The 2012 Eurovision Song Contest will be the 57th edition of the show, which began in 1956. The event is scheduled to be staged in Baku, Azerbaijan, although the arena which is expected to host the show, is still in construction. 

The two semi-finals will be held on May 22nd and 24th, with the final on Saturday May 26th 2012.  As of yet it is uncertain exactly how many countries will compete in the final, as there are six potential automatic finalists, hosts Azerbaijan and the "Big 5" countries; France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. It is now confirmed that ten countries from each semi-final will qualify, meaning that there will be 26 songs in the final for only the second time in the contest's history, the first being 2003.

On January 17th, the E.B.U. confirmed that there would be a record equalling 43 countries competing in Baku. The draw that decides which countries perform in each semi-final, will be made on January 25th and the running order will be decided at the Heads of Delegation meeting on March 12th/13th.

Below you can find the list of countries that may be heading to Baku in May 2012 and information on how they intend to select their Eurovision entries.  

ALBANIA : Albanian broadcaster RTSH will sending their ninth entry to the contest and once again they were one of the first countries to choose their Eurovision entry. The Festivali i Këngës, was held over four evenings, climaxing on Thursday December 29th when a jury selected the entry for Baku. The clear winner was the song "Suus" (Personal) sung by 25 year old Kosovan born Rona Nishliu, who had previously competed in the 2005 Albanian selection. The song which is over four minutes long, will have to be re-arranged and possibly translated to English for Eurovision. More information on the selection can be found here.


ARMENIA : The is still a question as to whether Armenia will be competing in Baku. Relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia remain tense due to ongoing conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh which has been under Armenian control since 1993, but is internationally recognised as being part of Azerbaijan. Armenian broadcaster AMTV asked for strong security arrangements if they are to send a delegation to Baku and following negotiations between the E.B.U. and the broadcasters fom both countries, Armenia has confirmed its intention to send an entry to Baku. It is believed that the artist will be chosen internally by AMTV


AUSTRIA : Having returned to the contest in Düsseldorf in 2011, where they negotiated the Eurovision semi-final for the first time, Austrian broadcaster ORF was one of the first to confirm their participation in 2012. ORF confirmed the names of nine of the ten finalists on November 30th. The tenth place in the final went the winner of an open selection. The ten finalists were played on Austrian radio on January 9th and you can find more informatiopn here and hear the songs here. The Austrian final takes place on February 24th and the public will choose the eventual winner, through a televote.


AZERBAIJAN : In 2011 "Running Sacred" performed by Ell & Nikki, gave Azerbaijan its first Eurovision victory with only its fourth entry to the contest. Azeri broadcaster Ictimai will host the 2012 contest and "Milli Seçim Turu" (National Selection Show) to choose the host country's entry in underway. Seventy two acts are completing in the selection which began in early December, with eight weekly heats, each featuring nine acts. Each heat will be held over five nights and the winner of each heat will qualify for the semi-final where the top three will qualify for the final. A jury and text vote will eventually select the entrant in February and a song will then be assigned to the winner. You can follow the progress of the selection here.


BELARUS : Having chosen their 2011 entry through an internal selection, Belarusian broadcaster BTRC have returned to the previous EuroFest selection show to choose their entry for contest in Baku. The final of the 2012 edition of EuroFest will now be held in Minsk on February 14th and not in January as previously planned. Before that final there was a semi-final, staged on December 21st, with fifteen potential entries. The top five entries chosen by by televoting and jury, reached the final, but 2011 entrant Anastasia Vinnikova, was eliminated. Three of the five acts have announced that they are considering changing their songs for the final and there are rumours that 2009 Eurovision winner Alexander Rybak may write one of the replacement songs for the final. You can follow the progress of the selection here.


