Welcome to the Reuters live blog from the Eurovision Song Contest. We'll be covering the event from Duesseldorf through Saturday night and beyond -- and including bits of those stories plus pictures, videos and other snippets of information from behind the scenes in this live blog. Feel free to contribute or comment on the contest here.
Here's a picture from Ina Fassbender of Jedward, the Irish entry. the twin brothers are a hot favourite to win the contest (according to oddsmakers...for whatever that's worth).
Here's Zdob si Zdub' of Moldova performing their song "So Lucky" during rehearsals in Duesseldorf -- another Ina Fassbender shot.
Anastasiya Vinnikova of Belarus practices her song "I love Belarus" in Duesseldorf
Just a half an hour to go until the second semi-final in Duesseldorf. Germany's Lena is chatting in a German TV talk show and raving about Bulgaria's entry. "She sings so well," says Lena. She reckons Ireland will also be tough to beat.
German TV network just noted that twice as many women have won the Eurovision Song Contest as men...hmmm....why's that?
Ones to watch in tonight's semi include Irish twins Jedward, Slovakian twins TWiiNS, Sweden's Eric Saade and Dana International, who is returning for Israel having won the contest back in 1998 with disco stomper Diva
The biggest TV show in the world? That's why German TV host called it. Is this Europe's "Superbowl"?
Multi-Eurovision winner Johnny Logan is on German TV. He's just doing brief renditions of What's Another Year? and Hold Me Now. He's wearing a white shirt with huge cuffs and a waistcoat - very 1980s!
And here we go! German host Stefan Raab, who is known around Germany as the man who "discovered" Lena, is on stage with Anke Engelke and Judith Rakers.
Asymmetric-style dresses are definitely favoured by the female presenters this year. We had two on Tuesday and it's another two tonight - one black, one yellow. Wonder how many times Anke and Judith will change outfits during the final?
Bosnia & Herzegovina up first with a folky number. Yodelling, lots of foot tapping and hand waving.
Austria back after a three year absence, inspired by Lena's victory last year...so says German TV moderator.
with a soaring finish from Austria. Very simple staging too, just Nadine on her own for most of the song.
An MOR song from the Netherlands, with the male singer sporting that classic Eurovision attire - a white suit.
Acapella and beatbox from the Belgium 6-piece. An unusual combination even for Eurovision
Tonight's first set of twins up next - Slovakia's Daniela and Veronika with I'm Still Alive. And the wind machine is out and being used to great effect on the trains of their dresses.
The Slovakian twins are definitely getting a lot of attention tonight from the males in the audience in Duesseldorf.
Finally, a Eurovision gimmick. We have a lady drawing pictures that are then being beamed up onto the screen as Ukraine sings Angel
Sometimes you're glad that the contestants are limited to just 3 minutes....
Wow. Cone-hats, shouty rock, flashing lights, purple trousers, a woman on a unicycle, trumpets. Moldova have really thrown themselves into the spirit of Eurovision.
Moldova act is really wierd...
Super slick, catchy disco pop from Sweden's Eric Saade. He certainly seems very 'Popular' with the audience.