On May 19 and 21, the first and second semi-finals for the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest were held. 16 contestants competed in the first round, and 17 in the second. Ten were voted through in each, and paired with the six “straight to final” countries of this year, they make up a total of 26 entries. These participants are as follows:
Albania: Elhaida Dani was selected in the first semi-final. She performed her song I’m Alive.
Armenia: Supergroup Genealogy came in the top 10 of the first semi-final with their track Face The Shadow. Each member hails from a different continent but are all of Armenian descent, and their song aims to promote awareness and recognition of the 1915 Armenian Genocide.
Australia: This country was invited to participate in the 60th anniversary installment of the famous song contest, as they have long since been an invested nation in the process. Music veteran Guy Sebastian was chosen to compete, and he is one of the straight-to-final countries. The other five are nations that pay the most into the EBU (European Broadcasting Union).
Austria: This nation was the winner of last year (Conchita Wurst), and therefore they host the semi-finals and grand final this year. They are sending The Makemakes, with the song I Am Yours.
Azerbaijan: Elnur Huseynov returned to the Eurovision stage once more, this time as a solo act rather than a duo (2008, Elnur & Samir). His song Hour of the Wolf won over fans and landed him a spot in the grand final, via the voting of the second semi-final on May 21.
Belgium: Loic Nottet was a shoe-in to advance past the first semi-final, and these predictions came true. He will appear in the Wiener Stadhaller on May 23 to perform the heavily popular song Rhythm Inside.
Cyrpus: John Karayiannis was announced to be making the grand final after performing in the second round of Eurovision 2015 semi-finals. He will be singing the song One Thing I Should Have Done.
Estonia: Elina Born and Stig Rasta were fan favorites from the start, so naturally they made May 23’s Eurovision grand final. They performed in the first semi-finals, with the song Goodbye to Yesterday.
France: A straight to final country. Lisa Angell has the honor of this advancement this year, with her song N’oubliez Pas
Germany: Ann Sophie is one of the lucky six who advances straight to the final. Her song, Black Smoke, is also highly popular in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Georgia: Warrior Nina Sublatti was pleased to hear that she, too, made it to the finals. She performed in the first semi-final, and had been a favorite to advance for quite some time.
Greece: Maria Elena Kyriakou took the stage on May 19’s first semi, and won over the crowd with her powerful performance of One Last Breath. As such, she was awarded a place in this year’s Eurovision grand final.
Hungary: Boggie’s Wars for Nothing moved the audience with its heartfelt message of not ignoring war just because one leaves in a peaceful country. She was given almost an instant slot into the finals.
Israel: For the first time in several years, this country has qualified for the Eurovision grand final. This time, it is with Nadav Guedj and his song Golden Boy.
Italy: Another straight to final country. Il Volo are bookies favorites to win the entire thing, with their track Grande Amore.
Latvia: Love Injected by Aminata was an unexpected win in the second semi-finals, but both she and her fans were extremely happy to see her win. She will be performing with the others on May 23.
Lithuania: Monika Linkyte and Vaidas Baumila were not expected to advance to the final, and many are unhappy about it. However, they were voted in after the second semi-final and are appearing on the Vienna stage Saturday (May 23) for the Eurovision.
Montenegro: Knez, real name Nenad Knežević, won a spot in the final after the second round of semis. He will be singing his Balkan music song Adio.
Norway: Another early fan favorite that everyone had no doubt would make the finals. Morland and Debrah Scarlett have become something of a force to be reckoned with over the months, and their performance of A Monster Like Me in the second semi-finals did nothing to disprove this.
Poland: Monika Kuszyńska’s In The Name of Love was not a favorite to get through to the final, but the singer won over the audience during her time on stage in the second-semi final. Indeed, she closed out the show to much applause and found her way to the grand final as a result.
Romania: Rock band Voltaj won a coveted spot in the 10 available after the first semi-finals, after singing the song De la capăt (All over Again). Their song is about children who are left behind when their parents go to work overseas.
Russia: Polina Gagarina will sing for the title on the Vienna stage on May 23 in this year’s Eurovision grand final. Her song, A Million Voices, details how there would be more peace in the world if everyone would realize that they are not that different after all.
Serbia: Bojana Stamenov ended up being something of a black horse in this year’s Eurovision, showing up to take a slot in the final 10 of the first semi-final when no one thought she would qualify. Her song is Beauty Never Lies.
Slovenia: Although the duo of Maraaya were expected to get through, their fans were still happy to hear that they earned a slot in this Eurovision year’s final. Their song Here for You is generally liked by most.
Spain: Another straight to final entry. Edurne will be singing the song Amancer, which means Dawn, in this year’s Eurovision grand final.
Sweden: Mans Zemerlow has caused quite a bit of controversy this year, but his song Heroes is still very well liked. He performed it at the second round of semi-finals, and it managed to make the cut.
United Kingdom: Advancing straight to the final as well is British act Electro Velvet, consisting of Bianca Nichols and Alex Larke. They will be singing Still in Love With You.
This is looked at as one of the hardest to choose from group of finalists in Eurovision for some time now. Indeed, even the bookies are having a rough time making predictions at this point.
By Chanel van der Woodsen
The Indepdent: Eurovision 2015 final contestants: Countries to watch out for from Sweden to Australia
Mirror: Eurovision 2015 entries and running order