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Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan Advance To Eurovision Song Contest Final


Manizha, Russia's entry into the song contest

Ten of the 16 acts competing in the first semifinal in Rotterdam on May 18 advanced to the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest -- including performers from Russia, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine.

A second semifinal is scheduled for May 20, with 10 of those acts also advancing to the May 22 final, which will include automatic qualifiers Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and Britain, along with the host nation, the Netherlands.

Qualifiers from May 18 also included Norway, Israel, Malta, Lithuania, Cyprus, Sweden, and Belgium.

Countries not advancing were Romania, Croatia, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Ireland, and Australia.

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The 2020 event was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Netherlands won the 2019 contest, giving it the right to host the succeeding event.

The competition features contestants performing 39 songs from nations across Europe as well as Australia and Israel. The broadcast is watched live by tens of millions of people around the world, many of whom will vote remotely on their favorites.

A crowd of 3,500 -- tested for the coronavirus before the event -- was allowed into the Rotterdam arena to watch the performances live.

The second semifinal will include: Serbia, Georgia, Moldova, Bulgaria, and Poland. Also included are: the Czech Republic, Albania, Estonia, Latvia, San Marino, Austria, Iceland, Portugal, Finland, Switzerland, and Denmark.

Belarus has been excluded from the contest after failing to submit an entry that complied with the nonpolitical nature of the competition. Minsk denounced the decision as "politically motivated."

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said in a March 26 statement that a second entry submitted by the Belarus state broadcasting authority “was in breach of the rules that ensure the contest is not instrumentalized or brought into disrepute.”

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP
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