With the Olympics fast approaching there is a more important, non-sporting event taking place beforehand as we join some of the best (and worst) or Europe's music acts for the Eurovision Song contest. As per the previous years there are the Big Five acts that automatically qualify for the Eurovision Song Contest final on Saturday 26th May 2012; last years winner Azerbaijan and those coming from semi-final events broadcast live in the days leading up to it.
The Other Finalists:
Eurovision's Tuesday semi-final : a load of old crazy Russian women, a Moldovan group named after traditional Romanian dance troupes and Jedward.
Eurovision's Thursday semi-final : build a boat with the Turkish Eurovision entry!
For those that like their Eurovision Song Contest music, the official Eurovision Song Contest UK MP3 Album
Eurovision Automatic Qualifiers:
After Eldar & Nigar won the contest last year with Running Scared; the Eurovision Song Contest heads to Baku for 2012 and this year it is the turn for the the artist Sabina Bebayeva to offer the song When The Music Dies and follow on from the four Top 8 places that they have received since first joining the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008.
Azerbaijan have taken a Gold and a Bronze in 2011 and 2009, are they on a roll or do we await a Silver in 2013?
Sabina Babayeva - When The Music Dies
Being one of the most successful countries it is no surprise that France is one of the Big Five Eurovision qualifiers who contribute a massive amount of money to the Eurovision cause and without it, the contest would never be held.
This years entry into the contest will be Echo (You and I) by Anggun.
The last few years have been reasonable for French entries into the Eurovision Song Contest with three scores exceeding 80 points. This was on the back of some dismal performances where although not at the very bottom of the table, viewers on the French TV channel Antenne2 have probably been throwing garlic bulbs at their screens.
Anggun - Echo (You and I)
Angela Merkel is probably already counting the deutschmarks that she is having to pay out for the Eurovision Song Contest 2012. Shockingly, as you might already know, debt ridden Greece was voted through to the final during Tuesday's Eurovision Semi-Final.
Germany have a varied record leading up to this years contest, having won the 2010 event with Lena singing Satellite, but she failed to impress 12 months later, on home turf and scored less than half her 247 winning score with Taken by a Stranger. Germany spend most of their time mid table though with many results coming in the mid to low teens in terms of placing.
This years entry though is entrusted to Roman Lob, and the piano pop track Standing Still
Roman Lobb - Standing Still
In 2011, Italy made it's first appearance back in the Eurovision Song Contest in 14 years after a turbulent early 1980's where the countries appearance was sporadically mixed with short notice or un-excused withdrawals. They have previously had a good record within Eurovision, having won the competition twice, a number of silver and bronze positions and a usual placing in the top half of the final table.
Following on from Raphael Gualazzi's second place (189 points) last year Nini Zilli hopes to go one better with her modern pop track L'amore e femmina.
Nina Zilli - L'Amore E Femmina (Out of Love)
Spain was a late debutant into the Eurovision Song Contest back in 1981, but has since become one of the biggest sponsors of the event. Although it is one of the Big Five automatic qualifiers, it is also one of those that has had to suffer the embarrassment of being bottom of the Eurovision final table with NIL points and the ridicule of its neighbours in Europe.
Recent years have seen a little improvement and even though the country has spent the last few years using national votes to select it's entry, the country still languishes around the lower half of the table; and hopes to change this with the entry Quedate conmigo from the 33 year old pop and flemenco artist Pastora Soler.
Pastora Soler - Quedate Conmigo (Stay With Me)
Our last entrant who automatically qualified for the Eurovision Song Contest as a large financial contributor is (by far the best) United Kingdom. With 5 Eurovision wins under the collective country belt, the UK is resting its hopes this year on a Leicester based crooner who has been Releasing Me since the 1950's.
Yes, even after 3 years in the last decade at the bottom of the table, a nil points and a 2007 entry from Scooch, the UK is relying on Engelbert Humperdink to supply some joyous gold for the UK with year with his new track Love Will Set You Free