By Michael Osborn
Entertainment reporter, BBC News
A glimpse at some of this year's Eurovision offerings
The 2008 Eurovision Song Contest was peppered with comic entries, led by a hapless puppet turkey from Ireland.
This year's musical mash-up in Moscow - which gets under way on Tuesday night - promises to be a more sober affair, with virtually all countries sending songs they feel have more credibility.
On this occasion, the first time the contest has been held in the Russian capital, the winner won't be determined by the great European public alone - half the vote has been given to juries of musical experts in an effort to dampen down neighbourly voting.
The luminaries will be looking for well-written songs and may not take kindly to over-the-top performances masking vacuous vocals.
Welcome to the new world of Eurovision...
Many of the 42 countries vying for musical glory this year have plumped for the good old ballad, several of them delivered by solo females - historically a successful Eurovision category.
The United Kingdom - desperate to bounce back from a string of poor results - drafted in renowned composer Andrew Lloyd Webber to compose blousy, theatrical ballad It's My Time, co-written by US lyricist Diane Warren.
Youth and experience: Iceland's Johanna and French star Patricia Kaas
His young muse Jade Ewen has been tasked with hitting some high notes and delivering a touch of class to proceedings.
Fellow newcomer Johanna is hoping to steer Iceland into their second successive final, with a gentle song more suited to radio airplay than the West End stage.
But both singers are relative elders compared to teenager Christina Metaxa from Cyprus, whose winsome tune Firefly was penned by her older brother.
At the other end of the scale is Patricia Kaas from France - a smoky songstress with millions of record sales and reams of concert experience under her belt.
The singer said in a recent interview that her performance will be "simple, elegant and sober".
In another old school twist, the ballad delivered by male-female duets will be on show, thanks to Slovakia who are returning to Eurovision after 11 years in the wilderness.
Their dramatic offering is a full-on contrast to Croatia whose old-fashioned song is like a breath of warm Adriatic air on a summer's evening.
MALTA'S GREAT HOPE
Malta's singing star Chiara is making an impressive third attempt to capture the island nation's first win in Moscow - and could be the ballad performer to beat.
Chiara captured the vote with her song Angel in 2005
She narrowly missed out to Israeli transsexual Dana International in 1998, and finished second in Kiev four years ago.
The singer, blessed with a gutsy yet sweet voice, is renowned for performing on stage alone and says this time will be no different.
Some Eurovision fans have warned that her latest song, What If We, is her weakest to date, but Chiara's Eurovision pedigree will prove an advantage.
Another star coming back to the fray is Sakis Rouvas from Greece, who came 3rd in 2004 and co-hosted the show two years later.
His new dance song is a far cry from cheesy, cheeky hit Shake It and could leave voters disappointed.
FIDDLERS AND BELTERS
Some countries have decided the way to appeal to voters and the juries alike is to throw in stringed instruments and a touch of opera.
Norway's Alexander Rybak has already been anointed by contest fans as the hot favourite to win in Moscow with his self-penned song Fairytale, which comes complete with a liberal dose of folksy violin playing.
Strings on show at this year's Eurovision Song Contest
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