1. Various of the Belgrade Arena
3. Mid of policemen on horses
4. Mid of supporters with Serbian and Greek flags
5. Mid of supporters of Swedish entry
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Vox pop, no name given, Irish supporter:
“Fingers crossed, Ireland will qualify. But I think definitely Greece and Russia will qualify and Armenia.”
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Vox pop, no name given, Finish supporter:
“I hope Finland will be in the final, of course, but there are many good countries and it is going to be nice evening today.”
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Vox pop, no name given, Greek supporter:
“I like San Marino a lot but I don’t know if it will make it. I hate Russia, but it will probably be the winner of the whole contest, so we will see. I hope not but we will see.”
9. Mid of the people outside the Arena queuing at the gate
10. Wide shot of the people outside the Arena
11. Various of the supporters watching Eurovision Song Contest semi final at the press centre
12. Wide shot of the supporters watching the contest
The first Eurovision Song Contest Semi Final got under way at the Belgrade Arena on Tuesday night.
Up to 15,000 music fans from all over Europe arrived in the Serbian capital for the event.
Serbia won the right to stage the event after its representative Marija Serifovic won the contest in Finland last year.
This year’s Serbian representative Jelena Tomasevic will proceed directly into the finals with representatives from France, Spain, Germany and Britain.
Television viewers from 43 countries will select the European song of the year by SMS voting.
According to some surveys, the likely winner will be a young Russian singer called Dima Bilan, but others believe the Swedish star Charlotte Perrelli, who already won the contest in 1999, may win.
Other front runners are Ukraine, Switzerland and the host country Serbia.
The venue for the big event, the Belgrade Arena covers an area of 48,000 square meters, and a total maximum capacity of up to 23,000 seats, it is among the largest indoor arenas in Europe.
Constructed for sports and cultural events, it opened in 2004.
Betting shops took bets on Tuesday’s semi-final until the last minute and also for the second semi-final, which will take place on Thursday.
The two semi-finals will be held to decide which 25 countries will be represented in Saturday’s final.
According to European online bookmaker Bet365, Russia is the top favourite to win with odds of 3/1, followed by Serbia, with odds of 5/1.
In 2007, Serbia’s Marija Serifovic received 268 points in the final tally in Helsinki, Finland, with a heart-wrenching ballad that beat 23 other entries in a contest dominated by Eastern European countries.
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