The draw that decides which countries will be competing against whom and in which semi-final takes place today at 13:00 CET. This is usually the first indication of who will have a good chance of winning and who will be in for a tough fight to even make it to the Eurovision Song Contest final. The draw will be based on six pots.
Later today 38 countries will be placed in two semi-finals. Half of them will on Tuesday the 12th of May compete for ten spots to the Eurovision Song Contest to be held on Saturday the 16th of May. The other half of the countries will compete in the second semi-final Thursday the 14th for other ten spots. Only host country Russia and the so-called big4 countries; Spain, France, Germany and the United Kingdom will not be given a place in any of the semi-finals. These five automatically qualified countries will however still be a part of the draw today as they will be placed in one of the semi-finals where they will be voting.
Based on voting patterns from the years 2004 to 2008 the 38 countries have been placed in six pots; four of them containing six countries and the remaining two seven countries. The draw will be conducted based on these pots. This system is being used in order to reduce a bit of the neighbour voting the Eurovision Song Contest has been highly criticised for. It is however not perfect and the outcome of the draw today will be likely to have an influence on which countries will have a bit of a walk-over in the attempt to qualify for the final and who can consider this a Mission Impossible.
The draw can be seen live at 13:00 CET today at Eurovision.tv.
The six pots are as follows:
Pot 1: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia
Pot 2: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden
Pot 3: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Israel, Moldova, Ukraine
Pot 4: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, the Netherlands, Turkey
Pot 5: Andorra, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania
Pot 6: Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland