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News 19 May 15

Five Balkan Countries Competing in Eurovision

Performers from only five Balkan countries are competing in this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna - whose semi-finals get underway this week.

Albania's Elhaida Dani performs the song 'I'm Alive' during the Eurovision Song Contest rehearsal for the semifinal in Vienna. | Photo by Ronald Zak/AP

Performers from Macedonia, Serbia, Albania and Romania will be taking part in the first semi-final of the Eurovision 2015 song contest on Tuesday in Vienna, while the Montenegrin representative will go onstage at the second semi-final on Thursday.

Although the Eurovision song contest is no longer that popular in Western Europe, for many in Eastern Europe and the Balkans it is still a big events.

Divisions between some of these countries may remain vivid, but at the annual pan-European song contest, fans from each country tend to support songs performed by their neighbours in the tele-vote.

The first singer from the Balkans to take to the stage will be Daniel Kajmakoski from Macedonia. He became famous after participating in X Factor Adria in 2013.

Bojana Stamenov, a popular soul and jazz singer, will represent Serbia. Stamenov also reached the final of the Serbian television competition, "I've Got Talent", in 2012. She will be performing in English, which is unusual for Serbian representatives at Eurovision, who so far have mainly sung in their native language.

Albania will be represented in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest by Elhaida Dani with the song "I’m Alive".

Dani gained the right to represent Albania after winning the Festivali i Këngës in December 2014 with the song "Diell" ("The Sun")

That song was replaced with "I’m Alive" after its composer Aldo Shllaku withdrew from the Eurovision contest. An acclaimed singer both in Albania and Italy, she won the 2013 talent show contest, "The Voice of Italy"

Pop-rock band Voltaj is this year’s Romanian selection. Their song, “De la capat” ("Over again") is about children in Romania being reunited with parents who are working abroad. Voltaj has produced nine albums and had many hits in Romania.

Pop singer Knez is this year’s representative from Montenegro and, for his 2015 Eurovision entry, "Adio", he has teamed up with the Serbian composer, Zeljko Joksimovic.

Their entry was selected through an internal selection organised by the Montenegrin public broadcaster RTCG.

The countries that reach the finals will compete for the top place on May 23.

Bulgaria, Croatia and Bosnia are not taking part in this year’s contest. The Bosnian national broadcaster said Bosnia had decided not to participate due to the lack of funds.

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