As revealed earlier, two Semi-Finals will take place as from 2008. In each Semi-Final, 10 participants can qualify for the Final. Nine of them will be chosen through tele-voting, the tenth entry is the highest ranked non-qualified entry of the back-up juries.
The following 38 countries will be represented in the two Semi-Finals of the 53rd Eurovision Song Contest;
Albania (RTVSH); Andorra (RTVA); Armenia (PTV); Azerbaijan (iTV); Belarus (BTRC); Belgium (VRT/RTBF); Bosnia & Herzegovina (PBSBIH); Bulgaria (BNT); Croatia (HRT); Cyprus (CBC); Czech Republic (CT); Denmark (DR); Estonia (ETV); Finland (YLE); FYR Macedonia (MKRTV); Georgia (GEGT); Greece (ERT); Hungary (MTV); Iceland (RUV); Ireland (RTE); Israel (IBA); Latvia (LT); Lithuania (LRT); Malta (PBS); Moldova (TRM); Montenegro (RTCG); the Netherlands (NPB); Norway (NRK); Poland (TVP); Portugal (RTP); Romania (TVR); Russia (C1R); San Marino (STV); Slovenia (RTVSLO); Sweden (SVT); Switzerland (SRG SSR idée suisse); Turkey (TRT) and Ukraine (NTU).
These 38 countries will be drawn into two Semi-Finals, taking place on 20th and 22nd of May in Belgrade, Serbia. The draw to determine on which night the 38 Semi-Finalists will perform takes place on the 28th of January in Belgrade. The official website of the Eurovision Song Contest will web-cast the event live. The draws for the running order of the Semi-Finals, the Final and voting order takes place in mid-March.
Pre-qualified for the Final
France (FT3); Germany (NDR/ARD); Serbia (RTS); Spain (TVE) and the United Kingdom (BBC) are automatically qualified for the Final, scheduled for the 24th of May.
Most exciting Eurovision Song Contest to date?
Following the new record number of participating countries, Svante Stockselius, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest at the EBU, said: "We are delighted to see 41 of last year's participating broadcasters for 2008, and we especially would like to welcome the two new participating countries to the contest; Azerbaijan and San Marino," adding: "With two Semi-Finals for the first time and several other new elements, we are looking forward to what might become the most exciting Eurovision Song Contest to date!"