Eurovision 2018: A game of two halves


There are 104 days to go until the great and good of Europe (and bits beyond) gather in Lisbon to compete in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest final. With a modicum of pomp and a teensy bit of ceremony, RTP today staged a draw to decide who gets to sing when.

The competition has featured two qualifying shows since 2008. In each ‘semi-final’ half of the competing countries sing to win places in the final. The only countries which automatically qualify for the grand final are the host country and the Big Five: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, who enjoy their protected status based on how much they pay towards running costs.

Every year in late January, there is a draw that decides which country takes part in which semi-final.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) supposedly divides competing countries into pots, based on historic voting patterns. The idea being countries that traditionally award each other points are less likely to end up in the same heat.

So … who sings and votes when?

The first part of the draw decided which semi-final each of the six pre-qualified countries  will broadcast and vote.
Semi Final 1 –  UK, Spain, Portugal
Semi Final 2 – Germany, Italy, France
The second draw confirmed in which semi-final each of the other participating countries will perform. 19 participants will compete in the first show and 18 participants in the second. As in previous years, the exact running order will be determined by the producers of the show.
The draw is as follows for Semi Final 1
First Half Second Half
Belarus Switzerland
Bulgaria Finland
Lithuania Austria
Albania Ireland
Czech Republic Armenia
Belgium Cyprus
Iceland Croatia
Azerbaijan Greece
Israel FYR Macedonia
And for Semi Final 2 :
First Half Second Half
Russia Montenegro
Serbia Sweden
Denmark Hungary
Romania Malta
Australia Latvia
Norway Georgia
Moldova Poland
San Marino Slovenia
The Netherlands Ukraine
From each show, ten countries will proceed to the Grand Final on 12th May, joining the six pre-qualified countries.
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[…] in other words, they cannot broadcast the second semi final of this year's contest – the one where fate has thrown the two countries together. If Russia makes the final (and let's face it, they will), UA:PBC would also be forbidden from […]