Former Westlife star Nicky Byrne bidding for a Eurovision final slot


UK Eurovision Song Contest hopefuls Joe and Jake will find out on Thursday if former Westlife singer Nicky Byrne will join them in the final.

The 37-year-old pop star is representing Ireland in the second semi-final with his song Sunlight.

Nicky is one of 18 acts, from countries including Australia, Latvia, Poland, Switzerland, Israel and Belarus, who are competing for the last 10 available places in Saturday's grand final.

Nicky Byrne of Westlife fame (Ian West/PA)

Ireland is the most successful country in the contest, with a total of seven wins. The Emerald Isle last won in 1996 when Eimear Quinn's The Voice was judged to be the top song.

As founders of the competition, which was first staged in 1956, the 'big five' of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK are automatic finalists, along with host nation Sweden.

Joe and Jake will appear in Thursday's semi-final with a pre-recorded rendition of their song You're Not Alone.

The UK's Eurovision contestants Joe and Jake (Ian West/PA Wire)

The big five and Sweden will be joined by the first 10 semi-final victors who include blue-bearded rock stars from Cyprus and an Armenian singer in a transparent leotard.

Acts from Azerbaijan, Russia, the Netherlands, Hungary, Croatia, Austria, the Czech Republic and Malta will also compete in the final after triumphing in Tuesday's first semi-final.

Viewers on Twitter were quick to point out that San Marino's hopeful Serhat bore a striking resemblance to George Galloway, while the Bosnia & Herzegovina contenders appeared to be wrapped in the silver blankets handed to marathon runners.

In a Eurovision first, US singer Justin Timberlake will add some global superstar power to the finale.

The Great British Bake Off's Mel Giedroyc and Radio 1 presenter Scott Mills will once again co-host the semi-final which is taking place in Stockholm.

BBC broadcaster Scott Mills is co-hosting the Eurovision semi-finals  (Guy Levy/BBC)

Graham Norton will be at the helm for BBC One's live broadcast on Saturday. He is expected to pay tribute to former host Sir Terry Wogan, who died earlier this year.

Semi-final 2 of the Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast on BBC Four on Thursday at 8pm.