BELGIUM : Flemish broadcaster VRT once again takes over the responsibility of representing Belgium at Eurovision in Baku. In 2010, VRT used an internal selection to choose Tom Dice for Oslo, who went on to give Belgium its only semi-final qualification. Therefore it was no surprise when VRT announced on November 18th that it had once again held an internal selection and has chosen sixteen year old singer Iris (born Laura van den Bruel) to go to Baku. On December 19th, VRT made an open call for songs, which can be submitted until January 16th 2012 and the winning entry is likely to be chosen internally.


BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA : Bosnia-Herzegovina is one of just five countries, outside the automatic qualifiers to have taken part in every Eurovision final since 2004. On December 9th Bosnia broadcaster BHRT confirmed their participation in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest and on December 15th they announced that singer/songwriter Maya Sar will represent Bosnia-Herzegovina in Baku. The song will be chosen internally and presentedearly in 2012. Maya was part of the group that accompanied Dino Merlin on stage in Dusseldorf and you can find her website here.


BULGARIA : They may have only qualified for one final since making their Eurovision debut in 2005, but Bulgarian broadcaster BNT was one of the the first to confirm their participation in 2012. In a newly expanded selection, there was a semi-final on January 14th. The top twelve songs, chosen by televoting and a jury will qualified. The Bulgarian national final will be held on February 29th at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia and the public and a jury will again combine to select the entry for Baku.


CROATIA : Having used a very lengthy national talent competition to choose its 2011 Eurovision entry and then failed to qualify for the final in Düsseldorf, Croatian broadcaster HRT origiunally decided to go back to the multi-artist national selection; the Dora, for 2012. However on January 9th it was confirmed that popular local singer Nina Badric was chosen to represent Croatia at Eurovision. The 39 year old singer is well known throughout former Yugoslavia and made four previous unsuccessful attempts to compete at Eurovision. It has been confirmed that her Eurovision entry will be sung in English and is likely to be a translation of a track from her most recent album released in late 2011. The entry will be made public on February 18th in a special show featuring other Eurovision singers. You can find Nina's website here


CYPRUS : Cypriot broadcaster RIK was the first to announce its performer for 2012. In early August, 18 year old Ivi Adamou was confirmed as the Cypriot artist for Baku. Ivi who was born in the tourist resort of Ayia Nap, came to attention when she competed in second series of the Greek version of "X Factor", where she finished 6th. She was signed by Sony and released her debut album in the summer of 2011. On January 25th, Ivi performed three potential Eurovision songs in a special show, and the public and a jury selected the winner. "La La Love" was chosen by both the jury and the public. You can now hear the three songs here.


DENMARK : The Danes will be hoping for their third successive Top 5 result in Baku and Danish broadcaster DR repeated the formula which has provided them with recent good results. The Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, was held on January 21st at the Gigantium in Aalborg. Following a disqualification, nine songs competed in the final.  In the first round the top three were chosen by televoting and a jury. In the second round the winner was chosen by televoting (50% weighting), a local jury (10%) and four international juries (40%). The Danish entry for Baku will be "Shoud've Known Better" sung by Guatemalan born Soluna Samay. You can find more information and clips from the songs on DR's website on the selection here.


ESTONIA : ETV is again opting for an expended selection, with two semi-finals, before the final of Eesti Laul, the Estonian national final, which will be held on March 3rd at the Nokia Concert Hall in Tallinn. The Estonian broadcaster is accepting entries from local artists, until December 12th, and the top twenty songs will compete in two semi-finals to be held on February 18th and 25th. The top five songs from each semi-final, chosen by a jury and the public, will progress to the final. The semi-finalists were announced on December 12th and include 2010 Estonia representative Malcolm Lincoln. The official website is here and you can follow the selection here.


FINLAND : Finnish broadcaster YLE has again re-vamped its Eurovision selection process. The final of "Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu" on February 25th sees the national selection move back to Helsinki. The demo versions of forty potential entries were put on YLE's website in October and the public were asked to vote for their favourites. The songs that progress to the final will be announced on January 27th and for the next five weeks views can watch the selected entries being prepared for the final selection. The number of  songs in the final, has still to be confirmed. You can follow progress of the online vote here and the entire selection here.


