Five countries qualify automatically for the finals: the Big Four consisting of France, Germany, Spain and the UK; and the host country and last year's winner, Norway. The reason is these are the countries that bear a disproportionate share of the costs of mounting the competition, and if they weren't in the finals they would have major problems with their home audiences.
However, because the Eurovision Contest is democratically decided by voting I think this arrangement disadvantages these five countries: firstly because they are automatic qualifiers they tend to miss out on most of the build-up buzz and speculation; and secondly because voters in the competing countries must resent this easy ride for songs they may feel are inferior (and sometimes are!)
So how do the big four (and Noway!) shape up this year? Here's what I think.
Lena has scored a huge hit in Germany with her song Satellite and is one of the favourites to win. I think it's definitely a strong contender, but the somewhat sophisticated song and performance may leave some European voters cold. It has grown on me, I quite like it now and wouldn't be sorry if it does win, but feel it unlikely.
Daniel Diges' song Algo Pequeñito has also grown on me a little but I don't think it's a winner. It's definitely better than the UK's, however.
I'm pretty hot on Jessy Matador's Allez Olla Olé - a fantastic stomping dance tune for the summer; makes me happy every time I hear it.
Didrik Solli-Tangen's My Heart Is Yours is the quintessential Eurovision package - a slow crescendo in structure, featuring a pretty melody and prettier singer. It could do well.
Words cannot express the sadness. Poor Josh Dubovie - the BBC's sacrificial victim. I hope his career survives this disaster. This definitely does not sound good to me.