Adrian Kavanagh, December 23rd 2014
The official Eurovision website confirmed on 23rd December 2014 that 39 countries were to take part in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Austria. This means that 33 countries will be taking part in the two semi-finals – 16 in one semi-final and 17 in the other – making semi final qualification a slightly more difficult prospect than it was in 2014, when the smallest ever semi-final in contest history (the second semi-final which involved just 15 countries) took place.
This would have amounted to two more countries than the number that took part in the 2014 contest in Copenhagen, Denmark. However, the news released on 10th February 2015 that Australia would be participating on a one-off basis in the 2015 contest means that 40 countries will now be competing in Vienna. Australia will – as with the Hosts and Big 5 countries – not have to participate in one of the semi finals (meaning the semi-final format remains the same despite Australia’s late entry) and will instead proceed directly to the Final. Australia will get to vote in the Final, but also in both of the semi-finals – which is not the case for the states in the Big 5 and Hosts grouping as these only get to vote in one of the semi-finals.