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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 May, 2004, 22:23 GMT 23:23 UK
Eurovision finalists are chosen
Deen from Bosnia-Herzegovina
Deen from Bosnia-Herzegovina won a place in Saturday's final
Ten countries including Greece and Bosnia have qualified for the Eurovision Song Contest after winning its inaugural semi-final.

Three-time Eurovision winners Israel and 2000's winners Denmark failed to win a place in this year's contest.

But Albania, Serbia and Montenegro will make their Eurovision debuts after being among 10 public vote winners.

The semi-final winners will join 14 finalists, including the UK, at Abdi Ipecki stadium, Istanbul, on Saturday.

Malta, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Croatia and Macedonia also won places in the final.

Lisa Andreas singing for Cyprus

Cyprus secured a place following a popular performance by its entrant, 16-year-old Lisa Andreas, who was previously a Cyprus resident but now lives in Kent.

The qualification round was introduced to the contest this year following the expanding number of eligible Eurovision participants.

Twenty-two countries performed at the Istanbul stadium on Wednesday before facing the public vote involving most of the 36 Eurovision participants.

France and Poland did not vote because their national broadcasters chose not to screen the event.

Exhibitionism was not in short supply as Greek star Sakis Rouvas undressed during his performance of Shake It, while Ukraine's Ruslana was backed by a troupe of leather-clad dancers.

Abba puppets
The semi-final show featured a puppet tribute to Abba
The tiny principality of Monaco returned to the fray after a break from the contest of 25 years, but despite being the only country to perform in French it failed to win a place.

The semi-final also featured a puppet tribute to Abba, who won the contest 30 years ago, featuring singer Cher and actor Rik Mayall.

Last year's Eurovision Song Contest, in which the UK finished last with "nul points", attracted 11 million viewers.

The UK has been admitted into this year's final as it is one of the event's biggest contributors.


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