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Douze or nul points? Eurovision acts to watch

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Douze or nul points? Eurovision acts to watch
The audience at the first Semi Final. Photo: Andres Putting (EBU)
11:57 CEST+02:00
Who can follow Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst and wow 200 million viewers worldwide to win the Eurovision Song Contest at its 60th edition in Vienna on Saturday?

As the Austrian capital prepares for the grand final of this annual shindig of the kitsch, the catchy and the corny, here are a few of the 27 acts to watch out for:

Take a chance on Mans

With five Eurovision victories including ABBA in 1974, Sweden is always a good bet and according to the bookies, Mans Zelmerlow is the man to watch, as long as he remembers his flies.

"There are a lot of people supporting me back home in Sweden and they probably think I will win. I am not so sure," a modest Zelmerlow said. His lucky routine is to "check my zipper, like 50 times."

Plucky Pole

Photo: Artur Frątczak

Monika Kuszynska is a combative contestant, refusing to let anything as trifling as her wheelchair - she was in a car crash in 2006 - get in the way of lifting Poland's first ever Eurovision title.

"I consider my performance to be proof that it's possible to not get discouraged and to live life to the fullest even when it deals you a severe blow," the 35-year-old says.

Australian idol

Photo: Respective broadcasters

Eurovision has long stretched the geographical definition of Europe, but organisers this year have surpassed themselves by granting Australia special dispensation to take part.

"I've been fortunate enough to perform on various different stages but when you get on that Eurovision stage it's like nothing else I've ever done in my life," said Australia's contestant, heartthrob and former Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian.

No politics please, we're Armenian

Photo: Ruben Martirosyan, Public Television of Armenia

Eurovision is no stranger to politics, and although Armenia denies its entry is about the 100th anniversary of the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman forces - which Turkey refuses to recognise as genocide - many perceive it that way.

The original title of the entry from Genealogy, six of whose members are from the Armenian diaspora, was "Don't Deny". Armenia changed it to "Face the Shadow", saying this was to remove any suggestion of political intent.

A 'good girl' from Russia

Photo: Respective broadcasters

The Ukraine crisis and Russia's stance on gay rights upstaged the semi-final of the 2014 Eurovision, where Russia's entry was booed.

This year bookie favourite Polina Gagarina is hoping to woo Moscow's critics with her peace song "A Million Voices". So far things are going well, with Gagarina making it through to the final.

"I am obviously a singer, an actress, a mother and probably a good girl," said Gagarina. "My song is about a million voices that speak the same language, the language of love".

19th nervous performance

Brits generally don't take Eurovision that seriously, but 18 years after Katrina and the Waves won Eurovision gold Electro Velvet might be in with a chance with the catchy electro-swing song "Still in Love with You".

"It's the 60th year, so it's a party year, and I think that we are bringing quite a party song and a party vibe," said Bianca Nicholas, one half of the duo with Mick Jagger impersonator and teacher Alex Larke.

Italian crooners

Photo: Daniele Barraco

Bookies also include Il Volo, the successful "pop opera" trio who have collaborated with Barbra Streisand and others, among the favourites to win Italy's first Eurovision crown in 25 years with "Grande Amore".

"Being here is like a dream come true. We will do our best to represent Italy. We hope you like our song, and we are going to bring our 'Grand Amore', our big love," said one of the cheeky trio, Piero Barone.

Check in on Saturday night for The Local's live blog on the Eurovision Song Contest final. 

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