Page last updated at 08:44 GMT, Wednesday, 21 May 2008 09:44 UK

Ireland's turkey exits Eurovision


Watch Dustin the Turkey at the Eurovision semi-finals

Ireland will not appear in this year's Eurovision Song Contest final after its entrant, Dustin the Turkey, failed to qualify from the first semi-final.

The glove puppet was not among the 10 successful countries, which included Greece, Romania, Armenia, Finland, Israel, Poland, Russia and Bosnia.

Norway also succeeded, along with Azerbaijan in its Eurovision debut.

A second semi-final on Thursday will determine another 10 countries to proceed to Saturday's final in Serbia.

The line-up will include Sweden's former winner Charlotte Perrelli, who emerged as the favourite in a Europe-wide vote of fans carried out by the BBC News website.

It was a three-minute joke that wasn't especially funny
Keith Mills, Irish Eurovision website All Kinds of Everything

Dustin the Turkey, who sang Irelande Douze Pointe, has previously recorded six albums and performed with artists including Bob Geldof and Chris De Burgh.

Keith Mills, editor of Irish Eurovision website All Kinds of Everything, said: "It was a three-minute joke that wasn't especially funny, didn't work for an international audience and looked very messy on screen."

The number of points Dustin picked up in the semi-final will not be made public until the overall winner has been chosen on Saturday night.

In both semi-finals, the qualifiers are announced in random order and the number of votes for each is not revealed until the contest is over.


Watch the moment when the last finalist was announced

A new voting system has been introduced in response to severe criticisms of last year's qualifier, in which no western European countries progressed to the final.

Semi-finalists have been divided into two groups based on their usual voting preferences in an attempt to lessen the impact of "neighbourly" voting and allow a broader range of countries to reach the final.

Traditional voting allies Greece and Cyprus have been split up, while the Baltic, Scandinavian and former Yugoslav countries have been separated.

The 20 successful countries from the two semi-finals will join last year's winner Serbia as well as the UK, France, Germany and Spain - the four biggest contributors to the event - in the final.

The UK will be represented by former X Factor runner-up Andy Abraham, who will perform second in the running order.


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