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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 May, 2005, 23:33 GMT 00:33 UK
Ireland in shock Eurovision exit
Ireland's Donna and Joe
Siblings Donna and Joe will not join Ireland's list of Eurovision winners
Seven times Eurovision Song Contest winners Ireland have been knocked out of this year's competition at the semi-final stage.

Irish entry Donna and Joe were not among the 10 countries voted by viewers on Thursday to make the final.

Norway and Israel were among those to join acts from 14 other countries who automatically won slots, including the United Kingdom's Javine.

The final will be broadcast on Saturday on BBC One and Radio 2 from 2000 BST.

Ireland have won Eurovision more than any other country but siblings Donna and Joseph McCaul will not be joining the likes of Johnny Logan as Irish winners.

Surprise exits

Their performance of the song Love? did not earn them a final appearance.

Norway's Wig Wam
Norway's Wig Wam are among the expected frontrunners

Bookmakers in London put Greece's Helena and the Norwegian rock band Wig Wam as the favourites in the final.

Hungary's Nox, who also won through from the semi-finals, lead the rest of the field.

UK entrant Javine is only rated at about 25-1 with Touch My Fire.

France, Germany and Spain are among the other countries automatically placed in the final, along with the likes of Malta, Sweden and Serbia and Montenegro.

Televised event

Eurovision is one of Europe's major TV events, with more than 150m people expected to watch the final.

Greece's Helena
Greece's Helena is the bookmakers' joint favourite

The winner is determined by telephone voting in 39 countries. This year's event is the 50th to be staged.

Ukraine's group are unlikely to notch up a second consecutive win for the country. Bookmakers see Green Jolly as an 80-1 shot.

One of their rap songs was the unofficial anthem of last year's Orange Revolution protests.

Huge crowds sang their songs when they gathered in downtown Kiev to protest against the presidential election results.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Highlights from the semi final



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