All countries will be grouped into two Semi-Finals, with the exception of France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Serbia, who will automatically qualify for the Final. "We are convinced that the introduction of a second Semi-Final contributes to a more stable future for the Eurovision Song Contest," said Svante Stockselius, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest.
"We carefully listened to the suggestions of Members and fans and we took notice of the critical remarks in the press. After evaluating several scenarios, we decided to introduce a second Semi-Final already in 2008. This increases the fairness of the competition, opens doors to a more interesting Final and production-wise, it is the most flexible solution," added Mr. Stockselius.
The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition for active members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), represented by the public broadcasters in their respective countries. The first contest was held in Lugano, Switzerland in 1956. Since then, the contest has become a true European tradition. In 2007, the contest was held in Helsinki, Finland, celebrating its 52nd anniversary. Next year it will be held in Belgrade, Serbia.