, had a hugely entertaining routine.

Others bowing out were the Netherlands, Macedonia, Belarus, Denmark, Malta, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Iceland and Switzerland.

WATCH: 10 Irish Eurovision entries from the forgotten decades  

Eurovision can be unpredictable and victory could potentially be anyone's on the night, but there are some front runners and the notorious bloc voting system still prevails.

Serbia's entry from Bojana Stamenov, Beauty Never Lies, was hotly tipped to win after the first semi-final, thanks to its positive body image message, belting vocals and an unexpected dance break.

It also helped that her track was written by Charlie Mason, whose hit Rise Like A Phoenix saw Wurst storm to glory last year.

Eurovision 2015: 29 bizarre facts from Eurovision history you need to know  

But then came the second semi-final and Latvia's Aminata suddenly made everything more interesting with her dance-inspired track Love Injected, which went down a storm with viewers across Europe and made the country another possible champion.

As anyone who has watched the Eurovision Song Contest will know, some countries always vote for each other, often at the expense of the UK, so certain nations are expected to be calling in points for their neighbours.

The UK will be missing its traditional voting partner Ireland and hoping the Australians step into the gap, but of the countries who made the final, these are the ones expected to score each other highly:

Greece and Cyprus

The Netherlands and Belgium

Portugal and Spain

Austria and Germany

Sweden and Norway (although they're missing Finland, Denmark and Iceland this year)

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

Albania, Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Macedonia

Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia

Highlights to look out for:

Slovenia's headphone-wearing act...

Israel's gold shoes...

Norway's act singing about a "terrible thing" he did in his youth...

Armenia's many, many lead singers...

Lithuania's snog mid-song...

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