Wed, 18 Sep 2019

Ten countries, including Belarus and Serbia, have qualified for the final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, the annual europop song fest that draws tens of millions of viewers from around the globe.

Performers from 17 countries took part in the first semifinal on May 14 with Australia, Iceland, Greece, Belarus, Serbia, Cyprus, Estonia, Czech Republic, San Marino and Slovenia qualifying for the finals. Contestants, however, from Montenegro, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Georgia, Portugal and Belgium crashed out.

The second semifinal on May 16 also will vault 10 countries to the final round, which will be held May 18 in Tel Aviv.

Five core European countries and host nation Israel bypass the semifinal rounds, so a total of 26 acts will compete to be crowned Europe's best pop act in the 64th year of the annual extravaganza.

Eurovision was first held in 1956 with the aim of uniting Europe after World War II.

Today it has a combined global audience of around 200 million people and has even launched the careers for a few of its winners, most notably ABBA and Celine Dion.

Viewers and professional juries in all 41 participating countries will pick the winner, with the televoting and juries each representing 50 percent of the outcome.

No country can vote for its own contestant.

Based on reporting by AP, and Eurovision.tv

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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