FRANCE : 2011 saw another disappointing Eurovision result for the French, when their pre-contest favourite failed to make the Top 10 in Düsseldorf, as "Sognu" performed by Amaury Vassili finished 15th. Nevertheless FR3 has once again decided to opt for an internal selection to choose its entry for Baku in 2012. This will mean that France will have gone five years without a public selection of their Eurovision entry. On November 29th it was revealed that Indonesian born Anggun (Anggun Cipta Sasmi) will perform the French entry in Baku and the song will also be chosen internally. On January 17th, the title of the song was revealed and "Echo (You And I) will be performed in English and French and FR3 are currently reviewing the date to make the song public, through a television show. You can find Anggun's website here.


GEORGIA : Georgia continued its 100% qualification record in 2011, when their fourth Eurovision entry followed their first three into the final, in the contest staged in Düsseldorf. On December 9th, the Georgian broadcaster GPB confirmed their participation in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest and on December 15th, GPB called for songs for a national selection. Songs must be in English or Georgian and can be submitted until January 15th 2012. An panel of music experts will then select a number of songs that will proceed to the national final, to be held in the beginning of February and the winner will be decided through a combination of jury voting and text voting.


GERMANY : Having used a national talent competition to choose their entrant in 2010 and unearthing a winning entry for the first time in almost thirty years, Germany once again selected Lena to represent them in 2011, again scoring a Top 10 result, in Düsseldorf. Therefore it is perhaps no surprise that another national talent search will be used to find the artist for 2012, although Stefan Raab, Lena's mentor, will take no part in the selection. "Unser Star Für Baku" (Our Star For Baku) began with an open casting event in Cologne on September 29th. The German final will be held on February 16th at the Brainpool TV Studios in Cologne, hosted by Sandra Riess and Steven Gätjen. Before the final will compete in five elimination shows, starting on January 12th, a quarter-final & a semi-final. The official site of the German selection can be found here.


GREECE : Greece is the only country to finish in the Eurovision Top 10 in the last eight years and Greek broadcaster ERT has confirmed that it will be sending an entry to Baku, despite its current budget limitations. ERT is working with local record companies to find artists willing to represent Greece at Eurovision in 2012 and the expectation is that the successful act will have their promotion costs paid for by the record company, rather than ERT. It is now believed that ERT are in the final stages of negotiating a contract with a well known act, but it still has not been decided if the song will be chosen internally, or if there will be a public vote.


HUNGARY :  Hungary returned to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011, after taking a year out in 2010 and they qualified for the final in Düsseldorf. In August 2010, Hungarian broadcaster MTV confirmed that they intended to send an entry to Baku in 2012 and announced the selection method on December 1st. A total of twenty songs will compete in two semi-finals on January 28th and February 4th where a jury and a televote will select a total of eight finalists to compete for the Hungarian ticket to Baku, in the final on February 11th. The semi-finalists were announced on January 10th and you can find more information here.


ICELAND : Iceland has qualified for the last four Eurovision finals, so it is perhaps no surprise that RUV was one of the first broadcasters to confirm that it would be competing in 2012. Fifteen songs will compete in the three semi-finals of Söngvakeppni Sónvarpsin which will be held on January 14th, 21st and 28th. Two songs from each semi-final will progress to the final which will be held on February 11th in Reyjkavik. Televeloting alone will be used in the semi-finals and in the final. You can now hear the songs in the selection on RUV's website.


