Eurovision to kick off tonight with first live semi-final

The Eurovision Song Contest will begin in earnest tonight as 17 international acts take to the stage in Israel for the first live semi-final.

The first of two semi-finals at the Expo Tel Aviv venue will determine which 10 countries appear in the 26-strong grand final on Saturday.

Three favourites are due to appear: Australia’s operatic pop star Kate Miller-Heidke, Iceland’s fetish-punk group Hatari and Finland’s Darude, a dance music veteran known for his 2000 track Sandstorm.

Irish contender Sarah McTernan is set to perform on Thursday during the second round of semi-finals.

Iceland’s Hatari rehearse for the first semi-final (Thomas Hanses)

The public vote will make up 50% of the total vote, with the other half determined by a professional jury in each participating country.

All countries taking part in the semi-finals can vote along with France, Spain and host country Israel.

Fans can vote over the phone, by text or via the Eurovision app, available on iOS, Android and Windows devices.

First semi-final running order:

1. Cyprus – Tamta with Replay

2. Montenegro – D Mol with Heaven

3. Finland – Darude ft. Sebastian Rejman with Look Away

4. Poland – Tulia with Fire Of Love (Pali Sie)

5. Slovenia – Zala Kralj and Gasper Santl with Sebi

6. Czech Republic – Lake Malawi with Friend Of A Friend

7. Hungary – Joci Papai with Az En Apam

8. Belarus – Zena with Like It

9. Serbia – Nevena Bozovic with Kruna

10. Belgium – Eliot with Wake Up

11. Georgia – Oto Nemsadze with Keep On Going

12. Australia – Kate Miller-Heidke with Zero Gravity

13. Iceland – Hatari – Hatrio Mun Sigra

14. Estonia – Victor Crone with Storm

15. Portugal – Conan Osiris with Telemoveis

16. Greece – Katerine Duska with Better Love

17. San Marino – Serhat with Say Na Na Na

- Press Association

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