Page last updated at 08:01 GMT, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 09:01 UK

Malta returns to Eurovision final

Malta's singer Chiara
Chiara peformed What If We without any backing vocalists or dancers

Eurovision veteran Chiara has steered Malta to their first final since 2006, as 10 countries qualified for Saturday's show in Moscow.

The singer, who finished 3rd in 1998 and was runner-up in 2005, went through along with Sweden, Armenia, Iceland, Portugal and Israel.

Turkey, Finland, Romania and Bosnia-Hercegovina also made the final, out of 18 countries in the first qualifier.

Another 10 countries will go through to the final from Thursday's semi-final.


Some of the favourites for the title, including Norway, Greece and Azerbaijan, will be in the starting line-up for the second qualifying contest.

Bosnian group Regina
Bosnia-Hercegovina (pictured)

The eight countries which have now exited the competition are Montenegro, Czech Republic, Belgium, Andorra, Belarus, Switzerland, FYR Macedonia and Bulgaria.

Andorra have now failed to make the final in their six attempts since entering the fray in 2004, while Belgium were last seen in the main competition five years ago.

Last night's qualifiers - aside from Malta - all made the final in Belgrade last year.

After the results had been announced, the 10 successful entries were placed in the main draw.

The UK's Jade Ewen, who is performing 23rd in the running order, will have Romania before her and be followed by Finland.

Their uptempo songs are seen to provide favourable context for Ewen's theatrical ballad.

Israel, who went through to the final with their peace song performed by Jewish and Arab Israeli duo Noa and Mira Awad, drew second position in Saturday's main show.

No song has won the contest from that starting position.

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