IRELAND : 2011 saw Ireland return to the Eurovision Top 10 for the first time in five years and the appearance of Jedward meant that both the semi-final and final achieved some of the highest Irish viewing figures in the history of the contest. RTÉ will once again use five mentors to select the entries that will compete in the 2012 Eurosong final, on a "Late Late Show" special on February 24th. The winner will be chosen by regional juries and a televote. You can find information on the mentors here. It has been confirmed that 1992 Eurovision winner Linda Martin will be Jedward's mentor, as they aim to represent Ireland for a second year in a row. 2005 Irish entrant Donna McCaul will also compete. The songs will be premiered on Derek Mooney's radio show on February 9th and will receive further airplay before the Eurosong final.


ISRAEL: 2011 saw Dana International become the first former Eurovision winner to fail to qualify from the semi-final. Due to scheduling issues, Israeli broadcaster IBA has changed its original plans to have a multi-artist selection show and will instead choose its entrant for Baku in an internal selection. It is still unclear if the public will have a say in selecting the song.


ITALY: Italian broadcaster RAI made a surprise return to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011, having left the competition in 1997. In Düsseldorf, the Italian entry "Madness Of Love" written and performed by Raphael Gualazzi finished 2nd and was the favourite of the international juries. On December 5th RAI confirmed that they would participate again in 2012 and that once again a special jury wold select the Italian entry from the songs competing in the Sanremo festival, which runs from February 14th to 18th. 


LATVIA: LTV was early in confirming its intention of being in Baku. In September, they put the demo versions of 69 potential entries online and asked people from all over the World to vote for their favourites.  The Top 20 songs, which will compete in two semi-finals were confirmed in early November, and the artist were confirmed on December first.. The two Eirodziesma semi-finals will be staged on January 7th and 14th and five songs from each, chosen by a jury and televote, will progress to the final which will be held on February 18th in Ventspils. The winner will be chosen over two rounds of voting. You can hear the entries here and you can follow the selection here.


LITHUANIA : Unlike previous years, when Lithuanian broadcaster LRT was late in making a final decision on taking part in Eurovision, this year they confirmed their participation in Baku, back in September. Entries are being accepted until January 2nd and once they have been reviewed, LRT will also also some "wildcard" entries that they have invited to compete. A series of semi-finals with a jury and televoting will be followed by a national final to be staged in February, which will produce three "super finalists" who will perform again, with a jury making the final decision on who goes to Baku.


(FYR) MACEDONIA: The Macedonians have failed to qualify for the last four Eurovision finalists and decided to change the way they select their entry for 2012. On November 19th 2010, Macedonian broadcaster MRKTV confirmed that they had made an internal selection and had chosen the local pop diva Kaliopi (Kaliopi Bukle) to go to Eurovision. Kaliopi was previously represented FYR Macedonia in 1996 with "Samo Ti", but failed to qualify for that contest, losing out in a pre-selection. On January 16th it was confirmed that the Macedonian entry had been chosen internally and that Kaliopi would sing "Black And White" in Baku. The entry will be recorded in Germany in January and made public in February.


MALTA : Malta has narrowly missed out on reaching the last two Eurovision finals and has opted for a similar selection process for 2012. PBS sought entries from songwriters from all over Europe and in November they announced that sixty two entries had overcome the first hurdle and these songs were performed for a jury, on November 19th. On November 25th the top twenty four songs were announced and these will perform in a semi-final on January 27th, with sixteen progressing to the final on the following evening. A jury (75% weighting) and a televote (25% weighting) will choose the entry for Baku. Fabrizio Faniello who represented Malta in 2001 and 2006 is one of the semi-finalists.



MOLDOVA : Moldova has one of the best qualification records of any participating country in the Eurovision Song Contest, having only missed out on one final, in seven attempts. Moldovan broadcaster TRM was unusually late in comfirming that it would send an entry to Baku. The Moldovan final will be held on March 10th and 23 songs will compete 20 songs will be chosen internally and three will be chosen by internet voting starting on February 11th. The songs being submitted to the selection can be found on TRM's website and include a new song by Olia Tira & The Sunstroke Project who represented Moldova in Oslo in 2010. 60 songs will be presented to a special jury who will select the acts that progress to the final.


