Both Russia and Ukraine are set to take centre stage at the Eurovision song contest on Saturday after qualifying in Tuesday’s semi-final in Copenhagen.
Known for its flamboyant outfits and kitsch pop songs, this year’s competition will be putting Eurovision’s non-political credentials to the test.
Russia’s entry is a song called “Shine” by twins Maria and Anastasia Tolmachev, who won the Junior Eurovision in 2006.
“We are very happy and full of emotion. We want to thank everyone for their support. We love all of you” said Maria and Anastasia after making it through to the finals.
21-year-old Mariya Yaremchuk is representing Ukraine, singing a love song called “Tick Tock.” Previous Ukrainian entries have often contained thinly veiled anti-Russian lyrics but this year’s entry avoids any political references.
Mariya said it was an honour to be there for her country:“Actually, my main position is that I’m proud that I’m Ukrainian and everything I do here is for the Ukrainian people. I’m not standing alone on the stage, there are 46 million of Ukrainians behind me on the stage.”
The other finalists so far are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Hungary, Iceland, Montenegro, San Marino, Sweden and The Netherlands.
The countries which didn’t make it through include: Portugal, Belgium, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova, and Albania.
A second semi-final will be held on Thursday ahead of Saturday’s final in Copenhagen.