Ten countries have secured their place in the Eurovision Song Contest final on May 14 in Stockholm, joining host Sweden as well as automatic qualifiers France, Italy, Germany, Great Britain and Spain in the last stage of the popular annual competition.
Artists from Azerbaijan, Russia, The Netherlands, Hungary, Croatia, Austria, Armenia, Czech Republic, Cyprus and Malta qualified for the semi-final on May 10.
Turkish singer Serhat Hacıpaşalıoğlu, who represented San Marino in the contest, failed to qualify for the second semi-finals, which takes place today.
A total 26 countries will compete at the weekend final at Stockholm's Globe arena. The contest, known for its kitsch pop music and flamboyant costumes, was watched by nearly 200 million people last year.
At the semifinal, the first of two leading up the grand final, Armenian singer Iveta Mukuchyan waved the flag of Nagorno-Karabakh, a separatist region that is officially part of Azerbaijan but currently under the control of local ethnic Armenian forces.
“I just want peace on our borders,” Mukuchyan said at a news conference after the show.
The winner is determined through votes in all participating countries, which many suggest gives it a political dimension because neighboring countries often give each other the highest points.