This was the forty-ninth Eurovision Song Contest, held in the Abdi Ýpekçi Arena in Istanbul, Turkey. For the first time ever in the history of the contest, it was split in two, with a semi-final competed for three days before the final. The reasoning was the sheer influx of European countries who wished to be a part of the contest, thus making it impossible to fit them all in on one night. Fourteen countries had immediate entry into the final, while the other competing nations had to compete for the last ten places in the semi-final stage. The fourteen selected countries were the 'Big Four' - United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain, and the top ten countries from the previous year's contest.moreless
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