MONTENEGRO : Montenegro competed in the Eurovision Song Contest as part of Yugslavia from 1961 to 1992 and again in 2004 and 2005 as part of Serbia & Montenegro, before making their debut as an independent national in 2007. From 2007 to 2009, Montenegrin broadcaster RTCG sent three entries to the contest, but failed to quialify from the semi-final and decided not to compete in the last two contests. RTCG has reconsidered its withdrawal from the contest and on December 12th they announced that popular local star Rambo Amadeus will represent Montenegro in Baku. The song is being chosen internally and will be presented early in 2012. You can find more information on Rambo Amadeus here.


NETHERLANDS : The Dutch have the unenviable record of the worst run of Eurovision results in recent years, having failed to qualify for the final, in the last seven years. This year broasdcaster TROS have changed the selection process and in August decided to open a suitcase for potential Eurovision entries. When they closed it at the end of September, over 450 entries had been submitted. The final, which will be held on February 26th will consist of three duels with two candidates competing in each. The three winners of these duels, chosen by a jury and televote will get into a superfinal that will select the overall winner where again a jury and televote will select the entry for Baku.


NORWAY : Having won the contest in 2009, hosted it in 2010, Norwegian fortunes took a major reversal in 2011, when they failed to reach the final in Düsseldorf. Nevertheless, Norwegian broadcaster NRK has stuck with generally the same selection process, although the "Second Chance" semi-final has been dropped. Twenty four songs will compete in three regional semi-finals, which will be staged on January 21st, 28th and February 4th. The final of Melodi Grand Prix will be staged in Oslo on February 11th, with regional juries and a national televote choosing the winner. You can follow the selection here or on the official NRK website.


PORTUGAL :There had been speculation thar due to a potential privatisation of national broadcaster RTP, Portugal might not participate in the 2012 contest, but on November 30th, RTP confirmed its participation in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. On December 9th, RTP called for songs for a national selection, while singers can apply through the RTP website by December 231st. A jury and RTP will choose twelve acts. RTP will then invite six composers from various musical styles to compose songs for the chosen acts. The final of Festival Da Canção will be held on March 10th in RTP's studios in Lisbon and the winner will be decided by a combination of a national televote and regional juries.


ROMANIA : Romania are one of a handful of countries outside the "Big 5" to have competed in every Eurovision final since 2004. TVR is normally one of the first broadcasters to confirm its Eurovision plans, but economic pressure at TVR has put their participation in Baku in doubt. Approaches were made local star Inna, but she declined the offer of representing Romania in Baku. Participation was finally confirmed on January 10th and the option of sending a song which has already been released is understood to be under consideration, but the preferred option remains a multi-artist national final, likely to be staged in Bucharest in March.


RUSSIA : Like Romania, Russia has competed in every Eurovision final since the competition expanded in 2003. On December 28th, RTR confirmed their participation in Baku. Auditions for potential national finalists will be held until February and a jury will select a total of 25 acts to proceed to the final, to be staged on February 26th. The winner will be decided through jury voting and televoting.


SAN MARINO : Sanmarinese broadcaster SMTV first entered the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008 and after taking a couple of years out, returned in 2011 although on neither occasion did they make it through to the final. The micro-state, which is surrounded by Italy has decided to enter the contest for a third time in Baku and as with their first two entries, it is highly likely that the performer and song will be chosen internally by SMTV.  


SERBIA : Serbian broadcaster RTS has opted for an internal selection to choose its entry for Baku and 2012 will see the a familiar face returning to the competition. On November 18th, RTS announced that popular singer and songwriter Zeljko Joksimovic would represent Serbia in Baku and would choose the Eurovision entry, himself. Joksimovic previously represented Serbia and Montenegro in 2004,finishing 3rd, he wrote the Bosnian entry in 2006 and presented the contest in 2008, when he also wrote the Serbian entry. The 2012 entry will be presented in a special show, to be broadcast in early 2012. You can find Zeljko's website here.


