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Russia tipped for Eurovision success

Do Not UseDo Not Use 14/05/2016
Sergey Lazarev © Getty Images Sergey Lazarev

Russia is the favourite to win this year's Eurovision Song Contest, which is taking place in Stockholm.

Joe and Jake will represent the UK in Saturday night's contest © Getty Images Joe and Jake will represent the UK in Saturday night's contest

Russia's Sergey Lazarev, a huge pop star in the country, is widely tipped to win with his techno ballad, You Are The Only One.

Australia, France, Sweden and Ukraine are also hotly tipped for success in the competition.

The running order for the contest was unveiled on Friday, with the UK's Joe and Jake performing second last.

The duo, both of whom are former contestants of The Voice UK, were chosen to represent Britain in a public vote in February.

Follow our live coverage of the contest.

Joe and Jake qualified for the final automatically as the UK is one of the biggest financial contributors to Eurovision, so the pair did not have to perform at the semi-final.

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Other finalists include Ukraine - whose entrant Jamala is the first ever Crimean Tatar to perform at the contest.

Her politically charged song 1944 is not typical Eurovision fare - its lyrics include references to Stalin, Crimea, and claims of ethnic cleansing.

The song has angered Russia, which annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, as tension between the two countries grew.

Ireland was knocked out of the contest after former Westlife singer Nicky Byrne failed to qualify in Thursday's semi-final.

It has been a bad year for Scandinavian entries.

Denmark and Norway were knocked out in the semi-finals, which were decided based on a combination of public and jury voting. Iceland and Finland also failed to make it through.

However, as reigning winners, Sweden has automatically advanced to the grand final.

The Czech Republic has also made it to the final - the first time it has qualified since the semi-final system was introduced in 2004.

Australian X Factor winner Dami Im, who was mentored by pop star Dannii Minogue, was voted through to the final with her song Sound Of Silence.

Despite being on the other side of the world from Europe, Australia was invited to join Eurovision for its 60th anniversary in 2015, when contestant Guy Sebastian finished in fifth place.

Russia favourites

A victory for singer Sergey Lazarev would mean Russia would host the contest next year for the second time - the country first won in 2008.

Russia is known for its controversial laws regarding homosexuality, making it an unusual host for an event with a strong LGBT following.

Lazarev told the BBC the LGBT community will be welcomed to his country if he wins the contest.

"Gay life exists in Russia, he said. "There is more talk and rumours about problems than exist. I just want you to come and see everything yourself."

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