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Eurovision hopefuls prepare for first semi-final

Azerbaijan, Israel and Ireland are among the countries hoping to reach the grand final of Eurovision 2018 tonight in the first semi-final in Lisbon.

Israel’s Netta Barzilai, who will perform her song Toy, is the favourite with bookmakers to win this year’s competition.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Other acts in the first semi-final expected to do well include Estonia’s Elina Nechayeva and Eleni Foureira from Cyprus.

The running order of the #Eurovision 2018 Semi-Finals is here!

A post shared by Eurovision Song Contest (@eurovision) on

Former Britain’s Got Talent finalist Ryan O’Shaughnessy will represent Ireland with the song Together.

The UK as one of the “Big Five” countries, along with France, Germany, Italy and Spain, are already assured of a place in the grand final. Last year’s winners Portugal also do not have to qualify via the semis.

Singer-songwriter SuRie is representing the UK this year with the song Storm.

A total of 19 acts will perform in the first semi-final, with only the top 10 – as decided by both a jury of experts and the public – qualifying for Saturday’s final line-up of 26 countries.

Scores will be weighted 50-50 between the marks from each competing nation’s professional jury and the results of the televote.

Viewers in the UK will be able to vote for their favourite song in the first semi-final after the final act has finished performing.

The event will be screened live on BBC Four, where Radio DJ Scott Mills and This Morning presenter Rylan Clark-Neal will interview contestants and explore host city Lisbon.

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