Tomorrow: Countries drawn into Semi-Finals in Malmö
Tomorrow, the very first official events of this year's Eurovision Song Contest will kick off in Malmö, the host city of the 2012 TV extravaganza. It'll be the day Malmö gets the keys to host the contest in May and we'll get to know who takes part in which Semi-Final.
It'll all start with the Host City Insignia exchange ceremony. Behind the formal name is the ceremony where the mayor of the previous host city - Baku - meets the mayor of the city that will do that in 2013.
During the ceremony, Hajibala Abutalybov will hand over the symbolic keys of the Eurovision Song Contest host city to the mayor of Malmö, Kent Andersson. It will celebrate the moment when Malmö will officially take over from Baku the hosting duties.
What about the insignia?
- This is the sixth year the insignia is being exchanged
- The first time was done in Belgrade, on the initiate of Finnish broadcaster YLE and the City of Helsinki, which hosted the contest in 2007
- The insignia are so big and heavy by now, that they travel in several suitcases
- By the time the Insignia reach Malmö, the first Insignia from Helsinki that are part of it have travelled just over 15,000 kilometres
Semi-Final countries drawn
But then there's also the part that we've been waiting for even more - we'll know which countries will be in which Semi-Final. Starting at 14.00 CET, it's time for the Semi-Final Allocation Draw!
Before we get into details, just know that you'll also be able to see the draw live also in our Web TV.
As Denmark and Norway have already been allocated to first and second Semi-Finals respectively, then after this we'll also find out in which half of the shows they'll be drawn. Also Israel has been allocated to be in the second Semi-Final due to a national holiday on the 14th of May.
The first Semi-Final will have 16 and the second Semi-Final 17 participants.
Due to Germany, France, Spain, the UK, Italy and the Host Country of Sweden are directly qualified to the Final, we have 30 countries that still need to be drawn into Semi-Finals.
See it live in our WebTV at 14.00 CET!
It'll also be drawn in which half of the shows they'll take part. This is done due to planning purposes for the delegations - the ones performing in the second half of the shows can arrive a day later in Malmö.
To create more excitement, like past years, the 30 countries will be allocated to 5 pots based on voting patterns from the previous nine years. The pots were calculated by the televoting partner Digame and are as follows:
- FYR Macedonia
- The Netherlands
- San Marino
After we've finished determining their positions in the Semi-Finals, it's time to also draw which Semi-Final each of the already qualified countries - Germany, Spain, Italy, the UK, France and Sweden - will broadcast and vote in.
The whole process will be overseen by the EBU Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand and Thomas Niedermeyer from Digame.
The final running order of the shows will be decided by the producers of the show this year and approved by the EBU Executive Supervisor and the Reference Group.
This year's Eurovision Song Contest will take place on the 14th, 16th and 18th of May in Malmö, Sweden. A total of 39 countries will take part in 2013.