ESCTV

43 is the number of the countries participating in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Moscow. It seems like the show is just as popular as it was last year, so much so that Slovakia has decided to come back to the Eurovision family. Here is the final list of the participating countries, after the deadline for withdraw has passed:

  1. Albania
  2. Andorra
  3. Armenia
  4. Azerbaijan
  5. Belarus
  6. Belgium
  7. Bosnia & Herzegovina
  8. Bulgaria
  9. Croatia
  10. Cyprus
  11. Czech Republic
  12. Denmark
  13. Estonia
  14. Finland
  15. France
  16. FYR Macedonia
  17. Georgia
  18. Germany
  19. Greece
  20. Hungary
  21. Iceland
  22. Ireland
  23. Israel
  24. Latvia
  25. Lithuania
  26. Malta
  27. Moldova
  28. Montenegro
  29. The Netherlands
  30. Norway
  31. Poland
  32. Portugal
  33. Romania
  34. Russia
  35. Serbia
  36. Slovakia
  37. Slovenia
  38. Spain
  39. Sweden
  40. Switzerland
  41. Turkey
  42. Ukraine
  43. United Kingdom

The rules stay the same and the Semi-Finals will contain 19 performances each. 20 altogether (10 from each Semi-Final) qualify for the Grand Final (16 May), where the Big 4 are already waiting. France, Germany, Spain and the UK plus the host Russia have a secure place at the Final. It’s good news that none of the Big 4 have decided not to invest money in Eurovision this year, as this would have robbed the contest of its flavour.

Who participates in which Semi-Final will be decided in Moscow on 30 January. Heated debate is expected from you after this draw. This draw will also decide the Semi-Final of the Big-Four and the host country – three in one Semi-Final and three in the other. The running order will be determined as usual after a draw at the regular HoD Meeting in mid-March. There will be three wildcards, who can luckily decide their starting position.

Meanwhile, yesterday the EBU launched their new dedicated website: Eurovision Song Contest – Moscow 2009. The general sponsor is again Raiffeisen Bank. The website for years in a row offers streaming of the ESCTV, mobile services, and downloads.

So, are you getting started for Moscow? I’ll soon try to offer the top list of how to survive financially in the Russian capital – one of the most expensive cities in the world.