In Brief

Eurovision 2015: running order and the acts to watch

Full Eurovision 2015 running order announced as Sweden sails through to finals while Ireland crashes out

The 60th Eurovision Song Contest takes place on Saturday and the runners and riders have been finalised after this week's semi-finals. Sweden, the bookmakers' favourite, has sailed through to Saturday's showdown, while Ireland, the most successful country in Eurovision history, has been knocked out.

This week's semi-finals also saw Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Malta, Portugal and San Marino crash out of the competition.

With the preliminaries complete, the full running order (see below) for the Saturday night spectacular has now been announced.

Sweden's Mans Zelmerlow has been installed as red hot favourite and but he will face competition from other finalists including the UK's Electro Velvet and automatic qualifiers Austria, who won the competition last year through bearded songstress Conchita Wurst and her number Rise Like a Phoenix.

France, Germany, Spain and Italy will also perform in the final alongside one decidedly non-European special guest, Australia, whose wildcard entrant Guy Sebastian is third favourite to win the high-camp song contest.

Ireland's absence may have raised a few eyebrows, but despite its historical success, Ireland has performed poorly in the 21st century, the BBC notes. Acts from the Emerald Isle have failed to progress past the semi-finals five times since they were introduced in 2004.

The final promises the usual smorgasbord of heavy make-up, pop tunes ranging from the cheesy to bizarre and partisan bloc voting. After Wurst's win last year, the 2015 songfest is being hosted in Vienna, which has set up a Eurovision Village in City Hall Square.

Here are some of the acts everyone is likely to be talking about:

 

The outsider: Australia

Australia (around 14,000km from Europe) has been given a "one-off" invitation to join the contest this year and has put forward the first man to win Australian Idol, Guy Sebastian. Known as the "Mr Nice Guy" of Aussie pop, Sebastian has won several music awards back home but is likely to struggle against Eurovision's notoriously partisan voting blocs.

 

The bookies' choice: Sweden

Sweden's Mans Zelmerlow is the bookmakers' favourite to win Eurovision 2015. A promo pack featuring the popular Swedish teen idol wearing only his underpants has taken Twitter by storm, but will it be enough to help him follow in Abba's footsteps?

 

The first punk band: Finland

PKN (Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat) is the first punk band to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest. It is also the first Eurovision band made up of musicians with learning disabilities. The group, whose members have Down's syndrome and autism, are aiming to raise awareness of disabilities and to "have a f***ing good time".

 

The most kitsch video: Spain

Described by one critic as "everything you could hope for from a Eurovision video", Spain's entry includes a fantasy landscape and a strange love triangle between a leather-vested model, a live tiger-woman and a falcon. Edurne, who has recorded five studio albums and starred for seven years as Sandy in the Spanish production of Grease, will be hoping to outdo the original Sandy, Olivia Newton-John, who came in fourth place for the UK in 1974.

 

The best dance moves: Israel

At just 16, Nadav Guedj is one of this year's youngest contestants and has produced something akin to the Gangnam Style of Tel Aviv. His song, Golden Boy, tells the tale of a broken-hearted boy who tries to cure his pain by celebrating life and dancing. Lyrics include: "Pull me, baby, I'm your trigger/You know that my love is bigger/Love, love, love, love/Love, love, love."

 

The strangest collaboration: Belarus

If you want a woman playing the violin inside an egg-timer and a man with Middle-Earth elf ears running through rain, fire, snow and fog, then Uzari&Maimuna are the duo for you. Maimuna is a classically trained violinist and Uzari a pop composer. They apparently decided to collaborate over their shared love of Lord of the Rings – which explains the Elven points. 

The running order for Eurovision 2015

1.            Slovenia

2.            France

3.            Israel

4.            Estonia

5.            United Kingdom

6.            Armenia

7.            Lithuania

8.            Serbia

9.            Norway

10.          Sweden

11.          Cyprus

12.          Australia

13.          Belgium

14.          Austria

15.          Greece

16.          Montenegro

17.          Germany

18.          Poland

19.          Latvia

20.          Romania

21.          Spain

22.          Hungary

23.          Georgia

24.          Azerbaijan

25.          Russia

26.          Albania

27.          Italy

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