Eurovision Song Contest
This May marks the 57th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest, started as a Cold-War era project to bring European countries closer through a televised contest. Each nation's tv network would nominate a local star with a new song, all to choose Europe's song of the year. Television's original reality competition has launched the careers of Celine Dion and ABBA, just to name a few. Viewed by 100 million annually, the US is the one area where the competition has never caught on.
This year's show comprises two semifinals and a grand final, where 39 nations will compete for 26 places in the final battle, and after the votes of each country are added up onscreen, the final victor is chosen in a storm of cheers and gold confetti. Sweden is this year's host country, according to the tradition where each year's winning nation is offered the chance to host the next contest.
The betting parlors of Europe, one of the surest ways to gauge the strongest entries, are betting on some old favorites and a few new surprises to rise up the scoreboard. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Russia, all expected powerhouses, join recent favorites Ukraine, Azerbaijian, Armenia and Georgia, and original Big 5 countries Gemany and Italy, while usual bottom-of the board Belarus and Netherlands are also expected to finish on top this year.
As of March 18, all participating countries were required to submit their final entries to the European Broadcasting Union. The national finals season, where each country runs a sometimes spectacular contest to choose their entry for this year, is now over, and the real contest is about to begin. Here are the 39 entries of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, in alphabetical order by country.