SLOVAKIA : Slovakian broadcaster STV re-entered the contest in 2009, after a ten year absence. Having competed for the last three years, they have failed to qualify for the final and there was widespread speculation, that they were looking at the option of withdrawing in 2012. However on 16th November STV announced that they would compete in Baku and that former "Idol" runner-up" Miro Šmajda would represent them. However a couple of days later, a statement was issued, that the selection had not been confirmed. STV reconfirmed their participation on December 21st, but there are no details of how their entry will be chosen.


SLOVENIA : Having qualified from the semi-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest for only the second, in Düsseldorf, RTVSLO has opted for a lengthy talent search, to choose its 2012 entrant. Thirty two singers have competed in a series of shows, which began on October 2nd, performing cover versions. Eventually, after thirteen shows, the selection will be reduced to two finalists in late January and the Slovenian entry will finally be known on February 26th. You can follow the selection here.


SPAIN : Spain hasn't finished in the Top 10 at the Eurovision Song Contest since 2004, despite being one of the competition's automatic finalists. TVE's selection process has undergone several changes, without any improvement in the country's fortunes in the contest and after reviewing several options, they opted for an internal selection to select the artist. On December 21st it was announced that the well known singer Pastora Soler would represent Spain in Baku. You can find Pastora's website here.


SWEDEN : 2011 saw a reversal of the recent run of poor Swedish results, when their entry finished in the Top 3, for the first time since 1999. Swedish broadcaster SVT generally sticks with the same process to choose its 2012 entry. Thirty two entries compete in four semi-finals, which begin on February 4th. Two songs from each semi-final go to the final of Melodifestival, which will be staged in Stockholm on March 10th, where they will be joined by two songs which qualify from a "second chance" show. Among many familiar faces from former Swedish selections are 1999 Eurovision winner Charlotte Perrelli, who also represented Sweden in 2008 and 2002 entrants Afro-dite. You can follow the selection here


SWITZERLAND :For the second year in a row, Switzerland was the first country to select its Eurovision entry. Fourteen potential entries, twelve chosen through an internet poll and two that qualified from a semi-final, competed in the Swiss national final, which was held on December 10th in the Bodensee Arena in Kreuzlingen. Lys Assia, the winner of the first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956 was among the finalist. The winner was chosen by a national televote. The winning song was "Unbreakable" performed by the group Sinplus. You can find the official site of the selection here and the Sinplus website is here.


TURKEY : Having competed in every Eurovision final since 1995, Turkish fortunes took a surprise decline in 2011, when they failed to qualify from the semi-final for the first time. Turkish broadcaster TRT once again madfe an internal selection and on January 9th, it was confirmed that singer and songwriter Can Bonomo would represent Turkey in Baku. The 24 year old Bonomo, an Izmir-born pop singer/songwriter released his debut album “Meczup” (Lunatic) in January 2011. It is believed that the song will be chosen internally and will written by Bonomo.


UKRAINE : Ukraine has made the Eurovision final every year, since making its debut in the contest in 2003. Ukrainian broadcaster NTU has a history of controversial and often lengthy Eurovsion selections. For 2012, a semi-final will be held on January 20th and the final will take place on February 18th in Kyiv. Twenty one songs will be selected to compete for the final (nineteen through the semifinal, one through Inter Channel's Show "Number 1" and one through an internet vote). 


UNITED KINGDOM : British broadcaster BBC is once again making very little information on its Eurovision plans available. It is however believed that there will again be an internal selection. Media has listed the candidates that are apparently on the BBC's wish list and they include JLS, The Saturdays, Steps, Pixie Lott,  Charlotte Church and Katherine Jenkins. However if 2011 is anything to go by, there may be a surprise announcement and in recent weeks specualation has moved to former "X Factor" winner Joe McElderry representing the U.K. in Baku.


Two former Eurovision participants have already confirmed that they will not b