THE first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest is set to take to the stage here in Vienna this evening where six countries will be eliminated from Saturday’s final For the Eurovison beginner there is a second semi on Thursday, which will get rid of a further six countries ahead of Saturday’s 27 country final.

We asked Eurovision expert Paul Marks-Jones to provide us with a summary of the runners and riders in tonight’s show on BBC3 and who is likely to come through.

Paul, the president of OGAE fan group in the UK said: “As always there's plenty of variety and styles: hard rock from Finland, US style teen pop from Moldova and an anthemic ballad from Russia.

“It's impossible to guess how Europe will vote with such diverse styles and tastes, but it has a 50 per cent televote at stake tonight. The expert juries have already voted last night at the jury final, meaning the acts have to 'give their all' not once, but twice.”

From what he has seen, he thinks these will certainly qualify: Russia - a big anthemic ballad, Estonia - an uber cool well performed, if not a little outdated with some typical sentiments about living in peace downbeat pop song that will surprise many as being in Eurovision Greece - big powerhouse vocals from a little lady Denmark - fresh sounding summer pop with beachboys influences Romania - catchy ballad with a serious message about Romanian migration - so will pick up a lot of diaspora votes Armenia - a bit shouty, but well blended voices - again will benefit from the Armenia diaspora In summary expect to see Russia, Estonia, Greece, Denmark, Romania, Armenia with any four from Hungary, Finland, Georgia, Belgium, Serbia and Albania joining them! Sadly we'll most likely say goodbye to Moldova, FYROM, Netherlands and Belarus.